I had a very pleasant and relaxing holiday, in spite of sickness, melancholy and being surrounded by family in the middle of nowhere. I have a few thoughts about what I saw and did, and some, if not resolutions, plans for the coming months.
1) The Next Gaming Generation is Terrifying: I am blessed with a large family, which means that every year for as long as I can remember there have been children about with toys and books and crawling over me trying to get me to play with them. I am a very popular uncle, considering I only really see my family once a year at most. This year I was struck by how naturally the smallest ones have taken to gaming, as if it is a language they were born speaking.
My six year old niece navigates Minecraft on her mother’s iPad with ease, cutting and placing blocks, running around this 3D world and never getting lost; I bet she could figure out Dwarf Fortress before I do. My four year old great nephew is not only very good at Mario Kart and a range of action games on my iPad (that he had never seen before) but seriously destroyed me at Wii Sports golf.
Now these are not children who live with games alone. Both have active outdoor lives (this is New Brunswick), are advanced readers for their age and are mature and friendly kids. But games are clearly a part of their natural environment, and a staple of their media diet. I told my great nephew that he couldn’t play Ascension because it had too much reading and counting; honestly, I think he will be a master at it by the time he is seven.
2) Battle of the Bulge, Unity of Command: I finally got some MP time in with Battle of the Bulge. I need a new router in my apartment, since my iPad is wireless only, but I managed to play some while in NB while staying with my eldest niece. I love this game more and more every day, so if you have it and can handle a friend that may not turn around a lot of turns rapidly, add me on Game Center – troygoodfellow is the name because I am so creative.
I’ve also been dabbling with the new Unity of Command DLC. God I love this game. The DLC doesn’t do a lot of new stuff, and it remains a challenge to meet the goals within the turn limits. I want Tomislav to make a France 1944 or North Africa game now. Like, right now.
3) Podcast Fail: Exhaustion, last minute cancellations and really crappy internet means 3MA has not been updated in a couple of weeks. We apologize for that and will get back to doing it right this week. When everyone is traveling and plans fall apart, it is hard to throw together an ad hoc special like we usually do. I will try to never let that happen again.
4) Farewell 2012: I never do anything for New Year’s, but I managed to coax Jon Shafer and his girlfriend Kay to come up for a visit. It was really a relaxing couple of days. We punted any plans for elaborate festivities, ate a lot of Chinese food and New Year’s Eve we were joined by Jenn Cutter for many hours of laughing, talking about games and music, a drawing game that deteriorated into sex jokes and some top shelf scotch. (She blogged a bit about it at her site, and I have a few pics, but I won’t publish them here without asking the people in them. I did tweet a few over the last few days.)
Over the last year and a half, Jon has become a valued friend and counselor. We took some time at my local sports bar to examine his upcoming projects and talk about design, marketing, the state of certain genres, and long term planning. (His girlfriend is also one of my favorite people.) It’s too bad that it’s unlikely Jon will be coming up again any time soon, but I guess this gives me a reason to road trip to Michigan. He has some exciting plans. And I need to get him copies of half my bookshelf, apparently.
I am surrounded by creative people online, but I get a special energy when I am with them in person. My collaborative efforts with Jenn aren’t stopping, and though we chat daily, I get fresh life whenever we talk in real space about, well, anything . Jon is a remarkable hard worker with a brain that fires with a youthful spark – he genuinely loves coding and watching how things change.
So the last few days have been amazing for my mental health. In spite of late nights, travel weariness, and too much scotch, I slept the sleep of the just and am ready to charge forward both with work and my own things.
5) What 2013 Means: God, so many things I want to do…First, I do plan on taking more pictures and documenting my life in this amazing city more regularly. I will see more live theatre, try to go to the movies more, not skip the gym and eat out and drink less. I will take more risks, lead with my heart, learn one new thing every week. And yes, blog and game and find a cheaper place to live – maybe a roommate.
Onward to a new year. May it bless you all with new opportunities and good friends.