Monday, August 31, 2015

The Week in Geek

Summer decided to arrive precisely on the day I went back to work, and the sun continues to glare accusingly at me through the office window. I'm not complaining - the world is so full of wrong these days that being forced to stay inside becomes...nothing. 

To avoid worrying overly much about things I can do little about, I have, of course, a bunch of other worlds to escape into. I've almost finished Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, currently fighting my way through the excellent Durlag's Tower (originally part of the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion). The game is almost twenty years old, but has lost none of its charm. I simply love it. GOG released eleven even older Forgotten Realms video games and so I am looking forward to explore, for the first time in the case of many of these titles, games that look so old that I have trouble understanding what I'm actually supposed to see. Weird how fast computer graphics have developed in twenty plus years. Not even sure I'll be able to play through these titles - except the three classic Eye of the Beholder games which I find are still tolerable. Barely.

As a crazed Star Wars fanatic I've obviously spent some time following news and rumors on The Force Awakens and watched with something akin to dread how "everyone" is preparing for the so-called 'Force Friday' (in four days' time) when everybody is going to descend on toy stores at midnight to buy The Force Awakens merchandise. The cynical capitalism is almost too much to bear, and I have decided not to buy a thing. The cash-grabbing is so obvious it hurts. Here we are in a world so in need of healing, and then people are going to throw their money at plastic toys? It's ridiculous. I'm going to give some money to charity instead. Even as the crisis in the Middle East has begun to spill big time into Western society, people are selling simple The Force Awakens action figures on eBay for 10 times the price it will command in toy stores in one week's time. Is it right to pay ten times more just to have the figures a week earlier than the rest of the world? What is the point? This aspect of Star Wars - the merchandise craze - really turns me off these days. In 1995, I'd be all over it, I guess, blinded and craving, but not this day. 

Same goes for George R.R. Martin's licensing, I guess. In the days before A Feast for Crows I was momentarily blinded, and bought everything I could lay my hands on. Those days, too, are over. There's only one thing I'm buying from this man, and that's going to be The Winds of Winter, of course. 


Speaking of fantasy literature, this week I started Django Wexler's The Thousand Names. So far, it's really good. Great pace, good characterization, interesting setting, this novel is very promising and I actually want to get back to it. Mark Lawrence's The Liar's Key will have to wait. Also, the author's name. 

For more than a decade I've been a loyal member of, one of the web's biggest sites dedicated to role-playing games. Early in its life I was even a regular contributor, writing a few articles for them. This all changed yesterday, when I was insta-banned. I was extremely disappointed with this, and have decided to want nothing to do with the site again. Was it a deserved ban? No way do I think so. I found a thread called "Ask a Christian" so I asked a bunch of questions, genuinely curious to see how the original poster would respond. Less than half an hour later I was shut out from the community. It reminded me all too much of the policies over at Censoros I mean Westeros. Without a warning, without even checking whether I was honestly trying to contribute in a meaningful way. Reason: "Trolling." Oh come on. If I wanted to troll a christian, I'd go to r/Christianity or whatever. Bah. Anyway, that was so annoying I decided never to return to Good riddance.

Martin continues to write novellas on his blog, and I continue to dip into the otherworldly, and we're seemingly no closer to The Winds of Winter. I continue to work, on and off, on my own campaign setting, having fun with it. 

Next: New re-read post!

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