Revenge of the Cyborg Barbarians

Nethack 3.4.

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Things have been pretty busy ’round here lately. A couple of weeks ago I took on some new job responsibilities[1] which have involved a lot of learning new things. It also involved moving from an office with a Mac computer to a cube with a Vista computer. It’s really exciting, and I’m enjoying the challenge, but man, shit be crazy trying to stay on top of things right around now. As an example, something that I thought would only take me a few hours over the weekend pretty much took up most of it. I’m still managing to keep a lot of balls in the air (like Whitechapel), but some other things have had to be put on hold for a bit while I settle into a new routine (like the White Wolf Blogcast).

When I’ve had a moment to reflect here and there, I’ve been poking around with more old-school gaming. NetHack and AngBand have been an entertaining distraction, and the sheer unrepentantly wacky fantasy has been surprisingly refreshing. Elf ninjas mixing it up with cyborg barbarians is just so unabashedly and unrepentantly fun. Sure, I still prefer games with strong narratives and deep immersion, but memories of Final Fantasy VII[2]and Thundarr the Barbarian[3] remind me of a time when I thought wearing sunglasses and a trenchcoat while wielding a katana actually was cool, and not just a stereotype.

So I’ve been flipping through everything from retroclone games like Labyrinth Lord and Basic Fantasy to loving parodies like Encounter Critical to actual classic game experiences like Rifts and red box D&D. Playing in a D&D 4e game at work has been helping to scratch that itch a bit, but I admit I’m not entirely sure if I really want to break out a new game to recapture the fun of wahoo fantasy, or if the idea of such a game is more interesting than actually playing one. Nostalgia is a fickle mistress.

I’ve also recently (and somewhat coincidentally) been watching a lot of comedic sci-fi: Red Dwarf, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (TV show), and Red Vs. Blue, which have been leading me to some ideas for a new fiction project… but that’s later. Probably after Whitechapel is done.

Speaking of nostalgia, I’ve been slowly reconnecting with some of my old elementary and high school friends on Facebook. I mean, most people talk about using Facebook to find old classmates, but I didn’t really look any of them up. They just kind of found me. And it’s been a weird (but very pleasant) experience. It’s all been coalescing into a stew of contemplation.

I finally picked up a copy of Shadows Over Baker Street after seven million people[4] expressed disbelief that I hadn’t read it yet. Overall it’s been enjoyable. Plus, right now it’s a bit easier to read a short story in between things going on instead of trying to stay on top of a 2,000 page novel from George R. R. Martin.

Eh, that’s that. Brain’s dry.


Footnote 1: No, I can’t really talk about them at the moment.

Footnote 2: Swords that shoot bullets and have magic gem slots in a cyberpunk world? FUCK YES.

Footnote 3: Ditto for laser swords and sorcery.

Footnote 4: Give or take 6,999,993.

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