FourmRuler & Writing is Born

I attribute my writing to a natural result of reading so much, but the internet surely played a large role as well. I started writing once upon a time in the (then) magical land of Compuserve. Sure, before that I wrote long posts and emails and even sort of ‘message role played’- but it was just communicating thoughts and words. It didn’t occur to me that I was writing stories, poetry, and essays.

The lame story of how I figured this out was an encounter with a luser with the handle of “ForumRuler” mocking me even though he didn’t know me. I was about ten and not going to let it go. I had a “Well, I rule more than you do.” attitude and online persona. We went back and forth and finally he threw the gauntlet down. He challenged me to a contest of words. The rules were that we write a poem about our own awesomness. Who ever wrote the better one would be the true forum ruler. I think he was expecting an easy win because I was “Huh… never wrote a poem before”.

We were working something close to real time, both online, so I wrote:

You first hear footsteps,
Then the smile,
You know you will be dead,
In a little while,
You say why me?
You whine and run,
But you know what will happen,
She is the one,
She is the one I say,
The one you despise,
She is strong and charming,
and she is wise,
Whom is she you say,
Why has she come?
It doesn’t matter,
Your life is done.

He admitted it was ‘not bad’ having posted four lines of clever ‘roses are red I rule ‘n stuff’ and I never heard from him again. He probably had to change his handle and start over. I, on the other hand, found it very satisfying and started writing for the sake of writing actual works for the first time.

Notepad and I would sit down and write poems, story lines, dialogs, beginnings, middles, ends, and scenes. I wrote about taverns without ever have been drunk. I wrote about dueling with swords and sorcery, even though I’d never fenced. The real bits were always in the poetry and the characters. I only wrote about emotions, motivations, and interactions as I understood them. This was the a part of writing I fell in love with.

My true motivations for writing were somewhere between escape and expression. I felt better after all the jumbled thoughts in my head came out and made some sense on paper. Those thoughts didn’t have to be me, they became characters in far off worlds with much more important things to accomplish. They had much bigger trials to face.

The stories in my head were no longer just bedtime stories to myself after closing my eyes. They bore some sense of importance that I might one day get them down properly and share them with others.

You Can’t Pwn At Pong

Mario Bros Atari
I’m only twenty-something, but I still am not sure I feel right saying ‘pwned’.

It feels a bit unreal to have gaming be the younger cool. It seems like just yesterday, I was my little brother’s age and getting flack for the same reason he’s considered awesome. I feel like the same people who will wear Mario Bros. shirts now might be the same ones who poked at me in school for video gaming. Part of me wants to reveal the poser they are. I would ask them:

In the first level, do you go down the pipe for the coins? You do? Now why would you do that? There’s a barely hidden one-up that you miss if you go down the pipe. 100 coins equal a one-up. Do the math.

They look at me blankly, thinking, “Up-whats?”.

Am I still allowed to use the word poser?

Across the room, nestled between cd video games and Super Nintendo cartridges are little rectangle bricks that belong to no Nintendo. One of them even says “Mario Bros.” on it.

People think Mario, they think Nintendo. It’s hilarious how many games people remember as being exclusive classics for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System originated for the Atari, early PC, and even old Macs.

You just can’t pwn at old video games. There was no typing to other players in a multiplayer environment. Even when doors and muds came about in BBS land, I don’t know about you guys, but I remember there usually being 1 node for one person to play at one time. In Legend of the Red Dragon, when you killed someone in the field and were interviewed for what you said after kicking ass, no one ever uttered “Pwned!”. They would have looked at the screen, backspaced a few times, and totally “Owned!” you.

Legend of the Red Dragon

I also feel I don’t really pwn, because I don’t play Halo. To me, Halo is just MIDI Maze, Wolfenstein 3d, Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Heretic, Hexen, or GoldenEye 007(etc.) all over again… in space… with more jumping. Wait, System Shock was in space (with zombies even). So yeah, just with more jumping. I know people will raise their fists at me, but to me Halo has been repeated so many times that I shrug.

I watch my little bro in his headset screaming ‘Dude! Let’s super jump.’ and just ask, “Why is there so much jumping?” and feel kind of old.

I don’t mind feeling out of touch with pwnage. What is kind of sad is that I’ve stopped being as excited by new video games. I’ll say, “That’s kind of cool.” or “That’s pretty neat.”, but for the most part, I just feel like I’ll never be as excited as I was when video games were still new with leaps and bounds in their advancement. I didn’t even have the money for them, but I had plenty of time and an obsessed uncle.

Don’t get me wrong, I roll up my Katamaris and I play my voice acted RPGs, RTSs, and TBSs. So, maybe I’m just not a shoot ’em up kinda gamer.

This is not the case, because I’m not all about the MMORPGs. Instead they horrify me. The amount of time (or cheating) you have to invest to have a good time just boggles my mind. In addition, it’s kind of like I say when I see someone play Halo and I say, “Why is there so much jumping?”, with these it’s, “Wow, why is there so much running around?” Sure, there’s always been world map trekking, but this is insane. It used to be a few steps to the next town or a few random fights, now the random fights *ARE* the game. The intimacy of you, the characters, and the plot has been sacrificed to hack and slash with a subscription fee.

If you are reading this and like Halo or your MMORPG of choice, good for you. I mean, I’m obviously old and not so cool, so don’t listen to granny here.

I will keep saying “In my day…”, but that’s okay too. The best part about it is that now I have the resources to find all the old games I missed and try them out with the PC and emulator. Then I’ll snap shot the screen shots that amuse me and put them away for future posts. I know old games are not without flaws, but their flaws were lack of budget and technology to back them. I am floored by the mediocrity of today’s games. We have the tech and budget now, but where is all the fun game play and awesome writing? Creativity used to outpace the ability to convey it, now that the money and tech are there… where has it gone?

I am glad that there are exceptions. I just wish they were more the rule than the exception. At some point I’m hoping I’ll see it come back around and people will learn that eye-candy and hack and slash just isn’t enough.

Pure pwnage needs something more to back it up.

You Never Really Know

First rule of life:

You never really know.

You think you know yourself, your friends, what you’ll do today, tomorrow, even next week. You think you know that you will never do something or that you’ll eventually accomplish that one thing that you’re sure you will get done before you roll over into the next world.

We assume all the time. It’s not just for asses.

We assume the floor will be underneath us when we roll out of bed in the morning.

And sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes, there’s not even a bed to roll out of.

I try to take this knowledge and with it appreciate all the times something does work out, go as planned, or just doesn’t go horribly wrong. I try to be thankful when I do have a bed to roll out of.

It’s a mantra. At least this. It could be worse that.

Bad memories are also mantras. All the worries and should haves tend to repeat, chanting in my head.

There are things I arm myself with in anticipation of a time when I lose sight of the way life is. So, I arm myself:

Swallow whole your whole self.
Every part is a piece.
Be yourself at peace.
Be content with being
the being who strives.
Against identity,
we strive to embody eternity,
when all we can be is now.