There are very few things I know for certain in this world after nearly 40 years here: love is rare and should be cherished where you find it. Sleep is just as lovely as it is dangerous. The right songs can not only bring us to tears, but help keep us alive.
And that’s why I’m writing this, after multiple days of difficult mental health: when I’m having trouble, one of my go-to artists helps me to both cry out some energy and remind me that the world isn’t as bad as my brain chemistry is telling me it is. Even if the music that saved me makes me sad.
When I started college back in 2003, I was dropped off at the campus in the morning and took multiple buses to get home. I had a cell phone, but in those days, cell phones were primarily for calling; texting in a numpad was frustrating (even when you “got gud”) and made writing anything longer than brief messages just wasn’t a thing. For me, anyway.
So when I bought my first Moleskine notebook at the mall, the halfway point between school and home, I used that for my first serious journal; I still have that one tucked away in a box somewhere. And I loved the feel of that book, so much so that I’ve used Moleskine books for lots of different projects.
Six months ago, I started a new journal. And last night, I finished it. After six straight months of journaling, I can say… much as I’ve failed in the past at maintaining a journal, I’m all for it now.
Fictional stories are often told with the intent of pulling some kind of special meaning from them, even if (or especially if) the subversion of an existing trope is the catalyst for telling them. In stories like Watchmen we find just that: a retelling of the superhero genre to look inward at our expectation of a style of story. Often, such stories are dedicated to a specific point or moral, like many stories of our collective past (Aesop’s fables, Hans Christian Andersen tales, etc).
True stories don’t have that kind of specific baggage. There isn’t always a “deeper meaning” to find, or a moral to take to heart. The story is the reason for its telling. And these are the stories most needed in the world… because they lead to empathy.
Let’s try something different for this post, shall we? I don’t know if this will be a continuing series or anything, but after building and compiling my latest game experience, I thought it would be interesting (hopefully for you, probably for me) to reflect on the process that brought it together. Maybe reflecting will help me improve my process, or maybe it’ll inspire you to do it better if you’re interested in making something of your own.
Let’s start at the beginning: the spec sheet. (Exciting, right?)
Like a lot of kids, I started college the semester after I graduated from high school. And, like many kids, I went to a community college instead of aspiring towards Ivy League life; I didn’t long for the “college life” of dorm rooms and living out of state, massive loans and being away from everything and everyone I’d ever known. I didn’t even know what I wanted to get out of more school… I mostly coasted through high school as it was, and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I “grew up”.
Now, I’m a 37-year-old man. And on my 37th birthday, after having dropped out a few times, I logged in one last time to my final online course. I finished my Associate of Arts degree in English (technically two degrees, also English for Transfer) almost exactly 18 years after I started it.
The world’s got pretty weird over the last year and a half or so, hasn’t it?
I wanted to write something before now, but I honestly had no clue where to ever start, and the longer I waited, the more I felt like I had nothing to say. Much like the end of 45’s presidency, every week felt like something new… a new announcement from the CDC, new mask mandates (or lack thereof, goddammit Florida), new virus strains. Being perfectly honest, trying to keep up with reality as it is… it’s exhausting.
And that’s not even taking into account all the regular struggles of humanity since this pandemic began.
But even without a global pandemic that brought the world to its knees,, all the normal and abnormal of 2020 and 2021, this has been some of the most wonderful, painful, satisfying times of my life. And it’s time I shared a little bit.
Hello, internet. It’s been too long since we caught up.
So it’s a small thing, and it’s late in the day (and already 2021 by the time most people read this), but I thought a fun little thing I might do tonight is make something to (hopefully) put a smile on somebody’s face. It’s a Game Boy ROM I created using GB Studio, playable with a Game Boy emulator, and it has no sound (since I built, tested, and compiled it in about 90 minutes)… but I hope you might enjoy it despite its flaws. I even made all of the assets myself, basic as they are, aside from the font I used. Proud of that!
I’ll try to write more thorough blog posts again in 2021, I’m sorry I dropped the ball a little this year. The game doesn’t make up for it, but I promise I will over the next 365.25 days.
I hope you enjoy my little trinket, and a positive 2021 to everybody! Stand Tall, friends!
One of the best-selling consoles of all time, the Nintendo Game Boy is a unique beast in the gaming landscape. It wasn’t nearly as powerful as its competitors, the screen was about as awful as a screen could be (even in its heyday), and the games… there was a lot of garbage developed for it. Yet with nearly 119 million units sold in the Game Boy line, from the original gray brick in 1989 until the final Game Boy Color rolled off the assembly line in 2003, the 8-bit juggernaut was a console that couldn’t be ignored, even when it was being absolutely overlooked.
I’ve purchased, reviewed, inherited and been gifted so many games over the years, I have some to spare that haven’t been given the time of day. Tiny curios from my trip to Akihabara over ten years ago, Xmas gifts from well-meaning relatives, the odd RPG that sounded neat but “it was never the right time”… if I’m not able to leave the house for more than a grocery trip or an ER visit (which hopefully doesn’t have to happen), now would be the time.