March 2006 Archives

Trailing Edge

I'm not a game fanatic anymore.

Truth be told, I haven't been one for years now. Don't get me wrong, I'm still an enthusiast. But the maniacal drive I used to have is long gone. I maintain an interest in what's coming down the pike, but it's more that of an informed consumer than a rabid devotee. It's been years since I've tracked what games I play. I don't keep a database of my collection. I read the Boardgame News RSS feed and scan BoardGameGeek a few times a week, but I don't trawl the forums daily looking for morsels to pick over and discuss. I've jumped from the leading to the trailing edge.

I don't need to have the newest, greatest thing Right Now. There was a time when every gaming session would see a new game unwrapped, but the number of titles I've picked up in the past year could be counted on two hands-- perhaps even one. The joy of exploring something new has been replaced by the joy of savoring something old. Just as I don't write much about games anymore because I feel like I've said everything I have to say, it feels like new games are mostly more of the same. There are seldom real surprises anymore, few genuine delights. In contrast, the satisfaction of revisiting familiar games repeatedly and the camaraderie of doing so with a familiar group of people has increased. Over the past year I've played quite a lot of Tichu, Big Boss, Puerto Rico, Mü, and Password (and Lost Cities online). These days, they're the gaming equivalent of comfort food-- games to which I'll never say no. The experience of these games for me is so much more than the game itself. It's the in-jokes that have arisen from repeated play, the shorthand banter bred by familiarity, the relaxed socialization that becomes possible when everyone not only knows the rules, but how to play.

I'd like to think this is a sign of maturity. Though considering my gray hairs-- and all my missing ones-- I'm not sure I need any more signs. I've come to view my gaming time as too valuable a commodity to squander on games that aren't up to snuff. Let other people snap up every new release hot off the boat. Let other people race the wind. I'll just be here in my rocking chair, sipping lemonade on the porch, waiting for the Wells Fargo wagon to deliver the handful of must-haves. And liking it.

Comments (8) | last by Rich Rowan, Apr 9, 3:44 PM

Want to try out for Jeopardy! but can't get to an audition location? Don't really care about being on the show, but think it'd be fun to see what the contestant test is like? You're in luck. Sony is running an online contestant search this week. For those of you on the west coast, the 50-question test will be administered at 8 PM Thursday. Good luck!

Comments (4) | last by Dan Blum, Apr 1, 9:34 PM

Entros II?

Wired has an article about a new Spanish facility that sounds a lot like Break In, one of the games from the restaurant/game facility called Entros where I used to be a gamemaker, but on steroids. Photos here. And they're building one in Manhattan early next year. Pencil me in around Thanksgiving...

Comments (7) | last by Peter, Mar 21, 2:12 PM

One Year Later

If you haven't seen the season finale of Battlestar Galactica, read no further.

For the rest of you... damn! At first I kept thinking, "This is some kind of alternate reality flashforward. They're not really doing this, are they? They're not really uprooting all of the characters and relationships so fundamentally, are they? Holy crap, they are. And is Starbuck... pregnant? Six's detonation of the nuclear warhead made no sense at the time, but the payoff was brilliant and made it all come together in retrospect. I have to quibble a bit, though-- the implication of the Cylons being a little over a light year away and taking a little over a year to reach New Caprica is that they left for the source of the explosion immediately and took a year to get there. That makes no sense. The Cylons have always been nipping at the Colonials' heels, so I don't understand why it would have taken them so long to reach New Caprica. Some explanation that tied into the so-called "reprieve" seems required.

It looks like the show is heading in a different direction next season, and I'm excited to see how it all plays out. Are we in for an entire season of bifurcated stories between the fleet and New Caprica (as with season one), or will they abandon New Caprica early on and return to the ragtag fugitive fleet format? Will the Cylons discover Sharon's baby? Will Anders survive? What the hell happened between Lee and Kara, anyway?

And we have to wait until October.

Comments (2) | last by Peter, Mar 14, 11:28 AM

Nobody's Safe

I love that nobody-- short of Keifer Sutherland and Matthew Fox-- is safe on 24 or Lost. The producers' willingness to kill off characters is unusual in series television and keeps both series fresh and unpredictable.

And in other news cleverly related to the title of this entry, this story from NPR had me just screaming out loud in my car last night. Skip ahead to 4:51 or 6:26 into the story to feel my pain.

Comments (5) | last by Rich Rowan, Apr 9, 3:52 PM

New Season of Reality

Now that the big three reality shows have kicked off their seasons, I thought I'd check in.

Getting into Mensa is easy. Just about anyone with a brain can do it. So the whole Mensa angle was way overplayed on The Apprentice, not only by Trump, but by Tarek himself. Few things turn people off quite like a Mensan trumpeting his membership as if certifies him as the next step in mankind's evolutionary ladder. I'm not in Mensa, but I view it as a social group where smart people can go to meet similarly smart people, and possibly find others who share their interests. But on the show, Mensa membership was waved about like an achievement in itself, something others should inherently respect because of the patina of greatness it supposedly provides. Phooey. Buying into-- or perhaps trying to sell-- that hype proves Tarek isn't as smart as he thinks he is.

I can't applaud loudly enough for the elimination of this season's token gay guys from The Amazing Race. Perhaps the editing is to blame, but I found nothing sympathetic about them. John in particular was crabby and negative from the get-go, and his teammate was just a non-presence. But the producers struck gold with "the hippies," who are just a hoot to watch, and how can we not be rooting for the roly-poly naivetee of the nerds? It's a good sign when there are already teams to root for and against after just a single outing.

How much would that downpour have sucked on Survivor? You've just won a load of food and are looking forward to cooking it, only to discover your camp flooded and no dry wood to use for a fire. Bobby was practically begging to get canned with his antisocial behavior. When will Survivors learn that stealing from the tribe is a big no-no? Cirie's continued presence is a minor miracle, and now she's almost home-free. Once the tribes merge, she'll easily fly under the radar of the more physical threats who will turn on each other first. Beware the low-fliers, people-- they're a bigger threat than the hardbodies.

Comment (1) | last by Rich Rowan, Apr 9, 3:53 PM

Monthly Archives