‘Gamer’ Has Never Been Enough

I’ve never liked the term ‘gamer’. It’s reductive and bland, all too obvious. A ‘gamer’- one who games, or plays games. Such a strange banner to throw up over our heads. I play most types – video, tabletop, mind, board, social, classic, etc, etc. etc. — but I’ve never been able to bend a proper term into shape for that identity. ‘Player’ sounds weird – and a little 90’s BET. ‘Gamester’ is lame and acronyms make the world yawn. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t that important of a question. Everyone plays games – all humans, everywhere, forever. There’s no need to draw a circle, no tribal totem to shake. 

But now this #gamergate nonsense.

These sweaty children smearing their foreheads with war paint and screaming across the digital savannah. Hatred and fear disguised as a righteous fury. They wrap their fingers around that empty little word ‘gamer’ and wield it like a cudgel.

You are using a meaningless word, which is appropriate for your drivel. Let me tell you a thing, let me whisper you one of the secrets of the clan you claim to represent.

‘Gamer’ is not enough. It is not enough name for who and what we are. We need more – more names. Mario. The Grey Warden. Dragonborn. Malrock the Magnificent. Lara Croft. Dogfish. Nathan Drake. Commander Shepherd. More names are needed, more ways to see the world. Terra. Samus Aran. Luigi. Wander. Sommerset the Stray-Dog,  Pac-Man. More names, groups, armies, comrades, unions. The Alliance. The Horde. Blue Team. The Lodestar Crew. The Turks. The Jedi Academy.

We are the dreamers, the walkers in strange lands. We are the people of Many Names, of Many Eyes, of Endless Lives. We are the point in the dark, the moving hand, the twist of the brain that learns and remembers. We learn, we grow, we return again and again.

This is who we are, this is who all humans are. And we who are so fortunate to play in strange worlds unnumbered are always eager for anyone who needs a new name. That’s all ‘gaming’ is really – another chance, another way to see the world, another chance to Get It Right.

So those of you hiding behind the word ‘gamer’ as an excuse for misogyny and intolerance – it’s time for a new name. It’s time to Try Again. You know how. It’s as close as the Reset button. If you are human, you play games. If you play games, you can learn. So learn. Do better. 

There is no banner. There is no tribe. Only you and your warped cadre bleeding and gibbering on the people who love what you love.

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Spell/Sword Cover Art Revealed!

Artist - Mike Groves/poopbird
Artist – Mike Groves/poopbird

And there it is. The cover art for my book.

This is real. IT’S REAL.

Let me let me tell you why I love this art.

1. It’s fun. Looking at it just makes me smile. It’s unapologetically goofy and cartoony. Most fantasy art takes itself so freaking seriously.

2. It’s different. This doesn’t look like 98% of the fantasy novel illustrations I’ve ever seen before. Not on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, not on Amazon.com or anywhere else.

3. It’s clean. All of the negative space just pleases me aesthetically. A traditionally published novel would want to cram more information and more verbiage on there. I’ll probably have my name on their, somewhere very small, but that’s it. I also think it’ll really stand out when seen online as a tiny thumbnail on someone’s Kindle.

4. It makes me think of Chrono Trigger. My book sits very comfortably in the mental space occupied by Dungeons & Dragons, JRPGs, and manga. I adore that this would not look terribly out of place on the cover of any of those three.

5. It will make people vaguely embarrassed to be seen reading it. Not so much with the Kindle version, but people who have the paper copy. Anyone reading this will be broadcasting to the world that they are a Huge Nerd.

Huge props to Poopbird on the illustration, you should follow the link from here or the image itself and check out his entire portfolio and buy stuff from him.

I hope this gets you marginally excited about reading the book. I know it gets me far more than marginally excited about finishing it.

Some press for Spell/Sword!

Sean Polite, a scientific diagram.

I was interviewed recently by the irredeemable Demon of the Sea, Sean Polite. It’s for his “Movers and Shakers Project” nominally exploring people of cultural resonance in/and around Athens, GA.

Nominally I say, as my interview is a long, rambling discussion of storytelling, video games, classic anime, Dungeons and Dragons, and other avant garde nerdery. If these topics interest you, or you’re just curious what I sound like — click and be whelmed.

Click to be info-tained!

Be warned, there are some naughty, naughty words. The interview is available as a free download, or to stream online.

 

 

Here is Sean’s writeup — I blush, I blush!

There is a story in everything we do, in each action we undertake, and even in the hesitancy that keeps us rejecting other actions.

 

Today’s guest, Derek Adams, a bard amongst men, sees the plethora of lore and legend in the grand and mundane things in life, and his insight has yielded creative results with a role-playing twist and a growing footing in the literary world.

 

A student of role-playing games (a.k.a. RPGs)  and an advocate of the art of collaboration, he’s created a series known as Lodestar.  With an eye for talent, he’s recruited a group of friends with unreal writing ability, to craft an ongoing tale of adventure, magic, betrayal, battle, and endless interaction.  While he will admit that his own experiences with the RPG system are an influence, Lodestar is not exclusively defined within the categories of the typical role playing game.  You create the adventure and he oversees it!  He breaks down a good portion of the standard role playing terminology also.

 

The total flight hours of Lodestar: 500,000 words in a year and a half which equals a staggering amount of novels as you’ll hear.

 

This experiment in adventure has been a massive success, and has lead to a journey into the world of information age publishing.   At the current time, the players have created a new story, set 15 years prior to the events of “Lodestar.”  Derek is compiling these stories into a book, a massive volume called “Spell/Sword.”  While the history of the characters,  and motivations are a budding foundation for the journey to the past, no prior knowledge is required.

 

While he is a versatile masterful Mover and Shaker, he’s taking the plunge for the first time into the mind-numbing world of manuscript editing and confessing to the challenge of it.  You can take a peek into “Spell/Sword” by going to spell-sword.com

 

There is a link between every role playing game and the anime series “Record of Lodoss War.”  Stick with the interview, and you’ll find out what it is.

 

A link we share is our mutual participation in the activities of the oldest continually running community theatre in Georgia, Athens Community Theater—home to the Town & Gown Players.  We discuss his introduction to and ongoing involvement with the volunteer organization, and his transition from acting to contributing behind the scenes with stories well known and unknown—culminating at the high helm of the director’s chair.  I’ve gotten to collaborate with him in some of the shows, and true to the community theater experience, it’s been a wondrous fulfillment.  You’ll hear about how you can contribute to the arts scene with a simple step towards the 60 year old coven behind the big white house on Prince Avenue.

 

Causing a stir in the cultural bowels of the Classic City are The Shadeaux Brothers, an enigmatic pop duo with a knack for songwriting at the maddening line between obvious parody for laughs and intense seriousness.  Fresh off of creating the anthem of your summer that you never knew could be known to, Derek breaks down their history with a sensitivity to their abhorrence of any forms of the beast that is celebrity promotion.  We go into their pioneering act of creating the medium of music known to the naked eye as ELF ROCK.  Few are the talents who’ve been enlisted to aid in their sonic sojourn of Christmas albums, but distinguished are they all.

 

The language is vivid (some profanity in good fun), and it is undone by the luminescence of the pop culture spectrum which Mr. Adams keeps at his bay of knowledge.  Subjects are deftly switched at supersonic pace, from video games to Dungeons and Dragons, Doctor Who, social media/blogging sites (tumblr, WordPress) and the like.  Even people who walk in on the interview are seamlessly woven into the conversation/interview.  His super fast wit inspires a lightning round at the end of this segment, and the commentary is enlightening and humorous—as this whole interview is.

 

The link to my interview with Derek is below, and this writing is only a hint of the fun behind the story of Derek Adams, a fresh new addition to the Movers and Shakers Project!

A diagram for the Lodestar series. While we generally use pictures of the interviewees, in this case, the grandeur of the story takes precedence before the storyteller.

 

Link to Interview: 

http://www.hulkshare.com/d60bu9w4o5oe

 

Extra Info Links:

Shadeaux Bros. Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ShadeauxBros

Shadeaux Bros. Reverb Nation Page: http://www.reverbnation.com/shadeauxbros

Fanfiction under Duress

They were warriors.

Gods of battle.

Heroes of legends forgotten.

Their hands were formed for the hilt of a sword, their eyes had seen red blood flow.

Demons of night, and unending legions of evil had fallen before them.

But tonight, no conflict had prepared them – no sword was sharp enough for this challenge.

Mooglesitting.

—–

The three men stood around the ornate brass crib, and stared at each other.

One was blonde, with sharp features — he grasped the brass bar tightly and tried to think of anything that would delay the inevitable.

The older man straightened his dark sunglasses, and grunted.

The final man pushed his long, dark hair out of his face and casually thumped the delicate blue stars that hung above the crib — the mobile spun, emitting a light jingle in protest.

“Well, I guess we should…”he began, making an indistinct gesture towards the crib’s occupant.

“…should…what?” the blonde man replied.

The older man said nothing.

“You know—“the dark haired man continued, repeating the same vague gesture.

“No — absolutely not.” the blonde man said firmly.

“We have to, it’s our duty.” the dark haired young man insisted.

“Is that some kind…of joke?” the blonde man said.

The two younger men locked eyes, then shifted their gaze to the older man wearing sunglasses.

The older man said nothing.

“Kupo.” the moogle chirped, rolling over onto it’s stomach.

The dark haired man shrugged, and pulled off his jacket. The collar was a fluffy mane of white fur. He laid it carefully on the floor, and rolled up his sleeves.

“So, you’re going to do it then?” the blonde man said hopefully.

“Can’t be too bad – I mean, look how cute they are…probably has cute…you know…” he stopped, his hands hovering over the crib.

“I guess.” the blonde man said.

The older man, straightened his sunglasses and pointed down into the crib.

“Baby’s crying. Our time is now.” he said.

The baby moogle sobbed. “Kupoooooooooo0-po-pooo.”

The three men leapt – the call of battle overcame all their hesitation. Each burned with a golden light,  their eyes gleamed with purpose.

The dark haired youth took off the soiled diaper.

The blonde man wiped.

The older man with sunglasses put on the new diaper.

“Kupo!” the infant moogle cooed, hanging on to the older man’s finger. It snuggled in, and quickly fell asleep.

The older man pulled his bottle with the other hand, and took a long swallow. He passed it wordlessly to the other men.

“We shall never speak of this.” he said quietly. “Ever. This is not our story.”

The other two nodded, and tiptoed quietly from the room.