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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things In My Life Right Now

Oh, what's going on in my life these days...

BIOSHOCK 2

Playing Bioshock 2 in my video games, kinda gave up on Bully for a while because it was slower, older, and hard to control on a keyboard. It's a storyline sequel, not one that improves or innovates much new stuff. A lot of people say that's bad, but I don't really care about that. If the story is different and there's a few gameplay modifications, that's all right in my book. Especially if it's a story like Bioshock.

But my problem is they didn't take out a bad part of the game -- the stupid morality choices. Everything's still split between kill it or let it live. I don't know if there's a bad ending in Bioshock 2 or not, but I'm not taking chances, I'm saving all the little sisters. Bioshock 1 taught me that lesson already -- if you killed more than one girl (out of 21), you got the "bad ending", where you were so morally corrupt you unleashed the splicers on the world, because you were obviously psycho.

It's the same here. In ways, even worse. There's a point where an old lady who's been a thorn in your side (calling you a monster and such), let's you in the room to get the "blue key". The gameplay allows you to kill her if you want, but there's no apparent reward, so it's purely up to your selfish desires. Well, of course, I'm not a psycho, and I've played enough video games to know killing the defenseless old lady won't get you anywhere, if there is something to get. Come on Bioshock, you could have done better than that. A real moral choice is whether you steal the loaf of bread to feed your family.

CONVENTIONS

I'm trying to go to a science fiction convention this year. I'm hoping such a thing will expand my writerly horizons, make some connections, and learn more about the industry. At least I can get out of the house and do something that's *me*. My problem is trying to find conventions in the area. I live close to Minneapolis, so you'd think it wouldn't be that hard, but so far I've only found two: Minicon and Convergence.

At first I was going to go to Minicon, which had John Scalzi this year, which would be awesome -- he's one of my favorite authors. But alas, when I looked at the site to find out ticket prices, I had missed the pre-registration price, and a single ticket costs $60. There was no way I was going to pay that much unless I was spending all day there. And then two tickets if I wanted my wife to come? And then babysitters? No way.

So Convergence. Their current prices are $55, and that's pre-registration prices. It goes up to $80 halfway through May, but it's a 5-day convention. I think it might be the biggest one in Minneapolis, lots to do, but I'm afraid the price is still steep, and how would I ever get my money's worth?

And here's what really gets me: none of these conventions let you get day passes. I can't dedicate my entire weekend to this thing, nor my entire wallet. All I want to do is take a Saturday, go to some panels, see a few events, watch some new anime. But no, you have to pay for the entire convention, meaning you better go each day to get your money's worth. I'm a 30-year-old with a family and yard work to do.

Clearly, conventions are missing a key demographic with the aging working man. Instead, they're still targeting the teenager with disposable income. Which is a shame, because that's an important audience. The teenagers who played Ocarina of Time when it came out weaned on Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, and Trigun are now the 30-year-olds longing to return to that nostalgia. But they have responsibilities which don't always include a three day stretch of non-stop geek partying.

NEW WORK COMPUTER

I got a new work computer. It's plenty fast, and it's engineered for developers, like me, which makes me happy. And it has two monitors, so I can do work on one screen and watch YouTube videos of funny cats on the other. Of course, now that makes my desktop -- my central computer -- the crappiest device currently in my possession. All my other comps, even my wife's, are on Vista. The desky where I play my PC games is still on XP. It's a good old computer, I got it when I graduated from college, and I got my money's worth. It still works well, and I'm not anywhere near looking for a new one. But it's slowly starting to get incompatible with current technology. It's showing its age which alerts me that it's time to think about the next step.

WRITING

I got a short story accepted into a zombie anthology, so I've got that going for me. Which is nice. Look for more news on that in the future. My wife finished reading Mermaid Story, so that's one reader out of the way, but I've still got a while before it's all done being critiqued. I screwed up the submissions to Critters, so three of my chapters never made it to the queue. It's my fault for having a faulty e-mail filter, but now we're looking at a minimum of June before I get back to it.

Can't stop writing for that long, so I've been working on Gun x Sword and White Mage Story pre-writing. I bet I'll start composing the first draft of Gun X Sword before the month is out, but I don't mind. I've got a nice outline worked out for that, so if I take a break, I can probably jump in and out of it without forgetting what I wrote. This is problematic for me with novels -- if I stopped in the middle, I have a hard time getting back into it. Mostly because I forgot everything that came before. It's why I don't like to write more than one novel at a time. But in this case, the timing is making me make an exception, lest my skills atrophy.
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