April 2021 Wrapup!

Thus ends Talen Month, a month which is, surprisingly, tricky to actually fill out. It’s often tricky because it kind of behooves me to make it a month of bangers. There’s no room for the ‘eh, it’s not that good,’ kind of stuff, or ‘unexpectedly meh’ kind of coverage. I’m trying to build the structure for this month over the rest of the year – any time a real favourite idea comes up, I put it in the hopper and plan on hitting it hard in April.

If you thought ‘hey the articles this month were kinda big,’ well, they were. A typical post on the blog ranges between 300 to 1200 words, with only a very few big beefy entries that crest 2000 words. This month, the average was 1200, with a full 15 articles over 1000 words. That’s even setting aside the extra media entries – three videos and a podcast, which don’t fit normal word count stuff.

This April had a lot of stuff in it! And that stuff’s real good, in my opinion!

April is a month with five Game Piles, and it seems that this month the subtheme was ‘oh hey, remember that?’ In addition to  this, I talked about One Must Fall 2097 and how its design was influenced by the keyboard. I talked about Heretic and how it iterated on the Doom engine. Then I talked about Ai: The Somnium Files with Nixie, which was fun. There’s another Game Pile going up tomorrow, and it’ll be about Syndicate Wars. Yeah, Syndicate Wars, no doubt a game you’re all thirsting to hear my opinions about.

I warn you, it will not be erotically charged.

There was also an article about Final Fantasy VI, which  got inexplicably linked to on Critical Distance. I mean, I’m grateful and glad, and I hope it holds to the principle of the site to maintain a list of thoughtful writing about videogames, but also, I guess I’ve now enshrined ‘girl hot’ as a type of proper videogame critique.

It’s been a month to consider my branding, the way my Youtube Channel presents itself. It has been pointed out to me that my Youtube Channel doesn’t really do anything to encourage someone to engage with it, I don’t do calls to action, and I don’t give the channel a clear identity. That’s something to work on.

No central theme to Story Pile this month, though! I talked about Only You Can Save Mankind, a book by Terry Pratchett that ruined me for every ‘metatextually clever’ window pane story, Robotecha series that kinda doesn’t exist (with a followup of some disjointed stuff from the series that stick with me), the movie The Mighty Ducks, and the book The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, part of the Animorphs series (that I said you shouldn’t read).  The unifying theme here appears to be ‘1992-1999.’

We only got one Magic: the Gathering article this month, but it was an article of custom made Sultai monsters. On the other hand, I did flaunt my ass by showing some of my D&D worldbuilding from years ago, and updated it to now, examining the Gods of War in Cobrin’Seil. We also looked at The Ardent from 4th Edition and the Fochlucan Lyrist from 3.5. Then we learned how to be Rock Howard, and how to do an unarmed character that doesn’t completely suck ass in the context of a game all about hitting people with weapons.

I’ve been basically daring myself to write about Bleach, a series I love deeply despite being as immensely flawed as it is. We got ourselves a Bleach weekend, where we talked about the sword as a storytelling vehicle in Bleach, then some examples of stuff it did with that.

There wasn’t that much in the way of game-making or politics this month, though I did reserve some time to talk about the fundamentally punitive way games are structured in common discourse around D&D.

I also wrote a bit about some characters I like, mine and other people’s. Dinobot from Beast Wars, Kaede from Last Blade, the Thraddash from Star Control 2 and Carcer from City of Heroes.

 

This month’s shirt was a reference to Only You Can Save Mankind which also creates an interesting little weirdo totemic item, a sort of memory of what it meant to be one of the people penning these ‘important’ things on ‘important’ technology, that have all passed by and stopped being meaningful useful any more.

Beyond that? It’s been a busy one. Teaching, PhD research, and blogging, and it’s been weirdly hard to get to sleep this month. Daylight saving shifted, which normally means I get more time with my friends on the internet, but weirdly, it just hasn’t worked out that way so far.