January 2024 Wrapup

One month down! 2024’s going to be easy, you’re going to see! We made it this far, we just have to do this again and I’m sure we’ll find a way. This month has seen a Games Done Quick event, a bunch of videos, five story piles!

Let’s get into it, looking at what you might have already seen and what you might have missed if you’re at all a fan of Things Talen makes!

an icon of a dice with question marks on the sides.

This month’s Game Pile were:

  • Exploding Kittens, where I opine about an interface mistake in a game that’s pretty much entirely about revelling in its interface, right?
  • A Patreon and Channel trailer update, where I made a pair of videos for that
  • Puzzmo, a game that I have already stopped playing because it fails to localise to non-American spellings
  • A video form of my Gene Wars article, which adds some details and context about this aggressively tedious game that’s remarkably hard to play, even without Dosbox overcycling and making things die of old age

It also is the first month where, in the off weeks, Fox and I have been playing a game together – in this case, we played through Space Quest III, completing the trilogy. There are, after all, never any other Space Quest games, and you can go check those out over on Youtube (part 1, part 2).

While Story Pile articles covered:

  • The Sopranos, a TV series that took a lot of time to watch and was worth it and I immediately stopped caring about once I was done watching it,
  • Godzilla vs Megalon, a charming hokey 70s piece of kids’ action entertainment
  • Appare-Ranman!!, an anime about going fast that fails when it comes to races
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a dense book about economics where some betrayal happens,
  • Afterschool Dice Club, an anime about board games, no really, actually about board games.

But that’s not all I wrote about this month that you can read, with your eyes! I wrote about how much I missed having the physical ritual of a bullet journal. You know, for the nine days I didn’t have it, which is weird because it’s not like I was doing detailed journalling at the end of December.

I wrote about the Speed stat in Pokemon games, and how it currently works. This article actually started as an introduction to the competitive idea of ‘speed tiers’ and how things could be generally positioned against one another. Turns out that no, just explaining how Speed works took a thousand damn words. I thought about ‘hey, who’s the fastest Transformer‘ and found the best answer I could have for that was absolutely nonsense and completely at odds with how Transformers presents that. Keeping with the theme of ‘speed’ during GDQ I wrote about the Speed of Communication and ways to categorise and consider that in your worldbuilding.

I talked about the Minotaur, the Iron Hearts, and the 404 Not Found of Cobrin’Seil, cultures that matter and need to be available for players, but need to also have a material presence in the world that makes them matter. 3rd Edition D&D had some real weird rules corners, and one of them was The Monk, and hey, hey now, I am talking about 3rd edition. You know, the real actual 3rd edition, the 3rd edition before 3.5 that everyone likes to pretend was just part of the same continuity. Anyway, monks were bad. And weird, and they didn’t have game language to describe their mechanical needs.

I also tried to confront the way that Atheism gets treated as a special kind of social evil which just happens to be in contest with someone claiming absolute knowledge of the runner of the whole universe, but we’re the smug ones. Also just vented about how much Mike Winger sucks ass, truly besmirching the noble name of Internet Weirdo Dudes Surnamed Winger, RIP to a real one.

For Magic: The Gathering content, I inspected 2023’s mechanics and what I want to do with them, along with my articles reflecting on 2023’s daily cards and announcing the plan for 2024’s daily cards — the story of Vox Maxima.

This month’s shirt/sticker design was this cute artwork I did of a Ralts reading books:

a t-shirt with an illustration of a ralts surrounded by the text 'do what you want to'

You can get this design printed on things here. Time is probably limited on this one.

And what else has happened this month, what do I have in terms of diary? Well, truth be told, I don’t have a good answer to that right now because as I write this it’s the twelfth of the month. January is a weird month, lots of stuff gets done because the year is now open in front of me, and as a result, I get a lot of stuff in the queue. I also had a subtheme for this month, with GDQ providing Speed Week.

What I do know about this month though, what I know about my diary, is that I’ve been working on things that need work. I have had to reconcile that the pandemic didn’t just pause my work it made it worse and that means that I’ve been finding victories where I can: What can I do? What can I make better? How much faster can I get things done? How can I make sure I’m always working? And …

At this point…

I’ve done it. I’ve done what I can so far, and I am going to get better.

I wanted to have Lysen Co out by now. I wanted to have Cancon stuff done, too! But money makes a lot of things in that space not stuff I can idly play around with, which is frustrating. This is a point where I’m really grateful for my Patreon – and yes, that does make me worry that I’m going to be trying hard to be crowd pleasing. I guess what I’m saying is if you say ‘I like this’ you might find me overproduce that because I want you to have more of it.

Got my booster shot. Jab in the arm. No reactions, no notes, incredibly boring. Actually no, my shoulder hurts a little bit which I think might be because a guy in a coat stuck a thin piece of metal into it so they could stuff some MRNA shedding nanomachines into my bloodstream so Bill Gates could track me. Mentioning that because it should be a thing people remember to do, and I did it. Easy Feel Good Points for me, since I don’t have any meaningful reactions and they could be sticking maple syrup in me for all I know. I’m genuinely at the point where I think I might be nonsymptomatic, and Fox might be too, and I may have contracted and shared Covid a hundred times and never noticed it because the canary in my personal coal mine is… immune… to… coal? Anyway.

I spend some time this month reading Michel Foucault, right at the source, and lemme tell you that guy’s work is dense. He’s got this really nuggety attitude of words, where there’s very little use of example and demonstration – there’s these heavy laden words that get explained, then he’ll drop all four of the ones he’s been explaining in a sentence and moving on. It means there’s a lot of back tracking and like ‘hey, is this what I think it means?’ It’s a really interesting experience of spending four hours with a twenty-two page essay and realising that yeah, I have these great ideas and I can explain them but it’s translated to… two hundred? words on the page.

There’s also been some delving into Roland Barthes, and back to Johan Huizinga, because Magic Circle theory has become more important to my demonstration of why I’m not invested in Magic Circle theory. Got to demonstrate that expertise.

It was CanCon month! I didn’t make a post about CanCon specifically, because the schedule filled up and that’s just how things go. CanCon meant three days away from my normal computer, and you know what that meant? When the Gene Wars video went up it went up with an audio error and I had to wait two days to fix it! Oh well, I’m sure we all had a laugh about it. I unlisted that video and by the time this goes up it should be fixed. And a new video should be a few days away. Shh~.

Anyway. CanCon was great! Nothing terrible happened and I’m definitely not writing this on night 2 of 3 thinking ‘well nothing bad is going to happen tomorrow!’