Donkey and Diddy Kong

My Top 10 Games of “2017”

You may recall my Top 10 Video Games of “2016” post from last year, which was a pretty easy list to assemble, considering I only finished ten games or so in 2016. But, as you may also recall from my year-in-review post from the beginning of this year, I beat over 20 games in 2017, almost all of which I thought were a lot of fun, so putting together a list of my 10 favorites was as anxiety-inducing as cutting people off a guest list. Despite these hard decisions, I am compelled to make my Top 10 Video Games of “20XX” list a tradition (unlike any other) on this No Good Blog!

Go on….

Futurama - Fry about to fall into cryo-chamber

My 2017: What Worked and What Didn’t

Hey, so 2017 was pretty crazy, right? It was pretty crazy for me, too, with a lot of successes and failures personally and creatively. As a sort of personal therapy, I’m reviewing what worked and what didn’t work this year, both to get it off my mind, and to put it all in a central location for future review and self-embiggenment. Maybe it can help others who happen to stumble upon it, too.

Go on….

Too many projects!

Inktober Has Run Dry –OR– A New Effort to Stay Not Insane

I had a pretty good idea for this year’s Inktober. I decided to make a flipbook of scenes from various sidescrolling video games, in which the protagonist would traverse the page from left to right as the pages are flipped. One page a day for 31 days. I think it’s a cool idea, and I was excited by the prospect of once again bringing my passions for drawing and video games together as part of a fun project.

I got started. I cranked out the first four pages. The first one went well! It only took me about an hour and a half to do the whole thing. Then the next one took quite a bit longer. The next one? Even longer. The fourth page took an entire evening to get done. Despite my best efforts to try to limit my time and the amount of detail on each drawing, I found myself spending more and more time on each one, and the level of detail got more and more complex, as well. You know, the exact opposite of what I had intended!

Not only was the project really starting to drag, it turns out I wasn’t enjoying it, either. At another time, it may have been really engaging work, but I found myself falling prey to the same mistake I make again and again: overcommitting to too many big projects at once. I overwhelm myself with work and commitments until I have no flexible hours in my day and end up making myself miserable.

Go on….

Ultima Online Art

Ultima Online is 20 Years Old, and Heeeeerrrre Come the Memories!

I received Ultima Online unexpectedly as a Christmas present in 1998. My brother recommended it to my parents as something that he thought I would like.

He didn’t know what he was getting me into.

Ultima Online was one of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games, taking the lore and settings of Richard Garriott’s Ultima series and adapting it to massive online play. At the time, I was a regular online player of Diablo, Quake, and Starcraft. Competitively speaking, I wasn’t very good at any of them, and our not-great-even-for-a-rural-area internet connection further handicapped my play. Nevertheless, online gaming was a new and exciting experience, and I was having a blast playing over the internet with friends and strangers alike, even the ones whose usernames were just mashups of profanities and pot references. Well, except when I would get killed by cheaters in Diablo. That wasn’t fun, but there was only so much you could do about that. It was the frontier days of online gaming, with no checks in place to fight the outlaws, and minimal punishment for those who did not play by the rules.

Ultima Online was a deep dive into an even more robust, immersive online gaming experience: a persistent online world with its own evolving culture and economy. It was exciting, if not a little intimidating, to step into a game world that never stopped, even when you logged out. Adventures were had, business transactions made, towns were overrun by skeletons, and so on, all while your character slept peacefully in the inn as you lived your real life, logged out of the game. Instead of being the core figure in a grand, world-sweeping adventure, I was but one of thousands of players, all inhabiting the same world at the same time, all with their own goals, schedules, skillsets, and more. It was a completely different dynamic from any other RPG I had played.

Go on….