Pools of Darkness Title Screen

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness

It all started as an innocent computer game purchase from Babbage’s in 1993. It has grown into a monster that eludes me to this day.

I have what practically amounts to a wrecked semi’s worth of video games at my disposal, and none of them have achieved White Whale status quite like Pools of Darkness. It’s the fourth and final game in Strategic Simulations, Inc.’s original “Gold Box” series of Dungeons and Dragons PC games, preceded by Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Secret of the Silver Blades. I’ve beaten all three of those games. Multiple times. Not Pools of Darkness.

Go on….

Funny quote from Earthbound

My Top 10 Video Games of “2018”

With 2018 being my first full year as a father, the value of shorter games that I could play to completion in just a few hours became greater than ever. While binging a 5-10 hour game over a weekend is a perfectly cromulent option, I only have 45 minutes to an hour to play games, most days. That being said, I can drag a 5-10 hour game out for a week or two and perceive what most would consider a short game as a full, meaty experience. Naturally, you’re going to see a nice variety of these shorter games in this year’s top 10. They are the perfect length for my current lifestyle, seeing as I rarely finish a game thinking, “What? That’s it?”

However, I also filled a good portion of my 2018 gaming time with some lengthy roleplaying affairs. I have to approach games like this as a long-term commitment that might take six months or more, and to be prepared to take numerous breaks from them in order to enjoy a shorter experience along the way. A couple of these games captured enough of my imagination and attention to make the list, however.

This write-up took much longer to compile than usual—waiting five months later than usual to wrap it up and allowing my memories of these games to deteriorate didn’t help. So, what made the list in 2018? I better hurry up and tell you before I forget everything!

As always, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2018 (hence the quotation marks in the title), just that I either beat them or played the majority of them in 2018.

Go on….

Cape Comic Con 2019 Banner

Cape Comic Con 2019 Memories and Momentum

I’m back after my annual March and April blog sabbatical, that period of time in which I almost never post any no good blogs. The reason? Well, other than creative angst and/or spreading myself too thin? Cape Comic Con preparation, of course! Cape Comic Con took place April 26-28, and as always, it was a wild weekend. During the three or four months leading up to the convention, a lot of work goes into not only getting myself ready for the show, but also helping with convention planning, organizing, and marketing.

Go on….

Roy Thomas autograph signing in Jackson, Mo, February 23, 2019

Words from Roy Thomas that I needed to hear

Last weekend, I had the honor and opportunity to meet legendary Marvel Comics writer and Jackson, Missouri native, Roy Thomas. He was in Jackson for the declaration and celebration of Roy Thomas Day, and to receive the key to the city. He also did a lengthy autograph signing for hundreds of fans who came out to meet him, myself included. It was a longer wait than I expected. Fortunately, local comics dealers Mr. Bill Drake and Travis Quertermous were in line right behind us, so we were able to pass the time in line swapping stories about comics, Roy’s work, and comic conventions.

Go on….

Pray for Mojo

Am I resting and recovering, or am I just lazy?

Here’s a motivational quote I’ve seen circulating the internet over the last few weeks. Perhaps you’ve seen it, as well; I can’t seem to get away from it (I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m on social media every seven minutes):

“Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress towards a successful and happy life.”

I can’t figure out from where this originates. I’ve seen it credited to Zach Galifianakis, but I’ve seen various websites slap their URL on it and more or less take credit for it, as well. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve been trying to figure out what I think about this quote. I think it’s good advice, ultimately, but I worry that I’m resting and recovering so much these days that it has actually just evolved into laziness. Am I wrong? Probably, but I have to figure this out. You know the drill—I’m going to talk my way through this while you sit there and dutifully listen to my neurotic ravings.

Go on….

Big Show is Baby New Year?!

My 2018: What Worked and What Didn’t

All right, so, I didn’t know what to expect from 2018. It was my first full year as a parent, and with parenthood came lots of changes, lots of challenges, and a lot of stress. It wasn’t a bad year, but it was a struggle to stay rested and focused on anything for more than 15 minutes at a time. It was a year in which it was especially important to remember that creativity, goals, and life, in general, are all marathons, not sprints. One of my coworkers suggested that a child’s first birthday party should be less of a birthday party for them, and more of a party celebrating the survival of everybody involved. As a dad who did not adjust well to becoming a parent, I must say that it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. Then again, I don’t know that any new parent just falls into the role with perfect grace and poise, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about having a hard time figuring it all out.

Anyway, you can probably tell what we’re going to be talking about a lot in this entry. How did the baby affect me creatively, personally, and so on? As I’ve been looking back, thinking about what to say, I find that I am judging myself harshly, so I am challenging myself to make sure this is a constructive entry and not just a means of bashing myself, which I am wont to do. Give me a break, self! It was a tough year!

Go on….

Garfield Comic from April 13, 1998

Transitioning from a Night Owl to a Morning Person to Get More Work Done, Better

Wowie zowie. It’s been a busy couple of weeks! Following two fun, but hectic weekends, overflowing weekdays, a baby too fascinated by exploration to sleep, and a travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday (including two Thanksgiving dinners and my cousin’s fabulous wedding), it’s no wonder I didn’t update the blog last week, or that I’m running late this week. The explosion of activities that comes with the autumn season, combined with colder weather and shorter days (plus the possibility that my first year as a dad is finally catching up to me) means I am more exhausted than I have ever been in my entire life. I always have high hopes for productive evenings once wife and baby are asleep, but I rarely make it another hour before I’m in bed, myself. Not only that, I am so bleary-eyed and unfocused by the end of the day that the hour before bed has been devoted to devouring old G.I. Joe comics and Nintendo Switch rather than getting any work done. I just can’t think.

Go on….