Friday, June 11, 2010

Introducing the introduction

So I’m not really all that sure the best way to go about this. There are so many routes one could go with the basic introduction and none of them are my style. There’s the cutesy, tongue-in-cheek, “I’m trying to be charming, but really I’m smarmy and pandering because frankly I’m just trying too hard” angle, which works for some, just not me. Besides, the vibe I’m getting from Hrom is that he wants some intellectual thinking man’s next level shit, and that sort of thing just won’t do.

I could be sensationalist and play the part of the salesman, spouting all types of propaganda relating to the GREAT THINGS we plan on doing with our mission statement in great bold letters in the header on every page! And exclamation marks after every sentence! So you know we’re excited! About ourselves! And sentence fragments! But I’m neither in Public Relations nor Marketing. I’m not the type that wants you to be unnaturally happy and stoked about anything without real merit. That isn’t to say that I’m a pessimist who is perpetually cynical and cautious either. I’m just not artificial. It also isn’t to say that I’m lazy. There are a lot of things we’re kicking around as far as content goes, but we’ll tell you about them when they’re finalized and ready, not when they’re merely newborn hopes and dreams percolating in the brain. The point is we’ve all been teased and led around on a leash before, especially in the gaming community, where exaggeration and hyperbole are merely tools to get a game noticed. I don’t want to be that guy to anyone.

I also don’t want to be the guy who gives you every minute detail about me before you even get to say your name. But alas, that is unfortunately the entire point of this post. So please, if you are actually reading this, post a comment and introduce yourself so I don’t feel like such a pretentious self-absorbed weirdo. Trolls will be tolerated if they’re any good.

So here we go.

The Actual Introduction

My name is William. I live in Alabama with my wife, Rachel, and our two cats, Ardy and Jorma. I’m still in school at the University of South Alabama for Print Journalism, but I should be done soon. I’m 28. I play guitar and write songs occasionally. Blah blah blah.

I’ve been playing videogames since I was born, really. In my infant years, I can remember Pac-Man and Space Invaders on our Atari. I remember being completely puzzled and confused by the E.T. cartridge we had. My older brother and his friends would try to break high scores posted in the Guinness’ Book of World Records. I was too young to have decent enough motor skills to be any good at anything, but I remember being enchanted with the bleeps and bloops and primitive visuals. My favorite game was this weird Sesame Street edutainment title that came with this big blue peripheral controller that had a number pad on it. Each mini game had a matching card that was placed over the controller with different button configurations. Honestly, I can’t remember much more about it. I just remember that big blue controller more than anything. If anyone else remembers anything about that game, please don’t hesitate to drop an e-mail and refresh my memory!

The day our family got a Nintendo Entertainment System was the beginning of the end. Super Mario Bros. changed my life completely and totally. But I don’t want to go into too much detail about that, as I think childhood memories involving games will definitely be a frequently tapped resource in the future. All you really need to know now is that I love videogames and always have.

I don’t believe in grading games, outside of maybe a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, and even then I’d feel weird about it. Review scores are really only used to fuel the flame-wars between crazed fanboys/girls anyway. I don’t even agree that reviews are completely necessary really. Thanks to the internet, I can blog my experience with a game as I play it. Even then, someone out there will most certainly have a completely different experience than I did. My experience should never invalidate someone else’s experience. I suck at FPS games. Due to that, I don’t enjoy them near as much as some diehard Modern Warfare fan.

I’m not a graphics whore. If I were, I’d play more PC games. I do enjoy good graphics. I’m not some retro-elitist. It just doesn’t make or break a game for me. Like you kids out there ripping on the 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII because it isn’t true HD. Give me a break, man. It still looks awesome.

So yeah, this is getting a little long. And I could be playing something instead of writing… so that’s what I shall do.

Will Brett

Blown to Bytes

Well, where do I start? I’ve played video games ever since I can remember. We used to have a dusty old Atari that I would occasionally play Combat on when I was really young. However, my love affair with video games began with the Nintendo Entertainment System. Like many other cusp Gen-“Y”ers this is the game system that changed everything. To this day I never hesitate to pop Blaster Master or Super Mario Brothers 2 into that little grey box.

I loved games so much when I was little because it fostered imagination. I would sit and play Zelda 2 and think to myself, “I want to explore dark dungeons and slay monsters in the woods.” I would grab a wooden dowel that was my sacred weapon and I would go off crawl through a ditch or explore the woods. No adventure was ever the same and every time I went out to explore I would venture further and further away from home. It was one of the most fun times of my life.

Now I’m older and supposedly wiser.

Currently, school and work dictate my life. I did my undergraduate studies at UAB in philosophy and I’m currently working on a graduate degree in Public Health at the same school. When I’m not there I’m the Chief Operations Officer at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama as well as one of their music instructors. I have a girlfriend, she has a dog and I just became an uncle. Essentially, I grew up but that doesn’t mean I stopped gaming.

Nowadays, I can wax philosophic about the games I love. I’ll talk for hours about how Final Fantasy 7 marked the Golden Age of videogames. Or how Katamari Damacy is one of the best indicators of incommensurability between Eastern and Western cultures. Sometimes I can be pedantic and esoteric. Sometimes I don’t make any sense at all. But sometimes I can find that connection with people and their experiences in gaming.

This brings me to Blown to Bytes.

Videogame commentary is saturated with subjective observations hocked as objective truth. Magazines and blogs place games on arbitrary gradients in an attempt to sell games, influence opinions or just look cool. Personally, I think it’s pretty stupid and I hate stupid things. Blown to Bytes is videogame commentary that is supposed to be cut of a different cloth and not stupid.

Blown to Bytes is about the toil of gil farming.

Blown to Bytes is about warding off evil sorcerers in the backyard when you were young.

Blown to Bytes is about that Epic Win.

Blown to Bytes is about my experience and hopefully your experience through the medium of videogames.

Jimmy Hrom