The Parent Trope Game of the Year 2018

Many of the gaming blogs I read have picked a Game of the Year, and now it’s my turn. The game of the year for The Parent Trope is…

Civilization VI.

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You might not be surprised, since I did blog about the game, or you might be surprised, since this was a game released in 2016. But I have a kid, a full-time job, and a handful of other hobbies. I get behind. I just started getting into playing Fallout 4. I like the idea of the Parent Trope Game of the Year being something parents could play with their kids. My son did watch me play Lord of the Rings Online a bit (I’m still deciding if I want to resub for the legendary server) but mostly he watches my husband play slither.io if anything. “I wanna watch snakes, Daddy!”

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Modeling the snake I knit my son for Christmas, via Instagram.

I like snakes. I knitted my son a snake for Christmas. I find slither.io to be incredibly creepy. I think something about it hits the same switch as clusters of small circles. Ick.

But I digress. I had more fun with Civ 6 than any other game in 2018. Nothing else brought me back to my PC for “just one more turn!” I’m sure I’ll be playing more of it in 2019. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a Civ expansion, but the recent one Gathering Storm appeals to me. I love the concept of the new Civ that starts off on water.

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Runners up are Life Is Strange, Northgard, and The Sims 4. I’m not sure what it says about me and the year I had that I found simulation games particularly appealing. Looking forward to what 2019 brings!

Cover photo by prwilliams on Reddit. It’s the Civ 6 menu background.

My Top 10 Books for 2018

2018 was the year of “I’m not sure I’m going to like this book, oh wait, I love it.” A list of books that I was skeptical about at first, in the order that I read them.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I’d read Laini Taylor’s book Daughter of Smoke and Bone and barely finished it. I’d liked her writing style, but the plot read like something a bad fanfic author would cobble together. Then came Strange the Dreamer, which sounded like a book I would enjoy, but I was hesitant. After hearing enough people tell me they hadn’t liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone either, but they’d given Strange the Dreamer a try and loved it, I picked up the book and instantly became one of them.

This book is for you if: You love unusual fantasy, you’re quiet and bookish and want to read about a protagonist like yourself, you have a vivid imagination.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials were my absolute favorites when I was younger, and when I found out about La Belle Sauvage I was afraid it wouldn’t measure up. It did. I can’t wait for the next one.

This book is for you if: You loved His Dark Materials, you want to read a book with a kind and nurturing young male protagonist, you get ocular migraines and want to read a really good description of them that makes them feel like magic (it’s perfect).

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

There was so much hype for The Hate U Give built up before I had a chance to read it, I wondered if it would be one of those times when the hype doesn’t live up to the reality. Thankfully, I did. This book made me laugh, cry, and think.

This book is for you if: You’re not sure if it’s as good as you keep hearing (it is), you don’t understand why Black Lives Matter is such a big deal, you like realistic fiction (this is the only completely magic-free, non-sci-fi fiction book on my list).

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

This was the first book I read for my work’s bookclub, and let’s just say I don’t read a ton of non-fiction. Or, when I do, it’s usually either memoirs of people who were in a cult or memoirs of female comedians. But I thought, having something go really wrong with your brain is kind of like being in a cult, right? So I gave it a shot. And it was not only very well-written (always a gamble with memoirs) but incredibly interesting. I was hooked. I could not put this thing down.

This book is for you if: You usually prefer fiction but are down for a memoir, you’re interested in how the brain works, you like happy endings.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders

While I love short stories, I often have a difficult time with short story collectionsbecause there’s no piece of plot enticing me to read the next one. Except when they’re so amazingly good you can’t wait to read another one.

This book is for you if: You’re looking for a short read, you like books that leave you thinking, you wonder what it would be like to know the future.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

I was given this book through my work’s gift exchange. A few days later, and before I had the chance to read the book, I saw a preview for the film at the theater. The film didn’t look like my cup of tea. It started out interesting, but from the preview it looked like a jump-scare horror film. Not for me.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I loved the book. It’s creepy, sure, but no jump scares.

This book is for you if: You like sci-if but are sick of all the usual tropes, you want to read a book that reads like a plot-driven adventure video game, you know the book is better than the movie.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

This was one of my Amazon Prime’s first pick selections. I thought it was going to be chick lit. Don’t get me wrong, I like chick lit. But a lot of it is shallow and forgettable. I’m not even sure if I could call Matchmaking for Beginners chick lit. It’s an incredibly well-written female coming of age story. Reading this book made me want to write again.

This book is for you if: You want to read something that makes you a better person just by reading it, you like a little magic in your realistic fiction, you briefly lived in New York and sometimes missing it hurts.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I loved Uprooted and didn’t think Spinning Silver could be as good. It was even better. The world is more mysterious, the heroine has more agency, and the story is this wondrous gradual journey.

This book is for you if: You like fairytale retellings but are sick of Beauty and the Beast, you like plots that move slowly but still push forward, you don’t like passive protagonists.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

I lied at the beginning. I knew I’d like this one. But work book club’s reaction was not as positive as my own. Perhaps that counts.

This is the one book on this list that I knew I would like before I read it. A friend recommended it and she was spot on. I’ll say though, that it’s not an easy read. The protagonist lives with racism, slavery, and sexual assault and it’s brutal. There’s no toning down or romanticizing. But the writing is beautiful and everything about it is a powerful read.

This book is for you if: You like fiction with enclosed settings (space ships, bunkers, deserted islands, underground silos, speeding trains), you want more diverse protagonists, you like sci-fi that’s more about people than tech.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I don’t read much self help. (I do listen to the By The Book podcast, though!) I never read Eat, Pray, Love. But people who’s opinions I trust kept talking about how amazing this book is, so I grabbed it with an audible credit. I’m so glad I did. Rarely I’ll read a book that feels like it was written just for me, right at this particular place in my life. Who knew it would be a self help book written by the Eat Pray Love author? Other people, apparently. But not me.

This book is for you if: You want to be a creative person, but you don’t know how or you don’t have time or you don’t think you’re good enough, you cringe whenever people say to “find your passion”, you don’t feel like you’re living your best most creative life.

Buy it from Amazon or your favorite bookstore, or check it out from your local library.

My first read for 2019? Finishing up a long series with Kingdom of Ash. So many feels!

Cover Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash. Old books, new books, I love them all.

My Top 10 Books For 2018

How We “Do” Santa

No, this is not the title of an erotic fanfic about Santa and Mrs. Claus. Get your minds out of the gutters.

I’m in this network of parenting groups on facebook that are mostly positive. They’re non-judgemental, free of anti-vaxxers, and no one uses “DH” to describe their partners. But once a year they blow up. It’s not about breastfeeding vs. formula or working moms vs. stay-at-home moms. It’s about Santa.

One kid tells another kid Santa isn’t real. The first kid’s mom feels guilty about it and makes an innocuous post in a parenting group. The internet explodes into chaos.

As a former child raised as someone who knew Santa was a myth, I never realized how important he is to some people. I assumed parents didn’t want their kids to find out the truth because then they wouldn’t be able to use it as a behavior incentive. (That always felt a little icky to me, but I’m trying not to be judgmental.) For most parents it’s about magic.

They want to create a magical experience for their children. That magic is tied up in a belief in Santa. They remember believing in Santa as a child themselves. They plan how they want to tell their children that Santa, as a person, isn’t real, but anyone can be Santa to someone else by sharing a joyful giving spirit. I can’t judge that. I see how they don’t want some smarter-than-you kid messing it all up for their child.

My kid. Because I’m not going to tell my son Santa is real.

We want to make our kids childhoods “magical”. There are huge amusement parks dedicated to creating magical experiences for children. Families come in droves to spend money and wait in un-air conditioned lines next to other sweaty families to experience some magic.

I don’t need Santa to add some magic to my son’s childhood because childhood is already full of magic.

I remember being a kid and knowing magic wasn’t real, but still feeling like it was part of my life. I was new to the world and everything seemed amazing. If Arthur C Clark is right, and “magic is just science we don’t understand yet”, then everything is magic for little kids.

Christmas lights. Fairy tales. Baking. Bubbles. All of these things felt like magic to me when I was a kid.

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When I was a kid, Christmas lights made me feel like I’d been transported to fairyland. Christmas lights are magic. Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

You know what else felt like magic? Pretending in Santa. I knew Santa wasn’t a real person who came down my chimney (or, walked through the door, since we didn’t have a fireplace) and that the presents came from my parents. But we still pretended. We left out milk, cookies, and carrots. I knew my dad ate them when I was asleep, but it was still fun to pretend.

I think when we grow up we forget how real and powerful playing make-believe is for kids. My son often wants to pretend that we’re being chased by dinosaurs and have to hide in the curtains. These activities are boring for adults. We’d rather do structured play: do an art project, play a game with rules, throw a ball around. But my son beams when we play pretend together. He lights up. Because he’s still tuned into this childlike magic that I’ve long since outgrown. He doesn’t need me to influence him into believing in something that isn’t real. He already knows that the whole world is magic.

I’m not saying you can’t do Santa in your family, whole-heartedly and with gusto. If that’s a big part of your family tradition, who am I to stomp on it? I want to provide a middle option, somewhere in-between yes Santa and no Santa. Something that worked for me as a kid and a tradition I want to pass on.

Whether you do Santa or not, realize everyone’s going to do the same thing. There’s so many reasons for following whatever Santa tradition you choose. Some Christians find Santa too secular; some non-Christians find him to be too Christian. I think there’s a whole spectrum of Santa options for you to choose as a family. But please, be mindful of others. Think about how it feels when some kids get mountains of presents from Santa, and others get just one or none at all. If Santa was real, I believe he’d distribute presents equally, not based on the incomes of the child’s parents. Also, I don’t want my child to break another child’s heart with the truth about Santa. I’ll tell him to keep the secret under wraps. But since he’s not an extension of my own being, I can’t control what he does when he goes out into the world.

What are your favorite holiday traditions from when you were a kid?

Cover Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash. That’s a nice looking carrot, but I’d still go for a cookie.

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What I Did on my Autumn Vacation

Hello there! Did you think I abandoned this blog? I thought about it. Or turning it into something else altogether. My mind is constantly whiling with thoughts of what I should be doing with my various internet “properties.” But I decided to keep it. Here’s what I did while I was away from the blog, and what my plans are for my blogging future:

September

I got married! My now-husband Will and I got married outside at my parents’ house in the country. They live on a beautiful lot (that I never fully appreciated as a kid) and we had a small ceremony with my Uncle doing the service and a wonderful violinist. The best part of it all was when our son came up and took turns hugging mine and my almost-husband’s legs saying he loved us. This wasn’t planned. No one told him to do it. It was completely spontaneous and perfect.

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That’s me on the left!

October

I did Inktober.

Above is one of my Inktober drawings probably most relevant to this blog.

Will and I had a short honeymoon in Louisville, KY. We did a lot of walking and ate so much good food we spent most days going back to the hotel after lunch for a nap. Quite a lot of bourbon was consumed.

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My work sent me their home state of Georgia for some team building, which included mountain climbing and rappelling.

My son was a pterodactyl for halloween. He loved trick-or-treating but did not enjoy being told he couldn’t have any more chocolate.

I did a lot of knitting.

November

My parents’ had some of the extended family over for Thanksgiving and Will and I outdid ourselves cooking: mashed potatoes, appetizers, apple turnovers, and the turkey. The food was amazing. I’d eat turkey and cranberry sauce every day.

Around this time I found myself gradually playing World of Warcraft less and less. I tried the LOTRO Legendary server but haven’t been playing that, either.

December

I wanted to reboot the blog at the beginning of the month, but wanted to have some posts in a backlog to grab from when I don’t have something new to say. I spent the beginning of the month turning outlines into drafts.

My new goal is to post at least once a week, and I may specifically limit myself to a maximum of three posts per week so I don’t get burned out again.

The hardest part of blogging is coming up with topics. If there’s anything you’d like me to talk about within the intersection of parenting, technology, gaming, and being a nerd, please let me know!

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Another Inktober doodle just because.

Cover photo is the view from the top of my mountain climb in October!

Happy Friday – Hiatus Edition

While this week was difficult, there were little moments of joy sprinkled throughout. I realized that our wedding is no longer a vague ways away, but in a few weeks. Despite the stress dreams, I’ve been enjoying the last few bits of planning. Instead of rings, we’ve decided to exchange framed hand-written vows. My mom and I went shopping for accessories. Tomorrow I’m going for a bra fitting. Oh la la!

I’m a natural worrier. I worry about the weather, the violinist who hasn’t emailed me back, and if I’ll like the flowers. The one thing I haven’t worried about is the man I’m marrying. I think that’s the important part.

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

Reading

I’m loving An Unkindness of Ghosts despite having limited reading time. The world building is exquisite and Aster is unlike any other protagonist. Sadly I won’t be getting much extra time to read soon.

Online, I enjoyed Wired’s article about Microsoft’s parental leave requirement for subcontractors. When I had my son, I had to go back to work after about 8 weeks. It was hard enough for me, someone with the luxury of a job sitting at a desk to go back when I did. It’s even harder for people who work on their feet. This line in the article stuck out: “paid family leave was the most desired workplace benefit.” Shout it from the rooftops, people!

One of the hardest things about being a mother is the judgement. We live in a society where nearly every parenting action, particularly of mothers, is scrutinized by others. Kelly in the City’s thoughts on the subject closely mirror my own. I’m so grateful for the judgement-free online community parents I’ve found.

Playing

Battle for Azeroth has been the perfect stress relief this week, particularly getting absorbed in the Nazmir quest chain. I think the fiancé may want to play our Alliance mains with me again soon, but he’s been leveling a shaman.

Tonight we played some Pokemon Go and walked to a small event downtown. The ice cream sandwiches were delicious. I always forget about Pokemon Go as a game I play, as it’s just become a regular part of life. My interest in it has been waning lately. We need some new Pokemon to catch.

A few new games may be in my future. I’m pleased at the news of an upcoming Rusty Lake game. The No Man’s Sky community challenge sounds almost interesting enough for me to buy the game.

Writing

Today marks the end of Blaugust. I’m glad I participated. It was the catalyst for me to launch the blog and a way to connect me to a larger blogging community. However, I have felt pressured to post more, perhaps lower quality posts than I would like. Yesterday I was working on a post and trying to get it finished. Eventually I decided I really wanted to spend more time and thought on the topic and posted some photos of my cat instead. I don’t mind posting (literal, in my cat’s case) fluff and I love injecting some humor in my writing, but some of the topics I want to tackle require more thought. Those posts are going to take longer than a half hour at lunchtime or 45 minutes in the evening to explore.

At the same time I tend to try to be too perfectionist in my writing and sometimes I need to just let go and hit publish.  Perhaps the scales need some time to find the right balance.

Doing

That said: I’ve decided to go on hiatus until around the end of October. I have so many things coming up including my wedding, my honeymoon, a work trip, my son starting a new daycare, and some personal things. If I have extra time, I may spend it working on some of the more in-depth pieces I have brewing in my head so I can finish them when I start back up again.

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Image Source. I gotta bounce, but I’ll be back soon.

I hope you stay in touch! You can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Mastodon, or Ravelry if you’re crafty.

If you want to chat, send me a note and we can find each other on Discord, Steam, Battle.net, or some other place. I’m always happy to make new friends.

Sprinkles of joy! Cover photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

 

 

 

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program

…for a few photos of my cat, Sashimi, when she was a kitten. I’ve been having a rough day, and she always helps me feel better.

Please pardon this pause from regular blogging. We shall return shortly.

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So stinking cute!

Alright, fine. Here is another one:

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Too cute to function!

And finally, one form Instagram, possibly my favorite photo of her kitten face.

Find your happy place. Mine is with my cat.

Cover photo of Sashimi as a full grown cat. Still cute, but now more majestic.

Having Fun Horde-Side – Nazmir Delivers

On Alliance side, my fiancé and I decided to visit Stormsong Valley, because of how pretty it looked from the preview. It starts off interesting enough—you have to figure out why the fleet is missing. You get to a monastery and everyone is a jerk and doesn’t want to talk to you.

It felt like we played that for a while and suddenly we were helping bee keepers with their evil globs of honey. A tad cool on it’s own, but really disjointed and unrelated to why the fleet’s gone. Because I’m not really invested in these evil honey globs, my motivation dies as we kill each one.

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Careful there, Pooh!

On my own I decided to play my Horde character. Sneaking into Stormwind was more exciting than breaking out of prison, and don’t get me started on how cool Princess Talanji is. Daza’alor is much more navigable Boralus. It feels like it was actually planned, instead of things haphazardly built up on top of each other. It’s all angles. Plus, you get the royal treatment.

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Soon I was faced with the question of where to go quest. The answer turned out to be easy: Talanji was going to Nazmir, so I would go to Nazmir, too. I had no idea the place was going to have a Temple of Doom vibe which is like catnip for me. You’ve got these Blood Trolls who are worshiping this mysterious G’huun character. They’re creepy Trolls with paper white skin and red markings that might be gashes.

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Come on, they’re creepy! Concept art via Blizzard Entertainment.

The Blood Trolls are out and about doing what looks like draining blood from victims to make blood orbs. If you play WoW with your kids, I don’t recommend this zone. Although I was pretty young when I saw Temple of Doom of the first time.

Talanji realizes things are dire and we need to get the Loa to help, so they’re around, too. I always found them particularly fascinating. I’ve met two so far and both of those quest lines have been completely engrossing.

I don’t think I’ve ever been this into the quests in WoW. I want to stop writing now and play for the rest of my lunch break. I want to find the rest of the Loa and figure out who G’huun is! (My guess is he’s an Old God. We’ll see.)

The concept art for Nazmir is well done, but it’s not a zone I’d describe as pretty. Cover image via Blizzard Entertainment.

Reading, Playing, Writing, Doing – Final Edition

This is going to be the last “Reading, Playing, Writing, Doing” update, but it’s not going away! I’m merging this feature in with Happy Friday. Instead of just a list of links, Happy Friday posts will now include this information about what I’ve been up to. I enjoy writing this more than the link lists. On Friday I look at my Happy Friday draft and see two links in there and then I have to scramble to find more so it feels like a full post.

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Yes, I feel like I’m in one of these things

Reading

I finished Song of Achilles and started An Unkindness of Ghosts. Since I bought a paper copy, I wanted to get my lamp setup for comfortable reading. The outlet was too far from the bed so I looked for an extension cord. My fiancé said there was one in the garage that was nine feet long. While nine feet was too much, he went and got it anyway. It was closer to 20 feet. Too long. I looked behind the bed headboard and, lo and behold, an outlet! The bed had to be moved a little, but now the lamp is in the perfect spot.

Playing

After a cultural victory in Civ 6, I’m finally done with Civ 6. This left more time to play World of Warcraft. Since my fiancé and I are leveling Alliance characters together, I’ve been playing my Horde character solo.  Here she is dressed up like a pirate:

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I love that her ears stick out of her hat!

I’ve been having more fun with the Horde side quests than the Alliance ones. Princess Talanji might be my new favorite character. Sylvanas, who? Forget the Horde, I want to defect and join the Zandalar. Even though I’m a Blood Elf and not a Troll. I’m saving how much fun I’m having in Vol’Dun for another post.

Writing

My main writing accomplishment this week was to complete the outline of the one short story idea I have. It’s about the apocalypse, psychological experimentation, and a strawberry.

Doing

The theme for the week was “meals with relatives.” We made dinner for my uncle who’s officiating our wedding and my aunt. I cooked these herb butter chicken thighs and they were as easy and amazing the second time as the first. We made waffles for breakfast for my parents. Tonight we’re having dinner with my fiancé’s mom and his aunt. For once we’re not cooking!

Yesterday we went to the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. There we picked up some deliciously tart rhubarb jam and smoked salmon. We had brunch at Social, which is one of our favorite places mainly because the first time we were there they gave us two free appetizers. I had the prettiest looking avocado toast ever.

Yes, I took a photo of it which cements me in the “basic millennial” category. It was so good though!

There’s just one strawberry in my story, but I’d probably eat all of these in real life. Cover photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash.

Happy Friday – August 24 Edition

Or I should call it “I’m really tired” edition. I only have three links and a video today because I forgot about this after a long day of work, cooking dinner, and playing WoW.

Pregnant people, don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. (Except your doctor or midwife.) Non-pregnant folks, don’t tell pregnant people what they can’t do.

I love the idea of the tiny project challenge because little projects are so doable! Tiny projects can also build up into big projects.

Upcoming MMO Crowfall’s concept art makes me giddy. Here’s some in action:

I’m not sure I’d want to watch concept art videos on a huge outdoor screen. Or maybe I would? Either way, when my son’s older I love the idea of outdoor movie night. Here’s how to make your own screen.

Cover image from Crowfall, which might turn out to be the prettiest MMO ever.

Video Game Motivation

Yesterday I talked about motivations for blogging, today I’m talking about motivations for gaming. I’ve taken the Bartle test (I’m an Explorer) and the Quantic Foundry Motivation Profile (I’m Calm, Spontaneous, Relaxed, Deeply Immersed, and Creative!). Given my results and my own experiences, I’ve come up with a list of my own motivations for gaming.

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While I’d place them both high, I’m surprised Creativity surpassed Immersion.

Exploration

When I’m playing video games I like to be surprised. One of my favorite gaming moments was playing Don’t Starve. If you’re not familiar, it’s a survival game with stylized graphics and a creepy atmosphere. I didn’t expect it to be my cup of tea, but a friend raved about it and it was on sale for five dollars. I hadn’t gotten very far and was exploring when I came across a chest. I opened it and it suddenly became winter, but inside was a bunch of treasures to help me survive the season. Woah! My reaction was “Holy crap, what is happening?”

Exploration for exploration’s sake doesn’t do it for me. I need a reason to explore. In Don’t Starve, if you don’t explore and collect things you need, you’ll die. The reason might be that you’re trapped in a giant virtual maze and need to find the way out. Or perhaps you’re looking for clues to solve a mystery.

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Photo by Fineas Anton on Unsplash.

Story

I love a good story. I like reading them, hearing them, writing them, but most of all playing them. Here’s another gaming moment. I was playing Dragon Age: Origins for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect from the game, but I met the character Alistair and he was sarcastic and funny. I thought to myself, “This character is awesome! I hope he sticks around for a while!” You know what ruins a good story in a video game? Bioware clearly forgot: Pointless. Side. Quests.

I have yet to find a game that successfully blends story and exploration. The closest I can think of us Skyrim, but I had to force myself out of a “I have this list of quests and I must go do them” mindset to enjoy that game. Firewatch comes to mind. I remember moments where I felt like I was exploring, but the game was linear. Myst perhaps; but I don’t remember the story of Myst. I remember the puzzles. I used to want this: a game where you explored and it told a story. I’ve begun to think that every game that tries this fails. I’d rather have one or the other.

Creativity

The Sims 3 is my favorite Sims. I like the creation part of the Sims games: outfits, houses, public places, etc. The Sims 3 let you be meticulous about design elements with the create-a-style tool. It broke my heart when it wasn’t in The Sims 4. (I’ve still been playing 4 because the graphics are so pretty.) I haven’t really found another game that scratches my creative itch.

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I was so into having all my wood styles match. Image from The Sims Wiki.

Strategy

This is where the programmer in me comes out: I like to solve puzzles. I like to figure out the best way to win. I’m not into making spreadsheets to determine the best stats for my WoW character. I prefer trial and error: If I do this, will I get more points? What does this weapon do and is it effective for my play style? My favorite way to find out is to try it.

What motivates you to play video games?

Strategy is why I’ve been playing Civ 6, but if you want to know why I often quit halfway through the game and start over, look back to Exploration. Cover image from the very beginning of one of my games. What’s out there?