Gamerscore Milestone: 22000 Points

Today, my Xbox/Games For Windows Live Gamerscore exceeded 22000 points. The achievement that put me over this plateau was “I’m Batman (10G)” from Batman: Arkham City. My current count for achievements, according to the Xbox 360 dashboard, is 1307 individual achievements across 145 games, totaling 22050 points. The average value of each achievement is 16.87 points, with an average count of 152.07 points per game (the Xbox Dashboard reports 21.27% gamerscore completion and 27.3% achievement completion, with seven fully-completed games). It took 38 days to reach this point from the previous plateau of 21005 on November 22nd, 2011. 63 achievements were collected in this time, totaling 1045 points, with an average value of 16.59 points, and a collection rate of one achievement approximately every 14 hours, 28 minutes, and 35 seconds.

A Rare Verb

Écrire. Schreiben. Ír. ??. ??????. Ysgrifennu.

Write.

For being the thing that I say I do, I haven’t done a whole hell of a lot of it, and you have no idea how frustrating that gets for someone who has convinced himself that it’s what he does. Fortunately, I have a plan…. and I’m going to stick to it.

Part of why I’ve had trouble getting into a mindset for writing heretofore is because overall I’d been fighting some depression that had started to creep into me a few years back. It’s easy to say “get over it”, but until you step back and get some help for it, it can be impossible to “get over it”. Depression– the real, chronic kind, not post-con ennui or mere letdown at a poor turn of events– the big D is not something that you should fuck around with on your own. And yes, it warrants the F-bomb, because it can get fucking scary if you let it progress. So, get help if you have a funk that lasts more than four months. All joking aside, I’m not kidding here. See a doctor, or a priest, or other appropriate figure.

OK, PSA over, back to self-flagellation. I’d been depressed, and now I’m not. I feel motivated, more optimistic for the year ahead than I have in a very, very long time. That in and of itself should frighten the hell out of everyone, but the fact of the matter is, it also gave me an idea. I’ve been meaning to do a nonfiction book for a long time, and I honestly think it’s time that my preferred subject matter– nerdery– gets a close look at from the inside.

Think about it– 2011 was the Year of the Nerd. Steve Jobs died, and got a crapton of attention; Dennis Ritchie also died and should have got more. People weren’t just interested in the new Apple release this year, they were positively frothing with delight, when ten years ago knowing how to use a computer was akin to a sentence of life as a decaying cat lady or lonely old man. The Internet was no longer for porn, as somehow Zynga made it about annoying your friends with game requests. And technology news wasn’t released to the back pages or the end-of-hour Jeanne Moos pre-emption spots; it was front and center and two days late, judging by how many times my mom asked me about stuff in my sphere of interest.

But being a nerd is about more than that. I figured out a brilliant definition of how to tell if you’re a nerd: you’re a nerd if you like something openly. Somehow in the last thirty years it became uncool to like something. Doesn’t matter what– with few exceptions, if there was some aspect of culture and you liked it, and expressed that like, you were a nerd. You might as well be that nine year old kid in his Star Wars pajamas. That’s changed lately.

I’d have to say it has a lot to do with the work-life balance, and how it swung way out of whack since the 70s. People became increasingly focused on their jobs around the early 80s because of intense competition. This meant that there was less time for things that weren’t job-related, and you got people who could literally not function outside of their jobs. In social settings or leisure time these people were chained to their desks, metaphorically, and that’s why you have the stereotypical hyper-competent power-suited always-on-the-job überdork parents from countless 80s movies. Thing is, though, that’s a ludicrously unhealthy attitude to take, and while it’s obvious now, back then it was seen as the only way to get ahead.

Now, companies take great pains to make sure that they aren’t burning out the employees they’re not planning on laying off. The competitive nature of the market hasn’t changed, and the workload has done nothing but steadily increase. What’s changed is that the shortsighted nature of business has fallen by the wayside in the more successful companies, and there’s a chance for employees to actually have downtime and enjoy it. And, that dovetails nicely with how the workplace exists– a successful employee will feel more comfortable sharing his interests with coworkers. The myth of the interchangeable cog in a cubicle has been well and fully smashed in this day and age. Every piece is shaped differently, and effective managers don’t force their employees to change– they put the pieces together in the way that works, even if it’s not what worked before.

So, my plan both with some of the blog entries here and some other writing internally is to start gathering notes for that one-day nonfiction book I’m working on. I want to define what being a nerd is; why some people are seen as nerds, others aren’t, and still others embrace it; why being a nerd is a good thing; how being a nerd can be taken too far, and how it shouldn’t be; and the eventual plan for the elimination of the word and concept from the culture.

That last one is ambitious, but necessary, I think. Because as time goes by, it’s become obvious to me that everyone is a nerd for something or another– some hide it well, some don’t hide it at all, and still others don’t know what they can be a nerd about. But we are a planet of nerds, a whole great big species of them. We define our literal existence as separate from animals in terms that make us the biggest goddamn nerds in all of creation– “we’re smarter than them”. The word “nerd”, then, is kinda stating the obvious. It’s time we threw it away.

Amnesty Plea

The year gone by has been… difficult for my gaming hobby. I’ve often railed against the idea that the strident cries of those individuals who feel the need to bitch and moan on various gaming blogs about every little thing should speak for all gamers, but it’s become increasingly obvious that either my opinion is wrong, or I’m fighting a losing battle.

The problem with just ignoring comments on the blogs has become akin to that which has plagued the comics companies– the inmates are running the asylum, and gaming news blogs are increasingly inflammatory. It’s not a matter of targeting one platform for ridicule, but the fact that the tone of the blogs have become dramatically more negative over the past few years. What makes it worse is the tacit approval of this trend while at the same time people decry that sort of behavior from mainstream news. I’ve even seen that behavior in the same damn comment– approving of the game blog’s bias while denouncing Fox News. This profoundly disturbs me.

However, there’s another aspect to it. I took a look at the trends for the games that I bought, and found that in many cases, by the time I got around to playing them, they were in the bargain bin. This was after buying the game at or near their launch date. I defend doing so in the past by supporting games that I wanted to do well, but it’s to a point where I don’t think it’s really worth the extra expenditure. Things happening in the foreground and the background are putting a little bit of a strain on my budgeting, and something’s gotta give.

The fact that my backlog is currently longer than the list of games that I’ve completed in my entire life to date only had a little to do with it. The fact that I even have a backlog notwithstanding.

So, in 2012, I’m declaring an amnesty program on my gaming purchases. I’ve been talking about this plan in certain circles, and I’m pretty much ready to set it in writing. I’m not going to buy any video games for myself in 2012 with two exceptions, and I’m limiting myself to a strict interpretation of my “paint it first” plan for miniatures figures. Board games won’t be restricted, per se, but there’s not much that I really want right now short of the next expansion for Super Dungeon Explore (which might actually count more as a minis game). I’m also shooting for 40 Game Clears again, even though I fell short this year. And, regardless, I’m unsubscribing from the gaming blogs’ RSS feeds on the 1st.

Note that I said “for myself”. My work with Tekkoshocon is as a purchasing agent and asset locator– my whole job right now is buying up games and equipment for the game room, under the expectation that I’ll be paid back later on. So, any buying I do will strictly be for the Tekko crew, and there’s some tricks up my sleeve that I can use to try to mitigate how far in the hole I get. More on that later.

But I did also say that there were two exceptions, and I think they’re reasonable: my birthday, and the end of summer. I’m restricting those to used games, though, and only if I’ve beaten at least 10 games since the last buy.

This is going to be a really hard thing to stick to, because there are actually a few games that I’m looking forward to in 2012: Kid Icarus Uprising, Metal Gear Rising, and others. Plus, missing out on immediate E3 news and the WiiU launch is going to sting. But, if I do stick to it, I’m confident I’ll be a lot less stressed about being up-to-date. Besides, being a year behind will save me money for other projects, and even if I don’t stick to it, I’ll have made a significant dent in the backlog, and won’t feel so overwhelmed by it.

That’s the plan, and we’ll see if it holds. Ciao, folks– more in a day or two.

Holiday Cheer

I hope that everyone who celebrated it today had a merry Christmas, and that those among my readership who don’t had a nice day anyway.

This year was a bit more subdued, even though I have the rest of the year off and am planning on relaxing throughout most of it. It’s probably the first year where, even though we don’t have Dad, we found ourselves somewhat happy in spite of it. The past two Christmases were difficult, to say the least, and as a result I wasn’t expecting much out of this year. It’s not that we don’t miss him… But we’re learning to move on. And that’s not that bad.

As for what I usually do, I got sick during December and felt that sending out cards that contained well-wishes and germs to make the recipients unwell may not have been exactly in the spirit of the season. I’ve mentioned this on Facebook and other sites, but I’ll apologize here as well and say that next year, I’ll be starting the cards in November, if not sooner. Again, mea culpa, and I hope that this will be a satisfactory replacement for the time being.

I usually take this time as a point to stop and reflect on the year gone by, and to look ahead to what I’m going to plan on accomplishing in the future. Part of this includes the realization that it was five years ago that I managed my unbroken streak of a full year of daily posts. I did say that with the iPad, I’d be able to post more often, and to this point it hasn’t exactly been so. I’ve discovered a little bit about why that is, actually– 2007 had me in jobs where I had a little bit of free time during the day and could locate quirky things to comment on. I’m planning on spending some of this week locating tools so that I can more easily collect said quirky stuff in the smaller timeframes I have now, as well as have a stockpile of them for later use.

There’s also some site maintenance work that needs to be done, some code maintenance that I’ve been meaning to do for Beyond Madness & Genius, and some cleanup work in the apartment for the 1st or 2nd. But all that can wait– I have a few more days with my family, and that’s always of utmost importance.

Again, have a wonderful and peaceful holiday, and I’ll be in touch before the first of the year.