Now we’re approaching the more modern era, so the next two I dedicate to a couple games that managed to bridge the early console generations and the current generation and are still continuing to tell their stories.

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This is part three so if you’re wondering what this is and why I’m writing it, maybe check out the original post!

Yesterday I talked of the narrative, impact and unique ability of medium to add something new to the genre specifically for four great Eastern Role Playing Games, most of which came from the fourth generation of video games. This time I’m going to focus on a couple of Western RPGs that impacted the RPG genre and also added to the SFF field overall.

As mentioned before: No implication is intended that these are the only twenty games you should consider.

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Video games are one of those weird mediums that are hugely influenced by Science Fiction and Fantasy and yet it is also the one form of media it comes in that comes with a much higher entrance fee than a book or movie, and requires user input in order to progress.

This is continuation of the list I started yesterday. This is not a ranked list. When writing the list though I noticed some natural themes emerged so today I’m listing four games that were early Eastern Role Playing Games that were strongly influenced by SFF while making their own spins on different SFF tropes.

No implication is intended that these are the only twenty games you should consider.

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Video games are one of those weird mediums that are hugely influenced by Science Fiction and Fantasy and yet it is also the one form of media it comes in that comes with a much higher entrance fee than a book or movie, and requires user input in order to progress. Which is why I put ‘should know’ instead of ‘should play’. Also it’s a much newer medium, and has a different set of growing pains. Often the plot, writing and SFF themes take a backseat to technical aspects and design tropes (collect X things to advance!) which makes them suffer to other mediums where they can focus on the material and the world building about rather than user interface, how many textures a rock has or frames per second speed.

I was trying to think of a good way to start on how to talk about video games from an overall Sci-Fi/Fantasy perspective and the contributions it makes, and thought I’d take an idea from reading James Davis Nicolls Blog  where he lists different important core books in different subgenres. While my reasons will be listed below for the inclusion of specific games this is all completely subjective, though I will put the same disclaimer as his lists:

No implication is intended that these are the only twenty games you should consider.

Also I’m a filthy console gaming peasant so games like Everquest and World of Warcraft are worth mentioning from sheer merit and contributions will not be included. While enumerated this is not a ranked list, the #1 game on the list isn’t meant to be considered the best or most significant game on the list, there are twenty numbers because there are twenty games and while I’ll be going in a mostly chronological order I’ll veer off that occasionally.

Note: I got way too long so this is now split into parts that I’ll post over time

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Posted by: Matt Y | 06/19/2017

Shouting into the void

It’s been a while since I last blogged.  A long while.  And I plan on returning to shouting into the human collective subconsciousness that is the internet.

Had a job for a  year which meant anything from 10-14 hour days with being on call 24/7.  That proved to be too much of a pain in the ass, no amount of pay is really worth putting your life on hold.  So I stopped.  Which I’m glad I did because the thing I missed was telling myself stories.  I don’t know about other writers but the stuff I write down are things that float around in the back of my head and usually when I’m bored present themself as a ‘what if’ scenario that I visualize.  I stopped doing that when I spent most of my time working, and aside from making my cat overlords unhappy and my wife concerned I also lost telling myself stories which makes life all that more interesting.

So I plan on sharing some of that.  Plus I’ve been lurking and commenting on File770 and while video game news goes up there I keep wanting for there to be more elaboration about the intersection of SFF and video games.  Then I realized I could wait for it or I could write it, since I’ve written a lot on video games for over a decade.  Which means my goal for the next month is to write some about the various SFF influences on one of my favorite past times.

And if it comes up I might share short stories I write along the way like this one

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Posted by: Matt Y | 10/15/2016

Nerdcon: Stories

It’s been over a year since I used my blog about writing, which makes sense because with a job promotion I’ve been working insane hours (to me) and, well, not writing.  That hasn’t been all that healthy for me and when I came across a Nerdcon: Stories mention in a File770 Scroll my wife immediately said that I needed to go to that.

As with many things, she was so right.

Thank you to all the people who attended Nerdcon: Stories, from the organizers to the guests to the audience.  There were so many great panels that all the time that I was constantly split between being happy over the one I chose to go to while wishing I was in another.  This may be the only convention I’ve ever been to where I felt like every hour of my time I learned and grew or was in awe of an artist.

That’s the TL;DR version of what I want to say.  Here’s the rest:

Recently I read a book called Infomocracy, a book whose title I stumble over when I try to say out loud.  In it there’s a character who is described as having a condition called narrative disorder.  The character takes various facts and starts forming those into a narrative which makes her good at her job.  I read that and thought like I do when I read WebMD; oh shit I think I have that.

If it was a real condition than Nerdcon: Stories was a gathering of the afflicted.  A mix of celebration of stories, their influence on culture and how they’re told, but also of those who might be mildly obsessed or possessed by the desire to consume and create more stories.  There were readings, sharing stories, craft advice, puppet shows, interactive games, and more, all about the geekery of the art of narrative in various mediums.  All of it more fun than a bunch of hyper-intellegent bees in a man suit.

I’ve never been to a convention where every panel I’ve gone to has been both so insightful and entertaining.  I went alone, and as a socially awkward person surrounded by others who felt the same there was an enjoyable bond that connected everyone.  Like how quickly the audience made a hand symbol for soup for Mary Robinette Kowal in Superfight.  There was a shared sense of happiness for being a part of what was happening.

The guests and panelist were all fantastic as well and easily connected with the audience and instead of talking to us it really felt like they were talking with us.  That’s a pretty big difference.  I might have a weird fan crush on Mary Robinette Kowal now just for how amazing she was in everything she was a part of.

All over I heard conversations from people who were worried that  this might be the last and that it might never come again.  In almost every one of those situations the people talking were also trying to figure out what they could do or offer to keep it going because they felt it was so important to keep it going, whether that was kickstarter or otherwise.

It takes something truly special that people who’ve already paid for that year are trying to figure out how they might be able to donate more for future years to continue something so amazing.  Frankly the sessions on craft and the various panels make me think they could turn it into a longer weird hybrid of convention and writer’s camp.  I’d pay.

It was humbling seeing so many great creative panelists and attendees who are so filled with talent add similar devotion to the gods of narrative, to know that I am one among many, and yet such a great feeling to see so many creators and know that there will always be more amazing things being made every moment.  Like being an alcoholic on a brewery tour knowing I’ll never get to drink it all.

Stories are powerful.  Stories are magic.  Nerdcon: Stories showed the magic we can make together when we try.  Writing is a solitary art form and yet I never felt a part of larger community.  It felt good again to be immersed in something I care so much about.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible.

Posted by: Matt Y | 09/20/2015

The Troll 2

Part 2

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Posted by: Matt Y | 09/20/2015

The Troll

Part of my short story collection

Part One

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Posted by: Matt Y | 09/02/2015

Short Story

I wrote a short story for a contest for Amazing Stories magazine but didn’t make it as a finalist.  Bad news for me but it also means I can put it up on here now.

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Posted by: Matt Y | 08/23/2015

Hugo Fallout

The Hugos are come and gone and you might think I’d be happy about the result given the fact that I was less than impressed by the quality of stories from what was nominated. But I’m not. I didn’t cheer when No Award happened in many categories because it’s depressing. The idea that the people who created the slates are trying to view this as a victory condition, as though fans were supposed to lie back and just ignore that they took over several categories and to do otherwise was an ideological attack, is fucking dumb. It’s a response to the idea that the Puppies told Fandom that they didn’t really know good work and were voting not because they liked different stories but because off affirmative action, and then told them here’s some good work (that coincidentally were also colleagues and friends wink wink) to vote on and you’d better vote for one of them or else!

Yeah, they tried to blackmail fans into voting for their friends, and when that didn’t work now they’re trying to claim that was the intent all along and now WorldCon is exposed! Instead of accepting that voters don’t like being told they were voting on the wrong things and being told what to vote on.

So sadly instead of the people who likely earned and deserved awards, No Award won several categories to express this disdain. Also because many of the nominated works were poorly edited and often subpar in quality to add insult to injury. It’s still sad to not give out an award instead of giving it to those who should’ve been nominated had this been a normal year.

No one won. At best it was fans expressing that they wouldn’t be held to the whims of pouty right fringe outrage culture warriors. The presenters did a phenomenal job with a rough year. As someone who loved 3 Body Problem I’m happy it won. I did pretty well with my own votes.

But this wasn’t a victory for anyone other than some assholes who wanted attention and to be able to have their friends promote that they are Hugo nominees. They got that attention for better or worse. Supporting memberships were high and the No Award votes were in the thousands while Puppies were in the hundreds. The fact that those memberships carry over until next year and that EPH and 4/6 passed hopefully means that we might only have another year where we have to face the potential of not having deserving nominees win awards.

Until then it’s just reading and getting nomination lists ready. There’s a lot of good stuff out this year too, so even if the award process is stuck in shitty culture war BS, the genre ha a lot of amazing voices to read. As a fan and reader that’s the biggest award of them all, to have more awesome stuff to read than I could ever be able to manage.

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