I’m really bad at accepting praise. You think that would be a thing I’d be accustomed to as a theater major – every show you perform in you walk out, bow for the crowd, and then people come up to you afterwards and tell you how awesome you are. I think for me I struggle with it so much for two reasons: I tend to undervalue the effort I put in to my work, and I don’t like to be vulnerable with other people. Being on stage as Creon from Antigone or Mr. Biggley from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is way different from being on stage as Ian Shepard from Some Dinky Town You’ve Probably Never Heard Of. Heck, even being in front of people as Work Ian or Professional Ian feels very different from when a bunch of people are paying attention to me outside of the context of business.
I say all of this because within the past couple of months I have received praise from four other blogs in the form of award nominations, and I’ve been having a hard time accepting it and wanting to acknowledge the posts. However, while acknowledgement of genuine praise may not come easy to me, the alternative of looking like a jerk who doesn’t graciously accept awards from other people isn’t great either. So today, I’m going to talk about the three awards I have been nominated for and say thanks to the four bloggers who nominated me.
Jonez is a great blogger who I met last year as part of some Later Levels event (whether it was Question of the Month or Blog Party I honestly don’t remember) and then later as a participant in the Blogger Blitz competition which I hosted here on Adventure Rules. Jonez is one of the most supportive bloggers in this community – he’s always there for the rest of us when a community event comes along or when we’re looking to collaborate, and more recently he has been helping a number of us with the process of removing stolen content from another WordPress site. If you don’t know Jonez yet, you can get a good idea of the kind of guy he is by reading his recent post on his gaming pet peeves. It’s a logical look at some different stereotypes surrounding gamers and he respectfully breaks them down and points out how they are not valid.
I recently spoke about The Gaming Diaries during the Secret Valentine event here on Adventure Rules and will gladly do so again. This blog has been an active participant in community events here, giving me a great Charming and Open question as well as offering an excellent response to my own question. It’s not just here, though – The Gaming Diaries can be seen at any event worth participating in whether it’s Creative Christmas or Question of the Month. In between big events, you can check out fun posts like this one on the latest entry in Telltale’s Walking Dead series.
This reward I’m a bit more familiar with, as I received one in 2017 and nominated a few bloggers from a group I was in at the time. This year my nomination came from The Keeper of The Codex Online (which is a really cool sentence to type, by the way), a new blog on the scene which has quickly grabbed the attention of the other bloggers in this community. The Keeper is already quite active and creates some excellent content worth reading, so you’ll definitely want to check out his work. I recently watched him stream Monster Hunter World in support of Special Effect and it was cool to get to talk to him in a different setting. He’s a cool guy, so go check out his blog!
The Mystery Blogger Award also asks its recipients to credit the creator of the award, Okoto Enigma. Enigma describes the award as “an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” If you’re interested in reading more about the award you can check out Enigma’s blog to see what it’s all about.
This award particularly caught me by surprise, both due to the fact that I would never associate myself with sunshine but also because the person who nominated me was someone I met only recently. Debi of the blog Womb 2 Cradle N Beyond took the leap and participated in my Secret Valentine event even when she didn’t know most of the other folks involved. As a motherhood blogger, Debi’s content was quite different from that of my typical followers, but was quite pleasant and helpful to read. It was cool having someone there who isn’t a game blogger but was still able to appreciate (and be appreciated by) members of that community. I really appreciate that Debi was willing to participate in the event and I’m even more appreciative that she decided to nominate me for this award.
Now each of these rewards requires me to answer some questions which were presented by the folks who nominated me – three for each Unique Blogger Award, five for the Mystery Blogger Award, and eleven for the Sunshine Blogger Award. That’s a total of twenty-two questions that have been posed to me as part of these nominations! While I tend to answer questions from other events as full blog posts, because there are so many for me to work with here I’ll be doing something a little more rapid-fire this time around. So without further ado, here are my answers to all twenty-two award nomination questions!
1.) If you were able to erase all memories from one game to be able to fully experience it again, which game would it be and why?
I’d pick Undertale as my game to experience with a fresh pair of eyes. The first time I played the game, my wife and I were going through some pretty difficult circumstances and I actually defeated the final boss while my wife was in the hospital. I was in a dark place and I really just needed something fun and funny to serve as an escape – Undertale was that game for me. However, experiencing Undertale exclusively for its sense of humor doesn’t do justice to everything that the game is trying to say. I’d love to have a second first time with Undertale where my mind was in a place where I could fully engage the game’s messaging and think intelligently about the nature of humanity, violence, friendship, determination, and video games.
2.) If you were allowed to help in the production of a game, which role would you take on and why? The role of producer, voice actor, writer, designer…?
I’d have to choose voice actor for this one. I love to write, but as I’ve gotten older my style has changed to where a more journalistic/op-ed approach works better for me than a work of fiction. I’d love to lend my voice to a video game, particularly as I have been away from the acting scene for a few years now. It’d be a great way to relive old times but in a completely different way.
3.) What is one of your earliest video game memories?
I have lots of very fond early memories of video games, and it’d be hard to choose a favorite. A lot of my early gaming memories are with my mother – the two of us would play Mario Kart and Mario Party together as a way to bond after a long day of work and school. She helped me through the toughest parts of games like Star Fox as I first learned my way around a game controller. I look forward to creating similar memories with my son when he is old enough to play games with me.
4.) If you could play as one video game character within another video game world, who would you choose to play as and in what game world? For example, playing as Ezio (AC2) in Rayman Legends.
I know my answer to this question is probably a little odd, but I think having Link from Ocarina of Time appear in Fire Emblem Awakening could be really cool. Thematically speaking, Link and Lucina have a lot of parallels. Both were robbed of their childhood by the forces of evil and displaced from their natural timeline in order to save their kingdom. I think this could lead to an interesting relationship between the two. Other than that, I just imagine that Link would be crazy powerful in the Fire Emblem universe. Fast and strong with mastery of any weapon he touches, plus a holy sword specifically forged to combat evil and a shield that redirects magic? Get wrecked, Validar.
5.) If you could meet any video game character and ask them one question, who would you meet and what would you ask?
My answer would probably be different if I could meet one character and ask them a lot of questions. In this situation, I’m going to have to go with Shy Guy. My question? “Can you please take off your mask?”
6.) What is your favourite video game soundtrack?
How am I supposed to answer a question like this? Is it possible to just pick one soundtrack?
In all seriousness, it really is hard to say. If I had to make a call based only on nostalgia and my emotional reaction to the music I’d probably have to choose the soundtrack of Ocarina of Time. Now if rather than narrowing it to a specific game I could narrow it to a specific composer, Nobuo Uematsu will win that contest every time. His work is totally brilliant and stirs the soul with every listen.
7.) If you made a video game, what would it be about?
If I were to make a video game, I think I would want to do it in the style of retro JRPGs such as Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy. I’d want to make it as stereotypical fantasy as possible, complete with elves and dwarves and orcs, and women who are just clerics or village dancers, and a medieval class hierarchy where jobs are assigned by the church. The reason for that is that I think a super generic fantasy setting is one rife with potential for exploring themes like racism, sexism, and classism, ideas which are still incredibly relevant in our modern world but are “safe” to discuss in the context of a video game. I particularly like the idea of having a silent protagonist whose silence is justified within the fiction by the fact that they don’t waste their time talking – they actually DO something. The antagonist to that hero would be a politically-powerful gasbag with a silver tongue who makes beautiful promises but never actually takes any action to upset the current structure and change the world for the better.
8.) What is one game that you would recommend to anyone you meet as an absolute, must play?
This is a tricky one in my view because not every person is going to have the same tastes in games. Most of my game suggestions are generally tempered with “if you like X genre of games, you’ll probably like this.” That being said, the game I have played recently that I feel like can be at least a little bit fun with any combination of people is Quiplash by JackBox Games. All you have to do is adjust your sense of humor a bit to the current crowd and there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Anyone can play the game because it’s not focused on hand-eye coordination, and there’s enough variety in the prompts to keep the fun going for a long time with many different groups. This is the main game that I can think of off of the top of my head that would be fun for ANYONE, regardless of whether they normally enjoy video games or not.
9.) Congratulations! You’ve successfully passed the interview process and have been hired for your new job in the video game industry. What company do you now work for and what is your new job?
This is a similar question to one of the questions above but it adds an extra layer – which company would I want to do my voice acting work for? For that I would have to pick Intelligent Systems, the creators of the Fire Emblem series. These games are very well-written (unless someone botches the translation, FATES) and the sense of humor and wit often gels with my own. I feel like my voice could suit a character created for an Intelligent Systems game.
10.) What book have you read that could be made into a fantastic game?
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville portrays one of most interesting and downright weird fantasy worlds I have ever seen. Mieville chose fantastical creatures that are very different from your classic elf-dwarf-orc setup and as a result his world feels fresh. It’s all a blend of science and thaumaturgy that deals with very philosophical subject matter. It’d be perfect for a Dishonored or The Witcher style game where you are making difficult decisions in a world where nothing is as simple as black and white. While I wouldn’t want the story to be perfectly replicated (a game would simply have a hard time recreating it in as interest of a way as it is presented in the book), I think the setting of New Crobuzon could be a fantastic backdrop for an original video game story.
11.) What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Best thing about blogging? The other bloggers, hands down. I have friends who are passionate about video games, but most of them wouldn’t really be interested in having conversations about the same topics within the gaming world that I am. Here, I get to engage in conversation with really creative folks who want to talk about the same stuff as me. Or different stuff, but do so in a compelling way that makes me want to read. The community is the big selling point of the blogging experience for me.
12.) If you were the head of your state or country, what change would you like to bring?
Golly, talk about a loaded question! I’m going to stick to the state level rather than the national level for this one. My state has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic and it has caused a huge spike in the numbers of children committed to the state. The social workers here are sorely overworked and underpaid because their caseloads are flooded with three or four times the appropriate number of cases. I would love to address this issue by increasing incentives for social workers to stay in their current employment in order to reduce turnover and to more effectively serve the children in our community who are waiting to either return to their parents or to be given a new home with a permanent family.
13.) Describe a funny incident which always brings smile when you recall.
So one time in college I was sitting on a swing on campus with a couple of my friends, one of whom was my roommate. We were having a pretty serious discussion – for the life of me I can’t remember what – and my roommate attempted to share the advice shown in the image above. However, he messed up the quote. “Shoot for the moon,” he said, “at least you’ll get high.” Naturally, all the seriousness of the discussion went out the window as my other friend and I burst into hysterical laughter. We still pick on my old roommate about this to this day, and without fail I smile when I remember his “advice.”
14.) What was your greatest failure in life and what did you learn from It?
My biggest failure, eh? This is a tough question to answer for me simply because I can’t think of one particular failure that seems more crippling and terrible than any of the other ones. Mistakes are opportunities for us to learn and grow as individuals – when I look back at my lowest points, those are the points that pushed me to try and become a better person, in whichever sense of the word was relevant to my failure at the time. For example, I once made the terrible mistake of proposing to someone with whom I had never discussed marriage when the two of us wanted radically different futures, but that mistake brought us to the end of a relationship that didn’t need to continue and it helped me to evaluate what I wanted from my love life – I didn’t date again for years, but my next girlfriend became my wife. I could consider my education a failure – I never became a professional actor, at least not yet – but I love my current job and I wouldn’t have that job if it weren’t for the skillset I developed while studying acting. The abilities I learned in theater have allowed me to rise up in rank and to make a difference in the department for which I work.
15.) What do you think is the best social media strategy to get more traffic to your blog?
In my experience, the best strategy is to support other creators. Read their blogs. Comment on their posts. Share those posts to your Twitter feed or your Facebook page. When you comment intelligently on someone else’s writing and support them by boosting their views, they will very likely take an interest in you and support you as well. If you want to grow, grow others – the rising tide lifts all boats.
16.) Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Right now it’s a hobby and honestly I plan to keep it that way. I think there’s a serious risk of burn-out when you turn a hobby into a job that I certainly do not want to experience with writing or with video games.
17.) Describe your best vacation so far.
I don’t know that it necessarily counts as a vacation, but a few months ago one of my college friends got married in another state. A bunch of us traveled together and stayed in a vacation home for a few days while wedding preparations were going on. In the evenings after wedding stuff had settled down for the day, we were able to just hang out, play games, go swimming in a private pool protected by a bug net – and all that stuff was certainly cool, but the coolest part was hanging out with my best friends like we were in school again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to try to go backwards to my college days, but I do miss the amount of time that I had to spend with my friends. Getting to see them and hang out for days was a rare and special occurrence.
18.) Which negative emotion you think need to be given away by you for becoming a better person?
Distrust, perhaps? I tend to keep my distance from people until they prove to me that they can be trusted. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in the professional world this keeps me from forming healthy working relationships or building rapport with my clients. It also causes me to assume the worst of individuals, which can make me come across as being judgmental. I think learning to be cautious without being pessimistic could be beneficial for me.
19.) The happiest moment of your life.
To be honest, I can’t think of a happiest moment in my life. And that’s not my way of saying that I’m not happy or that I’ve never had anything good happen to me. What I mean is that the things that bring me the most joy can’t be boiled down to a singular moment. I could say my wedding was my happiest moment, but what I would really mean is every laugh that I have shared with my wife, every kiss, every tear, every night spent with her wrapped up in my arms, every desperate prayer that led us to push through our circumstances and come out stronger on the other side. I could say that the birth of my son was my happiest moment, but I’d instead be speaking of every night he fell asleep on my chest while I played games, or hearing him bust out laughing when we tickle underneath his chin, or the way he sings the bedtime songs we’ve been singing to him since he was an infant. I don’t have a happiest moment – I have a thousand little happy moments, and I’m sure the next one is just around the corner.
20.) Name your favourite movie actor/ actress and what you like most about them?
Favorite, eh? Again, it’s hard for me to narrow things down to just one option, but I think Ewan MacGregor is a pretty safe call here. He’s a great actor whether he’s in a blockbuster film or in something more subtle and understated, and he plays multiple character types with skill. His versatility doesn’t just apply to his acting, though – he’s a pretty impressive singer and I thought he was excellent in Down With Love.
21.) Tell us your comfort food that you can have anytime of the day.
Ice cream. Always and forever. I love it in a bowl, I love it in a cone, I love it in a milkshake. Most of the time I’m a plain chocolate guy, but from time to time I have been known to indulge in cookies and cream.
22.) Describe any of your desires or dreams that you want to accomplish before you close your eyes forever.
Although I don’t necessarily want to become a professional blogger, I still would love to publish a work someday. I have a couple of novel ideas that I would enjoy finally taking the time to pen someday, but I would also be pretty satisfied with creating and publishing a tabletop roleplaying game. I’ve dabbled in this before on the blog but lately I’ve been realizing that I need a lot more experience running games and engaging with their rules before I’ll be ready for that. But I think a day will come when I can accomplish it.
That’s gonna be it for me, adventurers! I know I haven’t nominated anyone or asked any questions yet – there might be a part two in the works where I take care of that part of the award process. Thanks again to the four folks who nominated me for an award, and I hope all of you enjoyed this bit of insight into the creative mind behind Adventure Rules. Thanks for reading!