Last week wasn’t terribly productive for me, for a variety of reasons. I am happy to report, however, that the Great Backlog War of 2012 rages on, and by all accounts, I’m winning. Just yesterday, I was able to knock both New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Trine off my list. This is a special victory for me since Trine has been sitting in my virtual pile of Steam games for at least two years. I now only have 29 games to get through before the end of the year, many of which I already have some measure of progress in. I should be finishing Arkham City any day now, and Alan Wake shouldn’t be that far behind. (Unfortunately, Final Fantasy 2 may take some time. I’m currently stuck in a tower with a bunch of enemies who can turn my party members against each other. 😦 )
Since I spent an entire post last week detailing the tools I use in the actual composition of my writing, I thought I’d make you all familiar with one of the conceptual tools I like to use. This acronym—mentioned in the title of this post—is probably familiar to most of you, and if so, I apologize for taking your time. For those of you who aren’t familiar with SCAMPER and its component ideas, please continue reading. I really think you’ll get something useful out of it.
We’ve come a long way since 2007 when the original Mass Effect was released, and Commander Shepard et al. have had quite the ride along the way. From saving the galaxy from Sovereign in the first game to defeating the Collectors in the second, Mass Effect 3 finds our stalwart commander … in prison? What kind of opening scene is that? Oh, right. I guess he did work with a known terrorist group and—spoiler warning if you haven’t played ME2 DLC “Arrival“—destroy a mass relay in batarian space and wipe out that entire solar system. I guess it’s not that big of a surprise that the Alliance brass stripped him of his command and tossed him in the brig. But when the Reapers do finally arrive and start harvesting Earth, who do you think the Powers That Be expect to save them? Funny how life turns out, huh?
While I’m working my way through the endgame of Mass Effect 3, it appears that much of my thought is focused on my writing. This doesn’t really come as a shock to me since as a story junkie, I’m often inspired to think of my own stories while experiencing someone else’s. (The Great Backlog War of 2012 continues, though, and I’m making significant progress on this particular front.) As I was putting the finishing touches on Monday’s post, I started thinking about the status of the outline for my steampunk murder mystery story, and that made me consider the writing tools I’m currently using. I know there are a lot of great options for novel-writing software, but I thought that I’d take a minute or ten and walk you all through the software I use. Hopefully, it will also help me evaluate how well these programs fulfill my needs as a writer, and maybe even generate some comments from you all that will help me find something even better.
It seems that I’ve been in rather an introspective mood lately, and while sometimes uncomfortable, I feel my navel-gazing has uncovered several useful realizations about why I am the “unique” person I am, especially concerning why and how I want to write. But first, here’s a mythology lesson!
Have you ever heard the name Zeus? You know: Greek guy, throws lightning bolts, does very strange things while wearing the forms of animals. Well, Zeus–father of the gods and of men, god of the sky and thunder–was very fond of procreating. He had several wives and consorts and ended up with over 60 children, and that’s just counting the ones from his wives who were actually goddesses. One of Zeus’s daughters, Athena, was purportedly born fully formed from Zeus’s forehead (not something I ever want to experience as a father, by the way).
“What does this have to do with writing?” you may ask. “Greek mythology is so last decade!”
I don’t know about you all, but I found this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) a tad underwhelming. It seemed like most of the Big 3 (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) were playing things fairly safe, sticking to established franchises or established developers. Granted, Nintendo was showing off the WiiU, but even that was an unrisky move for them considering that the console has been in the works for a while. There weren’t really the blockbuster announcements one would usually expect from a conference like this, but maybe I’m just getting jaded about the gaming industry. I’ve been playing video games for over 20 years now (that’s a weird fact to realize), and I suppose that I’ve lost some of my enthusiasm for the evolutionary improvements in gaming. But I will admit that watching coverage of the conference has given me some things to look forward to. Now, I just need to work on getting really excited about them. I can’t promise rabid fanboy levels of excitement–since I find the console wars too ridiculous to really worry about–but there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the year of gaming to come.
In my last post, I mentioned that I had officially declared war on my backlog, and last night (early this morning, really), I had my first victory. Diablo (3) now lies conquered at my feet. While the final stretch was a harrowing battle—one which woke me from an impromptu 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. nap and kept me up until nearly 4 a.m.—I feel that I am stronger for it. (Sleepier, too, but that’s a different matter entirely.)
Overall, I felt that Diablo 3 was a well put together game, as hack-n-slash action RPGs go. The combat was fairly solid, the visuals were engaging, and the voice acting was very well done. There are a lot of changes made in this interation of the series, and at first, I was planning on railing on the new mechanics. But as I thought more about some of the nitpicky complaints I had with the game, I realized that most of them were coming up because this game isn’t Diablo 2. And while that’s not a bad thing, the realization that my judgment had been colored by my experience with a previous title helped me reevaluate how I wanted to comment on what I saw in the new game.