Saturday, February 18, 2006

A missed milestone

A couple of days ago, i opened blogger's dashboard to create a new blog. (I got sidetracked on that project, but i may still create it.)
In doing so, i discovered that according to Blogger, I had made 101 posts to the Crank Report.

It never occured to me to think for a moment that i had so many. So, even though, i've sort of missed that landmark, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about how it all began and why it continues to this day

I started out in junior high. A friend introduced me to AD&D. I remember getting killed a lot. Mostly because the other dudes were jerks, and I was kind of a shrimpy tag-along dork kid who they really didn't want hanging around. The fact that now, at age 38, I write about games, act onstage professionally, have a large circle of friends, and more muscle than i've ever had at any point in my life has not escaped me. My clearest memory of those first games is that of being chased by an enormous Pac-Man.

Fuck you. I unloaded a quiver of arrows at that thing and it didn't even slow down.

In any case, I fell in love with these games. (To the point where I dragged my brother into them and then subsequently drove him out of them. A fact for which I am profoundly sorry.) In truth, I neglected my schoolwork because it simply couldn't hold my interest. (Although it further fueled my fire to read and prodded my interest in history)

I played as much as i could and it never seemed like enough. Shockingly enough, I made it into college and when I did i discovered a whole new world of other games. Champions, Traveller,and my personal favorite from those days, Top Secret S.I.

When I left school, i was just getting into more literary styled games. Vampire had just appeared on the scene and i was reading a lot of Gibson and Sterling, so Cyberpunk was also in the mix for me. AD&D had palled for me. I had gotten sick of munchkin culture (It had yet to truly take hold in Vampire yet) and I kept right on doing those things in gaming that fed me. Or at very least fed the actor and the writer in me.

As time wore on, I began to realize that Gaming was my primary form of making friends. I made some friends at Transylvania University that I keep to this day and a stranger and more wonderful bunch of folks you could not asked for.

I began the Crank Report many years ago on a second hand Macintosh Performa. I went out and purchase a copy of Claris Home Page and made my very first web pages. I wrote about things that bugged me. I wrote about things that I discovered that worked.

This, many years before the Forge and the proliferation of other sites and blogs that sought to codify and find names for the social dynamics that make for good games. Not to diss them at all. They've come up with some fantastic stuff, stuff that occasionally helps to crystalize thoughts that rattle around in this old mans head. Although to be truthful some of the bloodless terminology turns me off.

Over the years, new insights are a little harder to come by. And that's mainly because good games are harder to come by. Constructing them seems more like work, Nailing down people to play is even more work. I live in an age where most of my contemporaries have jobs and kids and mortgages to sweat. You never really get to play as much as you did back in the day when your other players all lived in the same dorm. Also, Gaming is, at best, a fragile art. When the players and GM are in sync, there is no better thing in the world.
You, and your best friends, making up a cool story and having fun doing it. Ending in triumph or tragedy is almost secondary to being in that groove. and finding the things that enable you to do it, make it that much easier.

But add one JERK and it all gets shot to hell.

So why do I go on?

Because it's worth it.
Because WE are worth it.
and if there's anything i can do or say that makes it easier for another person to find their own groove for running or playing in games, then all the effort will have been worth it.

Worth it in spades.

Sono Finito


At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....I discovered the Templeton web site one night about 7 or 8 years ago when I was up late, bored and surfing through White Wolf's Black Spiral. Amongst all the hundreds of skeleton-never finished RPG sites was a trove of useful items, as beneficial as the old B. J. Zanzibar site.

.....I've used advice, lists and more from that site over the years, and really enjoyed the writing. Keep up the good work!


At 5:13 PM, Anonymous jenn said...

rock on, pete.

lookin forward to the next 100 =)


At 7:20 PM, Blogger kinesys said...

It's people like you that make it worth it.


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