Friday, August 10, 2018

You're Talking A Lot But You're Not Saying Anything

So, here's what Belghast proposed for the second week of Blaugust:

"August 8th – August 14th – Get to Know Each Other Week – hanging out and meeting other people in this new fledgling community and hopefully gaming together a bit!  Also highly support doing some sort of collaboration on shared topics!"

Several people have taken the plunge so far, including Gracie, Nogamara and Marathal. And, of course, Bel himself, who set the tone of self-revelation with a highly detailed and fascinating mini-memoir that ends, somewhat paradoxically, with the claim that" ...getting any sort of coherent narrative out of me about myself is a challenge".

MMO blogs offer an interesting variant on the wider blogging phenomenon. "Blogging" as it's widely understood involves a large degree of personal exposure. Bloggers build their brands based on who they are, what they do, what they think and, in the case of vloggers (aka YouTubers), what they look and sound like.

MMO bloggers, contrarily, post under pseudonyms, use cartoons as avatars, mention most aspects of their personal lives only obliquely and generally do their best to remain essentially unknowable. Is it any wonder none of us makes a living at it?

Over the seven years I've been doing this I have made a habit of dropping (some would say shoehorning) certain facts about myself repeatedly into any number of posts. I was around forty years old when I discovered EverQuest in 1999 so I'm around sixty now. I work in a bookshop. I used to sing in a band (who didn't?). I was a major comics fan in the '80s.

I often claim I'm not a "gamer" because I never really felt that was my tribe. I was always more into music, comics, books, movies and writing than playing games - any kind of games - although I was in a role-playing group that met every Sunday from about 1982 to 1987. And I've been playing video games since I first heard the distinctive thud of a Space Invaders machine across the crowded bar of a pub sometime around 1979 or 1980.

I played arcade games in pubs all through college. I had an Atari 2600 and I bought a ZXSpectrum after I graduated and not only did I play the hell out of both of them, I even wrote some games myself. I also reviewed games for MicroAdventurer magazine a few times. They used to send the cassettes by mail. It was all very amateur back in those days, even when you were getting paid.

After the Spectrum I had an Amiga for a while but after that I had nothing for longer. My wilderness years as far as gaming went. I was writing up a storm, though, for comics fanzines and in the apazine scene, which was the analog predecessor of blogging. I miss apas. I liked the physicality of all that cutting and pasting.

Sometime around 1997 or so I bought my first PC with redundancy money that I got from staying in a job I didn't really like for about five years until they finally decided they didn't need me after all. I took a year off and used the computer to fail to write two novels, while successfully learning enough HTML to get a website up and running. It was all about my favorite ever band, Dolly Mixture. I still have the code on floppy disc somewhere.

I resolutely didn't play any games on that PC for almost a year. Then I cracked and bought Broken Sword and that was pretty much that. It might not have gone the way it did had I not immediately discovered that Mrs Bhagpuss, who'd never mentioned any interest in gaming that I can recall, was as keen as I was to lose herself in a fantasy world, which is how it's been for the last twenty years, give or take.

I suppose, having done precious little other than play and write about video games for two decades I should finally admit that I am, at least in part, a gamer. It still doesn't sit quite right, though.

Maybe in another twenty years...


  1. I think this is the first post since I started following you where I actually grasp what you're referencing with the headline.

    For my part, I don't talk about myself much on my blog for the simple reason that I am a tremendously boring person, and my life wouldn't make for good reading.

    1. Titles...don't talk to me about titles! It sometimes feels like I spend more time on the headline than I do on the post. Some of them are extremely obscure or tangential but some of them I think are quite obvious. I was a bit unsure of this one because I thought it might sound a bit critical, which it isn't intended to be. I just find it very interesting that blogging as understood by the wider public is very specifically understood as an individual showing themesleves off to the world whereas in this corner of the blogosphere it's often the exact opposite.

    2. Every time I mention to someone IRL that I blog I feel the urge to append that I'm "not that kind of blogger" because for some reason the meaning of the word seems to have shifted towards "a person who posts pictures of themselves on Instagram while adding a couple of lines about what they're wearing" for most people...

  2. I chuckled at the description of MMO Bloggers. No wonder I fit right in, despite atm neither much MMO playing nor a lot of blogging.

    -- ??? (Ok, Pasduil)


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