Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Let's Talk About My Process

And now, the post I meant to write yesterday! Or is it? 

In July 2021, Inventory Full passed ten full years of operation, a landmark I not only failed to acknowledge but didn't even notice. I had to go back and check when the blog started before I could even finish that last paragraph. I don't really keep much of an eye on these things any more, although I certainly did for the first few years.

Over the last decade or so, this blog has transitioned, slowly and with no real plan or intent, into a grab-bag of anything and everything I feel I want to vent, ramble or pontificate about. It wasn't always that way, or at least I don't think it was.

Originally, the focus was purely on mmorpgs, vignettes on aspects of the hobby that intrigued me. In time, that focus softened and broadened to include commentary and reportage, notes on what I was doing in the games I played, speculations about things I saw and heard in the gaming news, reflections on how the genre was unfolding around me. 

Before very long it had morphed into to a  kind of social media platform from which I talked to, with and increasingly at a surprisngly large number of like-minded friends and acquaintances. Currently, it seems to be settling down into something probably more like the original concept of a "web log", namely a place to share a whole bunch of things with the world, whether the world cares to hear about them or not.

For reasons partially but not entirely beyond my control and choice, the last three years have seen a steady and impressive growth in the quantity and frequency of posts here. I would not go so far as to say there's been any concomitant increase in quality but by and large I feel a standard has been maintained. I'm willing to live with it. Everyone else doesn't get a choice.

For a while things didn't look like they were headed that way. 2017 saw the lowest number of posts in a calendar year - 162. On average I wasn't managing a post every other day. I wasn't happy with that. I did try to do better but 2018's tally only rose to 183. Then again, until that point the most posts in a year had been 197, something I managed twice, albeit only for the first two full years after I started.

Then I got ill. Then the world got ill. Everything changed. The post count in 2019 jumped to 250, then to 293 in 2020 and finally to 348 in 2021. Very nearly a post a day.


I've been posting daily since the end of July 2021. I never meant to. I went into Blaugust intending to post every day for a month and somehow I just never stopped. I've mentioned it a few times, as I've noticed most bloggers who end up on a daily schedule tend to do, not so much because I want to draw attention to it but more to have some kind of dialog with myself.

I'm not sure at this point if it's a run I don't want to break, a habit I don't care to give up or a pleasure I don't want to deny myself. I guess it's all of those things and a few more besides.

The closer we come to the present day, the more meta the whole thing becomes. Posts about the process of blogging become posts about the concept of blogging until here I am, typing whole paragraphs in which I discuss how the post I'm writing ended up being about how I came to write it, not about the thing I sat down to write.

As a point of information, that post would in fact have been about mmorpg gaming. It's going to be called "Play To Yearn" and I want to get that out there in writing before someone else thinks of it. I just googled it and so far it looks like no-one has.

Will I ever write that post? Will anyone get to read it if I do? I wouldn't count on it. 

Oh, I want to write it, no question there. The trouble is, as Wilhelm observed in his recent look back at the receding year, "Finding something to write about that I also care to put the effort into… ideas are cheap and plentiful, time and enthusiasm are much more rare… is becoming more difficult".

Some days I feel that way, too. And it's inarguable that posts like this are far easier to write than proper, structured, purposeful pieces that have a point to make and go on to make it. Of course, it's a little ironic that Wilhelm made his comment in the midst of a string of very lengthy, solid, well-researched posts. If that's his idea of a lack of effort, I can't wait to see what we get when he puts his back into it!

What I feel quite often these days is a strong desire to post about things that aren't mmorpgs or even video games. but even then I don't necessarily want to do the work that's needed to come up with something that feels substantial. A lot of the time I just want to call out to stuff I like because it gives me a chance to watch, read or listen to it all over again. It's very self-indulgent, I recognize that. I can't honestly say I care, though.

I particularly like posting about music, which I suppose is hardly surprising. It's a life-long interest that precedes my involvement in video games by... well, actually not by all that much, now I come to think about it. Only by about six or seven years, if I'm honest. 

I bought my first grown-up record when I was about twelve or thirteen (It was "The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down" by Joan Baez, for some reason I cannot now begin to imagine.) I played my first game of Space Invaders when I was eighteen or nineteen. Really not much in it, from this far down the line.

Increasingly, as must be obvious, I also enjoy writing about my process. That's a truly terrible thing to admit in public. Then again, as a reader I always enjoy reading other people writing about their process, so maybe it's not so bad after all. 

The way the hobby, gaming and the culture in general seems to be heading, all of this seems worryingly appropriate. If you thought '80s self-centeredness or '90s post-modern irony were tough rides, you really aren't going to like where we're headed next. The biggest challenge over the next decade is going to be working out what "real" means and I'm pretty sure few of us are going to agree on where the lines are, let alone what it means to step across them.

Yosuke Matsuda, in his much-examined, oft-quoted New Year's Letter, says "2021 was dubbed the “Metaverse Year”. He might be the only one to call it that but you get his meaning. Matsuda also talks about last year as NFTs: Year One”. 

We've certainly heard plenty about both and not much of it good. It's been a while since anything dominated the entertainment news cycle to such a degree, while simultaneously receiving such negative feedback from both consumers and critics. 

Maybe it's all a lot of hype and hope. Wilhelm (Him again!) has an excellent overview on that. Whether it all turns out to be the next mobile revolution or just 3DTV only time will tell. Here's one data point, though. That ultra-controversial Matsuda letter raised Square Enix's share price 8% overnight.

This train ain't stopping 'til it hits the buffers and only when it does will we find out it it's the train or the buffers that get wrecked. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep on talking to myself in public and pretending I'm a DJ on a station no-one listens to. I'm building my own metaverse right here. Who's going to tell me I can't?


  1. Happy Blogoversary!

    Wait... You mean that PC is actually older than Inventory Full by a couple of years? Boy, it certainly feels like the roles were reversed, but I might have to attribute that to your constant output, which dwarfs my own.

    1. Thanks - not that it actually is an aniversary but I appreciate the sentiment! I actually created the blog in February 2010 but I didn't start posting until almost a year and a half later. Took me that long to decide i wanted to risk it. God knows what I thought was going to happen. Whatever it was, it hasn't happened yet.

  2. Congratulations! I for one am glad you stuck with it and enjoy your writing however far afield from mmorpgs and gaming in general it may stray.

    My hat's off to you for having the courage to write about whatever you want despite the illusory risk that somehow the galactic intellectual police force will come arrest you for the crime of being insubstantial... (Not guilty, I say). I can't say I've necessarily been able to overcome the same imaginary risk (or find the time needed to do a halfway decent job of it often enough). Hope springs eternal. Cheers.

    1. Thanks! I have to say that self-doubt over intellectual cred is something that's never bothered me one iota. I tend to veer to the other extreme, believing the intellectual value lies in perception rather than creation. I'm not opposed to the fundemental concept of an objective standard of aesthetic value. I just think no subjective perceiver is ever going to be able to define or even recognize it, should it actually exist.

      Also, on the subject of sticking with it, I'm always very happy to see another flury of posts from you. I hope something catches your interest in 2022 like Valheim did last year.

  3. If you haven't seen it, I think you might like this The Hard Times / Hard Drive post on gaming NFTs.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Heh! Thanks for the link. Makes me wonder if the Chinese government isn't behind all of this. They certainly seem to hate video games enough to be the ones.

  4. Congrats on the quasi-blogoversary! We all sure hope you keep on talking to yourself in public! ;-)


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