10 Reasons I’m Still Blogging About CRPGs After 10 Years

From The CRPG Addict

In case you’re not already aware, the 10th anniversary of the CRPG Addict is coming up on 15 February 2020. Other than my marriage, which turns 21 this month, I can’t think of anything that I’ve stuck with for 10 years. Since 2010, I’ve moved five times (it will soon be six), switched primary jobs three times, started and abandoned dozens of diet and exercise programs, made and lost several friends, and, if we’re being honest, even tried to quit the blog once. Spoiler: it didn’t work.
In recognition of my 10th anniversary, I’ve decided that for the next four months, I will periodically pen a special entry plumbing this project’s past. I’ve written down several ideas but I would welcome more:
  • The 10 best comments ever received
  • 10 times I was very wrong
  • 10 great discoveries
  • The 10 most frustrating threads
But I’m starting today–mostly because I haven’t done enough with Fantasyland 2041 to round out a full entry–with my list of 10 reasons I’m still pursuing this hopeless task to play all CRPGs.
10. Commentary on art is important.
In thinking about art, in analyzing it, in discussing it, we make it part of us; we make it live in a way that transcends the creator’s pen or brush. One of the things I was “very wrong” about is when I agreed with Roger Ebert that video games are not art. At first I thought I was wrong because of a failure of definition: “art” is too complex a concept to be subjected to, to be generalized with, an “is.” Now I think I was wrong just because I was wrong. You hardly have to twist the definition of “art” to make it encompass video games; you only have to abandon certain unfortunate prejudices. 
Perhaps the most important proof that video games are art is the level of critique that they provoke. Over the last 10 years, you and I have dissected hundreds of games and discussed how their plots, themes, mechanics, and artwork do and do not work, do and do not satisfy, on every level from aesthetic to socio-political. These are the same discussions that people have about paintings, books, films, and music.

I believe that there is incredible value to this commentary–not because either the art or the commentary is necessary to human existence, but precisely because it isn’t. The measure of a great civilization must surely be how much time it devotes to unnecessary things. Oh, we certainly have some lingering problems, but what more testament do you need to our victories over hunger, disease, and violence than the existence of Keeping up with the Karashians, pet chiropractors, and a blog that spends decades chronicling every video game in a niche genre?

9. It’s a nice contrast with reality.
To protect my anonymity, I don’t discuss my “real” job on my blog. But suffice to say it’s unlike playing computer role-playing games. It does not involve any art or entertainment, or the creation thereof, or the consumption thereof. It is worldly and necessary, about making existence sufferable rather than actually enjoyable  I’m not going to pretend that I play computer role-playing games as an antidote–I was addicted to them long before I had this job–but certainly this blog, in contrasting with the work I do during the rest of the day, fills my life with more variety than I would otherwise enjoy.
8. It makes me a better writer.
Communication skills are important in just about every profession and every walk of society. Because of this blog, I’ve written over 2 million words, the equivalent of about 5 door-stopper novels, in less than a decade. I’ve certainly put in the 10,000 hours that are supposed to make you an expert at something.
7. I learn things.
Once, I scoffed at the idea that RPGs actually taught you anything. But 10 years later, I find myself with a nascent ability to read German, much greater knowledge of the history and culture of Finland, a better understanding of classical mythology, and a large number of new technical skills. A lot of this learning, of course, has less to do with the games than with the discussions that we have on the blog, but this post is about why I’m still blogging, not just playing.
6. Maybe one day I’ll work on an RPG.
The more I think about it, the more I think it would be fun to participate in the development of an actual game. I can’t bring any technical skill to such an endeavor, but at least I can say that I have overall subject matter skill.
5. It’s making me some pocket money.
This obviously isn’t a major consideration because I only started my Patreon account this year. But thanks to my awesome supporters, I’m taking Irene to Chicago in a couple of weeks. This makes her feel a lot better about the time I spent on the blog.
4. It captures what might otherwise be forgotten.
In the last 10 years, we’ve uncovered and exhaustively explored many games that would have been utterly lost otherwise. I’m not the only one doing this, of course–Jimmy Maher and Matt Barton deserve particular accolades. But I like that I play a unique niche in this community by often being the only one to fully play a game from beginning to end.
3. I no longer feel like I’m wasting time playing CRPGs.

I used to beat myself up–a lot–for how much time I spent on computer role-playing games. I felt particularly bad about playing them to the exclusion of doing things with Irene. I haven’t felt that way in a long time. The blog “legitimizes” my hobby in a way that I wouldn’t have anticipated–not only because it’s my blog but because it engages me in discussions with other fans of the genre. Prior to 2010, my CRPG addiction was a solitary, lonely, shameful experience. Post-2010, it is a community experience that adds value to a global understanding of this art form. What a change.

2. I really enjoy the discussions.

Early on, I thought that I would probably keep blogging even if I didn’t have any commenters, just because I enjoyed the experience of blogging itself. Now, I’m not so sure. I think my blog would be missing something without all of the great comments that expand, supplement, and sometimes correct my own observations. I find myself looking forward to what certain commenters will have to say about certain aspects of a game, and I eagerly check in with comments a few hours after each posting.

1. I still think I can make it.

I don’t know why I persist in this delusion. I can see for myself how many games lie both behind me and ahead of me on the “master list.” And yet some part of me believes that I’ll reject a lot of them, or that the process will go faster as they get more “playable,” or that I’ll somehow find a lot more time to spend on the project. Either way, my quest to be the One Man who has played all computer RPGs continues with Fantasyland 2041. Very soon.

Original URL: http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2019/10/10-reasons-im-still-blogging-about.html