Go to Xpchronicles.com

Most of you have seen no change to the site, especially if your feeds and bookmarks work at xpchronicles.com

For those of you who might be using WordPress.com to keep up, you’ll need to update your bookmarks. I’m no longer hosted at WordPress.com! This means when I write something new, you’re not going to know it unless you’re visiting xpchronicles.com.

Again, most of you have nothing to worry about, especially if you use Twitter anyway. Just reminder to make sure the word is out.

Minor Site Updates

In the coming weeks I’ll be migrating my blog back to my own self-hosting service! WOOT! You may be wondering “again??”, but trust me I really needed to have the site managed the past few months. Site maintenance is time consuming and I’ve got a growing family here. So time is precious. But I’ve longed for the day I could have the time to self-host once again and it has arrived. Albeit a lot sooner than I was expecting. My job schedule has seen my hours dwindle and I’ve become more of a stay at home dad. I’m still working, but not as much. That means I can run my own site once again. Life changes and I with it. You can read about some of the perks of self-hosting here if you’re curious.

The change for you, reader, should be mostly unnoticeable except for a few improved features. The RSS may lag for a day, but the feed address isn’t changing so your service shouldn’t be interrupted. For those of you who use the WordPress.com Reader, you’ll need to use my feed address in the future, or just follow me on Twitter.

The site address will also remain the same (xpchronicles.com), so going to your bookmark should be no problem. As this site is currently managed by WordPress.com, the default address will revert to xpchronicles.wordpress.com and remain for the next few months, but it’ll be inactive.

If you experience ANY trouble during this change, please contact me personally via email. If things really go to hell, I can be found via Twitter @trredskies, Steam and the NBI website and forums.

Thanks for your patience during this change!

Site Update: Gaming Guides and Modding

I’ve written a few game guides over the years, but for some reason I never really published them to my blog. So, that’s going to change. Any guides I write for any community will become available right here!

Here are the currently available guides, which you can find in the Game Guides section on the top nav:

Some of them are on Steam, where I originally published them. I like doing the Steam guides because it’s easy to keep up with player feedback. However, the editing tools are extremely limited so publishing them here will give me a chance to make them easier to browse and read.

If you’d like to see a guide for one of your favorite games, let me know.

Escaping to Remember and Forget

Game bloggers are expected to write only about games. Happy articles. Happy articles are the sort that are always glad about games, and always have some awesome experience to share, or tell of some incredible event we’re all looking forward to. If the work doesn’t fall under this rule then it’s automatically the serious sort. Games are un-serious and all writing about them should be the same. Don’t bring anything else into it, or it will pollute the experience. It’s only an escape if we leave out all those things we’re escaping from. These serious articles are the ones that nitpick at popular problems or anything that deals with culture and politics. That last one isn’t really considered serious so much as totally inappropriate for gaming. XP Chronicles has a much sharper focus on gamer politics, a slight departure from T.R. Red Skies which focused much more on in-game experiences. I write now more about out of game experiences that affect the gaming community. Why the change?

My country and community has always asked me to be apolitical, to buy my coffee, enjoy my sofa, and have some popcorn with my video games. It asks me to not pay attention, to not be distracted from the fantasy, to not get involved. Society asks me to consume, consume, consume, to not count my dollars, not to miss a sale, to not worry about ethics. My community asks me to be numb and to ignore the messages in my games, because there are no messages.

Would that I could. There are politics in gaming. There is culture. There are people. We are living. When I’m swept away into my favorite fantasies, I can’t forget that there’s a world I return to soon after, that fellow avatars in-game are feelings, thoughts, and desires — not pixels. I can’t ignore the relationship of my fantasies to my reality.

Should we laugh more than we weep? About the same? 60/40? How many happy articles makes up for a serious one?

The Privilege of Games

As much as I as discuss sexism, racism and general bigotry, there’s one obvious thing that towers above and behind those, serving as the backdrop to them. It’s the fact that gamers are part of a very privileged group. Men and women, brown or white. Having the luxury of turning on a video game and escaping into virtual words is a privilege many people don’t have. The very act means I choose to escape the everyday. There are millions of people who cannot escape their reality.

It feels strange to think of gamers as this relatively wealthy group, which we are, all things considered. That’s doubly true for PC gamers. Our equipment is expensive to buy and requires upkeep (security software, peripherals, etc) as well as an internet connection — even as many of us are poor and impoverished. That “always online” lifestyle, regardless of income, means we have income and are part of a privileged group who can buy a respite from the real world and escape into the virtual.

To have the option to take a break from the emotionally exhausting work of activism, is a privilege for me. I grew up in the lowest class I could as a white male and have still managed to maintain a privileged position in this community. My life story was written in poverty. That fact is always hanging over me so I never forget that I can be homeless once more. That experience sits with me at my keyboard every time I write. This is why I write so much about the political. It’s my life.

I know of dozens of gamers who write about politics and culture, some of them all the time, some of them only occasionally. I also know just as many who actively avoid it because for them, this is a space to escape political realities. For many (a number we might all be uncomfortable with should it be revealed), this escape into games is what keeps them alive– their realities are unbearable. Gaming is survival for them. It’s important to have a safe escape, a safe place, and games give that to many of us.

Been There

Imagine you couldn’t turn on your computer ever again, couldn’t connect with fellow gamers, writers — and your circumstances were dire at home (abuse, poverty, homelessness). You could be easily forgotten in your dark place, no one caring, no one ever mentioning the fact that you’re not there. How lonely would that place be? How terrifying? How hopeless?

As futile as it may seem, I don’t think I could stop writing about the political. For me, it’s a responsibility, a promise to never forget my darkest days, when I knew no one noticed I was missing or there — passersby having their latte, in their cars, in their warm coats and full bellies — I was invisible. I was eleven. I’m political for my 11-year old self. There are more of me out there, different colors, different situations, all hoping no one has forgotten them. Writing for me is remembering.

When I’m not writing, I’m doing. In my old hometown, I established a safe routes network for the homeless, where they can pick up things they need no matter where they are. At home, I work with my wife to spread awareness and provide support to people in need. Since the birth of our last child, we’ve been able to do less of that than we’d hoped, but in the meantime we both write. Writing is powerful.

I had no purpose in writing this — it’s more of a diary entry than I ever do, but I wanted to today. I rarely write about the reasons I write, but perhaps it would be good to remember to do that as well.

The Cook Off Begins

Alright, it’s time I make this official and actually try to organize a real competition for this.

It all started with friendly posturing with j3w3l and Syl about playing Cook, Serve, Delicious together to see who could get the highest combos for a given menu. I have yet to organize a time/date for the event and this is good time to do so.

Jeromai also announced his ownership of this lovely casual game and with that I’m hoping this announcement finds more of you either with the game or interested in watching the Cook Off (I’ll be broadcasting my own via Twitch.

In the name of time zone synchronization, the Cook Off will be:

  • 1 Week Long: February 5th – February 12th
  • Any Steam Leaderboard menu (visible in-game)
  • Iron Cook Pasta Challenge

So what’s the prize in all of this? The cook with the highest number of combos for these menus gets to make the next menu for the next Cook Off! Eventually, I’ll hand out a game key for the winners depending on participation and enthusiasm for the event.

Event discussion is over at the NBI HQ Forums or the comments below!


Scree Tags: #cookservedelicous #bloggames