Why I Write Without Usually Taking Sides (or It’s Alright to be Wrong)

I’ve been looking for a way to discuss why I’m unlike most other bloggers. This is in the sense that I often write without taking sides on a particular issue, or in other cases write something simply to point out inconsistencies or other points of view that I can think of related to that particular topic.

Then my friend Bianca emailed me a link to this 18-minute video from TED Talks, which I think everyone should watch.

Go ahead and watch. This post will still be here when you come back.






Now it would probably seem appropriate now to make an assumption that I write without taking sides because I accept that there’s often more than one side to a story and that people can oftentimes have both categorically correct, reasonable points, or categorically wrong, unreasonable points in their rhetoric.

You would be correct in that assumption… 49% of the time. If you’re wondering about the other 51%, it’s a matter of the exact opposite idea.

Approximately 51% of the time, I write without taking sides because I do not wish to be wrong. By not taking sides and accepting that most things are relative or free to interpretation, I can write opinions without having an opinion and without getting objections to my ideas.

Of course, I could be wrong about the percentages: I do not stop to count which write-ups I’ve done have been made out of acceptance of opposing views or the fear of being wrong, but I can be sure of one thing: I am also uncertain of that uncertainty, as strange as that sounds.

It’s also highly possible that I write the way I do because I see both the fear of being wrong and the possibility of more than one side having merit, but cannot determine how much of the mix is there when I write. In fact, thinking about that possibility now, it seems to be the more likely bet.

That said, I’m writing this post to remind myself that it’s okay to take a side and to be wrong. I just have to accept my misconception, learn from it, and improve myself in the process.

The problem, I would suppose, is that not everyone is as open as regards being wrong. Without naming anyone, I do realize that some people are set in their ways. Still, there’s no reason to become enemies over differences in opinion, so long as everyone can learn to mellow out and talk diplomatically.

It’s alright to be wrong folks. Just saying. 🙂

Birthday Thanks, and the Origin of the Birthday Picture

For those wondering, the picture in my previous post is based on the guy and girl in the above video, who are cast members of the Japanese Tokusatsu show Kamen Rider OOO.

Moving back to the point of this post, I just wanted to address everyone who sent me birthday greetings, whether they were folks who sent me twitter greets, commented on the blog, sent me text messages, said “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, or just hugged me and told me they loved me.

This would include the following folks from the physical world and the Twitter/Blogging world.

  • My Parents
  • @Scarybooster (who even wore a dress to the gala event)
  • @Arkenor
  • @Moxiedoodle
  • @xxJayedubxx (who sent me the gift of Terraria)
  • @Stargrace
  • @G33kGoddess
  • @Scopique
  • @MMOGC
  • @MaeveMP
  • @SlurmsMP
  • Bonedead
  • Elementalistly
  • Jomu
  • and Pid

I may have missed Twitter notices, so I apologize for that. But thank you for sending good vibes my way. 🙂

To be honest, it’s not been a good couple of weeks for me, and so the support and love of so many people gives me some comfort when I need to focus on the things I need to do to get past my troubles.

Again, I thank you, and I love you all.

Now get back to doing what you were doing, so you don’t see me tearing up. 🙂

Bothered by a Decision: Failing The Month of Gradual MMO/Money Disuse

I was supposed to finish a post about quests in games, but I’ve been putting it off because I’m bothered by something I chose to do and want to stick to.

It’s simple really: for one month, I would play one free-to-play MMO for a maximum of 10 hours weekly and spend absolutely nothing on video games by completing single-player PC games I’ve yet to finish. There are primarily two reasons for doing this: the first is to gradually get used to not playing MMOs so that MMORPGs feel new and vibrant again, while the second is to save money as I’m dreadfully close to running on empty.

This started sometime last week when I began playing LOTRO again on the Landroval server and made my final purchase for a month: Brink for the PC.

Here’s what happened since then:

Instead of buying games, I bought other stuff. I purchased a Kindle version of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, then grew so obsessed with reading it on my bed that I convinced myself that I HAD TO HAVE a tablet to read the Kindle book on. $360 later, I became a Samsung Galaxy Tab (which my parents shelled out for after I explained my case) owner.

I got a new job.

I forgot I had started a no-purchase order and tried to buy The Witcher 2, but checked with my bank and found out that I would go over my limit if I bought it online, and in dejected response I spent $55 on junk food and assorted goods (Tablet accessories, dinner at a restaurant by myself, and a massage at a spa) within the span of three hours after finding out I couldn’t buy the Witcher 2 with my e-credit card.

Any halfway sane person can see that there is something inherently askew right now with my self-control mechanisms. I realize it, but I am having difficulty maintaining the restraint necessary to keep myself from doing stupid things like the above, which not only cause me to spend on myself unnecessarily, but also cause my parents to accede to some half-baked whim on my end.

I think my MMO burnout is a sign of something worse: that I have gotten so burnt out with doing things normally that I’m obsessing over the rush I get from spending money and watching a download meter rise on Steam. It’s not the game that I want; rather, it’s the purchase behind a game or other object that gives me pleasure, and that’s a scary thought.

Times like these, I either need a counselor or a support group, and I’m not sure I can afford either at this rate.

A Small Update: Sony’s PSN Servers Actually Up-to-Date (UPDATED)

Over on Bitmob, Brad Grenz wrote an update regarding the PSN issue that I think should be shared to people to quell some of the fear, uncertainty, and doubt currently plaguing the gaming public.

Grenz found a post on the Beyond3D forums that detailed what some quick thinking and even quicker researching could do. Writes Grenz,

One member of the Beyond3D forum, deathindustrial, was curious about the outdated server software claim and did a very brief amount of very interesting research into the issue….

(Beyond3D’s community has a unique combination of technically knowledgable user with a low rate of console fanboyism, allowing for an honest discussion of things like the PSN data breach without the conversation devolving into another proxy battle in the great fanboy wars.)

As it turns out, it is fairly simple to use Google’s webcache to show what version of Apache the PSN servers were using back in March. According to a page request archived by Google on March 23, 2011, at that time Sony was running version 2.2.17 of the software. You can see from Apache’s website that 2.2.17 is the latest stable version of the webserver available even today. This is a direct repudiation of the claims being made that Sony’s webservers were out of date by as much as five years.

In connection to this, the poster, deathindustrial, also noted the exact quote said by Dr. Stafford, the “security expert,” during the testimony before congress. Instead of turning there, it might be better if I link to Pete’s post over on Dragonchasers from a few days back, which has the quote written down but also put in video form. As it stands, Stafford had “no information about what protections they had in place,” which sort of makes his testimony a rather moot point.

Of course, we’re all still waiting for word on Sony’s PSN servers, but if we spread the word and get people to think more rationally about the situation, it may prove to our benefit that folks don’t jump to conclusions about the reputation of an entity as important as Sony.


I just had a thought about this. Seeing as Sony’s already mentioned and apologized for flaws in their security, it’s probably good to note that up-to-date servers may not necessarily mean completely secure servers (though I doubt there is something like a completely secure server, anyway, but I digress).

I’ll take my own advice and not make the logical leap from one idea to the next without thinking about it further. Apologies to all.


I checked back on the post that this write-up is based on, and there appears to be another wrinkle in the entire thing. Bitmob commenter Psycho Logikal is asserting that the news post written on Bitmob is inaccurate, for lack of a better way of putting it.

According to Psycho Logikal, the research done was in reference only to a subset of the servers Sony was using for PSN. If such is the case, then the article from Bitmob would be inaccurate to a certain degree by virtue of bad wording, but contains otherwise useful information.

I’ll watch the discussion for more information as it becomes available.

National Endowment for the Arts Recognizes Video Games as Art

While this is specific to America, it does set a wonderful precedent for video games in general. Icrontic reports that the National Endowment for the Arts has added “digital games” as a form of art that will be eligible for grants from the US government.

Here’s the pertinent portion of the text from the link Icrontic got:

The Arts in Media builds on the success of The Arts on Radio and Television. All project types that were previously eligible remain eligible. In addition, the expanded category now includes:

  • All available media platforms such as the Internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television.
  • Media projects that can be considered works of art.
I could think of a couple of ways this could work out, but Icrontic already mentioned some of the most important ones:

What does this actually mean for developers? It means that if a developer wants to create games for people, doesn’t want to charge money for them, but still wants to be able to eat, there is an option. One can apply for a grant, and potentially get paid by the government to be a creator, just as painters and sculptors have been able to do for many years.

And for the public it means that we may begin to see some video games of the ‘public’ works’ variety, games which are released for the world to enjoy, which may have good production values, but which are also not part of the commercial video games world. What these games will look like, we have no idea at this point, as it’s a completely new thing. The projects that receive funding are chosen by the agency, and there are not many guidelines or descriptions for what kinds of projects will be accepted.

Of course, that means that while grants are available, video game proposals may still not get chosen. The point, remains, however, that it is a step towards having society see video games as a new form of art, and that should give us pause.

The Mysterious Case of Marcia

I received a legitimate from Blizzard today that I found to be very weird.

Blizzard is trying to win back customers with a seven-day pass to World of Warcraft for inactive subscriptions. There was just one problem: The name affixed to this email, which was connected to my World of Warcraft account, was “Marcia.”

Who is Marcia? I haven’t the foggiest.

What I can say is that I grew worried and checked my account immediately upon receiving the email. I found that it was still intact, with my authenticator keeping security tight, and that the email was legitimate since there was a notice below my account offering me seven free days to return to Azeroth.

That process took all of four minutes, and yet I still had no idea where this Marcia person came from.

To that end, I sent a ticket to Blizzard so that it could be investigated, and they got back to me in less than five hours. The result, according to the CS rep, was thus:

I reviewed your account, and it appears that your Battle.net account *is* under your actual name. The discrepancy is with your World of Warcraft account, which appears to be under Marcia’s name at one point. Since the email was automatically sent out, it just looks like a little mistake on our computer’s part.

Of course, I shot back a follow-up question asking if the name could be changed to my name just so everything’s properly represented, but I expect them to get back to me on Monday. Still, at least I now sort of think I know the name of the person who hacked my WoW account so many years ago (unless it’s an alias or someone else’s name, of course). Here’s to hoping none of my accounts ever get hacked again.

My Secret Gaming Breaking Point

Most people have secrets when it comes to gaming. For instance, there are people who lie about the amount of time they’ve played a game, or others who use exploits to further their advancement in the game.

For me, however, it’s far more innocuous, but definitely potentially more expensive to maintain. You see, most people would assume that I enjoy playing games all the time.

The truth, however, is that I have a secret gaming breaking point, and unfortunately, it’s rather short.

While there is no official number of hours I would place on my breaking point, I have noticed that I tend to come back to games that I’ve spent at least two weeks in. Games that fail to capture my interest for any reason for at least two weeks are often forgotten entirely.

As such, I go through a rather large number of games on a yearly basis, and with MMOs, my current main preoccupation, I’ve noticed that despite finding so much to love with specific games, I still keep looking for something beyond the game I’m playing. My case in point right now is STO. I love the lore, and have meta-gamed it by reading up so much that I’m excited to play, and yet here I am downloading a different game to test my mettle on.

Is it because I find something missing in the game, or is something changing in me that I can’t understand yet?

In any event, it’s probably why I wrote that entry about five MMOs I’m excited to play. Possibly because I can’t seem to be satisfied, which is kind of weird.

Do any of you experience this? What is your gaming breaking point? Is it based upon an arbitrary time frame, or upon sensing a realization, or upon getting burnt out?

Tackling Thought-Provoking Issues Takes Time and Mental Fortitude

At present, I’m not exactly in the mindset to really write well-prepared articles. Without making it sound overly dramatic, my dad’s in the hospital and is under observation at the moment for something painful, but not necessarily serious. I’m going over there later to watch over him, and so I’ve been trying to take my mind off of things by playing games and thinking about the things I like about games, such as the sense of advancement, the enjoyment of story, the ability to tell stories, and the short-term glories that achievements and new equipment bring.

That said, there are a couple of items I’d like to link to for your perusal, and these are articles that I find rather well-written, yet cannot completely agree with from my own personal standpoint.

The first one is a link I got from Tobold, and it’s about how achievements in games are essentially fake.

The second is actually a blog post from a blogger that people elsewhere have linked to. The pertinent quote here is thus:

Because I’m no longer interested in the pixel rewards my characters can earn.  WoW has conditioned me to accept that they’re transient and entirely pointless.  The only thing of value to be gained from MMOs is the experience of playing the game itself.

I’ll try to have a more decent post on this matter when I have the time and compulsion, but well, feel free to read and chime in on both here or on their respective blogs.