It’s almost time for Halloween, Central Canada Comic Con, and JimCon. That means it’s the end of the convention year for Shared Weave Games. This time of year always feels like new-years to me, as I’m sure it does for many others who count the passage of time by convention seasons.
For me, this year has been one of change, introspection, nostalgia, and creative endeavour.
We saw the launch of a new (and somehow old) edition of Dungeons & Dragons. We’ve seen incredible new RPGs like Numenera, and 13th Age come into their own. Feng Shui is getting a new edition, and Battletech is making a comeback on the table. It’s a renaissance on the tabletop that, like the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, is both invigoratingly new, yet comfortingly familiar.
This renaissance isn’t only happening on the tabletop. We’ve also been watching a resurgence of beloved genres on the digital platform thanks to the phenomena of Crowd Funding, that we’ve been told were long dead by “industry insiders”, and corporate executives, due to what they claimed was “a lack of fan interest”.
We’ve seen fantastically successful campaigns by inXile Entertainment, which have fed a resurgence of the classic CRPG with titles like Wasteland 2, and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
inExile is still taking pledges directly so they can add even MORE content to torment. The current stretch is to fund the re-addition of “The Gullet”. Go on over and get in on that. In on pledging. Not into the gullet.
The Space Sim genre (in my opinion, the best digital role-playing platform on the planet) is being outright resurrected thanks to the legendary Chris Roberts, and the his company Roberts Space Industries. They had an unimaginably successful crowd funding campaign for it’s drool-inducing game, Star Citizen.
I’ve reminisced on the past, and realized that major mundane life events, changes, and milestones have coincided with major changes in my Gaming Life. Moving through elementary school to junior high, junior high to high school, and high school to adult life led to changes in gaming groups, and introduction to new games. Financial hardship led to me needing to develop games, and/or to repurpose games I already had.
Clue: The RPG anyone?
Since my extended brush with death that my family calls the dark period (2008-2011), I’ve reevaluated every priority I’ve ever held. The disease is currently in remission, but it may come back at any time and do me in, slow and painful. I got to thinking… if that happens, none of the games I created when I was poor will ever be able to be enjoyed by anyone else. My children will never know the kinds of things that their dad made. I will have left nothing.
In 2010, I started frantically working on writing down all of the games, systems, and worlds that I have in my head, desperately trying to get them out. While none of them are ready to be released yet, I feel better for having writ them into a place where my work can at least be continued, should the disease rise from its torpor. Over da’ Boards is the closest to my heart, as it’s the first game I ever created (I was 11 years old), but it’s the most complex of the games to release, and still needs rigorous testing. It’s going to be Shared Weave’s flagship, and after playing it constantly over the last four years, I can honestly say that you’re in for a treat when the first whistle blows.
In the process of getting the games out of my head, I think something came loose, like the cap of a fire hydrant. I started this blog, a doodle page, three comics (The Sacred Ice, RPG Knights, Bubbles!), a vlog, and I’ve been busy rewriting famous songs into gaming filk. All of this on top of writing and running a 13th Age campaign, a Pathfinder campaign, various one-shots to run demos for Numenera and other RPGs, AND write enough down to be an entertaining panel guest, when I’m invited to speak.
While the site and the company were launched as a platform to sell games, ironically, it’s the blog, the comics, and the appearances that have garnered the site the vast majority of its regular readership. If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d have a thousand regular readers for this kind of thing, I’d have told you that you were a few sanity points short of a cultist.
All in all, 2014 has been a great year. I’ve met hundreds of amazing people, in this vast family we call the gaming community. While we’ve heard some terrible, hateful things come out of the vocal, psychotic fringe of our community, I am proud to say that I never saw anyone treat anyone else with disrespect or unkindness in all of my travels. The people around me welcomed me, and everyone else around them with open arms and open minds, regardless of differences.
When I wrote the dedication for JimCon last year, I celebrated all of you, and thanked you for the life I’ve had. I’d like to thank you again, and ask that you help heal our community by spreading welcoming acceptance, kindness, and love to our brothers and sisters of gaming.