February 3rd, 2016

Life is...a game

Hello, LiveJournal. It's been a long time. Four years, as a matter of fact.

I've been inspired to try journaling again by the game Life Is Strange.

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In the game, the main character Max journals the events of the game as you go along. You never actually see her do it, but you can read the entries as you play. I'm in the midst of my third playthrough of this game, but this is the first time I've really bothered to read through her journal entries and I've really been enjoying them.

Since the game is about the choices you make, you the journal naturally changes based on those choices. Even though I just played through the various scenes and saw how things went down, it's kind of neat to read what is essentially a recap of those events since you get a little insight into her perspective on them. It adds yet another layer to the already rich story and characters in the game.

Wait, I said I wasn't intending this entry to be about the game.

Anyway, I don't really expect to have anything particularly deep or interesting to record right now, but I would like to try to get back into the habit of at least writing something more than the trite bullshit I tend to post on Facebook. And since I have a notoriously terrible memory maybe I'll have a reference for at least some of the stuff that goes on in this life I'm living.

I'm not going to commit to any sort of regular schedule. Heck, I've already managed to put this off for the last two nights. Hopefully, if I can at least get started (like I'm doing now) and maybe do it a few times, that I'll at least remember that this is here and actually consider it on my list of potential things to do.

I feel like my writing skills are slowly dissolving into nothing due to simple lack of use. Actually, I feel like my creativity in general is nearly non-existent. I do a lot of consuming, but I don't really take the time to create anything lately and I've been noticing that I'm missing it. This isn't feeling especially creative just yet, but it's at least more than nothing.

Well, that turned into essentially a giant intro before I knew it. I guess I'm still verbose. let's get on with the actual, traditional journaling activity...

Last night was kind of cool. Jeremy Brown came over and we started building a MAME cabinet. Jeremy was among the very first group of people I met playing DDR as he actually worked at GameWorks at that time. I had actually lost touch with him for years, but he had a chance encounter with Jon Mittendorf--another of that original DDR group--around this time last year and Jon "reintroduced" us.

This MAME cabinet has been on the project list for probably 15-20 years. I've just been "distracted" by the non-emulation side of arcade gaming. :P Most of the arcade games I'm interested in playing, the cabinet itself is part of the experience, so it's important (to me) to have each dedicated cabinet rather than a single "generic" cabinet to play several games. For the typical joystick-and-buttons type games, I've mostly been content to simply play on a PC or console--or while I'm out playing games in a "real" arcade.

but, the idea of having an emulation cabinet has certainly been something I've thought about for a long time. I'm sure it actually pre-dates my interest in all these more novelty games like DDR. But I think it's really more the project part of putting it together that interests me more than the cabinet itself otherwise I would have just bought a pre-built one years ago.

I did pick up a pair of old Pac-Man cocktail cabinets...back in 2009? Maybe 2010. They were non-working and came with a bunch of extra parts. It was probably like 2.5 machines worth of parts and the two cabinets themselves. I was able to piece together one working Pac-Man from all that way back then, and I set aside the other cabinet for a MAME project. In 2012, I bought some parts to start that project (that was the date on the invoice when I opened the box...last night). Here we are in 2016 and I'm finally actually starting to do some work on this. At least my pace is...accelerating?

I haven't had a chance to really sit down and talk to Jeremy much since we've reconnected, so we spent a lot of time just catching up and talking about whatever. And frankly, that's the highlight of this project for me already. But we did manage to get the spare cabinet out of storage, stripped down, and cleaned out.

We're trying to figure out how to adapt an old CRT computer monitor that's been sitting under the pool table for at least the last 5 years. I think it took us at least 90 minutes just to get it out of its shell. Getting it mounted securely in the cocktail cabinet will be our next challenge. We have some ideas, but it's definitely going to be just that...a challenge.

I'm realizing that I uncharactistically didn't take any pictures of any of this work. Shame on me. I'll have to remember to do better next time. We're set to continue working on this next week.

I guess I'll call this good for a first time back on LJ in 4 years. I can probably think of some more things to write about, but I'll save them for the next entry. Hopefully that will come sooner than 4 years from now. I definitely want to get back into this and am willing to invest some time in it, but I've been sitting here almost an hour now and I'm ready to move on to something else.