Sunday, February 20, 2011

My New Media Diet: Consume Less, Digest More

I’ve been struggling with something for a while and have had a hard time putting it into words. But the more I ponder it, the more I think it boils down to a fairly simple problem. I consume a ridiculous amount of media on a daily basis. I read comics in print, on my computer, my iPhone and my eReader. I watch shows and movies on my TV, iPhone and computer.

I read books and magazines on my eReader, my computer and in print. I play games on my computer, iPhone, and consoles.  On top of that , I listen to podcasts every day on my way to and from work, and even at work, if I can get away with it. And as someone who grew up loving books, games, comics, movies, shows, having access to media the way we do now should be like living in paradise for me.

But I’m starting to hate it. Because in the interest of consuming as much media as possible, there’s almost no time to reflect on what I’m consuming. And if I don’t take time to think about, evaluate, discuss and process the things I’m consuming, then I don’t even really enjoy them (or dislike them, for that matter). I can’t even remember half the stuff I read or watch, because I don’t take any time to reflect on it, I just move on to the next thing.

Secret Identity has been both good and bad for me when it comes to this struggle I’m having. On the one hand, Matt and I limiting our reviews to a few books each a week allows us to have about a 10-minute dicussion on each, which is a decent amount for a single issue of a comic book. On the other hand, forcing myself to watch as many shows as possible during a given week so I can regurgitate them in the Boob Tube/Big Screen Blitzkrieg segment isn’t really the way I want to enjoy movies and TV.

So, my plan moving forward is that I will be consuming less, and digesting more. For those who listen to the podcast, you’ll still hear all the things you’re used to hearing every week. But, I do plan on adding a new segment to the show from time to time, where I’ll be taking a more in-depth look at a movie, comic game, show, etc. I also plan on writing some articles on the SI website that will be deeper dicsussions as well.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Adventures in RPG Design, Part 1: Keep it Simple, Stupid

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I'm working on designing a pen-and-paper roleplaying game. While I've kicked around a bunch of ideas over the past year or so, I am moving full steam ahead with the project now. What's both great and challenging about RPGs is they run the gamut from simple storytelling systems with almost no mechanics, to math-intensive, stat-saturated systems where every possible action has a number attached to it.

For the RPG I'm creating, I am using the KISS approach as my overriding theme: Keep It Simple, Stupid. This RPG is aimed at comic fans who may not have grown up playing D&D like I did, and may not be familiar with roleplaying games at all. So, I need something that has a few core mechanics that are simple to understand and can be learned quickly.

Taking a bit of inspiration from the great FUDGE RPG, as well as the original D&D, I have come up with a core mechanic that I think is simple but effective. Over the next few months, I'll be talking about the core mechanic, as well as the other pieces of the game that are coming together right now. For today though, I'll reveal this tidbit: the system will be D6-based. That means it will use six-sided dice to resolve actions in the game.

This was a tough decision, because six-sided dice are not as cool or flashy as their 10, 12 and 20-sided brethren. However, they are more accessible to the average person, and they can be found everywhere. In the interest of keeping my RPG simple and accessible, I felt that having it be D6-based was the way to go.

In the next installment of Adventures in RPG design, I'll get into the core mechanic I mentioned earlier.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Best Super Bowl Commercial Ever

Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, people gather around the TV to watch the big event. Of course, I'm talking about the Super Bowl ads that companies spend millions of dollars on. There are some real gems every year, but in all of my years of watching Super Bowl commercials, there is one ad that will never be topped.  In 2003, Reebok introduced the world to Terry Tate, Office Linebacker.  It is without a doubt the funniest commercial I have ever seen.