Wednesday, May 30, 2007

About me and this blog

I’m known as Etelmik. Most people pronounce that as ETal-mick, but it’s supposed to be “uh-TELL-mick.” I can’t figure out another made up name that doesn’t sound like it came from Greek or Latin. I used to have a different moniker, one I occasionally use.

I am one of those guys in his 20s who goes around saying “man, I’ve been playing games for over 20 years. Ever since I was 5.” That’s when I got an 8-bit Nintendo, and ever since then I have had a keen interest in them. I once took a two-year hiatus from them when I lived in Australia, and another time I took a one-year hiatus from them when trying to reorganize my life. Only one more thing I can say about trying to quit: it’s not good to quit them completely if you’re going to resent others’ playing them and enjoying them. So now, I can go without them for a while, but seriously—I love my games.

The most recent console I’ve owned is an N64, which makes me a dinosaur in the world of consoles. At the moment, I’m not playing console games because I have recently moved and don’t know anyone to play with. Maybe in the future I’ll get back into it.

All gaming money was spent on a PC and accessories and upgrades. I own a modest machine that can play anything. P4, ATI X800 XL card, 2 gigs of RAM. I play WoW, CS: Source, Warcraft 3 and DOTA. I used to play CoD2 and UT2k4, and I’m excited about the Starcraft II announcement.


I’ve almost graduated from college and am currently working for PowerUp Games, a company that enables you to test beta versions of games and gives publishers and developers the chance to get feedback from gamers all over the globe. However, the opinions of this blog are mine and mine alone, not that of PowerUp Games.

I’m a gamer who is interested in a variety of topics. I’m interested in the future of the industry and the success of various consoles and companies. I’m interested in what will become of video games and their relationship to other media and to society. I’m interested to see if politicians will use them as easy targets to boost their reputations as men of change. I’m interested to see what will become of professional video gaming and its audiences. I am interested to see what people have done with games and what they mean to other people and what games are becoming to people.

In short, if it has to do with video games, I’m interested in it. If that’s you, stick around—and make sure to comment!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Life is good when she plays too--maybe

It’s been a long time since 2005. I didn’t know what to say then, so I didn’t write anything even though I’d made the blog. But now things are different. I got married, for one thing. I remember a scene from our first apartment quite clearly.

"Etelmik, honey? Could you please send me twelve [silver]? I need it to train Sweetspirit."

I obey my wife's request and I log into her character, the one she made and leveled on my account and whom we plan to transfer soon. She is a level 41 paladin and she has, oh, say, more than 12 silver.

I get to the mail box and do something I do with unfailing automation: I see that some auctions have been successful and so I grab the money in the envelopes for her before sending her character the money.

"Muschie (that isn't her real name any more than mine's Etelmik), you sold some auctions, including your elemental water and your purple lotus for 8 gold. I--"

"Did you check my mail?" she cuts me off.

"Um…yes," I say, realizing the import.

"Why'd you check my mail?! I love checking my mail. Why'd you do that?"

"Um…I'm sorry," I say, unsure of what to say.

"I'll do it," she says, walking the 8 feet from one corner of the living room to the other, to my computer. She starts sending mail to herself, and start feeling a sense of pride that I am certain is akin to the kind of pride a parent has for a child's first: not first steps, but some sort of. First time backing the car out of the driveway, perhaps.

"That's so cute," I say.


"I'm so proud of you."

"What are you talking about?"

"You're twinking yourself! You're already twinking yourself! I'm so proud of you."

"You're making fun of

"No, I'm not! I'm just proud of you. You're already sending yourself money so you can level more quickly."

"Okay, I'm done," she says. She is, as I write this, making money so she can go train for her druid abilities.

In 2005 and 2006 I had no idea what I wanted to do for work for the rest of my life, and I had no idea how my gamer lifestyle would fit in with a life of marriage, which my conservative and religious background had prepared me for, or a job and kids, for that matter. “How do Mike and Jerry do it?” I once wondered. Now, by some bizarre divine mercy, I now live the following life:

1. I have a cable connection and 2 computers at home, both of which can play today's games.
2. I work from home.
3. My wife does not work.
4. My wife now plays World of Warcraft, and we just got her her own account.
5. I work for a company in the video game industry, PowerUp games.

What does all this mean? I play WoW with my wife. When she's sick of playing with me (see above) I can do some more work and write blog entries and help my boss write his materials. It means that provided we have the necessary food I could (though I wouldn't) stay inside for an entire week and I would never be bored, and would still make money to pay the rent and utilities. Video games support my lifestyle.

Of course, it also supports tension and stress--now it's not just me, the gamer, who is tied to the game, it's my wife. It's the whole family. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Video games are much more enjoyable and relaxing when everyone else knows about it, accepts it as a part of life, and understands they're value.

I don't play to escape. Video games are better when they’re not being used to escape. No one should have to escape by using games. If anything, games should sometimes be something escape from. Think on that.

And while you're thinking on that, I'm going to go play Counter-Strike.

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