Bad writing from my early years...
In which I look back in dread on the game reviews I wrote as part of my supremely cool high school job.
In high school--and this will probably not come as a surprise--I worked at a tabletop gaming store. I started with the usual cash register, stocking shelfs, checking inventory sort of stuff, but quickly moved into managing the online store they ran. I was reminded of this recently and it took me on a nostalgia trip, digging through the Internet Archive for the site, Discount Games. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first online gaming store, and for a few of my teenage years, I ran basically all its day-to-day operations. (That I could do such a thing, without much help, says a lot about how small scale e-commerce was back in the mid-90s.)
This memory lane trip lead me to the product reviews I published on the site, mostly as a scheme to get my bosses to give me free product. Not that I needed more gaming products, as I'd already scored a 50% employee discount, with the result that pretty much every dollar I earned was channeled right back into RPGs, card games, and miniatures. Over the summer, I went through all of it as part of cleaning out my old stuff at my mom's as she was selling the place and, well, there was more of it than any person reasonably ought to have owned.
Anyway, those reviews are here. And, man, are they bad. Not just the prose, which I'm happy to see is something I've improved with 25 years practice, but also stuff like critiquing the games for their "fun" factor. Which I explain is a measure of how the game actually plays at the table, but don't note that, with one exception, I never actually played any of these games. I instead read them, and probably not even from cover to cover, and imagined how they'd play.
I also had a weird thing for "realism" in the rules. Good rules were "realistic" rules, not rules that did a good job supporting the kind of stories the game was intended to help players tell. It's a striking example of how much the RPG industry has changed, and my tastes along with it.
Anyway, it was fun browsing through my old stomping grounds. Discount Games was a super cool gig, and way more fun than most high school jobs.
That's it for this time. But I'm working on a big defense of The Rise of Skywalker as not just a good Star Wars film, but as a fantastic ending to the nine movie Skywalker Saga. Seriously, people who think Rise is bad are deeply confused and probably don't even actually like Star Wars. Look for that in your inbox soon.