Friday, February 26, 2010

Ode to hobbies gone by...

Although it may have taken me some time to come to grips with the reality here, there are a few hobbies of mine that, quite frankly, I don't think I'll ever revisit again.

1) LEGO's. I've been a fan of model-making for a long time, and the idea of using these semi-universal building blocks to create those models is something that I've been a fan of for a long time. For some time now as an adult, I've continued to follow the releases of LEGO, buy a few sets now and then, and even every so often I'll break them out and reassemble them.

But, for several years now, I haven't really done that, and even when I have, the urge has left me again so quickly that I've had to come to grips with the fact that, quite frankly, I don't really care that much anymore. I still think a well done gigantic LEGO model, built by an adult with an eye for good aesthetics, is pretty cool. But, that's it. I'll never be one of those guys, and I don't care anymore. I guess I finally did grow up... at least a little bit!

2) Model railroading. I never really did have the time, money, or space to invest in this hobby, but for many, many years I was fascinated by it, and I'd dabble at the edges of it, doing a small model here and there, and buying Kalmbach books and magazines on the hobby. The attention to detail and the exacting replication of reality that the hobby represents is still a fascinating thing to me, but I've come to grips, yet again, that I'll never have a model railroad layout in my basement. Even when the kids do finally move out. I'd just rather do something else with my time.

Anyone I know have one, though, I won't say no to an invitation to come play with it for an evening every so often.

3) Games Workshop. This is another hobby where I kinda flitted around the edges, not really having the time or money to invest in the assembling, painting and playing with massive armies of miniature figures. I've bought probably a hundred (maybe more) White Dwarf magazines, though, and I thought maybe I could get in through the smaller investment of playing Blood Bowl. I like Blood Bowl, especially as it existed shortly after the release of the Third Edition... with a few add-on rules that Jervis Johnson (the games designer) had released on the old bbowl-l listserve. Of which I was a member. Had great fun playing it in college.

More recently, I had a pretty good time playing it with a number of other guys, literally every single one of which has moved away since. However, it is clear to me that the direction the game is going is not to my taste. In the interest of appealing more to the long-running leagues of players who prefer a less sloppy, more balanced, less chaotic "chess-player favoring" experience, the game has lost much of what I enjoyed about it most. I mean, I still have the old rules, but getting copy for anyone else to play with me is tricky.

Not only that, the last several times, over the last several years, that I've sat down to paint a miniature, I found the experience tedious and frustrating, instead of fun and exciting like I used to. I've accepted, finally, that it's OK that I don't want to do that anymore. I just don't care. This hobby and I have moved our separate direction.

4) Heroes of Might and Magic. Eleven or twelve years ago, I was really big into this game. Maybe even a little bit longer ago than that. I was a member of the Statesman's Quill, an adjunct mailing list that was part of the venerable AstralWizard's site, all dedicated to this game. I was an extremely active member of that site, as a matter of fact. I wrote some shared fiction short stories around the setting, or rather, one that we kinda concocted. I was big specifically into Heroes 2 and Heroes 3. I think where I started to tail off was with the release of Heroes 4. That game really did not live up to the expectations that I had for it after Heroes 3. So, I wandered into some alternatives, like Disciples 2 or Age of Wonders.

Then, gradually, I just kinda wandered out of them completely. My interest briefly surged when my oldest son found those games and got heavily interested in them himself. But really, I was more interested in spending the time with him than in the game itself; I spent very little time on them (or any other computer games) on my own. Computer games and me: we've parted ways. I still come back to my console game hobby, in fact I've got another blog dedicated specifically to those, although I imagine that it will go through periods of months at a time where it lies fallow, and other times when it flares up to sudden life. But after years and years... I'm pretty confident I won't come back to my computer games anymore.

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