As the year wanders towards its conclusion, a certain amount of reflection is pretty much inevitable. Along with birthdays and anniversaries, the end of a year is a natural “save point,” if you will.
I’ve been thinking back a lot over this year; it’s been so full of ups and downs…gains and losses. Initial disappointment over the lack of a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal became stunned joy when it finally went through. Pain over the loss of my Mom has led to a stronger bond and closeness with my sibs. I got an amazing dog this year…Boo the Wonder Dog probably needs an article all to herself. But I thought it would be appropriate to discuss some events of a geekish nature – to look back on what a year it’s been.
My Year in Gaming
When 2010 started, I proclaimed it to be a “Year of Endings”, because I knew I was wrapping up at least three campaigns I had been running. One was a “Call of Cthulhu” game I’d been running for the past year or so. We’d played through the epic campaign “Beyond the Mountains of Madness,” and we were well along the way to a conclusion as the year rolled over. We finished the game at the end of April, and I was pleased to put the cap on a very satisfying story.
Two other campaigns that concluded were ones that had mirrored each other in some ways. My D&D 3rd Edition game, “Swords of the Amanar”, began running in April of 2001, and I knew we were coming to an end. Sure enough, I wrapped up in early 2010, and I was very glad to have come to the end of this epic tale.
Also, “The Isles: Asylum”, a LARP campaign I’d begun working on also in April of 2001 and which had officially started in May of 2005, came to a close in October 2010 with one of the most epic endgame battles I’ve ever been involved with at a LARP. At the post-game discussion, tears were flowing freely as people talked about how much the campaign had meant to them. As one of the designers and writers of the campaign setting and its overall plotline, it was a humbling and touching experience.
My gaming life wasn’t just about endings in 2010. I was a player in two D&D campaigns, both of which are at least temporarily on hiatus. I also began running what I call my “Beer & Pretzels” Eberron game, which consists of three experienced gamers, one gamer who hasn’t played since High School & 2nd Edition, and two players who’ve never played in an RPG before. It’s a hoot, and I love it. I also ran my Star Wars Saga Edition campaign along, and, although that’s now coming to an end, it won’t be over in 2010.
I also started my Seven Kingdoms: Seowyn’s Crossing campaign in November. This is the D&D 4E campaign that I started writing in 2007…before D&D 4E was even out yet. We’ve only played 4 sessions so far, but it’s been fantastic, and I hope to offer our game sessions as a podcast before too much longer.
My Year in Movies
This year, two things really stand out to me in geeky movie-dom: tremendous terror and then massive relief over the future of one of my favorite movie franchises, and impressive work by one of my favorite studios.
The Lord of the Rings is an uber-franchise that slips into many aspects of my geek life. The books were incredibly formative for me, the MMORPG is the only one I still play, and the movies comprise pretty much my favorite movie trilogy to date, so I’ve been eagerly listening for news of The Hobbit. Things bounced around at first…one movie or two? Will Peter Jackson direct? But then they seemed to settle. P.J. would be too busy, but Guillermo del Toro would direct! Two movies would allow the story to be fully told, as well as filling in some interesting gaps in the story. The year started out with things feeling right.
But then things started to go wrong. MGM was going bankrupt, which put everything in jeopardy. Then del Toro had to pull out because the whole thing was taking too long. Then an Actors Union in New Zealand, against the wishes of most of the actors who’d worked with Jackson & Wingnut Films before, started telling actors to boycott the film. It began to look like the whole thing would crash and burn.
But then, suddenly, the clouds lifted. Maybe the Eagles showed up and pulled everything out of the fire…that’s how most of the books end, no? Now Peter Jackson would take over as director, the films would be made, people were being cast, including Martin Freeman as Bilbo (my casting choice almost from day one) and things settled down (or were settled down) with the Union. The movie, which had been in danger of moving to Eastern Europe, would stay in New Zealand. And although Sir Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving haven’t officially signed on yet, it’s a fair bet that they’ll be in soon, and we’ll get the Hobbit in all its glory, making a total of five great Tolkien films to watch back to back. Mmmmm…
Disney is my favorite movie studio, and I love their work, in general. Not only did I get to enjoy a great vacation at Walt Disney World with my husband, my two closest friends, and my awesome nephew this year, but they also made three of my favorite movies of 2010.
Toy Story 3 came out and blew all my expectations away. I didn’t see the villainous plot twist coming, and I didn’t expect to be as emotionally overwhelmed by it as I was. It has some moments that really make it worthy of a Best Motion Picture nomination, not just a Best Animated Film nomination.
Tangled was a movie I had low expectations for, and it really caught me off-guard with just how good it was. It’s funny, romantic, has some wonderful musical sequences, and made me cry. It is a visual feast with a lot of heart, and that can be a tricky balancing act to pull off.
Tron: Legacy is a movie I’ve been anticipating for…oh…28 years or so. I always wanted a sequel to Tron, and I’m still stunned I got one. I know not everyone appreciated it, but I thought it was smart, well-written, and an utter joy to look at. If it has a flaw, it’s that one must love the original to really appreciate all the subtle details in the sequel. My hubby and I were grinning and nodding at various images, pointing them out to each other as best we could in silence. And even if you don’t love the film, that Daft Punk soundtrack is yummy!
Gosh. Thinking on it now, there are so many other aspects of my geek life that got their happy buttons pushed in 2010. A new DC Heroes Tabletop RPG came out…and the system doesn’t suck! The new D&D comic started coming out, and it’s a pleasure to read. The writing in Superman comics took an incredible upswing with J. Michael Straczynski taking the reins for his so-far fabulous story “Grounded”. PAX East debuted in Boston, and I got to try the Microsoft Surfacescapes D&D program there. We got our first look at the Young Justice TV Series. The incredible Watchmen Ultimate Edition Blu-Ray blew us away. The wonderfully surreal “Adventure Time” took over our TV watching, and strong episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Batman: the Brave & the Bold premiered. And hey…I started writing for this website. How great is that?
I’ve had some hard losses in 2010, but I’m trying hard to remain positive. It just feels like such a good time to be a geek, with 2011 holding untold promise and possibility!
I call on everyone to look back and think of at least one really good thing, geeky or otherwise, that happened in 2010. And I encourage you to share a favorite moment or a geeky victory. After all, if we can’t brag about them to our fellow geeks, who can we brag about them to? So tell me of your 2010, Usul!