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Archive for June, 2010

Twitter Topic: #scorcherflicks

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

These were my contributions to the recent #scorcherflicks topic on Twitter:

* While You Were Broiling
* Forest Fire Gump
* Radio Fryer
* Purple Roast of Cairo
* My Sizzler’s Keeper
* The Fifth Stove Element
* The Blast Unicorn
* The Princess Fried
* Pay It Fireward
* Blaze Runner
* Tar Story
* All the Presidents Melt
* Braising Arizona
* The Unbearable Lighter Fluid of Burning
* Fahrenheit and Away

Quote of the Week: “Futurama”

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Zapp Branigan: “My instinct is to hide in this barrel – like the wily fish.”

Too many doors to open

June 23, 2010 35 comments

I think there’s just no room in even the above average attention span for a roleplaying MUSH to thrive anymore.

Next week, we celebrate the 12th anniversary of OtherSpace – an evolving collaborative space opera epic that’s been the shared creation of hundreds of participants from all over the world. We still manage to draw 50-60 people on our busiest nights, but the new blood is rare and the veterans just can’t do enough to gain and retain new prospects.

It’s no one’s fault. The world’s just so different these days. Back in the peak of our popularity, the worst distractions that threatened MUSH activity were:

* School/work
* TV shows
* Other text-based games

Now, we’re faced with those distractions, plus:

* Graphical MMORPGs
* Console games
* Smart phone apps
* Hulu
* Streaming Netflix
* Hundreds of cable channels
* Facebook – with Farmville, Castle Age, and Mafia Wars (among other attention funnels)
* Twitter

It’s not that hard to find a few minutes here or there to tend crops or help our friends fight boss monsters in a Facebook game. But who really has the time, energy, attention, and creative drive required to tell a collaborative evolving story?

It takes a special person to invest themselves in the effort of building a living novel, but such people, I think, are just becoming too rare a commodity anymore.

Sad but true: I envision a bigger draw for players to a web-based OtherSpace: Dominion game than we’ll ever see on the story-driven MUSH. It’s unfortunate, but it’s what people have time for. It’s as deep as most people are willing to go.

The age of the MUSH may really be over.

So, let’s assume it’s true. What’s next? Can the form evolve?

We’ve tried to experiment with other options – play-by-post in the forums and the Facebook fan page – but that’s never quite taken off. We’ve seen players start blogs to enhance the storytelling experience beyond the game. Again, they start, but they never really take off. Google Wave? Maybe, but that’s still less than elegant and not wildly popular.

I’ve heard some initial murmurings of a MUSH client for the iPad, but I remain skeptical that it would improve the likelihood of people committing themselves to the effort that’s necessary to create a quality storytelling environment on OtherSpace. It’s far more likely that iPad users would be drawn to apps like Plants vs. Zombies – quick fix, easy to drop, low intensity entertainment.

I’m not yet at the place where I want to call it quits with OtherSpace. However, I do think we might be reaching a point where we have to accept and embrace that the game’s never going to grow significantly and that the generation of players that we’ve got now may be the last of a dying breed.

Between the Lines: “Newbie Nights”

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Well. Add this to the list of well-intentioned ideas that just didn’t work.

First failure: Holding it on a set day of the week, specifically a Friday. Although this was convenient for me, we rarely saw newbies showing up. So, turnout dwindled. Lack of player interest led to lack of staffer interest. Away it goes.

Second failure: Relies on staff management and promotion for success.

Here’s the thing. Newbie nights run by staffers, or open houses run by staffers, don’t bring in new players or guarantee their retention in a text-based MUSH. In the end, it’s all up to you – every newbie-hating veteran, every enthusiastic event-runner, every reclusive misanthrope. You hold the future of the game’s population in your hands. Always have.

Every night ought to be Newbie Night. It’s up to you as players to recruit, to find the new places to share the word about OtherSpace, and to encourage those new folks to stick around.

It’s up to us as staffers to help make sure you’ve got the tools and the environment that they can enjoy. That much IS on us. But the rest – no pressure – falls to you.

If I can help with ideas, let me know. We can hash them out here.

Quote of the Week: “True Blood”

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Sookie: I keep expecting him to come through the door and say “Sookeh!”

Twitter Topic: #meatflicks

June 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Here are my contributions to the recent #meatflicks topic on Twitter:

* Altered Steaks
* Lean Beef on Me
* To Sirloin, With Love
* The Ham That Rocks the Cradle
* Salami Dog Millionaire
* Gorky Pork
* Brokeback Bacon
* Porterhouse Party
* Silence of the Lambchops

Wessed Up History – 6/20/2010

June 22, 2010 Leave a comment

* June 7, 1905: Norway’s parliament dissolves union with Sweden via message that reads “You can’t a-fjord us.”
* June 8, 1933: Joan Rivers is born. Likes the snipping of the umbilical so much that she gets surgeries every day for the rest of her life.
* June 9, 1939: Dicky V’s lobbed from the womb, shouting, “Dipsy-doo dunkeroo diddle dop slam-jam-bam, pudding-pop baby!” through the net.
* June 10, 1959: Eliot Spitzer’s born late – delayed by a couple of pre-birth hookers.
* June 11, 1999: DeForrest Kelley proclaims, “He’s dead, Jim,” while waving a tricorder at himself. Then says: “I’m outta this Vulcan place.”
* June 12, 1916: An earthquake shakes the burning maternity ward as Irwin Allen rides an out-of-control jet from the womb.
* June 13, 1805: Lewis and Clark expedition discovers first Burma Shave signs along river leading to the Great Falls.
* June 14, 1938: Superman introduced in Action Comics. 1 month later: Killed. 1 more month: Lesbian. Month after that: Reborn as rich playboy.
* June 15, 1667: The first human blood transfusion is administered with a rope, catapult, and beer bong.
* June 16, 1962: Arnold Vosloo is born in mummified form, wrapped in swaddling, stuck in a sarcophagus, and left to terrify future audiences.
* June 17, 1885: Statue of Liberty arrives in New York with 2 torches, 2 tablets, and a spare tiara. Gets mugged.
* June 18, 1815: Swedish supergroup ABBA defeats Napoleon Bonaparte in Battle of the Bands with “Waterloo.”
* June 19, 1919: Movie critic Pauline Kael is born. Praises gritty realism of cinematography, but finds costumes unoriginal and uninspired.
* June 20, 1946: Bob Vila adds on a deck, fireplace, and a cupola before emerging from the womb into the maternity ward.