Saturday, March 24, 2007

Getting my gaming geek on…

Lately I've been immersed in Vanguard, a massively multiplayer on-line role playing game, MMORPG, for my non-gaming readers. The difficulty level is a lot like Everquest and yet it has some of the nice questing and UI customization of World of Warcraft. I play a Necro (currently level 29) on the Gulgrethor server if you are interested at all.

One of the things I enjoy most about it is using the Voice over IP program Ventrilo. Right before joining the game, simply log into a central Ventrilo server with the rest of your friends and you can communicate as if you were in person. That's how I talk with my Dad. Some guys go fishing or hunting with their Dads. Some don't bond with their Dad at all. I game with my Dad. And it's a good way to keep in touch with back home, which I do miss from time to time.

The other interesting thing is the kind of people you get to meet. Since we've been gaming for a long time together, we've built up a swath of friends over the years, and you get to talk with them over Ventrilo – from all over the world. In these games your friends form these distinct groups called guilds. Then usually members of the same guild group together while they game. No different from say your bicycling friends that may form a team and/or go ride together. Some of the folks I've known for a few years now are from Norway and Australia. Or guys that I meet at work and become long term friends with and help you get jobs at companies they work at like Harley-Davidson (Hi Kevin!).

It can seem like a small world sometimes.

My Dad has asked me to fly out and spend some time with him at Gen Con, an annual mecca for gaming nerds. It is being held August 16-19, 2007. I'm not sure if I can swing that since I'll be taking off most of the month of September.

One of the podcasts I was listening to from Scott Hanselman is about Board Gaming for Programmers. Not Sorry! or monopoly. As he explains during the show, those games are American style games where the object is to eliminate your opponents and other players are left twiddling their thumbs while the last two duke it out. Not so in these type of games and I guess the resurgence has come from Germany. One of the guys Scott interviews is his CTO and boss, Chris Brooks. Who I guess is part owner of a board game company and also helps run a site called

Then yesterday, Heidi sends me an email about this local event called Gamestorm 9, which is taking place right here in Portland from Mar 30th - Apr 1st, 21,000 square feet of geeks playing board games, miniatures, etc. And guess who's a major player in the event… boardgamegeek. I might check it out next weekend.

It is a small world sometimes and strange how you can meet people from your job world in your non-job world.


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