Friday, May 31, 2013

Why do I blog?

Why do I blog? That’s a good question. One that was raised at Gamex this year as +James Forest plopped a camera in front of me and asked me to define what Plus Ten to Awesome was about. This was a deceptively difficult question to answer and I was rather surprised that I didn’t have a quick and easy response, having never really given it much thought. Most of the people who read this blog probably have a blog of their own or some sort of creative outlet that is similar. So I thought it might be time to define my goals for two reasons.


Firstly, I think it important to give my readers a reason to tune in. By defining my scope, people who read this can easily determine if this blog is for them or not. There are literally thousands of gaming blogs out there and giving folks a good idea about what sets mine apart is good for them and me.

Second, I need to define my focus for the purposes of creating content. Nobody wants to read a magazine that delivers content about sports one day and celebrity gossip the other right? By creating a mission statement (for lack of a better term), I can give myself some parameters to stay within that will give the blog some consistency and balance.

I spent quite a bit of time chewing on this in my head. Everything I came up with sounded like this:



It dawned on me that the “what” was nowhere near as important as the “why”. Sure I love games but the reason I love games is the reason why I blog. The focus of my subject matter is about ways to find new games to play and finding new ways to enjoy the ones we already play.  Thus giving us all a bonus to Awesome, preferably at least a +10. So let’s go into why I love gaming.

Communities

I think games are uniquely suited for building communities. We see this quite plainly on Google Plus. When examined there are some very important reasons why. Communities are built around shared commonality of course, but those bonds are strengthened by certain activities which are found in gaming.

Games give us a way to overcome challenges together. Games deal with all kinds of challenges; strategic, tactical, adversarial, mathematical, etc. Games let groups compete or work together to overcome a challenge. When people interact in this way, it changes the relationship from two or more people who merely share an interest to "rivals" or "brothers in arms". Challenging one’s self not only provides us with a channel for personal growth, but also provides us with self-esteem as a source of pride within a group. It also teaches lessons of sportsmanship and how to deal with failure as a way to improve. Meaningful lessons of socialization, cooperation and development can be learned and taught through gaming. All these things are crucial to being a responsible member of a community.

Sharing Stories

Sharing stories is one of the building blocks of society. The stories we all know build shared mythologies that bind us all together. Games like RPG’s let us create stories and build a form of closed circuit mythology. It’s not so much the stories themselves, although they can be wonderful but it’s the recounting of the tales that create bonds. Do you ever talk about that incredible turn of Axis and Allies you had that one time? Or that one piece you kept forgetting to move in that game of Gammarauders that ended up winning the game for you in the end? My friends and I tell the same old war stories over and over again. This shared mythology will always remain even after we all start having kids and go different directions in our careers. Whenever we tell the story of our favorite dwarf paladin we travel  back to those times and remember fondly how we managed to escape that drow city.

Geek Power



As a Nerd/Geek I am very passionate about the things I love and I will talk just about anyone’s ear off about Star Wars, Green Lantern, Conan, Battletech or you name it. Gaming is a big part of Geek culture and we as a social group are finally beginning to come into our own. I like Wil’s definition of a Nerd/Geek. We want to know things, create things and understand things. These drives are at the core of why most Geeks are gamers. Games allow us to employ our creativity, knowledge, intelligence and curiosity. More than just that, games allow us to share those things with others. It builds the sense of wonder that I think is in the heart of Nerdom. It’s incredibly awesome to be a Nerd and want to reach out to my people and share our common love of gaming.

In the final analysis, our mission statement is:

Plus Ten to Awesome consists of a small community of gamers who want to share the gift that gaming has given us. That gift is friendship, camaraderie and a passion for creating and knowing. We here at +X2A are committed to sharing information, events and knowledge with those who are seeking to broaden their gaming horizons in any way.

We can help. Have you played Dragon Age on the X-Box and are curious about the RPG? We can help with that. Are you new at game design and want a group to try out your game and give you feedback? We can help with that. Do you have a new game and want to show it off at a convention to drum up some interest? We can help with that. Are you in the SoCal area and are looking for a place to buy and play games? We can help with that. Do you want to run events for your favorite game but don’t know where to start? We can help with that.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Picasa and here on our Blog and let us know how we can help.

Much love to my community,
Jim Sandoval