my gaming weekend

Right now I’m at PAX East in beautiful Boston, MA. I’m not sure why I’m here. I attended last year, which was a mixed bag. It was the first time they did the event on the east coast, so long lines and crowded rooms were the theme of the weekend. On the other hand, I got terrific seats for an awesome concert. But this year they’ve moved it to a bigger convention center and hopefully the kinks have been worked out (except for whatever kinks people enjoy, of course), so I’m tentatively hoping for a better experience all around.

The thing is, I haven’t been gaming lately. Not since the summer really, since all our game systems were packed up and in storage, and I didn’t have my own TV in my sublet, and I just had plenty of other things to do–mostly writing and hanging out with friends. Though I’ve had access to our Xbox 360, Wii, and NES for weeks now in our new apartment, I haven’t had a chance to play yet. And there’s certainly no excuse for not touching the DS since the summer; I’m even in the middle of an enjoyable game of Scribblenauts!

Since college, gaming for me goes in cycles. I play constantly for a while and then go months without picking up a controller, which is one of the reasons I find RPGs hard to get into, since I soon lose track of where I was in the game. I’ve dabbled a bit in some PC games though. I have Portal, Super Meat Boy, Plants vs. Zombies, and Sims 3 installed, but I’ve been careful not to get too addicted. I finally started Knights of the Old Republic some months ago. It’s awesome, but it seems like a time investment I haven’t been able to justify yet. I almost feel like I have to schedule time to play games–and read or watch DVDs–the way I do my writing sessions. It shouldn’t be work, something I think I have to do, right?

I’ve also dabbled a bit in online gaming. Left 4 Dead 2 has been fun with friends on Steam, once we figured out how to do voice chat properly (through Skype, of all things), and I’ve been sampling D.C. Universe Online, which I kind of love, with one of my best friends. That’s my character up there, if you couldn’t guess. “The Krypton Kid” was taken, so I went with “The Smallville Wonder.” Yeah, I know. :P (If he doesn’t do it for you, I also created Iphigenia, on the right. What? Don’t judge me.)

Why I’m really at PAX East is to hang out with some friends I don’t get to see too often, and maybe to reignite some of my love for gaming–and Penny Arcade. For a while after last year’s con I was a big fan of the comic again and followed it avidly for months, but I haven’t been checking the weekly comics and web videos as often lately. Too busy, too many priorities, too little time on the internet. But I don’t want to forget to have fun once in a while!

If you game, do you play cyclically like I do, or is it more of a priority in your free time? What are you playing now?

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