Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 in June!

nbimediumNot too long ago, I saw a short conversation on Twitter about how NBI would most likely not be taking place in 2016. Not because nobody wanted to do it per se, but most of all because it requires time and dedication to get this initiative off its ground. That dreaded real life again making us unable to do the fun things we would really love to do. ;)

However, there is a happy ending: We are going to have another round of Newbie Blogger Initiative this year! Doone from XP Chronicles announced the NBI 2016 starting in June on May 12th, actually. This totally went over my head here, but I’m so happy to see it happen either way! I really love this initiative and I love that it makes people come together and support others, because blogging can be an awesome and fun hobby!

The person running it isn’t alone, though. As with all the recent years, a lot of us “veteran bloggers” are joining, lending our helping hands and answering questions to those of you who want to start blogging, who recently did start or even those who want to get back into blogging. While most of us, if not all, blog about games, it is not a requirement for you to do so as well. If you’d rather blog about cooking recipes or your daily life, then do so! We will be here encouraging you to blog either way.

 Tyrannodorkus has a great post introducing you to the most basic questions like “what is a blog?” and links to where you can get in touch with all of us and with each other, because I do hope that we’ll be able to greet a lot of new bloggers this NBI! Just so that you will not miss the most important links, I am going to put them in here, too:

NBI forums
NBI twitter
NBI Discord

Others have joined Doone by now with announcing the NBI and welcome prospective new bloggers: Eldaeriel from StarShadow, jewel from Healing The Masses, Aywren – and probably more that I forgot now or haven’t seen yet (sorry if that’s the case!).

On a personal note: I was looking through my blog to find the posts from the previous two years only to see that I have tried to support NBI since 2012 already making this the fifth year it’s running. Back in 2012, this blog here had only been around for one year, so I felt a bit newbie-ish myself!

So, if you ever thought about starting your own blog, now is the perfect time! Get started and join us. Don’t hesitate to ask your questions! :)

Edit: I am going to list all announcement posts that I find here. The reason is pretty simple: Those who announce the NBI are also very likely open to listen to your questions or give advice if you need it! So go check out their blogs and don’t be shy!

Doone from XP Chronicles
Tyrannodorkus
Eldaeriel from StarShadow
jewel from Healing The Masses

Aywren
Iogro Merrybelly from A Hobbit’s Journey
Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut

The Seven Gaming Sins – NBI 2015 Talkback Challenge #4

nbimediumThe 4th “Newbie Blogger Initiative” topic has been released this weekend: “The Seven Gaming Sins“. This one is not a single topic that you can write about, but seven questions instead. What they focus on is probably rather obvious… ;) So, here you go. My answers to Joseph Skyrim‘s seven gaming sin questions.

Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

My favourite races are dwarves, gnomes (in World of Warcraft) and asura. Does this answer the question already? :p I do like characters (I mainly play female ones, so I’ll concentrate on those now) that are aesthetically pleasing to me. But this is a very subjective term and far from the tiiiiny waist and huge breasts that game designers like to put on some of their characters. I do like my characters wearing clothes that show their body, but I can do without the skin. So, I would say I am in between. I like “sexy clothes” as long as they are not over the top or look silly on my character (like a dress showing off breasts that asura just don’t have).

Gluttony Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

Oh dear yes. I recently told myself to at least try to play some more games and finish them and I have been kind of successful. Tropico 4, Torchlight I and Shadowrun Returns have been played through. I am currently giving Skyrim another try (no promises here) and have also picked up “The Book of Unwritten Tales”. I strongly predict I will finish the latter in a bit as it’s very entertaining to play. As I just said, I picked up the latter. I have not stopped buying new games, I just try to slow down and finish some I did buy some time ago. At the same time, especially with games like Civilization or Warlock 2: The Exiled, there is the open question: When is such a game finished? With those games, I instead look at how much time I have spent in the game and if it’s a couple of hours (depending on how much money I spent to buy the game), I am satisfied. I always like to compare it to the price/hour for a cinema ticket.

Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

I have refused to do something in game that was not fun and the rewards were lacking, yes. But as long as something is fun – or an activity leads to something that will be fun later on – then I’ll do it regardless of the rewards. Rewards are a nice bonus, though. :)

Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

No, I don’t ever leech or go AFK unless there’s a need for a bio break – which I would inform people about in a dungeon run, for example, so they know I’ll be gone for a minute. I don’t discourage people from playing the game, no. I do discourage them from trying to make me come, too. ^^ In MMOs, when I see somebody needs help, then I usually do help. Unless it’s a person that passed me before without helping me. In this case, I deliberately choose not to help either (though this would not be “sloth” but “wrath”, I guess).

Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

I have gotten angry with others countless times. Most of the time, those are random players who were rude, impolite or just generally offensive. I tend to rage and rant in front of my PC, but not in public chat and not in direct messages either. Blocking them is much easier and faster and more satisfying because they can’t talk back to you. ;)

Stalking people has never even occurred to me. I only remember one person that annoyed me very much – unfortunately even a fellow guild member until we finally decided to flee from that server – that popped up wherever I was. So, it was the other way around. But I don’t think he stalked me. He just happened to be a very active player (and yet, still a very bad one who insisted on knowing everything better…). That one player did get me close to yelling at him, but instead, I opted for laughing in front of my PC instead. Oh, the stories I could tell (well, if you’re a WoW player, at least…).

Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

Of course! Who doesn’t know the feeling of trying over and over and over and over again just to see somebody pass by, hop around a bit and get to the end of that jumping puzzle to reach into the chest and pull out a precursor item? Grmpf. ;) I usually don’t think they are cheating. I just think they are there to make me feel especially incompetent. :p No, seriously, unless they appear and disappear randomly at various spots in the world (teleport hacks – I’ve seen them often enough in Warhammer Online), then I don’t think they are cheating.

Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?

I demand grouping with sensible people! People who know that others make mistakes, but who try their best to help each other and have fun. I admit, I get frustrated when there is another player who is severely underperforming even after telling them how to do something (e.g.: Do not stand in the red puddle on the ground. It’ll kill you instantly!). But I haven’t kicked them out yet or asked to have them removed from the raid, because this would also make me feel bad. I usually just hope that one day, they will finally understand what that red puddle looks like and get out of there quickly enough – or get a better PC or a faster internet connection which could also always be the reason for why they are performing the way they are.

“What made you a gamer?” – NBI 2015 Talkback Challenge #3

nbismallThis post is part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative and the third Talkback Challenge asking “What made you a gamer?” When I saw this question, I knew I had to join in and talk about how I got to where I am today now (gaming-wise, of course).

GC2011 Commodore 64Many years ago (I felt like saying “Once upon a time” here…), my brother, who is 6 years older than me, had bought a Commodore 64. I don’t remember when exactly we started, but I do know that our parents, my brother and I sat in front of the C64 playing the olympic winter games together. The video below lists 1985 as the release date, but I know we played it a few years later. I was still too young in 1985 to be playing computer games and know what I was doing. :p But I was young enough to not be able to successfully play against my family. We still always had lots of fun and me being the last was not an issue. Instead, my family always told me and showed me how I had improved over the time and how I had gotten closer to their scores.

Not that long after, my brother decided to buy an Amiga and sold the C64 to me (yes, we were that kind of siblings where giving something to the other for free was out of question ^^).


(Sorry, the video is in German – but you can still watch the awesome graphics and listen to the amazing sounds of the game!)

I also remember my brother playing “Airline” and explaining to me what he was doing. “Now I buy another plane, then I decide for a route that this plane should take… long distance is not available yet, I will need a bigger plane for that. I will have to hire a pilot, …”. I sat there nodding, eagerly taking in everything he said and then, excitedly, I asked: “So, when do we get to fly that plane? :D” and he looked at me kind of baffled and replied: “Fly? Nonono. This is not such a simulation game. We will not get to fly in that plane. We are the airline manager and we…” and he went on and on to explain the concept of this kind of game to me while my face had gotten very long and I asked, hoping he would say something differently: “So, we will never see this plane take off into the air?” To his defence, he had been incredibly patient with me trying to explain to me why this kind of game was so awesome and so much fun and how adding a flight simulator would destroy this kind of game. I still sat there and watched him play. I slowly learned what to do when and how. And when that C64 was finally mine, Airplane turned out to be my favourite game. I also clearly remember one afternoon where I sat in front of my C64 with a friend and I had been explaining the game to her when she interrupted and asked: “So, when do we get to fly this plane?” – I looked at her, baffled, and replied: “Fly? Nonono. This is not such a simulation game…” Only that I had been less lucky with her than my brother had been with me and she asked to play something differently. We turned off the C64 and went outside, I think.

C64 Airline
C64 Airline

I don’t remember exactly which games my brother and I had been playing on the C64 and the Amiga… but I do remember that we played Bubble Bobble and Double Dragon together. I think that was on his Amiga. Now, my brother and I never got along too well and we used to fight quite often. But we never did so when we were playing those games together. On the contrary, our mum even had to call us several times for lunch as we were still fighting against NPCs in Double Dragon and had had no intention of leaving to eat.

At some point, the C64 had not been able to hold my attention anymore. I never got any new games for it (wise decision, dad… ^^). My brother had also started to be interested more in music and going out with his friends. But then, the new kid in town arrived, the Festival du Jeu Vidéo - 2010-09-11 - Game & Watch Donkey KongGameboy! A friend of mine had owned one and had shown it to me. Of course, I wanted one! I had to have one! It took quite a lot of convincing my dad to finally be allowed to buy one! And guess what happened next? Especially when we were on a vacation (which happened right after I had bought my Gameboy) and whenever we went to a restaurant, I could say “bye-bye” to my Gameboy as my very own father had tried to make absolutely sure that nobody would ever beat his high score in Tetris. My mum got close and managed to beat him, but he soon changed that and got an even higher score than before. Me? Well, I liked watching them play, at least. As a side note, my dad still owns the little orange Donkey Kong game and Pacman. Both also still work!

Since I never had that much money, I only bought a few games for the Gameboy and then lost interest again at some point. Years later, my dad brought home a PC with… I think Windows 95 on it. I used it for school, but not for gaming. It took a few more years and another friend to show me The Sims (the first one). I had also then bought “Cultures” as I had seen the game in a shop for a cheap price and I had figured that the PC we had would be able to play it. Thankfully, it did! Also, let’s not forget Sim City 2000. I was hooked! And I used to chat with friends who also played that game about our cities, what had happened in them, how we had built them and so on.

In February 2005, bookahnerk had gotten World of Warcraft when it had released here in Europe. In December 2005, he bought a copy of the game for me, so I could play with him. And that, my dear readers, is when I became a gamer. – Yes, you read that correctly. This is the moment where I started calling myself a gamer. Not at any other point before that. Nope.

WoW Undead Poets Society

I realized this when I had seen the topic for this week’s “Talkback Challenge” and I think it is weird and possibly also silly. I have actually been gaming all through my life. It has never been the dominant hobby taking over all other interests in my life, but it has always been there. I have fond memories of me and my family being gamers together – and yet, I never thought about us as being “gamers”.

MMO shelfA year ago or so, I was talking to my mum about computer games and then said to her: “Mum, you’re a gamer, too!” You should have seen the confused look on her face. I asked her: “Tell me, what were you doing before I started talking to you just now? In fact, what are you doing while I am talking to you?” “Playing a game…” (It had been Bookworm, I think) – “HA!”, I replied… and she started to laugh with me and said: “I never looked at it this way, but you’re right. I am playing a computer game. I am a gamer.”

It is really this simple, isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be “serious games”. You don’t have to be a “hardcore player” or anything. If you like video games and play them once in a while, then you are a gamer. For me, it’s a fun nice little pastime, especially when I can spend that time with my friends and loved ones and I take that over watching a film any time. Probably because my gamer parents showed me how enjoyable spending time together like this can be!

Blogging in a foreign language

I had wanted to write this post as part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative, but due to real life, I couldn’t. I figured now that it’s NaBloPoMo and I need every topic I can find to fill this blog with relatively reasonable blog posts, I can still write about this “issue”. ;)

When I started blogging, I had several reasons for doing so. For one, I like gaming and I wanted to talk about it with people who share my hobby – other than bookahnerk, of course. But I did not want to limit my correspondence to German-speaking people. I don’t mind them, of course. I am one of them, after all. ;) But I speak and write German every day, so it wouldn’t be anything special, let alone a challenge. I also felt that with all the studying I had done for my university degree (I studied psychology), my English reading comprehension was really good, but my production of the English language had gotten rather bad. Reading scientific papers, textbooks, etc. that were mostly in English was great, but I had noticed that forming my own sentences had become harder. So my goal was to be able to communicate with a lot of different people from all over the world who love gaming and practice English at the same time.

I think the worry that my English could be too bad was there, in the back of my mind, but since I started this project to get better in English again, it wasn’t a major concern. And if you, dear newbie blogger or interested reader, are worrying about this “issue”: You shouldn’t.

I have not had any person be rude to me so far. The worst I’ve seen is people criticising my writing style as “clumsy”, but that was over on Reddit where a post of mine had been linked and not here on this very blog. But even if anybody had been rude to me personally, I guess it shouldn’t be my concern either. Writing in a foreign language is hard. Of course, it is. And reasonable people know and understand that!

GW2_GromffMy conclusion so far is that it enriches your life to be fluent in a second language (it doesn’t have to be English, of course), as it enables you to speak to people who come from a different cultural background. Learning about other people’s cultures is always great if you ask me. And I personally just love hearing how people spend their lives in different parts of the world. On top of that, the goal of speaking – or writing in – a foreign language is to be able to communicate with others and not to show how smart you are. ;) So as long as you can get your point across and other people can understand you, you’re doing just fine! And with practice, you will get better anyway. And believe me, writing in a foreign language will be very easy one day. Just give it time. But don’t shy away from even starting your own blog, because you worry your English might be too bad.

NBI: Time to say goodbye

It’s the last day of May which means that the Newbie Blogger Initiative will be over on midnight. It’s been a very interesting month and I got to read what other bloggers had to share. While I have been around for a long time (more than one year with Nerdy Bookahs and a very long time with a personal blog), I still learned a lot and even heard answers to questions I had never thought of asking myself until now.

Once again, thank you, Syp, for hosting the NBI! I don’t know how long the forums are going to be around but there is so much information for new bloggers. Be sure to check it out!

If you want to have a look at all the new blogs, Syp posted them in his blog today. The same post also lists all the entries we have written about the NBI with lots of advice, rants, etc.

Also, we wanted to add that while we’re not advertising for it, Nerdy Bookahs is open for guest blog entries. If you feel the urge to write something for us, contact us through the different means we offer (you know, G+, Twitter, email) and we can set something up for you (that is, when you want your entry to be posted here. We’re not going to tell you what you need to write, of course).

Now I can only wave and say goodbye to this initiative. If we’ve been able to encourage you to get a blog on your own, we have certainly done a great job. And if we haven’t but you’d actually like to start your own blog, we’re all still here (I’ll take the liberty of speaking for all sponsor blogs now ^^) for further advice, answering questions and maybe even for encouraging you. Just because the NBI ends now doesn’t mean we won’t welcome any more new bloggers! ;)

Edit: I just saw that Syp encouraged us to repost the list. I’m going to concentrate on the new bloggers and will repost this list here now. If you want to have a look at the advice posts, please go visit Syp’s blog (I linked to the entry above). :)

New blogs to check out: