For those not in the know, Twin Galaxies has been doing trading cards of various significant events and people in video gaming history, with an emphasis on high-scoring super-achievers in the competitive gaming scene. To be honest, I hadn’t paid a huge amount of attention to the cards – I was always more into the collecting scene, drooling over unearthed prototypes and so on, than I ever was into playing competitively. (The funny thing about me, as much as I love video games, especially older ones, is this: there’s an awful lot of them that I can’t play particularly well. There are a great many classic games at which I positively stink.) Also, the last thing I need to worry about right now is starting a new collection of anything, not when I’ve spent recent years liquidating much of my prized collection just to pay the bills. The guts and the soul have been ripped out of my game collection…and as silly as it may sound, getting rid of the stuff was enough of a blow that I’m not sure I could even dream of going back. Places like Arkadia Retrocade have made it less of a priority (in fact, I’ve given them stuff that I hadn’t sold, just so other folks could enjoy the items in question rather than them being locked up forever in my room).
I go on occasional video-game-playing sprees now and again (me and the boy tag-teamed Kirby’s Return To Dream Land the other night and beat it), but for the most part I’m done with collecting. I gave up collecting so I could enjoy playing (apparently quite badly a lot of the time). What I hang onto the most is not having Owned Things, but having Told Stories – the stuff I’ve written, the DVDs I’ve produced, that sort of thing. That, to me, still matters.
Abruptly jumping tracks here, Friday was a crappy day. I was trying to follow-up with places at which I’d applied for work, and came up empty. One place I tried to follow-up with had apparently had the phone disconnected. I went to the building where I’d sat and filled out an application two weeks before. The windows were empty, the sign was gone, and the place was now vacant. I really hated Friday. I really hate being broke. I’m not big on craving validation from the outside world: you can chase your own tail for your whole life if that’s what you’re seeking. The best course of action, the most soul-preserving one, is simply Not Giving A Shit. (Of course, when you go that route, the people from whom you couldn’t get validation anyway will raise hell about it, because you’re no longer buying into the system that justifies them and gives them validation. They tend to feel threatened by that.)
But I really could’ve used a quick pat on the back and a “hey, good work there” from the universe on that day. And lo and behold, these arrived in the mail:
…courtesy of Classic Gamer Magazine editor Chris Cavanaugh. Up until Cav sent these to me, I had no idea that I was mentioned on the back as one of the magazine’s contributors, my name wedged in between some of my best friends and biggest influences. (To even be mentioned in the same breath with Bill Kunkel would’ve knocked eight-year-old me over with a feather: Electronic Games Magazine was one of the key things that made me devote my life to learning how to write reasonably well at a young age.)
So there you have it. Validation. Maybe it doesn’t put food on the table, but you know what? I’ll still take that little pat on the back from the universe.