Owning Music Again

As you know, over the past couple of months I have been slowly increasing my record collection. The purchase and setup of a record player in my house has been a sort of cathartic and enjoyable experience. It seems that there is a definite upswing for record sales purchases as of late. 

While records themselves represent a paltry 6 million in total sales, their increase over this past year has showed a definitely trend upwards. I have noticed just this past weekend while shopping, that the local Urban Outfitters, very prominently features records in the front of its store now. 

While a lot of this may be a bit "hipster" for these sales, there is certainly a level of satisfaction that you get when buying a record. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer mp3's for most use cases. For me they sound good and their convenience far outweighs anything else, but having a physical product in your hand or at your doorstop is something that I haven't felt in a long time. I remember back in high school going to Best Buy or the big Virgin Music on Michigan Avenue to buy a CD. Walking out of that store with a physical thing that I would tear the cellophane off of was exciting. Liner notes and those inner booklets were always something I looked forward to with CD's. 

That whole physicality has been lost with digital music. When was the last time someone cared about the design of the booklet in a digital album beyond the cover? Yes, this is a bit of nostalgia funk, but at the same time there is something special about having to deliberately hold the album, look at the track listing and then sit down and listen to it. It all just makes me want to get more albums. 

December 2013 Video Gaming

I am not sure if I posted this earlier, but back in November I decided to pickup a Wii U on a sort of whim. I figured now would be a good time to get one and the system had a new package deal out that had the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD packed in. The Wind Waker Zelda is my favorite game of all time so it was pretty hard for me to actually pass up on it.

I also decided to get into Skylanders and bought a package of that game on sale over the holiday break. That game is incredibly well produced and truth be told, those little action figures are incredibly addictive to collect. I know that game is supposed to be for kids, but I can't help but have fun while playing it. This Penny Arcade Comic is not too far off from the truth of these things. 

After playing Skylanders and Zelda the past few weeks i have to say that they overall felt really refreshing. Both games are just really well made games and not just "kids" games. The overall atmosphere and feeling while playing them was completely different than most of the games that I found while playing on the Xbox. I didn't have any of the stress or tension around my gaming sessions that I normally had with other games. 

Case in point is the latest Tomb Raider game. I also started playing that game the past few weeks. That game in its own right is really well made and is probably my favorite game that was made this year, but the whole environment and atmosphere while playing it is obviously quite different than the Nintendo games I am playing on the Wii U. The game is gritty and intense. It is fun but also to a point stressful. I don't exactly feel relaxed while I play it and while i do enjoy the story and the game immensely it doesn't quite put a smile on my face like Skylanders does. 


Pathfinder RPG

So, over the Thanksgiving weekend, Megan and I went to our new favorite small business, the Wandering Dragon over in Plainfield to support small business Saturday. I think we are going to start a tradition of buying a game or two every small business saturday there. Browsing around the store I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to pick up. Then I saw sitting on the shelf the Pathfinder RPG starter kit. 

This is an RPG I have heard a lot of people talking about over the past year. For those who don't know, it is an RPG just like Dungeons and Dragons. There is a dungeon master who leads several adventurers on a quest to go and do something. Paizo created the RPG back in 2009 after Wizards of the Coast decided to change their publishing rules. Forbes of all sites actually has a really good review on the box and an interesting insight on how the whole thing got started. 

So I picked up the starter kit and spent the weekend going over the box and I really found the whole system interesting. Call it luck or call it good planning, but I noticed that the Wandering Dragon that very next Thursday was having a Pathfinder Society night. The Pathfinder Society is Paizo's world wide sort of story following the RPG. Players around the world in the society all play the same modules and stories together and then report their stats and details online to the site for tracking. It is sort of like and MMORPG but on paper. 

Suffice to say I had an absolutely blast last Thursday playing the game. I just loved every minute of it and everyone else who was playing was really cool with me and made my play time really fun. I have to say I am hooked. 

It is really a shame that I didn't get into this stuff more when I was growing up or even in college.