Sunday, January 30, 2000, 9:30 AM:
(Note: Due to the nature of this update, and the fact that CyberCities recently imposed a maximum storage capacity, I have had to relocate all relevant files to my AOL space in order to post this at all, and have likewise been unable to add many of the outside submissions that I promised I would post. Thus, if any links seem not to work, any images fail to process, or your material is not here, it is because of that course of action.)
First, the business:
I rewrote all the SNES abridged reviews.
Now for the... ah... the "other" business:
There's no very delicate way to put this that'll express it any better than the sytematic one, so here goes...
This is my last update. As you've probably noticed, the frequency of my updates has been progressively slackening; and even though my motivation to stop is not accountable for the entire decline, I suppose we can all say, on the basis of the past few months, that we saw this coming. I honestly didn't, but that's a moot point now.
For those of you who don't know, my desire in life is to become a writer; and by that, I don't mean a journalist or an essayist. I mean someone of the more creative stock -- specifically, someone who dabbles in all the branches of creative writing (drama, prose, poetry, etc.)
Well, now that I think of it, that isn't quite what I seek. What I really want is to live by whim -- to do in every moment what I happen to feel like doing, and somehow earn my money (note that I didn't say "my living") in that way. While this aspiration includes writing, it doesn't confine itself to it. However, my disposition being what it is, inspiration, artistry, and imagination will be the hallmarks of this life (not to say that conventional business lacks imagination; I'm just talking about a different kind.)
As I've told, back in July, while innocently playing EarthBound -- a game with which I already had a dotted history -- I had a revelation that turned my perception of the world over on itself. At the time, I thought it was just a signal for me to put to rest my fear of Pokey and finally beat the game. Then I wrote my interpretation; and at that time I thought that particular piece of writing was as far as it would go. Mercifully, I was wrong; and I still feel, in my mind, the reverberations of that moment. Ideas occur to me with so much greater ease than they did before that I am, to an extent, a reinvented person -- one who doesn't force things into being -- exponentially more open.
It may seem pretentious to you (I know it does to me), but I feel as though something truly original is starting to dig its rainbow-colored nails into me; and, unfortunately, I believe the site has been a building toward this moment, not the fruition of it. I can't explain it rationally (seems that part of this new era in my life is the abjuration of logic, anyway), but it's time for the Shrine to recede into that closet of eternal favor I like to call "my past." I could have devoted these new and ever-rising faculties to experimenting with the art of web design, but in the end that's just not what I want to do. It seems to me that I have to seize upon this building energy -- to immerse myself in entertainment that I consider additive to it, and start applying it not just to my writing, but to my life -- in the hope that I might be overlooked for the rest of my time on this planet. (This means, in addition, that what you're reading may well be the last coherent letter I'll ever write. Boy, I hope so.)
It's a monster interest, I admit; but on all fronts it seems like things are going in this direction for me, so why shouldn't I have a go at it? People seem to genuinely appreciate what I can bring about in this arena; for the first time in a long time I am genuinely moved by the praise people are giving me; and I see flitting vaguely in my future the possibility that I might acquire a decent group of friends in my physical environment (something I haven't had in a long time) -- not in spite of my introversion, but because of it. I didn't want to drag the site through months of atrophy and inattention while I pursued those other avenues; the idea of feeling guilty and obligated didn't appeal to me either, and it probably would have contaminated the experience. This arrangement, I think, is better for everyone concerned. Now the Shrine really is a shrine, instead of some old house.
I said earlier that a part of this experiment would be to "immerse myself" in entertainment that I feel will further it. To clarify, I don't mean that I'm going to become one of those people who does nothing but read classics and spout off about them -- that type of behavior smells of the pseeudo-intellectualism I'm trying, perhaps without success, to escape. I am not, in any sense, turning my back on video games. They have played a crucial role in both my personal and my creative development up to this point; when they're done right, I find them inspirational, and I'm going to keep on "playing" them as much as I ever did -- more, probably. What I can't accomodate anymore is writing about video games -- at least in the direct sense that I've done it here. In the coming years, I'm going to try to feel more and think less; to devote more attention to what I say than how I say it (or at least not be concerned with ornamenting everything in the typical "intellectual" fashion.) These are my hopes. I don't know what's going to become of them -- and trite as this sounds, it's the not knowing that makes this fun. So please forgive me if I don't sound properly woebegone about what I'm doing -- this is an awfully happy time.
You may read this and think you're hearing nothing but the ramblings of idealistic youth. I hear the same statistics -- the same cultural wisdom -- that you do. But I'll tell you this: of the many people, authorities and otherwise, who have heard my rather insubstantial dream and obviously had their reservations about it, not one of them has said that I can't do it (my sister doesn't count.) Maybe they're just trying to spare my feelings and hoping that, when faced with reality's flourescent light, I'll wake up and stagger toward some more secure income. And thank the wind if that is what they're doing -- as John Lennon observed, "reality leaves a lot to the imagination." Could it really be a coincidence that this is the day I replaced my winter coat with a 35 year-old corduroy jacket? I admit, I'm walking in ancient paths, but maybe there's still room for some fresh footprints. (So what if I am going over the top here? Attics are fun.)
Now, the practical implications of my announcement... I can't bring myself to turn the site over to someone else. It seems to me that, ever since that night two years ago when I was screwing around with Personal Publisher, the Shrine has been intimately connected with my own convictions -- my own moods -- all that fol de rol. I can't just give it over to another person (even though I myself am eager to accept other people's old coats) -- however ambitious or gifted that someone might be, I like my site the way it is. This does not mean, however, that the Shrine will ever be voluntarily taken down. I intend to leave it here for those who still want to see it, as well as for sentimental purposes (yes, I am sentimental about my sentimentality.) On the other hand, if at any point the server goes down, or my account is terminated due to inactivity, I will make no attempt to put the site back up. Webmasters, what you do with your links in light of all this is up to you -- I just thought you should know.
And now comes the hard part -- I have to say goodbye to the NES Scene. I should preface this by saying that this moment does not, in any way, mark the end of my correspondence with the Scene. I can still be reached at DiefWolf@aol.com, and I have no intention of putting a stop to any of the friendships I have forged in my time here. I will, however, be spending less time online (in order to play hopscotch in the clouds with George Harrison and pursue other such self-righteous endeavors), so I can't promise the immediate resposes that I haven't been giving anyway.
But the valediction... the valediction... You know, I've sat through two mini-generations of this snowball. When I started, Gromit, Spazzoid, and Mr. Groove were sitting on top of the iceberg (what the hell is with all the Arctic metaphors all of a sudden?) I grovelled to those folks, and one-by-one, I watched them go their separate ways -- usually without explanation, which is probably the only reason I'm writing this at all.
So I'd like to begin with a message to my friend, Loogaroo, and to Big Stu and Kurt Kalata, whom I consider friends even though we've only really spoken once (I don't know Martin Nielsen, so it wouldn't be appropriate to speak directly to him.) Guys, with |tsr on "hiatus" (let's face it, we all know what that means), and me gone (I suppose I could have timed this better, but oh well), you're the only old men left. I'm certain this means you're supposed to assume some positions of moral leadership or something, but who really wants any part of that? Don't be leaders -- nobody on the Scene wants to be led anyyway. Just keep on being the crusty fellas you always were... At any rate, it's a testament to all of you that you've been at this for so long, and I want you to know that whatever you do, I'll be sitting in the wings whispering to the senile woman next to me, "I sort of grew up with those guys." (Yech, that was sappy.)
As for the more recent crop, I can't predict your future; and I certainly won't tell you to respect your history, since I can't swallow that much of my pride without choking to death on it. All I will say is this: Last as long as you see fit; play the games at least as much as you talk about them; use emulation wisely; do as much your way as possible (but try to be a little nicer to Nintendo City); and when the third generation of NES sites comes along, make sure you feel as old and sententious as I do right now -- it can be very pleasant.
Oh, and Tom, don't ever let Brinstar happen again.
Okay, I think that's everything I wanted to say. So I suppose that means it's time for me to say my last goodbyes to the Scene and the Shrine, sling everything I own over my shoulder, and walk off toward the indefinite horizon of my future. Part of this new quest, I suspect, involves not attempting to say anything that I've already heard expressed perfectly. So if Mr. Shakespeare won't mind...
"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearnÚd luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends."
-A Midsummer Night's Dream; 5.1.440-455
The comedy, as they say, is over. On with the tragedy!
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