Lyon, France

My stars I love France. In many ways, Lyon is better than Paris: No tourists, no pressure to be cool. Just a working European city.

The first night Raphael and I were here, we were up for 32 hours, including travel, and we ate couscous and lamb at a Tunisian place off the town square.

Last night, knifed by the wind, we walked to Bistro St. Paul and ate truffles and cassoulet. Later, we met up with some game developers from Widescreen and one of the guys from the Polish team that made the Witcher at a bar themed in the American 60’s. Post bar, we waited on the *last* train of the night at the Vieux Lyon stop. At the next metro stop, we were out of time…no more trains. So we walked back to the hotel in the bitter cold.

What a great city.

Long live role-playing games

I remember Roger Zelazny’s death poignantly because I always wanted the chance to tell him “thanks,” but never got the chance. So I am truly happy that I got the chance to interview Gary Gygax before his passing, as a way to highlight his influence and his contribution. I made it a point to seek out Michael Moorcock a few years ago to have lunch with him for the same purpose.

Gygax (and Arneson and many others) had such a huge effect on me as a gamer and as a person. It’s hard to execute great (or even good) video games. As someone who loves games and wants to see our medium spread to every person on the planet, I see this death as a significant event simply because it marks the end of a life that was full of significant influence over games (of many flavor), storytelling, film, books and even the way people socialize.

Gygax is gone. (As my friend Steve Powers lovingly put it: “Gygax is at -10 hit points.”) His influence, of course, is not gone. Same with Zelazny, the voice of my youth. Odd timing, but now my friend (and influential game designer) Erick Wujcik is sick.

All this makes me sad, but it also reminds me to tell people every chance I get when they’ve impacted my life in a positive way.

Last Night in Austin

Saw the Hold Steady last night with Leah, David K., Nathan Black and Aaron, a friend of David’s. It was chilly by our standards, but I had some coffee at Jo’s on 2nd before the show and the band rocked hard enough to keep us warm. After the show, I went home and listened to Thunder Road as a kind of tribute to the Hold Steady.


Halloween 2007

My costume this year…a version of the Killer from Wanted (the graphic novel, rather than the movie). Note the abs.

Leah as a Little Sister from (this year’s brilliant) Bioshock. (Games can only be as good as the people funding them will allow…congrats to Take 2 for having the discipline to let the team finish the game then polish the game. Bioshock is one of the best games in years as a result of the team’s talent and the publisher’s savvy.)

Starr Long apparently meditating…Euginie and Snowflake looking delightful. (Starr’s game Tabula Rosa just went live. Way to go, Starr and NCSoft.)

Note how Oge is trying to crush Starr Long’s head.

Had a great time carving pumpkins. Resulting Jack-o’-lanterns. Mine this year (far right) was two eyes and the ‘mouth’ was the hole in the top…for a jack-o’-lantern howling up at the sky.

Anonymous Shout Out

Hearing that I was feeling under the weather, a friend made a trip to Whole Foods and brought me some hippie healing remedies (on her way to the Saxon Pub). I’m not sure if it’s allergies or a slow cold, but this was one of the nicest things anyone has done in a while. (I can only hope that I’ve been equally thoughtful.)

Hopefully, this elixir of twigs and flowers and mothwings (eye of newt?) will have me back at full speed soon. I don’t really feel bad…just got a few minor sneezing, coughing-type symptoms.

Sometimes I want to set the world on fire, but tonight I’m thinking that people are a fairly good idea, overall.

So anyway thanks. You know who you are. By sleeping in and getting all remedied up, I feel good enough to go out for dinner. Yay.