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I guess it's sunk cost. No need to torture myself over what are effectively phantasms.

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It's Been a Few Years

Giant Bomb started around the time I'd begun a new stage of my life. It's hard to put it any other way, since my change in surroundings were pretty dramatic, and the last time I wrote on here was sort of the preamble to another major change. I've since reviewed a lot more games than I had reviewed anything in my entire life before that point and basically seen both sides, in a minor way, to the reviewer/reviewed divide.

Part of the reason this place even exists was the uneasy relationship between commerce and criticism and how that can get out of hand pretty easily. I've struggled to put ratings on just about anything I've reviewed, trying to inform a potential buyer, but give proper credit to what the creators had managed to make, and try to have some consistency across everything you've already reviewed and... bleah.

I've appreciated every attempt made to try to pull the curtain back a bit, since knowing all the effort and pressures that go into making or reviewing something gives you a better idea how you, the player or reader, interface with the whole mess. But the more data that shows the more things can swing in an unintended direction, especially when someone with too much time on their hands decides to make things seem ten times worse.

It comes down to the individual, ultimately, not to be caught up in the wave. To stick to principles as a reviewer, to take legit criticism like a champ as a creator, to cut your losses as a player and not fall victim to sunk cost thinking. I'm happy that refunds are the standard now, that many reviewers let you know about review copies and promotional interests, that developers are a bit more honest about delays and design decisions

I guess the other sunk cost thing I have to remember is whatever time I spent here was perhaps deeper than it would have been had I not suffered a loss around the time it started and needed to work on something to build myself up again. Most of the work I've made on here is probably obliterated now, I wasn't terribly active on the forums, and whatever controversies there were, whether or not people thought I was involved, sort of blew past me because I wasn't really part of it. I've made a few friends here, though, and got a few kudos from people whose opinions I respect, so I should just crystallize that and let the rest fade, pretend I'm starting from scratch otherwise, whether or not I do anything here again.

One of the early things I wrote about was Might and Magic: World of Xeen, and after struggling with nostalgitis that Arbitrary Water's stream of Might and Magic 6 reintroduced to my system I wound up starting Swords of Xeen, a third-party game using Xeen's original engine. So far it's reminding me that New World Computing put a lot of care into their maps, as Swords doesn't feel nearly like a distantly plausible place as the old games did. While Might and Magic is goofy and weird and never takes itself too seriously, it manages to do a lot of things better than other RPGs old and new as far as making the player feel like they're engaging with the minds who made it more than being lead down a track or left to your own devices. There's plenty to found in the past that can inform the present and open up possibilities for the future. Swords of Xeen sort of reminds me, though, that it's sometimes an uphill climb to figure out if they will be, in hindsight, worth having explored. If that's the right verb tense. I respect Swords for not ignoring the other Xeen games and their revelations, and I'm hoping for a pleasant surprise as I progress.

But yeah, it's hard to know, in general, if something was worth having explored until it's too late to do anything about it. I guess it's better than letting one's circle of perception dwindle over time, as much as it can hurt to draw open the shades and let in the light.