Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Treasure of Tarmin

Today, I saw this video of the old Intellivision game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin.

It wasn't the first game I ever played, not by a long shot, but it was the first one that got its hooks deep, deep in my heart. I remember staying up all night playing this game, trying to make it all the way to level 255, where the strongest minotaur dwelled. I was 10 or 11 at the time, and I'm reasonably certain Dad didn't know I wasn't in bed sleeping.

Now, I'm not hurting for videogames these days. I bought a PlayStation 3 this week, and I've been playing God of War III. The graphics for God of War III are astonishing, near film quality at times. The gameplay is complex and challenging, with a lot of variation. Qualities lacking in even the best games of the early 1980s.

But when I watched that video of good old Treasure of Tarmin, I felt a smile pull across my face and a gentle warmth bubble up in my heart. And I wished I still had that game (and the system to run it on), because I wanted to play it again. Though it was simple and repetitive, and the graphics weren't all that great (although they weren't bad for the time, no not at all), Treasure of Tarmin was a part of my childhood, a sweet and beautiful memory for me. Yes, I just called a dungeon crawl "beautiful." And it was. It sparked my imagination and made me feel like I was really on an adventure.

And as much as I'm enjoying the newer games, very few of them touch my soul in the same way. Nostalgia is truly a powerful force.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Would you like to hear something beautiful?

The Syracuse University Library is making digital copies of their old wax cylinder recordings available. Have a listen to these beautiful church bells, recorded in 1923.

It's a part of Syracuse University's Belfer Audio Archive. They are digitizing thousands of these old wax cylinder recordings.

Not into church bells? How about a rousing march, instead? Or perhaps some whistling?

It gives me goosebumps to think of the wonderful audio treasures they're preserving and sharing with the world. Explore their site and enjoy.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Declutterization Achieved

I hope everyone had a happy Easter!

My resolution to give up junk for Lent was great success. I managed to discard, recycle, donate, or otherwise give away of at least one thing every day, and most days I got rid of several things. And while the selection of items I got rid of was a tiny percent of the total amount of stuff I own, it was enough to make my apartment feel a less cluttered and more spacious.

The other part of my resolution--to not buy anything frivolous--was equally beneficial. I encountered several things I wanted throughout the forty days, and I told myself that I could buy them after Easter. The thing is, now that some time has passed, I no longer want them. I should impose a mandatory waiting period on all toys and trinkets, to weed out regrettable impulse buys in favor of carefully considered purchases. I might save a lot of money and achieve a much slower rate of material accumulation.

I still have a few things to get rid of, which I plan to offer to specific people rather than tossing into the donation box. So I'm not finished decluttering, but I'm released from the commitment to do it every single day. But I think I will keep an open donation box in my apartment all the time, so it remains an ongoing part of my lifestyle.