I spent the usual four hours screwing around with my new Mac-Mini. It’s times like these when I ruminate over the days when I knew every file on my Mac IIci practically by heart. It didn’t pay in those days to have great vats of unused data in those days. Not that I miss that.
Once I finally did that last restart and tiddled around with setting a cool desktop picture (the cover to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Tyranny and Mutation”), I moved that little arrow to the sidebar and…ohhhhh…Whassis?! A little slash-in-circle of the kind that usually encompasses a phrase like “Fat Chicks” or “Nukes” was gripping the little black blood dripping horned eye icons for Neverwinter Nights. I knew it was futile but I tried launching the thing anyway. You never know, right? Sometimes mistakes are made, after all. But it was no mistake. Mac OS 10.6.8 doesn’t deign to support my fallback gaming jones. I had been having an insouciant smirk at the teethgrinding going on amongst the Windows crowd. Windows 7, then 8 in rapid succession causing havoc to gamers everwhere. The playerbase of my favorite server, Cormyr Dalelands (or “CD” as we call it.) took a hammering from people drifting off over the years to newer and ostensibly sexier games. But Neverwinter Nights 1 has maintained a die hard following despite all the best efforts of the developer to dislodge them.
I never thought though that Apple would pull this kind of stunt. Even more brutally than Microsoft, whose users routinely expect endless OS trainwrecks, let downs and abuses.
Why am I still so into this old game with its low-prod 2002 graphics, a successor to the old Baldur’s Gate sprite based FRPGs? It’s the stories. I don’t think I’m at all alone in this. As the chaff cleared away with the release of a series of games like “Skyrim”- really high end CGI type graphics requiring buff machines to bring to life, a lot of the action gamers left. In fact almost all of them. The only people I find in NWN now are real roleplayers. People devoted to making compelling characters, dramatics worthy of “General Hospital” circa 1983, and sweeping story arcs that often are so complicated they blow to pieces with the disappearance of a single player on a weeklong vacation.
And some of these people can be a bit high maintenance. Ragequitters, narcissists and manic-depressives abound. But none of this matters ultimately. It works far more often than not, some seriously high strung people keeping a lid on themselves long enough to weave a coherent and compelling story that we all take out of the ‘mod’ and into our own imaginations. Many of it inspiring our own efforts at fiction and graphic art. Possibly music too.
So, I’ll be stuck playing NWN on my old MacBook, whose fans work more or less when they want to, requiring a noisy lap fan that sounds like an industrial woodchipper. I’ll be the last to leave I think. Me and “Firewraith”, “Head Trauma”, “MyBadDay” and all the other diehards turning off the lights and locking the place up at the end and walking our separate ways into the inky black unknown. Kinda like life.