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All Quiet on the PBM Front
It may not be for everyone, of course, but it pretty darned quiet for me, on the PBM Front.

I am out of the play-by-mail loop, at the moment, with no near-term changes in that likely. That may seem a bit odd, in light of the fact that I maintain this PBM-related website, but truth is stranger than fiction, at times, it seems.

On a personal level, it's largely a matter of competing priorities, for me. My interest in the play by mail genre hasn't really ever diminished, although my focus has been shifted to other things numerous different times over the years. Perhaps actually playing in PBM games is one way to stay vested in the hobby and the industry. That one should be a no-brainer, huh?

Most of the gaming that I do manage to do, these days, tends to be largely limited to playing one of the various Jurassic Park Survival maps for the by-now-dated Warcraft 3 game with my son, and an occasional romp on various PlayStation 3 games (again, with my son), or playing a handful of board games (nothing exotic, mainly Monopoly or one of its variants).

Maybe the time has come to shutter the windows and to lock the doors on this place? Perhaps I should take my rightful (or non-so-rightful) place in history alongside other PBM websites that have given up the ghost. Maybe it is time to, in the proverbial sense, rest in PBM peace.

Or, maybe not.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

If that's the case, though, then where's everyone else at? Off doing their own thing, of course - and I can't say that I blame them. I really can't.

Later this year, I will turn fifty, God willing. By and large, I have enjoyed pretty good health, over the years. For that, I am thankful, for it certainly hasn't been due to my own efforts, that's for sure.

I have pretty good eyesight. I don't have to wear glasses or contact lenses. I haven't had to endure corrective eye surgery. Yet, the really small font on those old issues of Paper Mayhem magazine does nothing to entice me to spend oodles of time absorbing that PBM essence of old from the pages of David Webber's enduring legacy.

The biggest PBM-related news that I am aware of, these days, is probably Rick Loomis' more-than-just-a-tad successful KickStarter project for Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls.

So, a big congratulations is definitely in order for the Flying Buffalo man from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Maybe that's what play by mail needs - to be kick started. Of course, there's been many efforts over the years to accomplish just, exactly that. Or, maybe there has largely been lip service paid to it. Or, maybe play by mail just isn't amenable to being kick started.

At various times, PBM-related thoughts will cross my mind. I would label it as awe-inspiring, but rather, just some thought or idea or other would cross my mind, seemingly for no reason, at all. For instance, what if the heyday of the PBM era had coincided with the Facebook era and the Twitter era and the KickStarter era? Now, you know as well as I do that something good would have come out of all of that.

Instead, what you are now treated to is an infrequent, and dare I say less than inspirational, treatment of all things PBM.

I visited the PBM Gamer website, yesterday, and again, today, and it remains in Maintenance Mode. So, is it gone, now, too? Heck, this site right here, PlayByMail.Net, recently encountered some website resources limit issue, and when I went to load it a few days back, I couldn't even access my very own website. Well, not this one, anyway.

The web host wanted me to upgrade my web hosting package, and while I could have done that, I just plain didn't want to. So, here I sat, unable to access PlayByMail.Net, and I wasn't even able to access the web hosting control panel, in order to check on what, specifically and exactly, was at the root cause of why we had exceeded system resources.

Historically, I have run more than one website operating off of the same web hosting package, since, historically speaking, there has existed no real danger of exceeding bandwidth or disk space limitations associated with the entry-level web hosting package that I signed dup for.

Eh? Who? What's that, you say?

Does this mean that play by mail interest has increased so much, and has grown so great, that we are now faced with the rather enviable prospect of needing to increase our disk space and bandwidth allotments for this site, in order to accommodate our web hosting needs?

Is this the long-awaited herald that prophecies of old foretold would one day sound, to mark the return of the golden age of play by mail? My God, man! Why didn't you just tell us, you might be saying to yourself, right now, as you fire up the Marlboro from that pack that you thought that you had discarded years ago.

. . .Ahem. . .

In a word - No!

Hey, I could just go ahead and begin heralding the return of PBM to the forefront of the gaming entertainment world, but since it's never actually achieved that milestone level of success in the first instance, I'm not sure that the second time around would necessarily be the charm.

Various projects that grew from PBM roots continue to inch along. You could read about those ongoing efforts and occasional success stories, but no one is posting about them here, anymore, it seems.

For a long while, I had a number of back issues of Paper Mayhem stacked on top of my computer desk, providing me immediate access to PBM material of yesteryear. Perhaps I need to drag them back out of storage. Uh, what did I do with them, again?

I noticed, long ago, that if I post regularly about PBM on this website, then actual site traffic of substance from individuals actually interested in play by mail gaming tends to increase. But, the same holds true, if others interested in the same post with any degree of frequency or passion, at all.

To some that visit, the site tends to offer little in the way of new reading material for them to peruse, on those occasions when they do happen to pop in for a visit. Accordingly, there exists little in the way of incentive to tempt them to keep coming back.

I understand that. I comprehend it, quite well. I fathom what I am saying.

There are all sorts of game-related things that I want to do, from a design or implementation perspective. Unfortunately, I just prefer eating, or playing games, or any of a number of other things, to the grunt work of creating a game.

There are at least two different board games that I want to create, so that my son and I can play them, together, and all too often, I find myself desiring rest and relation more than I am able to justify actually making those games transition from crude conceptional stages to concrete reality.

The stuff from my last computer is all gone, lost when I had to replace it, unexpectedly, just so that I could remain connected to the online world. Isn't the Internet a lot like air? I mean, don't you HAVE to have it?

If the Internet suddenly exploded with interest in play by mail gaming, wouldn't that be great? I mean, wouldn't that be a grand occasion? Surely, if that happened, PlayByMail.Net would be all over it. Right??

Uh, let me get back to you on that.

Seriously, though, if that sort of unhappenable event actually turned reality on its head, and happened, I'm not so sure that I would cover it, just sitting here and thinking about it and conveying what I am thinking. At least, not to the degree that one might imagine.

I mean, if that happened, then everyone else would be covering it, so I would perhaps be more like, what's the point?

So, is it even possible to kick start an entire genre of gaming? Is such even within the realm of possibility, even at the outer edge of pure possibility?

I don't know.

What I do know is that, currently in the here and now, it's all quiet on the PBM Front.
I can tell you this. I'm currently based in Korea, and this, along with my work responsibilities, makes participating in what PBM is out there difficult. However, I haven't given up and do have a few games going. I've six years and some change left in the Army, and once that is completed, and I am geographically settled, I intend on ramping up my participation a bit more.

Until then, keep in mind there are those of us who still remember and continue to keep the faith.

Thanks for all you have done for PBM, PBEM, subsequent ventures.

Try to keep the flame burning: I think more appreciate your efforts than you might think.

(06-06-2013, 02:36 AM)Rick McDowell Wrote: Grimfinger,

Thanks for all you have done for PBM, PBEM, subsequent ventures.

Try to keep the flame burning: I think more appreciate your efforts than you might think.


Hi Rick,

I don't post as much about Play-By-Mail, of late, simply because I have focused upon other things. The genre still interests me, as much as always. My PBM editorials tend to be written in an off-the-cuff manner. Since I a not currently playing in any play by mail games, there's nothing on that front to motivate me to write. Likewise, few post here, so I don't usually have the benefit of much in the way of fresh PBM related material in these forums to spark or to renew interest, on my part, on that front.

Today is my son's last day of 2nd Grade, and I have a party at his school to attend a little later, this morning. Maybe I can try to post some more thoughts on PBM later today or later this week.

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