Let’s start off with the fact that I am as surprised to be writing this here, as some of you must be who are reading it. After almost three years of writing about TSTO, and almost FOUR years of playing the game, anyone with even a modicum of common sense would have looked at this headline and instantly gone to “SNOPES” to check on the likelihood of it being real.
And yet…here I am…CrankyOldGuy (who for the majority of the past three years has taken great pleasure in calling TSTOAddicts “bliss ninnies” and “EA suckups”) actually agreeing to become a regular contributor to this site…while winding things down on my own.
To quote myself, “HOLYFREAKINSHIRT!!!!!!!!!”
To be honest about it (and let’s face it…being brutally honest about TSTO has always been my credo), the game has changed…a lot! But, more important, I have changed (anyone who says you can’t teach an old guy new tricks is fullacrap).
And then…there is Riley.
My whole stance on keeping up the “Us-vs-Them” battle between TSTOAddicts and TSTOFriends went into the waste can, when I heard that Alissa had a baby girl who was in the NIC unit after she was born. As anyone who has read my blog knows, I am the father of 5 daughters. I know the overwhelming fear and responsibility of parenthood. I reached out to let Alissa know that I had her in my thoughts and prayers, and that I knew in my heart that Riley was going to be all right.
And then, I met Riley in person. That sealed the deal.
I had been struggling for the better part of a year as to whether I wanted to keep TSTOFriends alive. It is/was like a child of sorts…of my own creation (with the help of a good friend and fellow writer Ryan Kagy…no “I have two daddies “ jokes please), and with a life and personality of its own that often surprised me in the direction it grew.
I wanted to pull the plug repeatedly. I almost did when Ryan left to “Get A Life” (and he has!) after just a few months. But, just when I was planning to exit the TSTO stage, my youngest daughter, Maddy, threw me a curve ball.
She had surprised us all by taking an internship in rural Uganda. She told us about a small school there, serving more than 150 kids in the middle of a jungle…with no books, no supplies, no water, no bathrooms…and she asked for our help.
When I wrote about this on TSTOFriends, and set up a small “GoFundMe” account for anyone who wanted to help, I was overwhelmed to find support from TSTO players around the world. “Friends of Buyijja” was born.
It gave the site new purpose and a new life. In short, it helped players of a silly game (run by a greedy triumvirate of companies), be able to “Do Something That Matters.” And we have. I won’t go into the details here, but Friends of Buyijja has grown over that two years. We have done amazing things for that school, and the results are self-evident.
At the same time, the game began morphing. And not in a way that made most of us “Traditional Tappers” happy. We are from a time when Level Updates brought familiar Simpsons characters, familiar Springfield buildings, and great writing… a time, long, long ago in the life of TSTO. A time before “SuperHeroes” and “Wild West” and “Casinos” started dominating portions of our Springfields. A time when you could justify the time you spent tapping (as long as you were wise enough to hide it from your loved ones and friends), and took pride in the result.
I know. I sound like an old man extolling the virtues of “sitting around the radio on a spring night, listening to the tales of Little Orphan Annie while fighting over the last helping of berry cobbler.” But hey…cobbler is good.
So…why didn’t I just pull the plug on TSTOFriends and just walk away???
I had every intention of doing just that. I have loads of other interests, including my core business (which ironically has to do with the radio business) is shifting its focus. It’s an election year and I volunteer, write and blog, and besides Friends of Buyijja, I am active at my golf club, am a grandpa to 4, and am planning a wedding (or two, or three) for my youngest daughters.
WHY WOULD I CONTINUE AT ALL???
But, then…when I hooked up for a lunch with Alissa, in her home state of New Jersey, (as part of a 30-Day Rediscovering American 9,600 mile driving trip) to let her know that there were no hard feelings, and that I was very happy for her life…I met Riley. And I saw what this little girl meant to Alissa, and how much time and effort running TSTOAddicts, having a full-time job, and being the best mom ever to this amazing little girl, was doing to her.
She had “that look.”
I won’t go into details. But, let’s just say…that after running a blogs, with readerships that span the globe…comprised of readers who are more than a “little quirky” (COME ON…you KNOW you are!!). we had a lot to talk about…and more than a lot in common.
And, a plan was hatched. Call it a survival plan. For both of us.
I agreed to write…to add some “Pragmatic, Honest, Keep-EA-On-Their-Toes” articles, if I could talk about Friends of Buyijja once in a while. I promised to keep the politics over on my CrankyOldGuy blog. I promised to keep it funny…or as funny as I could be when EA has some giant SNAFU or Glitch that makes all of our lives miserable. And, I promised to stop calling Bunny a rodent. It seemed fair…and not really very nice…considering that the motto of Friends of Buyijja is “Peace, Hope, and Love.”
And as we were talking…I noticed that Riley was listening…and smiling…and nodding along as she saw her Mommy relax and laugh. Kids are like that…especially the ones who don’t talk yet. There is a quiet, subtle strength in the way they can distract the tension by starting a game of “get the old man to pick up my toy that I am dropping repeatedly from my high chair.”
It was a deal that was natural…and easy…and made us both sigh with relief.
So…I’ll be around. Not sure how regularly. But, I’ll be here to talk about things in a way that Alissa doesn’t feel comfortable doing. I’ll help with “update stuff”…and give an opinion on which Premium stuff is worth spending REAL money on (not much), or why I think EA’s programming blows chunks (it does) or the virtues of designing a town that makes you happy (mine still does).
But mostly, I’ll be in the corner…allowed to scratch my TSTO itch in public. I’m old. I’m Cranky. I’ve earned the right to be honest with my feelings…even if rubs a few of you the wrong way.
WHICH BRINGS US TO THE POINT OF THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE SCREAMING “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I hate that guy!!! He was Mean to Alissa!!!!”
I have a short answer… “Get over it. If we can move on…then, so can you.”
The long answer is less polite, and has a whole lot of “For the love of God…it’s a ridiculous game…GET A LIFE” kinds of things wrapped around copious explanations of how you all need to do more than just tap.
But none of us wants that….right?
And so…we’ll move forward. I will wind down TSTOFriends. I will keep evolving the work we do at Friends of Buyijja, and ask you to join in if you choose. And when I get the urge to want to spew about politics, or media, or something other than TSTO…I will do so on CrankyOldGuy. I have learned my lesson. Really.
OK. Let’s get on with it.
Riley says so.