Tag: shameless self-promotion
It’s been a while since the last post. Most of you who followed me through that time via Twitter and Facebook know that it’s been a pretty stressful stretch, but the worst of it is over now. I’m working on a bunch of things behind the scenes– which I’ve previously used as an excuse for not updating or sharing information, but in this case it’s the honest truth.
In the time since I last posted, I’ve:
- Finished painting 1850 points of Imperial Guard.
- Assembled four warjacks for Warmachine, and am ready to paint them up soon.
- Started a dedicated gaming blog– it’s going to pre-launch on Friday and full launch on Monday.
- Made ready a Paranioa one-shot that’s happening this Wednesday.
- Actively made strides towards improving my job performance and happiness.
- Been away from home for a week on business. (I handled this better than I thought I would, actually.)
- Continued preparations for the Tekkoshocon video game room, including getting ready to order arcade sticks.
And that’s just the stuff I can talk about. I’m not kidding you all when I say I’m a very busy person!
Anyway, with the new blog starting up, I’m not going to promise frequent posts here. I am, however, going to redouble my efforts to keep on top of the more life-changing stuff as it happens; there may not be a set schedule but I’m going to try to avoid missing whole months in a row this time.
I’ll be back later this week with the pre-launch of the new blog and a bit more information on my current state. Everything’s fine… I’ve just been really, really busy.
Folks, I’m sure you’re disappointed in me for the rather alarming number of missed posts recently. I am as shamed as you are. I’m probably going to take a little bit of time this evening to write up some shorter posts and pre-load them for the month of March just so I don’t have to scramble for Bailout first thing in the morning. I’ll have to have some canned posts ready for during the convention, at the very least. Still, it’s my goal to make sure that I have a fresh post ready for you all once the convention preparation period is over. Thank you for bearing with this.
I hope honestly that this morning has brought a lot of peace to people who went to bed upset and anxious last night. I know I feel better, but I’m still knotted up in worry over things I can’t necessarily change just yet.
The fact that I had my first episode of dreaming that I was dreaming in a very long time did not help things, nor did the fact that when I “woke up” I did so into an insanely strange and stressful situation– I was being called by a bill collector at 3a. That, of course, was a dead giveaway that it was a dream (and it was– I haven’t been called by collectors in years now), but it was still scary as all hell.
Considering I meant to have this post up three weeks ago, I suppose that I should consider dropping one or more of my activities. Then again, I care too much about all of them to drop any of them. This blog included. Even if I only wind up making one real-content post a month, I intend to keep up with this thing.
For a while I was feeling more than a little guilty that I had Game Clears up on the blog, indicating that yes, I did in the strictest sense “have time” to write and I was simply choosing not to out of laziness or selfishness. It’s in my nature to feel that if I’m not being “productive” then I should feel guilty, stemming from my theory that if I have the capability to do something, then I also have the responsibility to do it. The problem, of course, was that every time I would sit down to write for the blog, the writer’s block I’ve been suffering under for a while now would reassert itself, and I would wind up staring at the blank page for a while before giving up and playing a game.
Of course, I do have to relax at some point. I can’t be expected to be “on” constantly. If I choose to do so by gaming, well, then more power to me. I have to break myself of the mental block that says “relaxation = selfishness”. It’s going to be a long road, but the first step is accepting that those game clears should be proof that I’m not going completely loco.
Anyway, let’s talk games for a little bit. Portal 2 has been the big one, and even though I finished it before I wrote the first draft of this post, I still find myself going back and getting a chuckle out of some of the more funny aspects of the game. What I found most interesting was that Valve rewards humor on the part of the player, as well as giving the player something to laugh at by him or herself. Wheatley is funny, but when the player is rewarded for doing something stupid-but-funny, that’s even better.
One thing I’m finding to be even more fun about the game, and which extends the replay value of it dramatically, is the co-op campaign. There’s an entirely different dynamic between GLaDOS and the two robots Atlas and P-Body, and that can even be extended to the players. I’m going through it off and on with Chris LoBue, a partner of mine in BM&G, and we recently unlocked a hilarious interaction gesture where one of the droids takes the other’s “head” off and plays with it for a moment, inviting retaliation. It’s slapstick at its finest, and it reaffirms Valve’s choice of using robots for the co-op and not human characters.
That said, someone needs to patch in support for a third robot based on a cube, and then Valve can do the whole Three Stooges bit up properly.
So, after that, there was… Hmm, well, I suppose I could talk about the 3DS. Yes, I did get it on launch day, and no, I don’t regret it for a second. You’d be surprised how much fun I get out of something as simple as StreetPass and Find Mii, but that’s the standout feature of the system so far in my mind. It simplifies the whole interaction between gamers, and it’s the natural evolution of the tag modes that were pioneered in titles like The World Ends With You and Animal Crossing. The simple addition of real-world interactions to certain games is the hidden revolution in the machine, and I only hope that this becomes the breakout feature of the device in the way that the original DS’s touchscreen advanced portable gaming. To steal Microsoft’s phrase, it’s good to play together.
Nintendo is doing a great job of engaging with the playerbase this time around as well, too. The NOA Twitter feed highlights the various city-based StreetPass gatherings and clubs going on around the US. Granted, they haven’t gotten around to StreetPass Pittsburgh yet, but we’re still a small group. That’s actually symptomatic of the rather weak launch that the 3DS has had in the past two months. I’ll be the first to say that it was a little underwhelming– there were really only two titles that were worth picking up, and one of them (Bust-A-Move Universe) will only be worth picking up once it’s in the bargain bin, if a better version doesn’t come out before then. It’s annoying that the software isn’t there to support it yet, but I’m confident that that’s going to be fixed very soon.
It was a little annoying, too, to hear that the 3DS eShop has been delayed until the pre-E3 show– but not nearly as annoying as the mind-games Capcom is playing with Mega Man Legends 3. The big problem there is that the game still has not been given a green-light for full production, according to Capcom’s Dev Room initiative. The official word is that, depending on performance of the Prologue Version– the paid beta that was supposed to be released alongside the eShop– the game would either be scrapped or funded in full. In effect, Capcom is holding the game for ransom.
Now before I continue, I want to clarify something: it could be argued that BM&G is also holding a game for ransom, in that we can’t produce Point of Descent without funding. It’s a tricky parallel to navigate, and while it’s flattering to put an indie developer working on their first game on the same level as an iconic studio such as Capcom, that’s simply not the case. We’re going to continue work on Point of Descent regardless of how our Kickstarter and 8-Bit Funding pages do (I’m sorry I’m not being more subtle about that). Capcom, on the other hand, can throw away resources on a “failed” experiment and not risk ruin. The problem, of course, is that Capcom isn’t just throwing away money, but also reputation. They’ve been on rocky shores in that regard before, and I think it would be very wise if they just went ahead and announced at E3 that they’re just trolling us all and that MML3 is definitely coming out. It’s not like Capcom’s a stranger to being a lying creator either– witness the shell games they played prior to the official reveal of MVC3.
Anyway, E3. It coincides with a major Apple event, too– WWDC– but we’ll get to that in a little bit. This year will see the unveiling of the Nintendo console that will likely be in ludicrously short supply next year. (I learned my lesson and will be putting down a pre-order as soon as I can.) What has me puzzled, though, is that there haven’t been too many rumors about what Sony and Microsoft are doing. This could be a great opportunity for the both of them to steal the spotlight a little bit. One would imagine MS, at least, is showing something worthy of buying live airtime on Spike TV for their pre-game on June 6th at 4:30p EDT. Sony has taken a bit of a bloody nose this past month, but they’re running their own show the same day at 9p EDT. Nintendo is set up for the 7th at 12p EDT, which is conveniently when E3 proper starts.
As an aside: Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I think Sony and MS have made a HUGE misstep here in scheduling their pre-games the day before Nintendo’s. I draw this thought from The West Wing. See, that show, believe it or not, had some pretty good insights into information control. One of the big tenets was that you want to make sure you get the most press time available. If you want to bury a story, you drop it in somewhere between major announcements so that it gets relatively little attention compared to the big stuff. By placing their shows in such close proximity to Nintendo’s, MS and Sony are trading the lingering effect of being last for the bombastic effect of being first. They’ll get the big initial drops, but Nintendo ultimately will have the most eyeballs on its work because it’ll be in a prime position to react to the other two pre-games.
In the end, though, it really boils down to what games are being shown off, and going by some of the less verifiable rumors I’ve been hearing– which I’ll not lend credence to here, as they come from some really sketchy sources– I think we’re all going to be very, very happy with all three consoles’ output this year. Just trust me on this one.
Moving on to Apple. By the time I get this post up, many of the Apple Stores around the world will have gone into lockdown mode in order to prepare for a major revamp of some sort. Nobody really knows what it is, except that it involves “gigabytes” of encrypted data being pushed to store servers; it might be as simple as giving iPads to employees to use instead of iPod Touches for POS terminals, or it could be a surprise launch of OS X Lion. We’ll know for sure in the morning. The rumors of a new iPhone hardware unit to be announced at WWDC on June 7th are pretty tantalizing, too. But what is probably the biggest news is the formal announcement of iOS 5.0. The mobile OS is slated to include a huge number of improvements to the everyday-use-case of i- devices, with the chief among them being a completely redone push/notification system. Apple, I think, didn’t expect push to be as big or as quickly embraced as it has been, and the initial implementation is starting to show its seams. Granted, there are also a lot of other things that need some spit and polish among the iOS guts, and a few things that are being driven by the (healthy and appreciated) Android rivalry. I would like to see some form of lock-screen widget implementation so that I could see weather and notifications at a glance, and I would be shocked beyond measure if the new notifications platform did not include an option to set truly customizable alert tones.
I mentioned in an aside up there that the rivalry with Android is “healthy and appreciated”. I mean that. The fact that the two operating systems are advancing and pushing each other forward by leapfrogging features means that, no matter which one users pick, they don’t miss out– assuming a long enough timescale. I’ve been an iOS user for going on three years now, and I’m not about to look back at all. Point of fact, I look to Android to see what features will be in the next major version of iOS. About the only thing I’m really unhappy with is the slower pace of releases from Apple compared to Google, but at the same time, not having the dizzying splintering going on that the Android landscape has is a definite plus in my book.
One other thing before I leave the Appleology pulpit: Apple and Google are both learning from the OS wars of old. They may have differing platforms and opposing goals, but both of them are very careful to rely on industry standards and are working towards interoperability. That might just be reflective of the current culture of interoperability in the computing world today, but it’s a breath of fresh air from the not-as-long-ago-as-I’d-like days when floppy disks came formatted in Mac and IBM flavors.
I suppose, really, the last thing to go over in the life-dump is the aftermath of Tekkoshocon and what my next steps there are. I was asked to help out with the RPG room for Tekko, and I did so. I make that sound so banal, but in truth it was probably one of the best times I’ve had in a long time at a con. There was stress, of course– comes with the territory of helping other people have a good time– but in the end it was worth it. Since then, I’ve been working on getting the video game room for The Sangawa Project together, and that itself has been an adventure and a half. At some point I’m going to have to go back up to Sharon to try to clean out Budd Street Video of some rare titles. That show comes just a couple of weeks before Otakon, which… I still haven’t registered for. Lisa Ortiz is a pretty big draw, but it largely depends on whether or not I really want to get into the Dealer’s Room. Which I probably do, but I may have to see how things go in the interim. Otakon probably isn’t going to have an attendance cap again, but if they do, I’m sure there will be enough notice to get things going in time.
That about covers everything I’ve wanted to mention. I’ll try to wr– oh, for cryin’ out loud, I promise that all the damn time and I never deliver. I suppose that if you need to get a fix on me, you could just keep an eye on my Twitter feed. If something big does happen, I’ll set aside time to write about it. Beyond that, I’ll try to keep this place up to date with the Game Clear notices and suchlike as I relax my way through this life. Ciao, kids.
I have a lot to get caught up on here on the blog… Beyond Madness & Genius prime among them. There’s also the extreme flu I’ve had for the past two weeks, the coming start of the 2011 convention season (and it opens with a bang, let me tell you that), the announcement (and subsequent release, and further subsequent coveting by me) of the iPad 2, complaints about the bus schedule shakeup, rants about games and food, and just a general load of life stuff that needs to be addressed. With any luck this weekend I should have the presence of mind to get to it all.
But first, a complaint and and advisory. Most of you know I’m a rabid Pokemaniac, and when the fifth-generation games (Pokemon Black and White) were released last week I was all over them. I discovered, however, an interesting “freezing” phenomenon. When using the game’s instant-start communications tool, the C-Gear, starting it up in the field caused the game to mysteriously stop accepting button inputs. The game appeared to be communicating– the wi-fi light started flickering– but the screen didn’t respond at all. I just now learned through some forum posts that the only way to proceed was to touch the touch screen– which at no point are you prompted to do, in a bizarre break from Nintendo’s usually rigorous standards of always telling you exactly the next step. This isn’t just a bad oversight, this is an outright atrocious design flaw that should have been addressed weeks before the game hit North America.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the rest of the game, and I’m still of the opinion that this could have been the greatest Pokemon game to date. But given that issue, and the other things introduced in HeartGold and SoulSilver that are oddly missing here, that title is still firmly in the hands of 2010′s remake set.
Ciao, folks– hopefully I’ll get to you guys tomorrow instead of next month.
This week has been remarkably fulfilling, in many respects. Things that were set in motion months ago have crept ever closer to their destinations; some in small steps, and others in tremendous leaps forward. Some things, even, arrived at their next staging points days or even weeks ahead of the schedule I’d been banking on. Regardless, the next few weeks are going to be a bit of a lull as I continue some of the preparatory work towards the big rush of activity that will be September and October. I promise you all now, of course, that by the first of November, I’ll be able to reveal most, if not all, of the details of this current Secret Project.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep teasing you.
I realize that I’ve been preternaturally quiet on this here blog for the past week or so. It turns out that when you have a job that you enjoy and feel like you’re contributing to, you tend to want to work more and harder at it, and have less time for leisure activities like, say, blogging. Funny thing, that.
Anyway, despite today being a “rest” day, I spent a lot of time doing hard work on some household tasks that had fallen by the wayside, such as neatening up the living quarters and getting some clothes washed. I know, thrilling stuff. But this has cleared a lot of stress off of my general plate and has made me feel very, very productive and confident. Again, funny thing how getting stuff done makes you want to get more stuff done.
What this really means for the blog is that I’m going to try to budget my time a bit better in terms of having more than just three or four terse sentences for an update, and that this coming week I’m going to spend some otherwise down time writing up posts for… you guessed it, Essay Week 2010. I skipped ’09 due to a number of factors, but this year I’m fortunate enough to know when I’m going to have a gap, and I’m also lucky enough to see it coming more than an hour beforehand. In addition, Essay Week 2010 is going to debut something else I’d like to try out.
You can help select the topics for Essay Week 2010! I’ve got five or six ideas running around in my head right now as to things to write about, but if you’ve ever wanted to know my thoughts or opinion on something of interest to you, now’s your chance. Leave a comment to this entry, or send me a direct message on Twitter (or an @ reply if I’m not currently following you) with the topic you’d like me to address. Try to keep the topics at least PG-13 or lower, and please don’t pick something ludicrously polarizing or controversial. On Thursday, July 22nd I’ll pick the most interesting topics and write about them, interspersing them with the other essays planned.
Essay Week 2010 will run from Sunday, July 25th to Saturday, July 31st. Till then, please enjoy what I hope will be an elevated level of vocalization on this site.
One of the projects I’m working on currently– the not-quite-so-but-still-kinda-”Super Secret” one– has me discussing with friends some rather… risky topics. I suppose it should go without saying that when I talk about, say, how to break into a store and clean out the register without leaving a trace behind, I’m only speaking hypothetically. Anyone who knows me, knows this; that I wouldn’t ever consider such a course of action in reality. Funny thing is, though, sitting at my computer on Skype and discussing this topic with friends, alone, in my basement apartment, I kinda felt like maybe I should have at least said “hi” to whoever was listening in on our silly inane discussion.
Then again, I’m reminded of a witticism that’s all too true: “Paranoia is a comforting thing. It means you think someone else thinks you’re important.”
I’ll be able to talk about this more early next week, but let me just mention that some days, it really helps to get back some test results that make you flabbergasted to realize– not that you’ve been selling yourself short, because I know I’ve been doing that– but by just how much you’ve been self-effacing. It’s not really ego-stroking if you have paperwork to back it up, is it?