Let’s try this all again.

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been able to concentrate on writing in any capacity. My schedule has finally freed up and I want to get back to this blog as a regular project. Not only do I have the time to write, but I also have the time to play video games again, making this a pleasurable experience for me once again. I’m futzing with the layout, along with spending some time in the lab to get my writing back up to par. It feels like I’m slipping and I’m not willing to let that get any worse. The fun part is that I’m opening this blog up to other topics besides video games, so it’s about to a little sillier around here. Video games will remain the primary focus, but unrelated subjects will be approached on a more regular basis.

I’ve missed writing. My gaming focus continues to shift as the months go by. I’m still depending heavily upon my handhelds, while searching for the relevance of the upcoming “next-gen” consoles from Microsoft and Sony. I’m digging into franchises I’ve never really dug into, and trying to rediscover what I actually liked about video games to begin with. The problem I’m finding is that neither Sony nor Microsoft is really offering the kind of experiences I’m looking to have with games. As a medium built primarily around user input, I hate to watch the industry tread further into the territory of “cinematic experiences”. The best video games have always been the ones that embraced the world they exist in, and use that as an advantage to throw all logic out the window. I like video gamey-ass video games, something few studios are in the business of as of late.

Where it’s all gonna go, I can’t tell you, because I just don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to change or what’s going to stay the same. I’m not completely sure what I’m going to be writing about, or how often I’ll be writing at all. The point is that I’m actually writing, and I’m ready to sweep the dust off and get back to the business of bitching about video games.

See you very soon, internet.

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Yep, still here.

I was meaning to pick back up on writing regularly after life wound down toward the end of November. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky. My work schedule got thrown off considerably, and I’ve been stuck working nights for the last week. I’ve still got one more week of this, so I’m sleeping during the day and working through the night. I haven’t been able to write near as much as I’d like. Most of my free time has been spent trying to play video games, and to get caught up on this year’s releases. I’m currently working on Darksiders 2, and I’m trying to find a comfortable block of time to go back to Dark Souls. I’m also playing  a lot of Persona 4: The Golden, and loving every moment of it. I have a lot of things I really want to write about, but time hasn’t exactly allowed for it. It really sucks.

To add insult to injury, the NaNoWriMo project had to be abandoned after making it about a fifth of the way into it. The main file with over 10k worth of words got corrupted, so I lost a lot of progress. I still have a lot of my notes, but going back and rewriting all that I had done just took some wind out of my sails. I’m still a little bummed out about that, but it isn’t the end of the world. Perhaps I’ll go back to it at some point, but for now I’m really just not into it.

In other news, I just bought a brand new, in box Game Boy Micro, something I’ve been wanting for a long time. I’m very excited about it, even though it cost me slightly more than I wanted to pay for it. I love the Game Boy Advance, and portables really are the best way for me to play video games these days. After selling my DS Lite, I haven’t had a way to play my GBA games, and the Micro is just a really cool piece of tech. It’s really cool in a gadget sort of way. It is a Nintendo portable that will stand the test of time as far as design goes. Really, I’m just excited to replay Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again.

I haven’t been completely quiet though. I did write a review for New Super Mario Bros. U, which was a new experience. Reviews aren’t my strong point, and they’re something I’m gradually trying to get a better grasp on. I also wrote a very revealing, personal piece about Catherine over on the Destructoid community blogs, but I didn’t feel quite right posting it here. I’m still writing, and I’m still trying to find time to fix a layout for new blog stuff. It’s all a mess, one that will hopefully clear up a little bit after the holidays.

I’m still alive. I want to write more, but time isn’t on my side. Regular updates will resume, presumably around Christmas. I have a lot of catching up to do. At the very least, I’m going to try and post something when I get my Game Boy Micro, if only so I can take some nice pictures of with my DSLR and put those up. I’ll be back!

Going Underground

My life continues to get more and more hectic lately, so of course, I haven’t been able to update. I’m not happy about it, but work and other obligations have crept up, and this sort of writing just hasn’t been working out for me. It sucks, but what can you do?

So, I have a very big project that starts tomorrow and this blog is going to go dark(er) for a month. I’m starting up my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) entry tomorrow. I wanted to enter last year, but just didn’t have the energy or creative idea for it. This year I’ve got a great idea, and I’m really excited to get to it. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50000 word novel by the end of the day, November 31. It’s more about quantity than quality, but as someone who desperately wants to make a career out of writing, I’m putting my best effort into this.

I doubt I’ll be updating over the month of November, which sucks because I really wanted to implement all the new things, but I might post a few updates here and there about how the novel project is going. If I’m happy with the initial results at the end of the month, I’m going to spend the next couple months editing and doing at least one rewrite. After that, I’m going to consider self-publishing my work to Amazon, if only to put it out there. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, so I’m hoping I can make it work.

I guess I’ll at least talk a little about what I’ve been playing lately. I finished Code of Princess on 3DS, and it was a lot of fun. I wish there was a little more to it, but I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth out of it. Since then my free time has been divided between Dark Souls, which I just bought on PC, and Final Fantasy: Four Heroes of Light. I’m greatly enjoying both of them, and I just picked up the PC version of Sleeping Dogs yesterday, so I’m going to try and start that up in the next day or two. I’ve yet to play a lot of the big titles from this year, and some of them I won’t even get to until early next year, if at all. I tell myself that someday I’ll get to the Mass Effect series, and someday I might play the rest of the Assassin’s Creed games, but with the amount of substantial free time I have, my gaming is usually best confined to portable systems. My 3DS has become my best friend lately, offering me something small and enjoyable I can play in bed each night before falling asleep. At the rate I’m going, I might finish Final Fantasy in a couple weeks or so, but those sort of games really lend themselves to be played in short bursts.

The rest of my year basically consists of getting through all these games I’ve amassed lately, the Wii U launch, and Persona 4 Golden. I’m doing a review for Persona 4 at Substance TV, so that’s going to be my priority during Thanksgiving break. I’m taking that whole weekend off of work, so there will be a lot of Persona in my future. Can I finish it in a week for review? I guess we’ll have to find out. It’s been a long time since I really heavily mainlined a JRPG. Persona 3 actually took me a little over a month to play, as I’d just chip away at it an hour or so at a time. It wasn’t until I got near the end that I started putting a lot more time into it.

I don’t want it to go completely dark here during the next month, so I’m really going to try and at least put something up once a week, if only to prove that I’m still alive and that things are happening. Like I said, I was really hoping to get a new layout and everything implemented, but it’s just not working the way I want it to yet. I don’t really like doing these sort of “yep, still alive” posts, since I know I don’t exactly have a regular readership, so I’m mainly doing them for my own sake. I don’t want to feel like I’m completely ignoring this blog, because I’m really not trying to. Life has just been getting in the way lately.

The Plan

Okay, so I”m working on setting the plan in motion, and I pretty well have it figured out (for now, at least) what I’m going to do with this blog.

Here’s the deal: first of all, there’s going to be a name change. I have one in mind, but I haven’t finished setting it all up yet, so I’m not going to reveal that yet. I like the name “minusworlds,” but I feel like it limits my discussion to video games. I said previously that I wanted to move beyond writing about just video games. The truth of the matter is that my brain is a radioactive wasteland of useless information. I might not be able to tell you all that much about math, but if you want to know why Jetsons: The Movie is a terrible film, I can go on for a while. I’ve been tossing around ideas to do a re-watch of a television series or something and write up each episode, just to do something different. I know the updates here have been sparse, but I assure you, it isn’t for lack of content ideas. I’ve still got plenty of those.

Next up, I’m realizing that with the resources I have at my disposal, I could likely do some interesting content that isn’t just writing based. I’m tossing around the idea of doing video or audio of some sort. I haven’t really locked down a solid concept for these things, but the idea is intriguing. I think it’d be a lot of fun, so it’s definitely something to explore. With that in mind, I have considered morphing this blog into a portfolio of sorts, acting as my own personal web portal that links to all of my Internet diatribes. That is still very likely to happen, though I’ve been really thinking about something else entirely, which would make turning this blog into a personal portfolio unfeasible. I’m actually considering hassling a couple of friends into contributing some pieces, making this into my own miniature community.

I’m still mulling it over. I haven’t decided which way I’m going to take this. Truthfully, I do want to take the writing element in a more critical, serious direction. That’s not to say that my horrible sense of humor would be going anywhere, but I do feel like there’s more I can do instead of just rambling about these bizarre, existential crises that video games cause me.

The hard part about all of this is something I briefly explained in the last update. I’m stressed out a lot, and sometimes I just can’t write. It gets hard to focus, and I don’t want to force these pieces to come out. Since I’m not posting regular news updates from publishers or something, I’m far more free to just write about what I want. I’m not exactly held to any sort of deadline, but sometimes, nothing comes out. My real life stress has a huge impact on this, and when I have bad days, I have really bad days. It’s something I’ve learned to live with for the time being. Writing makes me happy. It’s a challenge, and over the latter part of the summer I was able to watch my own style develop quickly. That was a really good feeling, and I’d prefer to keep that trend going. I know I can do much better, and I want to push those boundaries.

I’m going to think some of this over through the weekend. New changes should start going into effect on Monday or so.

 

Resident Evil 6 Hate, Absence, Looking Forward.

Between being busy lately and having some major writer’s block, I haven’t been writing. Things have been a little bit hectic and I haven’t really been able to concentrate. I am trying to work on some bigger, more interesting pieces, but I will say I’m having trouble putting them together. I could easily keep writing about the same things over and over, but that will lead to my writing becoming stagnant very quickly, something I really want to avoid. I haven’t been able to adhere to this schedule of updating three times a week. Sorry about that.

That being said, I really want to address something I’ve been seeing a lot of lately. The enthusiast press is getting called out for giving high profile games lower scores. Resident Evil 6 came out this week, and the ratings it has received have been all over the board. This is clearly looking to be a divisive title for a lot of people. While I was initially interested in it, looking at how it has progressed through development has stunted any real attachment I had. I’m not a huge fan of the Resident Evil series to begin with, so it isn’t that big of a deal.

The part that really upsets me is the fan response to these lower scores. Phillip Kollar from Polygon gave Resident Evil 6 a 4/10, while Jim Sterling of Destructoid gave it a 3.0. Kevin Van Ord from Gamespot gave it a 4.5. Not all of the review scores have been completely negative, but of course the lower scores are the ones that have received the most attention. By attention, I mean that personal attacks have been made against these people on Twitter. Over a fucking video game.

This is unacceptable.

A while back I wrote a little bit about how the fan response to Bayonetta 2 has also been divisive, at worst resulting in a social media death threat at Hideki Kamiya. This is beyond madness. I realize they are a vocal minority in the landscape of the gaming community, but that isn’t an excuse to be a total asshole. If someone gives a game you like a bad score, that’s fine. It’s not a big deal. Are you really going to let it stop your enjoyment of the game? Do you have that little of an actual opinion that someone badmouthing your precious video game is going to negatively affect your day? This seriously baffles me. I really don’t know what to think about it.

I’m growing to really hate the word “gamer,” especially lately. To me, the picture painted when I hear it has become every stereotype that I used to believe was untrue. I never wanted to believe that gamers were this awful. Having been to Penny Arcade Expo, the experiences I’ve had with people there have been almost nothing but pleasant. Yeah, there’s a couple bad apples in there once and a while, but I’ve met so many awesome people that just love gaming and don’t seem to get so upset over something so trivial. Those are the people I want to associate with the hobby. Unfortunately, the vocal minority of gaming’s hardcore elite have tainted that for me, and now that’s all I can think about.

I have friends that take video games a lot more seriously for me. Yeah, I enjoy them a lot, hence why I run this blog and write about them, but they aren’t something I use as much of an identification of who I am. In truth, I have a lot of other expensive hobbies, some of which take precedence over gaming. Gaming is just something I enjoy doing, but anymore, I don’t really consider myself much of a “gamer.” I’m not up on all the latest releases, I’m still working on playing through games that came out a few years ago. I have allegiances to certain studios, but it isn’t a huge part of how I perceive myself. Video games are a big part of my life, but I don’t let them define my life. The people who define their lives by it are typically the ones who are that angry, vocal minority that is ready to burn any naysayer at the stake. I never want to become that. It’s thankfully unlikely that I ever will.

As I said earlier, I’ve been busy lately, and this blog has taken kind of a secondary role in my priorities. I’ve been stressed out and I’m trying to get a lot of my own issues sorted out. Of course, the writer’s block certainly isn’t helping. It’s likely that I’m going to be changing the focus of this blog to something a little more all encompassing. This sort of writing is therapeutic, and I guess I don’t like that the focus of this blog has me limited to writing about video games. I really want to write about music, movies and other things. I also really want to try and write a little more about my boring-ass everyday life and see if I can’t turn this into more of a fully featured blog. I have ideas for things. That all being said, I’m gonna make some huge changes here over the next couple weeks as I decide where I want to take this.

If anyone out there reads this, I’ll see you soon.

 

Update on status, new layout, absence, future

It’s been quiet the last few days, I know. This wasn’t intended, but along with trying to work through System Shock 2, I’ve been tinkering with the layout, changing themes, and just overall messing around with how I want to move forward with this blog. What I’ve decided is this:

  • As of next week, posts are going to be done Mon-Wed-Fri. I’m going to try and make one of those a more exhaustive, longer piece and mix it up with slightly shorter ones.
  • I’ve got some words about System Shock 2 that’ll go up tomorrow. After that it’s going to be quiet until Monday when I get back from Seattle.
  • Holy shit, I’m going to PAX, which means next week’s writings are going to be mostly about that. Expect a lot of talk about the WiiU.
  • In a few more weeks, I’m going to look into digging into this a little further with the purchase of a domain and the ability to do some custom tinkering with the design.
  • I’m thinking about cross-posting a lot of this stuff to a blog on 1UP or something to try and get my writing out there a little better.

To my friends and family who read this stuff and offer comments or criticism, I appreciate all of it. Anyone else out there, thanks for reading. Things are gonna get a lot more interesting, I promise.