Or perhaps more appropriately titled: “Holy crap I survived another year of freelance game journo word-fu craziness!” Every year seems like a wild ride, but 2012 in particular has been an interesting one across the board. So much so that I feel compelled to blab personal thoughts about some of the more interesting moments of my year. Feel free to indulge in my self-indulgence!
Though I’m still a relative youngin’ compared to lots of other gaming folks in our midst, I remember a time before the NES existed. And I remember subscribing to Nintendo Power magazine when it first was launched. Many years later, I was lucky enough to fulfill a childhood dream when I scored a steady freelance gig writing for the magazine. I’ve really enjoyed penning articles for the mag the past few years and working with some great folks on their editorial team, which makes today’s news that Nintendo Power will be closing down all the more crushing.
The holiday season is always bat-shit crazy around these parts, which is not unusual for most folks who work covering the gaming industry. Publishers love to crank out a heap of games right before the colder months hit, and they don’t tend to let-up until right about now. That’s great news for us game journo freelancers, as there’s usually a glut of overflow work available for a few solid months. But hot damn, is it a pain to keep up with blogging during the busy season. I’ve been making a solid effort, and I’m also considering making some design and writing changes to this site in the near future as I roll out some other projects. Until then, this remains a repository for my work, my random thoughts about whatever, and my music-related stuff.
Borrowing a handy little updating trick from fellow freelance comrade Andrew Hayward, here’s a massive info dump on all the print work I’ve done over the past few months. I’ve got a busy year ahead, so it’s upward and onward. Figured I’d just get this up before I dive back into the fray. Here’s a quick visual rundown of most of the print mag issues I’ve contributed to over the last couple of months. I may have left a few issues out due to my inability to find the actual copies buried in the stacks of hell that have accumulated in my office.
First up: Nintendo Power. I started writing for the mag in Oct. 2009, and I’ve been fortunate to have my work appear in every issue ever since. There’s a lot of new pieces I have in the pipeline, which I’m pumped about. Anyhow, I can’t find the Dec. 2010 issue, but I’m pretty sure my epic piece on this awesome live action Mega Man fan film ran in that issue. For the Holiday 2010 issue, I wrote another Mega Man themed Community piece, this time about a dude who made this insanely detailed mosaic out of screen shots from the first six Mega Man games. That appears on pg 94. and my review of Rune Factory 3 on DS also appears on pg. 89. In the January 2011 issue, I have a small community piece on pg. 94 highlighting some slick Princess Peach art made entirely with painted bottle caps. In the February 2011 , issue that just hit newsstands, I have two community pieces on the inventive charity fundraiser, Mario Marathon, and a piece on a working LEGO Metal Slug tank that all appear on pages 92, 93, and 95. That’s it for now. I have a bunch of stuff queued up for the next few issues and some other pieces I’m still working on.
Next up: EGM. This past summer, I was lucky enough to do some writing for the newly relaunched EGM/EGMi, and it’s been a pretty steady gig. In the Dec. 2010 issue, I have a news feature that explores the online gaming payment models for the three major console publishers, with a specific focus on the impact and implications of the semi-recent Xbox Live Gold subscription price hike. That shows up on pg 14, and I also have a short second-opinion review of Super Scribblenauts on DS that can be found on pg 74. In the January 2011 issue, a bunch of my recent EGM/EGMi review scores appear in a large recap found on pg. 77. I also have a news feature article on page 16 that looks at the Schwarzenegger vs. ESA/EMA case being looked at by the Supreme Court and the impact it could have on the sale and development of violent video games. In the recent February 2011 issue, I have a full-page review of the excellent Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on DS (found on page 75).
And finally: PlayStation: The Official Magazine. I started doing a monthly two-page review roundup of PSN games for the magazine back in late 2009 as well as some review write-ups of larger games. Since the re-design a few months ago, I’m still writing monthly blurbs on PSP Minis, downloadable demos, free goodies, and whatnot, though my byline doesn’t appear under these pieces. I do this every month. Some month I also contribute larger reviews of PSN games. In the January 2011 issue, I have a short review of Blacklight: Tango Down on pg 85. For the February 2011 issue, I wrote up reviews of Spelunker HD, Worms Battle Island, and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX that appear on pages 86 and 87. In addition to my regular PSN stuff, I have a few other reviews appearing in the next issue as well.
Alright, alright. Enough self-indulgent word wanking. Time to get back to work.
Whoo boy, I’ve been slacking on posts. The busy seasion is firing up again, so I’ve neglected to update ye old workblog as often as I’d like. I’ll remedy that promptly. The October issue of Nintendo Power features a short Community piece I wrote about Kimberly Young’s far out Metroid batik. For a first try, it’s pretty incredible, and this groove-inspired wall hanging definitely fits the college dorm room decor vibe. That’s all I have in the October issue, but I should be ramping up my contributions in the near future.
Sadly, the November issue is the first in a long time that doesn’t have any Community pieces I’ve written in it, but I have more in the pipeline for future issues. Freelance comrade Andrew Hayward holds down the fort nicely with a write-up of some Nintendo-themed custom vinyl toys and a halloween themed piece. You can, however, find my review of Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals over on pg. 90. I was pleasantly surprised by that one, and I recommend it for action-RPG fans. I should have three different items appearing in the December 2010 issue, so stay tuned.
I have to say: I’m getting pretty pumped about the Nintendo 3DS. There’s a slick run-down of the system and a bunch of games in the works for in the September issues of Nintendo Power. You’ll also find a few pieces I wrote this issue: Page 95 has a Community features on Tyler Mann’s killer Kingdom Hearts cosplay, and on page 90 you’ll find my reviews of the DS and Wii versions of Despicable Me. Pro tip: if you’re going to shell out for that one, pick up the DS version. That’s all for this month, but I have more NP stuff in the works shortly.
I’ve been a huge fan of NES cover band the Minibosses for many years now, and it was incredibly fun to be able to sit down and have a long phone interview with guitarist Aaron Burke a little while back to chat about the band’s history, the game music cover scene, and their future. While a portion of our interview was for research for Geek Beat Manifesto, I worked a fair chunk of it into a Community feature for Nintendo Power on the band’s 10 year innversary. That appears in the August issue on page 94. Also, my first Play Back piece remeniscing about the charm of Final Fantasy Adventure on Game Boy appears on page 84.
Whoops! It’s been so crazy around these parts lately over the past month or so that I completely forgot to post my July issue Nintendo Power contributions. Page 88 features my short and sweet review of Tetris Party Deluxe on DS, which is pretty damn Tetrisy (a good thing). Fun extra modes are what really makes that one a definite buy. I also have a few Community pieces: There’s a short piece on Japanese artist Haroshi who turned his broken skateboards into some crazy Mario-themed art. And on page 94 you can peep one super rad custom Koopa electric guitar. Shredtastic.
The June issue of Nintendo Power has been out for a while now, though I’ve been slacking on getting the cover scanned and posted up here. In this issue I have a community piece on the tiniest LEGO NES ever on pg. 93. It’s a cute little thing, and it even has controllers and a working cartridge hinge. It was made by Micah Berkoff, who has a ton of awesome LEGO creations posted online here. I also have a review of Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space for Wii in the reviews section on pg. 87. I should have quite a few more community pieces in the next few issues, and some great stuff in the works for down the road.
I’m happy to report my work for Nintendo Power continues on at a steady pace, and the May 2010 issue has both a review and a full page community piece. On Page 85. be sure to check out my write-up of Beat City for DS. It’s one hell of a catchy and colorful little rhythm game. Very funky, and I had a blast with it. Also, on pg. 94 you’ll find a full page community feature on an incredible DIY Ghostbusters peripheral for the Wii made by Jack Rossi. Great stuff. I’m working on a bunch of stuff for upcoming issues, including an awesome feature on the Minibosses and my first retro game write-up. Stay tuned for the goods!
I’m particularly excited to now have the April 2010 issue of Nintendo Power in-hand, because it features two large community pieces I wrote and am quite proud. First, there’s my community feature on pg. 92 about hip-hop artist Random (aka Mega Ran) who kicked off his musical career in the independent rap world and more recently has circulated in the nerdcore hip-hop scene. His two Mega Man themed albums are super fresh and he’s already got a track up on his site inspired by Mega Man 10. Also, I attended Blip Festival 2009 in December and was floored by the sheer level of badassitude on display. Great music made by some very interesting folks. My write-up of the event appears on pg 95. Bummed you missed the show? Don’t worry, because there’s a ton of videos and mp3s floating around from the event’s killer performances. The April issue also contains my reviews of Dawn of Heroes and Squishy Tank, both on DS.