Sunday, June 28, 2009

170 Days UP - "Time and time again we fall into the depths of who we are, but you can't keep running away from you're trying to find..."

Pardon me while I get a little 'blog-meta' and break the fourth wall here for a second - there are four tabs at the top of the posting page: "Posting," "Setting," "Layout," and "Monetize." Although I've barely pressed the second and third tab, I've actually never pressed the fourth tab at all. Not even just for a curious look. Why? Two reasons: 1) I never thought my blog was popular enough that it was worth putting ads on it, and 2) I have a really really stupid, negative association with that word.

But this doesn't tell me how to make money being a publishing-cards-audio-book-mentor!

Monetizing on something fun and/or creative instantly puts an irrational image in my head of corporate suits, greedy lawyers, and money-grubbing (soon to be) ex-wives all getting involved. I visualize lifelong friendships ending and people's entire value system changing the second money comes into play. And most importantly, I see the end product suffering. Because money is obviously the root of all evil, right?

It's funny to picture generating what will probably amount to $7.43 from Google Adwords on my blog doing any of those things (go on, do it - have a laugh!), but what's even funnier is where all this came from. These images of corruption, of money changing what was once something fun and great into something shitty and uh, sell-outty come from all the TV shows and movies* I watched growing up where a talented band/artist/comedian gets discovered and then, over the course of 25-50 minutes, goes from 'poor but happy' to 'rich, lonely, depressed coke-fiend' who forgot it was supposed to be about the music/art/fart jokes.

The obvious irony here is there were all big productions that were put together by a studio/corporation/rich investor and lots of people were paid to do it. And I would think they can't all be rich, lonely, depressed and addicted to coke, right? And heck, they already proved me wrong with how to attract women (I've mimicked the HELL out of everything Matthew McConaughey has ever done on film for years and yet I am still Kate Hudson-less*!), why would I believe anything else they've ever taught me?
Why aren't women treating me the same as you?!? We have the same first name and everything!

Of course, it's not just the cartoonish portrayal of money in the world of entertainment that keeps me from trying to make money. I'm sure it's also a combination of A) laziness - since being paid to do something means I have to work hard on it, probably maintain some kind of schedule, and a certain level of quality, and B) fear of not being good enough to actually get paid to do what I want. Because hey, as long as its free, no one can really complain, right?

The bottom line is - if I ever hope to get paid to do anything creative, I have to get over all of that. Everyone's dream is to get paid doing something they love, right? And if you're not selling a product, then you're selling yourself. Wait, why does that not sound right?

So...that tab up there...I should totally click on it, right? And hey, if I do, and I totally change and become a big corporate sell-out, with millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of adoring fans, and super models hanging from either arm, you can totally trash me on this very blog. I would encourage you to explicitly state that you knew me "back when it was supposed to be about the video game blogging."


Currently Playing: Just started the Prince of Persia remake, and I'm enjoying that so far. Also dabbling in Bionic Commando: Rearmed, though I just heard about a patch coming out to make some of the frustrating swinging I was doing before a bit easier. Finally, got a chance to try the new Punch-Out!! for the Wii at a friends, and thoroughly enjoyed it (with some not so-frustrating swinging, since I turned the Wiimote sideways! Ba-dum-tish). Gonna have to pick that up at some point - though it may have to be a rental since I got to the final circuit in under 2 hours.

*Not to mention the song "Sell Out" by Reel Big Fish. Well ok, now I've mentioned it.
*Or a reasonable fascimile thereof.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

151 Days Up - "Listening for the pulse that just might drive these hearts tonight..."

Quick post tonight, boys and girls (and apparently, if everyone's else blog is any kind of evidence, this is how most of my entries are supposed to be?). I just wanted to let you know that thanks to the incontrovertible laws of the universe, I'm officially a TRENDSETTER!

Yup, that's right, once three people have done something new, the first person to have done it is officially the mastermind between the now obviously unstoppable viral force that is giving up video games for a year and blogging about it.

I have to be careful what I do (and subsequently) blog about now, knowing the power I now possess. If I announce that I'm jumping off a bridge tomorrow, it could easily turn into a triple suicide, or a "trifectacide" as some would say. With great power comes great responsibility.

In all honesty though, good luck to Christopher Wright (no posts in 4 months - you fall off the wagon, buddy?) and Melvin Chan, who's even nice enough to thank me at the top of his blog. I'm really flattered and I hope you guys have the same awesome experience I did - which is give up video games, do a bunch of other cool stuff, then come back and totally gorge on them again!


Friday, June 5, 2009

146 Days Up - "Is this everything you'd thought it'd be? You waited for religiously..."

Louis C.K. had a great rant/routine he did on (pre-L.A.) Conan a while ago about how spoiled we as a society can be, not at all appreciating the marvels of technology that didn't even exist 100 years ago (and in some cases, within our lifetime) - complaining about delays with our cell phones, or on flights. When in reality we should be in constant amazement at the fact that we are able to contact anyone anywhere at any time, or flying through the sky.

Eh, it's not teleportation, but I guess it'll do for now...

I definitely need to take a step back sometimes and appreciate all the things I wanted as a kid in my video games that I have now. Back in the day I used to put together my own "concept art" for video games I had dreams of one day making. Some of them were really simple, like going "medicine shopping" for sick people (something every youngster dreams of) but even there I envisioned an open world environment, where I had the option to into any (pharmaceutical) store I wanted. And within those stores, every shelf had something I could interact with.

I put the most effort into what was by far my most ambitious game. It was going to be a space adventure I would go on with my friends, not-so subtly titled: "Matt & Friends' Space Adventure."*

Previously unreleased concept art from M&F: SA

I wanted to captain a giant spaceship and fly across the galaxy discovering new worlds, fighting nasty aliens, collecting treasure, and maybe even gettin' it on with a sexy blue alien chick. (Ok, technically I never considered that last part - but in hindsight I total should have) The very idea of playing this game got me more excited than anything else in the world.

This week I realized: I am playing that game.

And yet, while I sit in front of my television completely absorbed in the experience, I find myself being very nitpicky about all of Mass Effect's flaws. All the explorable planets are basically the same, just with a fresh coat of paint. The inventory system is super clunky. There's a ton of dialogue options but they all seem to lead to the same point. There's no question the game is flawed. But at the same time, it's f-ing beautiful, the storyline and characters are (in what I've seen so far) great, there's a ton of customization of your own character, and I'm actually flying around the galaxy going into different solar systems, exploring dozens of different worlds, saving the universe and having a great time doing it. THIS IS AMAZING.

Still, it's a good thing that we're (I'm assuming I'm not alone in my nitpicking) never fully satisfied either. It's important to appreciate the here and now, and how far we've come, but if people like me weren't playing these games today, wondering: "this is fun, but wouldn't it be great if we could do this..." then we probably wouldn't keep setting that bar higher and higher, right? And not just in games, but in everything.

"Hey you, 1960's kid. Put down that guitar - we just perfected music!"

On a tangential note, E3 - the biggest game convention of the year - is wrapping up in L.A. right now, and all kinds of new gaming revelations have come to light. Although I have to admit I was VERY skeptical at first, I came to my senses and have come to be pretty excited about what both Sony and Microsoft are doing with their new motion technology. Because honestly, it was mostly that and sequels, (Mass Effect 2, woo!) and let's be honest, the sequels really aren't pushing the envelope all that much. Here's hoping the technology gets put to good use and some really fun and exciting games come out of it.

Ooh! I'll get the ball rolling with this: What if we got to play Toon Town!??


Currently Playing: See my last post. I've still got zombies to hunt, and a galaxy to save! Oh, also I picked up Space Invaders Extreme, though I've barely gotten started with that.

*The latest in a long line of classic Matt & Friends titles. Oh, the adventures we were theoretically going to have!