I’d shelved Stolen Pixels for a lot of reasons. I wanted to put my time and energy into writing my book. Being unemployed, I couldn’t afford new games to feed the comic. I needed a break. I was stressed and not feeling particularly funny. Now it looks like these problems are resolving themselves.
I’m discovering that I can’t actually put 40 hours a week into my book. I’ve tried, but I end up spending a lot of the time staring and wasting time on the web. I can only write so much before I have to stop and let the next section take shape, and I can be doing something else while waiting for that to happen. It took me a while to realize this. See, I can always write more code. After 40 hours of coding the quality drops like a rock and I start making mistakes, but I can still keep moving forward. But writing prose is different, and I’m discovering that I can’t force it. This is a little scary to me. I really want to get this book out and see what happens. Can I make it as an author? I’m not expecting to be the next J. K. Rowling, but I do hope to make enough to keep me out of a cubicle. I’m really rolling the dice here, and the longer I spend on the book, the better it needs to do to make this work.
Sorry. I digress. The point is, I’ve got free hours in the week that I could be spending on videogames and punchlines.
The last piece of the puzzle fell into place when I got my hands on some games. Jennifer Snow hooked me up with Dragon Age 2. On the same day that arrived, I got news that I’d (finally!) been granted journalist level access to games. In the past, I’d get the odd game now and again from PR companies and marketing types who were looking to spread their nets far and wide, but it was never something that I could depend on and it came too slow to feed the comic mill. (And Dragon Age 2 was not included in this boon, so I don’t have to feel guilty for accepting Jennifer’s gift.)
This is an excellent arrangement. In the past, I’ve been limited to lampooning games that I was actually willing to buy. For example, I’ve got Homefront right now. It’s a cover-based shooter designed for consoles. I wouldn’t spend my own gaming dollars on it, because it’s not my thing. And even if I was independently wealthy, I don’t think I’d ever be willing to put $60 into a four-hour shooter. But now that money and pride are no longer concerns, I can sink a couple of hours into the game and see if it yields any laughs. My access doesn’t cover all games, but it’s enough to feed the giggle machine.
The upshot is that Stolen Pixels might be a bit broader and more current once it gets rolling again. I’m looking to start it up next week, once I’ve played some games and gotten back into the groove.
Bad and Wrong Music Lessons
A music lesson for people who know nothing about music, from someone who barely knows anything about music.
The true story of three strange days in 1989, when the last months of my adolescence ran out and the first few sparks of adulthood appeared.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.
The Gradient of Plot Holes
Most stories have plot holes. The failure isn't that they exist, it's when you notice them while immersed in the story.
Project Button Masher
I teach myself music composition by imitating the style of various videogame soundtracks. How did it turn out? Listen for yourself.