Much like the thousands of zombies we’ve been slaughtering in Left 4 Dead the past month, my blog just keeps coming back from the dead.* During the weeks that followed my end-of-semester deadlines, I was so preoccupied with catching up with friends, playing games, and slowly whittling down my Netflix queue (500+ films? How is that possible!?) that I completely neglected my writing. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have written a number of blog entries that I never bothered to publish, often because I just didn’t think anyone would care to read about my fabulous paper grading adventures and snow shoveling prowess.
However, after Electronic Gaming Monthly‘s demise and the mass gutting of 1up.com, I held off on the punditry because I wanted to have a bit more perspective on the matter. After all, I had been subscribing to EGM since middle school – I believe the issue with the Soul Reaver cover story was my first. As an industry institution, the magazine’s editorial staff convinced me to buy a Dreamcast and subsequently abandon my schoolyard loyalty to all things Nintendo, and while I’m certainly open to other sectors of journalism, the Ziff Davis publications were also what initially inspired me to consider this career track in the first place. I think any posts immediately following that traumatic day would have amounted to little more than insults aimed at UGO execs and “print is dead” rants.
Didn’t take guff from nobody
However, following 1up site director Sam Kennedy’s lengthy explanatory essay, I’m no longer sure where to direct my contempt. The UGO higher-ups seemingly don’t appreciate the incredible contributions that 1up guys like James Mielke and Shane Bettenhausen made over the years, but the beloved site was apparently heading in the same direction even without corporate intervention (I have no reason to question this information given Sam’s integrity over the years). Regardless, it’s just depressing that the only magazine with the chutzpah to reference Kenji Eno on the cover is no longer in print. I’ll still be visiting 1up on a daily basis, if only for the slick new Retronauts blog and one of the few grading rubrics that makes sense, but I hope that those who lost their jobs find work quickly.
The loss of my favorite gaming magazine has inspired my Rumble peers and I to do a much better job of getting unique, thoughtful content on the front page of our site. Though it was a lofty goal (and perhaps unattainable, given my shoddy “talents”), I’ve always worked towards someday landing a staff position on EGM. However, with the huge void left in the game journalism, I feel that it’s up to the gaming community as a whole to prove that there’s still an engaged audience for enthusiast media. (Of course, Rebel FM, Geekbox Radio, and whatever else the ex-1up editors come up with will still be journalistic gold.) We’ve been toying with the idea of “Rumble Features” and collaborative blogging for a long time now, but I think 2009 is the time to make it happen.
That’s not a formal “new year’s resolution,” mind you. I don’t have a good track record on fulfilling those. But I do promise you that we’re going to start treating our page as something worth promoting rather than just a dumping ground for RSS feeds and links.
Escape from New York
I was eager to come home for Christmas for some Rock Band 2 parties and bowling, but things have quieted down considerably since the start of 2009. Most of my fellow Monrovians chose to migrate elsewhere for work, leaving me with lots of time and nobody with whom to spend it. To help pass the time until I head back to Urbana, I’ve been seeing most of the awards-season dramas and Oscar bait at my semi-local cinema. Unfortunately, if I have the desire to see something less mainstream than Paul Blart: Mall Cop, it usually means that I have to venture elsewhere.
Yesterday, “elsewhere” meant New York City. I was all set for a personal record of four films in a day: Let the Right One In, Vicky Christina Barcelona, The Wrestler, and Waltz with Bashir. My tuchus was going to be pretty sore. Sadly, this schedule didn’t exactly pan out. My trip was off to an inauspicious start when I awoke to find that my dad’s car and our driveway were covered in ice. The highway traffic was suitably terrible, my train was delayed, I took the same wrong subway twice, and the GPS on my new fancy-pants phone decided to take me on a more scenic route to NYC’s Anjelika Theater, which all contributed to my very late arrival. Luckily, I was at least able to see Woody Allen’s latest before meeting up with friend-of-the-show Jeffrey Kramer.
During The Wrestler, my friend was in noticeable discomfort. I assumed that this was merely because protagonist Randy the Ram was receiving so much abuse (seriously, a staple gun to the back and a deli meat slicer to the hand!), but it turned out that he was having some kind of severe dizzy spell. We ended up visiting Roosevelt Hospital shortly after Jeff said he felt like he was “experiencing a prolonged stroke for the past six hours.” This was apparently the same hospital where the Flight 1549 passengers were sent, so I spent the next hour or so of my Friday night watching reporters try to sneak into the waiting room while my friend had a CAT scan. Thankfully, the doctors eventually concluded that he was AOK, so good times all around.
A Few More Notes/Questions:
- Top 5 films of the year (in no particular order): Burn After Reading, In Bruges, Synecdoche, New York, The Wrestler, and Wall-E
- I cannot wait for the Lost season premiere next week. That show has had an unbelievable resurgence after the Jack’s tattoo/Hurley’s van nadir. Very curious to find out what the new “flash” framing device will be.
- Any suggestions for domestic gaming mags? I subscribe to Edge and Games TM, but I’d like to give a deserving stateside publication some love as well.
- My article about local indie game development will be published in the February issue of Central Illinois Business Magazine! Also, I have a writing internship at GotGame.com, though The Rumble Pack will remain the priority.
- Tony, Kaz, Nick, and your’s truly are all on Twitter. Hopefully Thomas “Cloverfield” Sheppard will soon follow.
- If I were to make any hypothetical 2009 resolutions, they would include: reading more often, finishing JRPGs, mastering hard difficulty in Rock Band 2, vollunteering with a local soup kitchen or something to that effect, and developing networking skills.
- As always, please feel free to be brutally honest in your critique of my writing. As long as you’re polite, I would appreciate any suggestions or constructive feedback.
- At the very least, I know that I will never be this lazy.
*I realize that L4D‘s zombies are the product of “super rabies” rather than undead-ening, but I started writing this post at 5 a.m. and I don’t feel like coming up with a more accurate analogy.