Saturday, June 19, 2010

. . . Being back in harness

Well, E3 is over -- it was an interesting and frenetic event -- but sadly this was one of those events where the anticipation of it was not borne out by the reality of it. I am not saying that it was bad, or inadequate, but there are certain expectations that one is made to feel -- mostly due to the stories that you read and are told of previous events -- that add a certain level of... Well... Call it the Disney World Effect. And even Disney World is not the total package no matter how excited that you are to be there.

Perhaps part of the disappointment of E3 is the certainty that schedules have to be resumed afterward. For instance there is the preparation -- writing a column in advance because there is not going to be time to do it in the usual way (adding to that necessity is the fact that my editor is taking his annual holiday this week so the column had to be filed early anyway).

This Tuesday's column is not of the usual sort, in fact it is one of those personal experience pieces in which I relate something that happened to me, rather than covering news, or an event, or technology -- that is okay, I notice from such columns in the past that my readers tend to enjoy that sort of thing every now and then... Setting up a review or two in advance for the blog, and covering the two other regular commitments I am obliged to cover and it all serves to throw-off the routine, and change the schedule.

But it is the return to that schedule that weighs heavily on the mind at the moment... I have to finish shooting the video for Pokemon Platinum (not a big deal since there was plenty of down-time to get the game played to the point it needed to be at for the last few shoots), and then do the Alan Wake walkthrough, which will instantly be followed by one for Pokemon HeartGold -- while at the same time managing the various writing commitments I have, and doing the research and interviews for future pieces that are in the works.

I have one very significant project that relied upon literally dozens of different companies, all of whom I need to touch base with and obtain information and resources from, and then there is maintaining forward progress on the game review front -- which invariably means playing games, which translates to finding the time to play them (because they have to be played to the end before the review can be written as that is how the process works don't you know?).

I am in the process of wrapping up Cameron's Avatar, which has been largely a disappointment but I'll be covering that in the review. I have deleted the three death threats and the dozens of nasty emails caused by my review of Resident Evil 5 -- which clearly was a different game for the very vocal fanboy population than it was for me. I am comforted by the fact that all of the death threats originate from teenagers in Europe, so I doubt I have to worry about them actually carrying out (or trying to) said threats, but still, it is disturbing that an honest review of a video game could move someone to that level of emotional outburst.

A simple glance at the shelf is depressing -- when I finish Avatar and write it up, I still need to play Alan Wake (to both review and WT it), then Alpha Protocol, Toy Story 3, Red Dead Redemption, Star Ocean, and a half-dozen titles for the Wii, NDS, and PSP that I will have no choice but to Lab Rat if I am going to cover them in a timely fashion. It is that time of year -- a lot of games releasing!

Add to that an invasion of tourists - oh yes, we love the tourists - and that means that you get nowhere fast when you leave the safe and peaceful haven of home. If I sound like I am depressed ignore that, okay? I am actually excited about all of this, if a little intimidated by the heft of my plate for the next two weeks. Still, I would not trade this for another job, no sir!

The only misgiving that I have is that with all of the new games waiting to be played, I cannot return to some of the previous games and finish them off because there simply is not enough time... Have you all noticed that games these days are different than they used to be? Playing a game "to the end" means something different today -- sure you reach the end, you get the closing CS -- but invariably there are still things you need to wrap up, missions that still need to be completed, collections done, so that the "end" is not really the end! But it is the end enough to justify reviewing at that point, which leaves you with a dozen games that you really REALLY want to complete... Gah!

I noticed something odd the other day -- if I ask a question on the blog, all of the answers come back to me in email, and not as replies to the blog... Why is that? Is it that email is more personal? Or is it that readers would rather not publicly state their position on things? Don't take that wrong - I am okay with the email, I just think it is rather odd is all.

Last Summer the entire Summer slipped past without me doing the things that make living on Cape Cod a cool thing -- going to the beach, hanging out at BBC, and taking in the live bands that are EVERYWHERE in the Summer. It was over in the blink of an eye and yes, I had regrets. That is NOT going to happen this year! Err, I hope not anyway...

Be happy, people. Do the things that make you happy. Life is too short to put that stuff off!


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