Tales of a working man.

I am exhauuuusted.

Don’t get me wrong: first day at Sony was good, which I’ll get into in a second. But my commute is hell. A bus to a train, train to a shuttle, shuttle to Sony, and back again. In theory about an hour and a half each way, but closer to two if any of the three run slightly late. Anyhow, I’ll handle it for now, but Operation: Buy-A-Car-And-Move-Closer-To-The-101 needs to commence more quickly than I was originally planning. (If anyone in the Bay Area is selling a car, I am very interested.)

On to the job. Even after a scant few hours, I can already see how different it’s going to be on the other side of the industry coin. As a reviewer, the finality of your work can be frustrating — when you play a bad game, you know that readers are going to be playing the exact same thing, and it’s not always fun to break the news to people who had the same hype as you did. Never mind PR. Now, being a relevant cog somewhere in the development machine, missed opportunities can be amended, and feedback isn’t retrospective. It’s nice to be able to look forward, for a change. And man, it’s a good thing (for the sake of my gainful employment) that I can keep secrets when I need to (which is now all the time).

I definitely need to spice up my new cube, as the schwag my predecessor left isn’t the most exciting (three, count ’em THREE Death Jr. action figures, in original packaging!). I’ll bring in my SoTC figures when I can trust everyone on the floor beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m also going to have to get used to using a PC again, after using a wonderful, magical Mac (like all Macs) for the last nine months or so of 1UPage. I miss Exposé like a kidnapped child; is there anything equivalent on this hellbox?

At least I didn’t clog up the toilet, like my first day at 1UP.

Speaking of something else entirely, check out:
My appearance on last week’s ListenUP,
Last week’s episode of CO-OP, and, of course,
My Rebel FM goodbye (and Phil’s goddamn touching send-off).

Also, I still have dozens and dozens of messages to respond to on 1UP, Facebook, Gmail, etc., and I will get to you, I promise. And thanks for all the Twitter luck.

That’s all for now, I’ll write some more jobby stuff when I’m not quite so tired and have a few more interesting tales of adjusting my chair and making hot chocolate. For now, LISTEN TO THE AMAZING NEW PHOENIX SONG.

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 10:09 am  Comments (28)  

Games that are bored.

Specifically, Settlers of Catan — the real, hard-to-clean-up variety, not the XBLA one — which I just finished playing a few hours of with my girlfriend and my friend Sean (who’s in town for the weekend). Good god that game is great. I’ve been a huge board game fan for the entirety of my conscious life, and one day I’ll probably write a whole post dedicated to my competitive Scrabble background (for those who didn’t know how truly geeky I am). I grew up on family-style games like Monopoly and Boggle, lost hundreds of hours making my own dungeons in HeroQuest (which I found a $4 near-mint copy of at a yard sale in Berkeley last year), and thoroughly enjoyed the one and only game of D&D I’ve participated in (which was about a three-month campaign, at least in my memory).

And then Carcasonne came out on XBLA, and Catan, and Ticket to Ride, all of which are fantastic. At the same time, Shoe introduced me to quite a few more over the course of some excellent Nerd Game sessions, like Caylus, Shadows Over Camelot, and Puerto Rico. If you have the means to play them (these are adult games for adults budgets) and a dedicated group (harder than it sounds), it’s some of the most fun you can have with friends.

It’s weird, but now that I think about it, several goals of my adult life revolve around board games: being able to afford a huge, awesome closet full of them, having a good living room setup to play them in, and having close friends (geographically and otherwise) that regularly want to nerd out with me. I’m certainly on track, and moving to San Francisco has hugely helped the nerd friend quotient, but I will be hugely disappointed if these things don’t coalesce. Anyhow, not sure where I’m going with this — it’s 3:30 A.M. and my gaming partners are asleep — I mostly just wanted to say how much Catan rules, and recommend it if you’re remotely interested.

P.S. Also Blokus, which we played a bunch of.

Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm  Comments (21)  

A proper welcome, and an explanation.

So, you’re probably here because I linked to this blog on my Twitter, or talked one of my bloggers-in-arms into doing so. Thanks for stopping by! I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing with this thing yet (and basically just threw it together to get started), but I wanted somewhere to continue writing publicly in some form, even if it’s just about music, or film, or my trip to the hat store. I won’t be writing about games too much, because…

…I got a job! A real, no-foolin’, honest-to-goodness gig. Specifically, at Sony, as a Product Evaluator. To clear up a couple of things: I’ll be staying in the Bay Area, commuting down to Foster City. I won’t be appearing on Rebel FM going forward, not because I won’t be local anymore, but because it’s a conflict of interest to chat about games on an independent podcast. Which is quite understandable. It was a really, really tough choice to move out of the gaming media, which I’ll write more about soon; I’m way excited about my new position, but don’t think it wasn’t a difficult decision. And to that point, I’m incredibly lucky to be receiving job offers at all in this economy, which I fully appreciate the reality of.

Also, as some have understandably mused, this isn’t a “glorified tester” position — I wouldn’t be taking something like that. Briefly, Sony’s Product Evaluators are a group of guys who check out games very early in the development cycle, and then work with the developer/publisher to improve their game, and best take advantage of Sony hardware. Or, so I gather; I’m sure I’ll have a better sense of the process when I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, but I’m quite excited to be able to have a hand, however small, in the development of a wide variety of games.

So, that’s it for now. I start next week, quite psyched, and glad there’s some light at the end of the tunnel after the decimation of a job I absolutely adored. I can only hope that all of my friends also find employment, and soon, and that everyone keeps following their various projects. I’ll be writing more soon, just wanted to kick things off.

And yes…I’ll be keeping the beard.

Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 12:26 pm  Comments (31)  

An intro of duction.

Anyone who knows me truly is familiar with my love of old-timey things. Take, for instance, this WordPress theme. So deliciously old-timey, it just makes me want to go down to the food shoppe and purchase a phosphate, post-haste. The other one I kind of liked looked like Halloween all of the goddamn time, so nuts to that.

I used Blogger for a number of years whilst writing about games with my good pal Tom Mc Shea (now a GameSpot reviewer) for our blog G-Pinions.com (its potentially incriminating contents are still easy enough to find) and briefly for Animal Fight, which you shouldn’t click unless you want your mind blown. So, I like Blogger and know how to use it, but I’d always heard WordPress was better. I’m starting something here, but we’ll see if I make the switch back…things already seem too complicated, and simply editing how this page looks seems like it costs money and/or requires knowledge I don’t have. Or perhaps I’m some sort of brain moron.

For now…I write. Welcome.

Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 1:10 am  Comments (3)