Nintendo Power was a big deal when I was a kid. It usually had everything you needed to conquer the latest NES games. I still have my first issue and even pages from other issues that had maps I needed. Of course, the magazine didn’t always cover the games I owned so sometimes I had to send them letters in the mail – yup, the mail – that thing that existed before e-mail.
Since the Spring I’ve been head editor and writer over at TMA Toys & Games after the previous editor went on to greener pastures. That left myself and one other writer on the team…until he left at the end of July. So currently it’s just me writing over at TMA, although I hope a recent distress signal results in a few guest bloggers…which I think it will.
Otherwise I’ve been writing weekly but it’s been getting harder and harder to come up with topics since I haven’t really been in a position to play many games, see any new movies or even really get out much to check out the toys. Nonetheless, here’s a list of my recent posts over at TMA Toys & Games. Hope you check them out.
- Hot Wheels Collector app review, iPhone app kind of sucks
- Baseball cards, found my old box of cards and what are they worth? Nothing.
- Toys parents can’t wait to share with their kids…at least I can’t wait to share.
- Number Munchers on iOS and a new take on Oregon Trail
- Indie Game: The Movie review, good film but I have some concerns
- Comic books on the iPad…in short, they’re awesome
- The Ouya console, gaming’s great white hope?
- The first games I tried on my new iPad
- Simon Flash game challenges young, mesmerizes old
- Golgo 13 was my first anime experience and it was good
- Prometheus review, I liked it, I don’t care what the internet says
- Tron: Uprising, a Tron cartoon that does the series justice
As far as writing here at Morning Toast…well, I do have some new Counselor’s Corner interviews coming soon once I review and edit them. With Nintendo Power shutting down this year, I think those interviews and memories are all the more important to capture.
I never had a diary as a kid. I was a boy and boys don’t have diaries, right? When I started blogging (before it was called “blogging”, I might add), I wrote for the explicit purpose of entertaining others. I knew that what I was writing would be read by others, so I crafted my entries that way…but that is not a diary. You could use a blog as a diary but just the fact that a blog is public changes the entire relationship between you and your prose. But what happens when you start a diary as a private thing but then make it public after the fact?
One of my co-workers threw me a link to a developer’s diary of an iPhone game, The Last Rocket. My friend knows that I’m a gamer and made a few games here and there, so I’m sure that’s why he shared it, but the concept of publishing a developer diary made more of an impact on me than the game or story itself.
I have notebooks upon notebooks lying around the house that are filled with sketches, page designs, logos, database tables, level designs, web problems…the list goes on and on, but I never really annotate them in any sort of detail. In one way they are just visual brain dumps that I sometimes will go back to but not often (and certainly not as often as I should). I keep all the “thinking” in my head and after reading through Lift Off, I’m beginning to realize that’s a bad idea…and not just because you can sell it for $10 online (which is way overpriced).
Lift Off is not a story, nor does it have any guides or helpful information on how to make your own game. It is literally a diary that follows the author, Shaun Inman, on a 140-day journey to create an iPhone. He jots down what he did for each day along with questions he has of himself and often a few tweets. A lot of the notes are about the specific language he was using to program the game and otherwise aren’t very interesting, but what was most appealing to me was just following his moods while he designed and programmed.
In what is a really quick and easy read, he manages to hit every moment that any developer/designer comes across during a project. Excitement, fatigue, frustration, giving up, second guessing, quitting, procrastinating…they’re all there and it’s not only fun to see how he tries to handle each of them, but that here is someone that has the same problems I do! I’ve read many books about game design and web design but none of them get you inside the head of someone building a game. Sure, they’re great for info on theory and concepts but seem to deal within ideals…and few people get that opportunity.
Never too late to try an idea
I give up or cancel most of the projects I start. A lot of them don’t even get a release. Only a few have seen completion and even fewer of those have survived more than a month or so after launch, but all of them had a notebook full of ideas attached to them. And despite many of the projects being dead and long out of my head, the notebooks remain, scattered around my house in every nook and cranny possible. I’m now thinking about taking some of my very old notebooks and putting photos up and annotating them long AFTER their life cycle. Like I said, most of my notebooks are doodles, not words, so I think it could be fun to revisit them and see I can even figure out what I was thinking…of course, this is then another project that sounds good at the moment but may never come to pass (unless I make a notebook for my notebook).
However, one thing I hope I can start is a dev diary of my own, particularly as I continue working on my Redline Derby project. Redline Derby is something that I don’t see going away (ever) but something I will continue to support and improve, so while I may not have any early thoughts on record, I can start now and see what happens. What is likely to happen is I do it once and stop, which is fine because this diary will NOT be a blog. It will be a diary.
Someone tossed me a link to Caine’s Arcade probably because they know I like arcades but what I watched instead was one of the most touching stories I’ve seen a long time. It made me cry.
Why did it make me cry? Because it was story about a normal kid in a normal situation. I think everyone that watches it can relate because what kid didn’t try to build his hopes and dreams out of cardboard? You work with what you have and let creativity do the rest. But that made me a little bit sad because I think we grow out of that for some reason. There’s never a good reason to stop being creative.
However, the best part about the whole thing is that this was a normal kid doing whatever he thought was awesome. We see so many shows today that focus on kids and families in desperate situations, whether that be health, finance or whatever…it gets tiring. I don’t mean to make those problems sound unimportant but those aren’t the only stories that need recognized and need support. I was happy to see the focus put on someone that I can (even if only remotely) relate to. I can’t relate to a kid with cancer or parent without a job or with a dad that lost a limb in battle. I can relate to a kid that has big ideas and a parent that’s working a normal job while giving his kid everything he can to support his creativity. It’s the difference between feeling sorry for someone and feeling hopeful.
I don’t consider myself a person that is easily moved but story but Caine’s Arcade did just that and served as a little reminder that simple solutions can lead to amazing things.
Some friends have started their own podcast and I need to take a minute to not applaud them but get some facts straight about my gaming reputation. Continue reading
It’s true what they say, that competition only makes things better. To end what has been a pretty exciting year, my friend Jared and I competed in an all-day video game marathon. I ended up winning big but I owe it all to my opponent. Continue reading
I finally get a chance to put my arcade gaming skills to good use as I try to defeat a friend in a year-end gaming marathon. If all goes as planned, you can even watch me win from the comfort of your own home. Continue reading
A new Xbox update came out this week and I was looking forward to it. I like the new Metro look that Microsoft is pushing, but when it comes to organizing information there’s still a long way to go. Continue reading
Radiant Silvergun, one of the most sought after shmups ever is finally available on Xbox . The game play and challenge is the stuff of greatness, but don’t think that will make it easy. Continue reading
Bastion was the first game in Xbox’s Summer of Arcade and it turned out to be a wonderful way to start. A throw back to the SNES days, Bastion is an full-action RPG that looks great, plays great and just doesn’t disappoint. Continue reading
I’ve been reading about the upcoming game Catherine for a while. It’s received a lot of buzz thanks to the mature rating and tantalizing box art, but beyond that I didn’t know what type of game it was. My hope is always that it’s some sort of bullet hell shooter, but in this case, it’s a puzzle game, at least part of the time. Continue reading