It was my birthday today; I am now thirty-five years of age, which means on some forms I’m officially in the next age bracket. If ever there were a more obvious marker of our respective mutual creeping towards the grave, it is surely moving down through the age ranges on official forms. I’m not sure if this means I count as “middle-aged” or not yet and honestly I don’t really care all that much; age has always just been a number to me, and, for better or worse, I’ve always preferred to act the age I feel rather than the age I am.
It was a pleasantly quiet day today — something much-needed for both my wife Andie and me after numerous recent stressors. We had a lazy morning, Andie made a “mug cake” in the microwave for me (delicious), and then we went out to our local Japanese eatery Zen for some sushi and deep-fried goods (also delicious). The remainder of the day has been spent writing an article about Senran Kagura’s art and soundtrack, playing Final Fantasy X HD and, as a lazy post-dinner activity, a spot of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3.
I’m probably supposed to reflect on where I’ve come from and where I’m going on such a momentous occasion as my age going up by one. Right now that’s a fairly depressing prospect, though, to be honest, so I’m going to refrain from going too much into that. Let’s just say that things haven’t been great, but plans are in motion to make life a little better, even if it takes a while to bring them to fruition.
For now, I’m pursuing home-based work so I can be with my wife while she’s off work with her chronic pain condition; hopefully this will provide enough of an income to at least survive on, if not live a particularly exciting life, but then I never really lived much of an exciting life anyway, with the most exciting things I tend to buy being either video or board games. With that in mind, please do get in touch if you have any (paying!) writing work that I might be able to do from home — or if you’d like to support me directly, please consider making a pledge to my Patreon, which was set up with a mind to making my work on MoeGamer a bit more regular and in-depth.
You may ponder why I don’t pursue writing gigs in the games press any more. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind that, though the way I’ve been treated in the past has somewhat soured me on the business as a whole — plus there’s the fact that the mainstream games press (i.e. the ones that pay) all still have the “feminism” stick firmly jammed up their collective asses which, far from promoting the amorphous concept of “diversity” as they’d like to think, actually just stifles criticism from a variety of perspectives, not to mention thoughtful, meaningful exploration of games on the more provocative end of the spectrum. And as my good friend Chris was kind enough to say the other day, I’m better at writing about games than 1,200 word reviews talking about how nice the graphics are and whether or not there’s any screen tearing, or 500-word news pieces on industry Twitter spats and inevitably fake rumours about new Nintendo hardware.
MoeGamer, as it stands, is an experiment in sustained long-form writing on very specific topics in games, and if this proves to be worthwhile I’ll consider expanding the project into perhaps putting together a book or two. That would be exciting. As longstanding readers well know, I firmly believe that there’s an absolute ton of scope for thoughtful, interesting, meaningful analysis of games beyond what the current clickbait model of games journalism focuses on, and longform articles not beholden to advertisers or honest-to-goodness books are clearly the way to go for this sort of thing.
Other people out there are already doing this sort of thing; Boss Fight Books is a particularly interesting project, though it takes a somewhat scattershot approach to which games are noteworthy for one reason or another, and many (though not all, thankfully) of the authors involved are members of “the clique” of games writers and developers that has made viewpoints that deviate from the standard (and fallacious) “everything is sexist and gamers are awful people” rather unwelcome. In other words, I don’t see them publishing a book exploring the satire of Hyperdimension Neptunia or the meaning carried in the sexual content of The Fruit of Grisaia any time soon.
Basically, now I’ve made the decision to, at least for the immediate future, stay at home for work, I can start looking at ways to 1) pin down a reasonably secure monthly income and 2) start pursuing passion projects in earnest. Because for all the noble intentions in the world, the last thing you want to do after coming home from a 9-5 is sit down at the computer and do something else that feels like it’s “productive”, even if it’s something you do genuinely really want to do. I’m going to have to make some decisions on how to proceed from here — do I keep attempting to promote my Patreon, or look into something like Kickstarter to fund a book series? Do I look into monetising MoeGamer’s content somehow, or share it across some other channels such as video? (I kind of hate video for anything other than TV shows and the occasional Zero Punctuation; give me some nice words any day, millennials’ attention spans be damned.) Do I attempt to pitch some articles to mainstream games press sites? (Probably not.)
There are lots of things to think about and it’s both exciting and scary. I want everything to be all right, as it emphatically isn’t right now, but at least I have options to explore, so everything isn’t hopeless quite yet. I hope, anyway.
Now, I’m off to bed to hopefully sleep soundly, and then I’m going away for the Bank Holiday weekend to play some board games with friends and probably get attacked by a dog. I sincerely hope this coming weekend is as relaxing as I need it to be, as the last few… weeks, months, I lose track… have been pretty hellish stress-wise, and I’d rather have just one weekend where I can just enjoy myself without having to worry about anything.
Thankfully, I don’t see anything standing in the way of that happening, so expect suitably enthusiastic reports throughout the weekend, and be prepared to commiserate with me on my inevitable losses at games that involve any sort of strategic thinking.