Playing With Power – Pt. 1 [Featured]

What you are about to read, should you decide to read it, is all true to the best of my recollection. I have had a long, strange, journey through the video game industry. I have hundreds of stories, this is just one of them.

Nintendo Street Team: 2004
Remember Link Cables?

It’s for breakfast now.

It’s interesting to see all the news about Nintendo recently and the expected fiscal loss posting. “First time in 30 years…” “Lower than expected interest in the 3Ds.” “20 billion yen.”, etc etc. I really only have one question: “Is anyone really that surprised?”

Ok, let me preface this with a few things.

  1. I am not a financial professional. I don’t analyze trends, stocks, or earning strategies.
  2. I am not a corporate business strategist. I understand the complexities of running a business, but I am by no means familiar with the intricacies of running a massive, multinational, corporation.
  3. I have worked for and with Nintendo in the past (2002-2007). In fact, I did through one of their darkest hours, the end of the GameCube lifecycle, in what was essentially “the trenches”, Marketing and Promotions. I was also there for one of the truly brightest moments, the launch of the Wii.
  4. Yes, I’ve met Reggie Fils-Amie. I sat across from him at a marketing meeting in New York City in 2004 and told him we should probably forget Geist ever existed and focus on Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime 2 for that particular holiday season. I’m not saying it affected anything either way, but we all know how that turned out.

In any case, all I present here is my experience with Nintendo, the frustration that came with working for them, especially as a fan of the company and their products, the insight it gave me to the insane swing-set-riding-a-roller-coaster that the company exists on, and why it should surprise no one that they’re on the big downswing yet again.

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Broadcast Silence

3 shows left, 4 days until i’m home. There’s no one left on this tour who cares anymore. We all just want it to be over. We’re all burned out, run down, and barely making it by every day.

I feel so broken down. I can’t wait to be home and just sleep in my own bed. By far the worst Fusion Tour to date.

A Lack of Color

Usually, when you’re on tour, you pick out something about the bands you’re touring with that is decent. A redeeming quality to nod your head at to prevent yourself from going insane having to hear them every day for 6 weeks… There is no such aspect to Hawthorne Heights. They fucking suck, 100%, through and though. It’s kind of astounding.

The Sleeping are just great guys, The Plain White T’s play a short set every night and have missed a bunch of shows, Emery… well, they’re similar to HH except you can’t hear a fucking word they’re saying because all they do is scream everything. Reliant K has the single guitar riff from Devastation & Reform that is better than everything by The Plain White T’s, Emery and HH combined. In-as-such Hawthorne Heights may be the worst band of all time…

5 more shows though. St. Louis, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Champaign, and Chicago. We found out today that the Milwaukee show has been moved from The Eagles Ballroom down to The Rave because ticket sales were so bad. I laughed for a good 20 minutes when i first head that. It still makes me laugh.

This tour, despite having a decent staff (minus the total douchebag tour manager, Matt), has been as close to a disaster as you can get without actually canceling the whole thing. We’re just scraping by now, with nothing but the end-in-sight keeping us moving forward.

I was thinking about crashing out in Chicago for a few days after the tour since i was thinking about moving there, but at this point i just want to get back to my beloved NYC and hibernate all winter and recover from this hell.

Quote from Dez, my Field Manager:

This tour is… baffling. BAFFLING. It’s like tracking Sasquatch… with no guide.

Lithium Flower

So it seems that i either have a blown circuit on my mobo, or the mobo is cracked near the power jack. It looks like the cheapest way to salvage my poor laptop is to get a docking station, which bypasses the power line input. Hopefully it will work, but at this point i’m loathe to spend any more money. I’m going to have to use the last of my battery power to unlock the HD so i can access it with another machine for the time being. Fun.

It’s freezing here in Portland. The last week and a half of shows are coming up and they can’t be over fast enough.

At least i get paid tomorrow.

Peach

Well, after 3 and a half years of faithful service my poor laptop has finally called it quits. To my own credit, it’s purely a hardware issue, the common Dell “battery no longer charges” problem.

My new one is on the way, a little XPS speed demon, and should be arriving around the 6th of November. Until then i won’t be online much so if you really need to get in touch with me… well, you probably already know how, or know someone who does, if you can even read this.

Suddenly

My thumbs, pointer fingers, and middle fingers are peeled down to the muscle on both hands from this tour. It looks like I have leprosy of the hands.

Usually I photograph myself on tour, but this time I’m going to post pics of the show I built in Atlanta yesterday. They don’t really do the footprint justice, but of all the shows I’ve built so far this one has turned out the best. This is the 4th year we’ve been in the Cotton Club of the Tabernacle so I already had it planned out in my mind when we got there. It was also the premier of The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess (Wii Version) on Fusion. It’s replacing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on the tour until we can get an updated MP3 demo out.

Jacksonville was today, Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow, then our first day off in 20 shows. It’s actually a travel day, but at least there’s no show.

Push

No offense to anyone that lives in Winston-Salem, NC… but people here are not sharpest tools in the shed.

Quasi-day off tomorrow since the HoB in Myrtle Beach is tiny. About time.

Edit: So i just got in a fight with a guy who says he likes sci-fi like “The Matrix”, but refuses to accept the works of William Gibson as influence and thinks Neuromancer is nothing but a “fog of text”. Amazing.

Heaven's Tower

New Jersey, awesome. Raining, more awesome. Having a shitty venue where we not only have to share floors pace with the bands, but can’t load out until after the entire show is done, ho OH, so awesome. Having to make an 8 hour drive tonight and still make it to Pittsburg for a 9AM load in… awes..fuck it.

This tour hits NYC on Sunday and I think I may just drop off it. It’s not worth it anymore. The routing fucking blows. Our tour manager is lost half the time with no idea what he’s doing. My job gets more and more difficult every day because of the shitacular job the production companies did on our road-cases and fixtures… the list just goes on and on.

I’ve never walked off a tour before and I’ve been on some real crap productions, but this, this is just a nightmare. We had 1 day off in 4 weeks and they decided to fill it and make us work on it. It’s all bullshit.

Might be time to find a new line of work.

It's a mallard

Today we decided that Emery is the worst band on this tour (despite playing a very technically tight set tonight), that Reliant K’s guitarist is better than the rest of the band combined, and that The Sleeping may just be the best band on the tour (and are awesome guys to hang out with).

It wouldn’t be the first time the opening band turned out to be the best one on the tour. Last year, from day one, Panic! At The Disco was our favorite band out with us.

Our lighting director bought a stuffed squeeky toy duck to throw at people while they play Wii Sports: Shooting (aka: Dunk Hunt).

Lots of mutants at todays show, including this ginormous girl. I shit you not, she must have been like 450lbs. Our bus was getting pulled into her orbit… I hope i never have to go back to Kentucky.