I was digging through the old photo archives and found this. Ever wonder what happened to all of these? When I took this photo (2005), there was a whole warehouse full of them, along with other great Nintendo memorabilia. I wonder if they’re still there…
There was recently an article published on Kotaku.com, a video game website, written by Nathan Peters. It was a description of his experience as a contract employee in the video game industry; specifically in the QA department of Certain Affinity, a studio that worked on multiplayer aspects of Halo 4. The summary of the article is that if you’re looking to be involved in the video game industry you should never be a contract employee. In fact, it goes so far as state that “It’s time for gaming’s contractors to strike.” Never mind that this statement is immediately preceded by a sentence that starts with “I freelanced…” Yeah. In any case, you can read the entire article here.
So here’s another viewpoint.
I’ve been a freelancer in the video game industry for over ten years, primarily in special events and experience marketing. In that time, I have worked alongside some of the most talented and influential people in the industry, helped produce some of the most amazing shows the industry has ever seen, and launched some of the products and brands that have reshaped the modern video game experience. I don’t think I need to go into crazy detail here. (You can jump over to the Work section of this site and take a look if you’re interested.) In nearly all of these instances I was the same kind of contract worker described by Nathan. I have experienced a lot of the same frustrations that he describes, a lot of the same situations, the difficulties, the contributions, the promises, and so on. I believe there are a few fundamental differences in our attitudes towards those experiences, but these are attitudes that only develop over time.
Ok, so this is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. It’s going to be long and it’s going to be about a topic that is both generally universal and intensely personal. Music. Specifically, video game music, both original and inspired by, some of which will be included along the way. So feel free to fire up some of your favorite tunes, or jam on some of the ones here, grab a snack, and let’s jump in.
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.
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.
- I am not a financial professional. I don’t analyze trends, stocks, or earning strategies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.