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.

Continue reading

So pseudo…

Los Angeles

The surrealism of this journey never ceases to amaze me. When I toured for a living, and for a few years afterwards, it was a seemingly endless journey across the American frontier. I experienced more in those years, traveled and adventured more, saw and did more, heard, worked, played, and lived more, than most people will in a lifetime. I know what it means to be a nomad, a wanderer. To wake up in a different city every day. To adapt and learn and live completely different kinds of lifestyles. That vast array of experience has helped to forge me into the person I am today. It is why I can manage and function anywhere, despite never really being comfortable anywhere. I never mind anywhere. I can make do with almost nothing. I know how to just make things work. Very little bothers me, even less can actually stop me. I can go on for a while here, and I have lots of other notes to include, but I am exhausted. I’ll follow up later.

This morning I woke up in Santa Monica, CA after spending the previous evening on the beach, at the end of a stunningly beautiful day. The weather was gorgeous, I finally was able to take a long, hot, shower and get myself cleaned up, and I got laundry done. I slept in a bed. When you live on the road, days like that are few and far between. They are like pocket days, 24 hours of stepping outside of the reality you’re existing to recollect and recover. Personal days. Recharge days.

Santa Monica

Tonight I am laying on a couch, in a home at the top of a mountain, hidden away somewhere in a forest outside of Santa Cruz, CA. Another unfamiliar ceiling. It was a very long, dark, winding, road to get here. I have no cell reception. I’m writing this offline before I hijack some bandwidth. I can see every star in the sky here, but there are no fireflies like where I grew up. Bluegrass music is coming out of the TV. In 8 hours I will be awake, collect the few things I unpacked, and climb aboard a motor home that is very similar to the tour buses I spent most of my 20’s on. This will become three days of driving across the desert with two men I have known collectively for less than five days until I am in Albuquerque, NM. They are both chain smokers, but I fear for the well being of my camera, clothes, and computer more than I do my own lungs.

And once again...

That’s all for now. Just wanted to get it down here. Side note: Today’s photos were brought to you by my phone, not my camera.

Electronic Entertainment Awesome

Well, today wraps up my last day on the Can’t Stop Rockin’ 2009 Tour. It’s been a mixed bag. The production team i was placed with was absolutely fantastic. So awesome to work with. The crew on my bus was equally amazing, they made some of the long rides really fun. Styx and REO Speedwagon, while not really my first choice in music, we’re also really awesome, both onstage and off. They’re some of the most devoted bands i’ve ever toured with.

On the other hand, the marketing agency that hired me, and who iIve worked with before, seemed to not have really thought this tour through. It’s a shame too, because the sponsor, who I’ve also worked with directly, is amazing. There was potential here, but it wasn’t really capitalized on.

Anyway, speaking of amazing clients… i’m off to E3!

That’s right, E3 2009, All Access, thanks to the, wonderful, amazing, people at MTV Games/Harmonix. I’m going to be working the show floor, attending events, and checking out all the awesomeness. It’s like a dream come true for me. In the meantime, i’m going to be updating my portfolio and fixing some of the things on the site. I’ll be twittering live from E3, so you can follow the sidebar on this site or follow along at http://twitter.com/dropslash.

Can’t Stop… Somethin’…

So, first off, Total Rock, Total Rewards 2009 was, in actuality, Total Awesome 2009. Easily one of the best jobs I’ve ever worked and one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on. The people i worked with were all amazing and the bands who participated, in every venue, were some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Huge grats to The Gurn Killers from my long-lost NYC for taking home $10,000 and putting on an awesome show at The House of Blues in Atlantic City opening for The B52’s. There are still reports and interviews and pics coming in, but here’s some links to catch you up on all the madness.

I promise to get more links in here later. There are tons of pics on FaceBook at the moment so it’s gonna take a while to pull together that much linkage.

In other news, I’m currently out on the Can’t Stop Rockin’ tour with REO Speedwagon, Styx, and .38 Special overseeing the activation and management of one of the custom Rock Band stages from last year’s Rock Band Live! tour. It’s certainly an interesting time. Not exactly my cup-o-tea demographically or music-taste-wise, but they can’t all be. It’s just strange for me to be around that many drunk/stoned baby boomers, especially since they just kind of stare at the RB stage dumbfounded most of the time. Before it took this gig i predicted to myself that this gig would probably just end up as glorified daycare for the kids who’s parents dragged them to the show. That prediction has been dead on so far. The biggest issue really is that the gig isn’t really practical as a one-man-show, which is how it’s currently being executed (by me). Oh well, the production crew is friendly and I’m done on May 30th so it’ll at least be 100% until then.

In other, other, news, i just bought a Dell Mini 9 and I’m already in love with it. I was worried about the size compared to the Mini 10, but after discovering that the Mini 10 was not upgrade/hack friendly and finding a perfectly configured Mini 9 on the Dell Outlet site, i had to just go for it. It wasn’t out of the box for 5 minutes before i dropped an extra gig of RAM into it and it never even got booted to it’s pre-installed Windows XP OS. I dropped Windows 7 Release Client into it first thing (with a sweet USB hack) and never looked back. It’s runs like a dream. Next upgrade is the SSD from 8GB to 32GB. I ordered the drive already and hopefully it’ll make it out to me during this three day stretch in California. Once i have that installed i can drop all my favorite apps onto it. I’m using a 16GB SD card as storage, so the total of 48GB will serve me fine. I’m a huge stickler for efficiency and clean HDs, so i clean out my systems and HDs religiously. I can’t wait to start using it as my regular road computer and seeing what it can handle. Here’s a pic of it next to my current road system, my trusty Dell XPS M1210.

M1210_And_Mini9_Small

Road work…

Well, this is how it all turned out. I haven’t ported this new design over to Blogger yet, but it’ll get there eventually. I’ve been busy with work recently, but I wanted to get this revamp up and all the bugs worked out before I head out on tour again. Speaking of which, if you’re a Rock Band fan and reading this, come visit/hang out with me while I’m on tour. Here’s where I’m headed:

Harrah’s Total Rock, Total Rewards Rock Band Tournament:

If you’ve been following my Twitter Feed, you already know all about this.
Here’s where you can find me:

After that I’m headed out on the Can’t Stop Rockin’ tour with REO Speedwagon, Styx, and 38 Special.

Can’t Stop Rockin’: (More dates coming soon)

  1. May 13: Albuquerque, NM (Sandia Casino Amphitheatre)
  2. May 15: Phoenix, AZ (Dodge Theatre)
  3. May 16: Las Vegas, NV (Thomas and Mack Center)
  4. May 17: Fresno, CA (Save Mart Center)
  5. May 21: Ontario, CA (Citizens Business Bank Arena)
  6. May 22: Los Angeles, CA (NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE)
  7. May 23: Kelseyville, CA (Konocti Harbor Amphitheatre)
  8. May 24: Mountain View, CA (Shoreline Amphitheatre)
  9. May 27: Seattle, WA (ShoWare Arena)
  10. May 30: Sandy, UT (Rio Tinto Stadium)
  11. May 31: Morrison, CO (Red Rocks Amphitheatre)
  12. June 4: Kansas City, MO (Starlight Theatre)
  13. June 5: Thackerville, OK (Winstar Casino)
  14. June 6: Oklahoma City, OK (Zoo Amphitheatre)
  15. June 7: Woodlands, TX (Woodlands Pavilion)
  16. June 16: Boca Raton, FL (Sunset Cove Amphitheatre)
  17. June 18: Orange Beach, FL (The Amphitheatre @ The Wharf)
  18. June 20: Roanoke Rapids, NC (Carolina Crossroads Amphitheatre)
  19. June 21: Atlanta, GA (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
  20. June 23: Columbia, MD (Merriweather Post Pavillion)
  21. June 26: Atlantic City, NJ (The Borgata)
  22. June 27: Gilford, NH (Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion)
  23. June 28: Mansfield, MA (Comcast Center)
  24. July 1: Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun)
  25. July 2: Verona, NY (Turning Stone Resort Casino)
  26. July 3: Scranton, PA (Toyota Pavilion At Montage Mountain)
  27. July 4: Saratoga Springs, NY (Saratoga Performing Arts Center)
  28. July 9: Clarkston, MI (DTE Energy Music Theatre)
  29. July 10: Chicago, IL (Charter One Pavilion At Northerly Island)
  30. July 11: St Louis, MO (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)

I have a lot more to get done around here and it’s going to be a busy summer.

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.