Summer 2016 Check-in
I am awful at blogging, which is fine. I knew I was going to be bad at it going in and that it would serve as a catchall for stray thoughts. So an update, of which the most interesting bit will be first.
New Stuff for ACTION MOVIE WORLD: First Blood Is Coming
This summer, some additions to AMW (my Apocalypse World powered game of action movie stars, which you can buy here) will be out. When I wrote AMW, there was a point that I just had to get it out, leaving a few Scripts on the cutting room floor. Like a director. A wonderful, genius director.
At least two of those are going to come out, as well as one (probably only one) Actor Playbook. I'm not entirely certain which Scripts they'll be; essentially, when I reached the "this has to go to print" stage, the ones left behind weren't so much bad as frustratingly unfinished. The Actor Playbook will be newer, something never intended for the initial printing of AMW, but which Peter (my brother and co-owner of Flatland Games, AMW's publisher) suggested to me. I tend to be much more skeptical of additional Actor Playbooks, because the current symmetry of two per physical stat, one per mental/emotional is aesthetically pleasing and also because I think they cover the action movie actor archetypes nicely. I don't want to make stuff for the game just for the sake of making it; I want it to be good and, even more, needed.
So I'm being cagey, because I don't know exactly when it will be out and I may change my mind about specifics. One thing which is true now and will be true at release: This stuff will be free. Basically, I'll get paid through additional sales generated by renewed interest at the circa year mark. Flatland is very into small, low impact free additions to their games and that's something I support, too. If that makes you feel weird, buy a friend a copy or upgrade from PDF to print. Whatever. Look for the new stuff probably late summer/early fall.
A Shift in Games Writing
I'm happy to be writing steadily about the games industry and labor at Giant Bomb now. That's something which will continue for the foreseeable future. This has come with a de-emphasis on my games criticism; this, too, is something which will continue for the foreseeable future.
I've never been comfortable with my forays into games crit. It was, frankly, a way of padding my pay while I lurked for chances to do labor reporting/polemics. This is not to say that I was bad or that I was half-assing it; I'll gladly, somewhat arrogantly put my materialist reading of the appeal of PC work simulators against just about anything I'm aware of on the subject. It is to say that it's never been my chosen focus and I think there are, across a range of criticism styles, better, faster writers out there. I won't say I'll never do it again; I've seen too many people claim they'll never write about X topic only to return to it later to do that. But I'll be surprised if I do it any time soon.
I do have an opportunity to do some brand new games writing, stuff in a style and on a topic I've never touched on before, but I've got to leave that tantalizingly vague for now.
Pro Wrestling Still Rules
I'm going to still be writing about pro wrestling regularly and probably more often than I do about games, which tends to be localized around games and labor, as stated. I've been immensely honored to work with good crews at Vice Sports and Paste who have both given me wide range in terms of my style and approach to pro wrestling writing. They let me do my weirdo readings of pro wrestling as folkloric working class history and I appreciate the hell out of it.
School is Cool
I'm never going to think it's not weird that I have a pretty successful freelance writing career while not having a bachelor's degree in anything. If you read my last blog post on returning to school and the strangeness of the decoupling of credentials from success while doubling down on our collective obsession with them, you'll know that I'm back in school at NC State to get my English degree.
I wrapped my first semester there today. It was a blast and, as utterly bourgeois as it is for me to say, really worthwhile. I learned things. I felt at home someplace that's not... home... for the first time maybe ever. It was nice. I limped across the finish line, with a vicious bacterial ear infection (I'm prone to this sort of thing because my Crohn's medication is an immunosuppressant) which is still not fully gone after nearly eight weeks, but by god, I got across it and did so with good grades.
I'm probably going to stick around and get my master's.
Sometime this summer, when my illustrious webmaster, Martin, has some time, I'll be adding a CV and a portfolio of links to what I consider my most interesting work. So if you're wanting a table of contents for my freelance work, check back sometime and it'll be up.
Go do something else.