Perhaps I should name this post “state of the content”? By far I have the most followers on my YouTube channel thanks to its subscription system, and many of them are either unaware or do not keep up with my blog or my writings over on GamersWithJobs. Where you follow my content is of no difference, as the latter half of 2016 was an absolute wasteland suffering a draught of articles and videos.
In some ways there is good reason for this. I had gotten into a car accident in August and had to undergo (unrelated) surgery in November, both of which kind of interrupt the schedule a bit. However, neither of those was severe enough to cause such a chasm of content produced. I’m afraid to say that the truth is that I’ve been overcome by depression and severe feelings of self-doubt, where anything I wrote just never seemed good enough. If I wasn’t at my job, which became increasingly stressful in the month of December, I was essentially seeking some form of escapism.
I’d like put an end to that this year and focus more of my time on the content I find true satisfaction in. In regards to productivity this includes decisions such as limiting the quantity of games I purchase in a given year as well as trying to impose deadlines on myself. For mental health I plan on reaching out to friends and family more, developing a proper social balance and returning to Church. I cannot make promises and by early February we’ll see if the deadlines have truly worked, as that’s my goal for a new RamblePak64.
For the sake of fun, however, let’s take a glimpse back at some of the content I did manage to create in 2016.
I truly let myself down and had the worst year since I was struggling with the Resident Evil 6 series. I kicked the year off with Splatoon, a video which I had been working on since Fall of 2015. That I had actually gotten a lot of positive feedback regarding it should have left me invigorated to keep producing new content, and shortly after I strove to complete another episode of JRPDiary. However, with that episode’s completion I slowly began to realize that I’d be much better served just doing a single video on Final Fantasy X rather than several smaller ones. It was a noble concept, and I hope to revive it in text form, but JRPDiary as a video series does not currently fit my available time to produce content.
The final video of the year, and where my insecurities really began to creep in, was Homefront. I simultaneously felt as if I was saying nothing of value to anyone, that my arguments would have too many holes, and that I also needed to be as economical with the time available as possible so as not to bore anyone. The downside was that I spent so much time trying to perfect the script and minimize what was being said that I didn’t go in-depth enough. Since then I’ve been trying to learn from my prior mistakes, but the insecurities had only become worse.
The originally intended video planned to go up next will be delayed, but I have one I’ve been wanting to do for a while now that I should be able to easily squeeze in and produce within a month’s timeframe. After that, I have a plan to see if I can more regularly produce videos. If it works, then RamblePak should update much more regularly, a goal I’ve so desperately wanted to achieve ever since my subscriber numbers “exploded” (even if they are still quaint by YouTube standards).
It’s been an interesting year over there. I seemed to come out swinging with Dress Code, an article where I confront my discomfort with business attire and playing my 3DS in public. The article was met very positively by the community, and is probably one of the top articles to generate discussion on the front page. It was a topic that many in the community could relate to, and as such made a splash.
Not much else on the front page has, however. I don’t just mean my own content, but content on the front page as a whole. Even the podcast has seen less discussion than in prior years, and I am wondering if the trend is a result of the content now being produced, the website’s redesign, or something as simple as Sean Sands no longer writing. Even before we changed the nature of The Week Ahead, Sands was struggling to write his weekly column more and more. Now he’s found a comfortable place with just the Podcast and the YouTube channel, leaving the front page largely to a group of niche community members. Perhaps it’s time I reinvigorate my search for new contributors and see if we might get more people checking in on a regular basis?
Regardless of such outloud thinking, I failed to find much success with Expanding the Couch, a piece where I pondered the possibility of new couch multiplayer experiences. One I managed to revisit this Halloween with Until Dawn, in fact, and thus should really follow-up with. I am most proud, however, of my pieces From Way Up Here, Endless Honeymoon, and Idol Fantasy, but I can only imagine those games failed to make a splash due to focusing on niche games, the latter two being on niche Nintendo platforms.
If there is any lesson to learn, it may be to write about topics and titles that lean closer to the sort of content discussed on the Conference Call. A trial for me, as I do love my niche Japanese games, but one I think I can tackle. The real trouble is in finding ways to relate it to my personal life, which is steeped so deeply in games and games writing that writing something like Dress Code is… well, it’s one of a kind.
I started out this year so well. I had pieces like Encounters (which, humorously, begins with the hope of producing more content in 2016 &mdash: oh how starry-eyed I had been!), a Rise of the Tomb Raider write-up that could serve as the basis for a RamblePak video, a critique of Killscreen’s Triforce Heroes review that I still stand behind, and Reinforcements. All strong articles, many of which written by honing in on specific topics of game design or games writing and going on from there.
Unfortunately the insecurities and I think pressure to update got to me. I kept struggling to write a thought piece on every game I played and when I couldn’t find much of anything to say I took it to heart.
In considering a redesign of the website — something I yearn to do if I could only find the motivation to get it done — I have decided to remove the individual game review highlight images, and in light of this I have decided to stop trying to write about every game I play as a review. That’s what creates the pressure, and it doesn’t suit a blog anyway. Instead, I just want to write what I feel about the games I play.
Hopefully this blog will more closely resemble what it did early of last year, as there was a lot of good stuff I wrote back then. In addition, I’m hoping to do a better job of highlighting when I’ve posted on GamersWithJobs and my YouTube channel, perhaps providing some additional thoughts and commentary here for those willing to see. I feel like the blog should be for “the biggest fans”, as silly a phrasing as it is. Those that enjoy my content enough that they want my RSS feed.
In any event, I do have plans for the year, and if I can keep my mind sane and my insecurities in check, then 2017 should be the best year of content I’ve ever produced.
If only things could ever go according to plan.