I have a lot of long days sat at home in front of the PC, mainly self-imposed, as I try to blend the job that actually pays money with interests that do not. There’s an odd pressure that comes with the territory of being editor on a fairly large website – if it becomes a smaller website, that job probably won’t exist any more; as such the long hours come from trying to maintain success. My fate is also quite closely tied to whether Nintendo does well or not, which isn’t as fun as it sounds. But hey, I’m a believer and an optimist (most of the time).
Days off are relatively rare, then, so a recent chance to travel da’an saath (that’s how cockneys say ‘down south’, right?) was a welcome one. The journey involved a train down to London from sunny Loughborough, then some tube rides and more trains to Windsor, where old Liz II occasionally goes to hang out. It was nice that the travelling was with Ant Dickens, my good friend and employer; the order in which those descriptors come depends on the circumstances, I suppose.
We were going down to try out the new Legend of Zelda game, one of the few occasions I’ve gone on a slightly pointless jolly; after all, our US guys previewed the bejeezus out of it at E3. We met up with the ever energetic and lovely Alex, who produces the YouTube vids for Nintendo Life, and exchanged lots of pleasantries with thoroughly personable and nice Nintendo UK employees; at one point they even stuffed an enormous wad of cash into my pockets as a reward for writing nice things. Just kidding, heck, they didn’t even have any coffee available…
Still, it’s an enduring quirk of the job (and those of our Nintendo UK hosts) that talking about Mario Party is a thing to be done earnestly. My approach to games writing is to try not to take it too seriously, to be honest, for to be po-faced about a game where you steal apples from a giant Goomba is silly. I do some earnest editorials etc when the time is right but, overall, I try not to behave like the colour of Sonic the Hedgehog’s eyes matters.
Windsor, though, is a lovely place to faff about. On another trip there for more video game journalism corruption – I think I was given a free coffee on that occasion – I had a short amount of time in which to eat before heading home at night. The Windsor McDonald’s it was, then, and what a bizarre place. The theatre is just down the road, so I was surrounded by people in their 50s who wore clothes more valuable than my car – a pre-show Big Mac was clearly the meal of choice. As a town it’s pure tourism, but I rather like visiting. If someone wanted to visit a ‘ye olde Rule Britannia’ theme park, I’d just tell them to go to Windsor.
Gallivanting in Windsor is a rare thing for me nowadays, as living in Scotland means I’m a long way from the ‘action’. Still we have soft water up here, and when you have silly hair and a ragged beard, as I most assuredly do, that’s far more important.