Tag: A Week in the Life

A Week in the Life… Dozing on the Sofa and Cheering On a Former Home Town

A Week in the Life… Dozing on the Sofa and Cheering On a Former Home Town

I’m a day late with this post, so my ‘once a week’ pledge is already on iffy ground. Well, never mind…

In any case, after the events of the first post in this series the past week had a different kind of buzz. I had a big week in my job, but the nature of that work (and my own instinctive discretion) means it’s mostly stuff I won’t happily blog about. It was a productive week, at least, and one fun thing that is easy to share is that I got business cards printed. I was given a rather cool double-sided design that portrays both CIRCLE Entertainment and Flyhigh Works – pretty neat, and the printer liked them to the point he kept a sample to show off the black print. Hey, whatever does it for you Mr Printer man (it was a little company in Linlithgow full of very nice people).

Linlithgow is a lovely town, by the way, well worth a visit for anyone that’s in the area. It’s old fashioned even in its approach roads, with all routes in seemingly involving narrow lanes and one-way bridge crossings. When I went for the cards my mum came along, giving us a chance to grab lunch at a favourite cafe that’s been in business for over 10 years (at least). Linlithgow is a town where brands don’t exist for the most part, it’s mainly independent stores – as a result it’s a comforting throwback.

Aside from that it was a quieter week. In gaming I alternated between Enter the Gungeon and Rocket League for quick fixes, and also played a bit of VOEZ to test the new controls that went live last week. Over the weekend I got quite close to finishing Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition on Switch, and I also did a few more cases in L.A. Noire. Both of those are almost done now, and I also need to get back to Resident Evil 7 (I loved the opening hour, but I have to be in the right mood for games that intense).

I also did the stereotypical thing of working stiffs – dozing off on the sofa on multiple evenings. Oh dear…

At the weekend I had a gaming afternoon with my brother that was nice, and I also went to my parents’ house to watch Newport County vs Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. I was born in South Wales and lived in nearby Cwmbran until I was about 7; that’s when we moved to Scotland. Most of our extended family lives in Newport, so the town (technically a city, but it’s notĀ really a city) was a big part of my life. To be blunt it was never my favourite place in the world, but in recent years I have admired the football club from a distance. Renting a stadium, no decent training facilities, it’s survived against the odds and is now run by the supporters. Under the current manager they’ve not only survived but started to thrive; it’s a great underdog story.

The cup run had already been lucrative (the club hopes to build a training ground, apparently), but in drawing 1-1 at home against Spurs they now get a replay at Wembley that will be worth even more money. Remarkable stuff, and it was great watching the game with my parents who were both big fans of the club and used to go to gamesĀ back in the day.

And that was the week. Some breakthrough moments in work, dozing, games and watching football in spare time. I ignored the Trump / Piers Morgan interview that everyone seemed to tweet about on Sunday night, too, I had better things to do. Someone has to watch that paint dry.

Until next time,

Tom

A Week in the Life… New Beginnings and the Theatre of Dreams

A Week in the Life… New Beginnings and the Theatre of Dreams

I last posted on this blog way back in June 2017, so it’s fair to say I drifted away from it! Things have changed, though, and going forward I’ll be posting on here at least once a week, mainly with this ‘A Week in the Life’ series. That’s because this is now my only real outlet for writing and I want to keep those muscles active. This debut entry is more like three weeks in the life, as 2018 has brought big changes for me.

2017 was crazy, all told. I edited a Nintendo site when the Switch explosion happened, and more importantly I bought a flat / apartment, which is now also my office. At the end of the year, as some reading this will know, I then left my role as editor of Nintendo Life and now work as Product Manager for CIRCLE Entertainment and Flyhigh Works. I’m really excited about the change in direction, not least because I’ve been able to join a company that’s still modest in size but is doing really cool things. I get to be a part of that, and it means I also get to learn and experience the other side of the video game industry, in this case the publishing, development and PR side.

Though I wasn’t actively job-seeking in 2017, I always had my ear to the ground and was making a small number of enquiries. I’d been contributing to Nintendo Life for nearly seven years when I left, with about 4-5 of those years being quite intense. I’m proud of a lot I achieved at NL, along with the team, but I was increasingly feeling like a relic, with attitudes and ideas that didn’t suit the cut-throat tempo and demands of the news content-driven internet. In the past couple of years trends have changed a huge amount, especially with the continued rise of social media and YouTube. People not only want their news extremely quickly, but they’re sometimes unbelieving of it anyway.

I feel like quality and accuracy have become less valuable – and, indeed, valued – over the past couple of years, right across the board in online journalism and reporting. We live in a world where errors, corrections and retractions aren’t an irregular occurrence over which people lose sleep, but occur almost daily. I’ve seen it happen not only in gaming journalism, but frankly all journalism. Media organisations I used to admire and trust, like BBC and The Guardian, are shadows of their former selves, chasing traffic more than the truth and quality work.

I’m not necessarily criticising, to be honest – it’s business. If the big WE don’t pay for our journalism by buying newspapers or paying subscriptions, it’ll get worse. When volume is the only way to make a living, quality will drop. As a result the journalism industry evolves and becomes (in some ways) more of an entertainment industry. I don’t have to like it, but that’s life. On top of that there are still many writers and journalists doing amazing work, and we should back them and support them when they do.

Nintendo Life will be fine without me. In fact, with fresh minds more in tune to what people want from their gaming news / content it’ll likely grow even more. On the plus side I think some of my philosophies on work suit my new job well. I want to get details right, I don’t like unnecessary errors, and I like to have a plan; hopefully that’ll all be a good fit as I work to spread the word about our games.

So far I’m enjoying my new job a lot. I’m still working from home here in Scotland, but now my colleagues are in the Far East rather than England and North America. I can’t emphasize how impressive the team is, especially with the huge workloads they manage. I’ve been welcomed with open arms, and already I feel like a real part of the group that’s contributing something useful. I’ve been blown away by how on point and professional the CIRCLE / Flyhigh Works group is in action.

So, I have my new job, and am extremely busy with it. The past week was special for something else, however. As a farewell gift the Nintendo Life directors bought me two hospitality tickets to Manchester United vs. Stoke. My parents then pitched in on a room at Hotel Football, and the picture at the top is the view from the hotel room – right onto the stadium!

My brother and I went down on the train on the day, for a Monday night kick-off. We got to the stadium to get the name and number on my jersey (a gift from my brother), which was done in honour of my NL login. The weather was abysmal, typical Manchester rain, but we walked to a local Indian restaurant for a gorgeous dinner. Then it was into the match, a memorable experience to see United’s strongest line-up win 3-0. It wasn’t a classic match, but it was special for me.

The quirky part came after the game. We had the ‘post-match’ meal, which we assumed would be ‘supper’ food like sandwiches or pies, but instead got served massive rib-eye steaks. Eating a big meal at 10:30pm isn’t really advised, but who were we to argue? We got a great table in the place (it was a trip where everything turned out well), and enjoyed the somewhat quirky ‘entertainment’. If you’ve seen Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, it felt a bit like a high-end version of that.

Even coming home everything turned out for the best. Scotland was a wintry landscape of heavy snow and ice and the fear was our trains would let us down. We just made it back, with the train after ours apparently then cancelled.

It was a great trip and a lovely way to sign off on my Nintendo Life era. I owe the site and everyone who’s contributed to it so much; it was a life changing experience (I wrote a bit about it here). A special thanks naturally goes to the directors and my friends – Anthony Dickens, Damien McFerran and Darren Calvert. They’re friends for life, and they gave me an opportunity and saw the best in me when a lot of other employers had no interest. When they hired me full time I was a quirky writer with a peculiarly mixed CV and a couple of seemingly meaningless university degrees; not exactly in-demand assets in the UK jobs market. Yet NL gave me a home and brought me into the gaming industry, which has now led me to the publishing / PR side.

And so 2018 will be fascinating for me. I’ll share some of its notable and memorable parts here on Literary Gamer, along with a few ranting opinion pieces here and there.

Until next time,

Tom