It's been a stupidly long time since I've updated this, but I rarely get the compulsion and I'm just not sitting on my hands enough these days to warrant knocking out regular blog posts. I suppose that means I have lots more to blog about here, but meh, if you want to keep up with my day-to-day workflow, you can follow me on Twitter. I use it sort of obsessively.
Anyway, lots has changed since I last talked about work on here. As you've likely heard (either being someone interested in games writing or a person who actually knows me), UGO purchased 1UP.com early last month, shuttering Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine and laying off something like three-quarters of the staff, many of which I'd worked with in some respect. I'd written for 1UP for more than a year and a half at that point, starting in news and doing a lot of preview work, but most recently doing a heavy amount of reviews for the site. I'm surprised I didn't mention it on here (sorry, holiday rush kept me busy), but the final issue of EGM ended up being my first -- I reviewed the latest Destroy All Humans game for that issue. I also wrote something for the next issue, but it was sadly never published. Word was that it'd be posted online at some point, but as far as I know, that just hasn't happened. It had always been my dream to write for EGM, and after a few missed chances, it finally happened -- though to have it be the last-ever printed issue was certainly bittersweet.
I'm not going to get too deep into it, as it's been more than a month and a half at this point, but it hit me like a hammer when everything went down. Rumors of EGM closing had been swirling for some time, but to see so much of the staff let go and the prospect of a new owner -- it not only made me worry for my friends, but also for my security as a freelancer. It seemed initially that there would likely still be opportunities for me to write for 1UP, but more than a month passed before anything concrete came up. Luckily, Matt pinged me last week to review Noby Noby Boy for PlayStation Network, which is a pretty big release (for the PSN) -- I was surprised he didn't review it himself (since he did their week-long look at it in December), but I think my review turned out well and it's received a lot of thumbs, so I'm pleased.
Review: Noby Noby Boy (PSN)
Not sure when I'll have my next opportunity to work on something over there, but I'm sure it'll come at some point. Anyway, with EGM closing and 1UP becoming a question mark, I started to worry a bit last month. Things had been relatively rock-steady for just over a year, but the economy was starting to shake things up in an unfortunate manner. In November, one of my print outlets alerted me that it no longer had a freelance budget for the immediate future, and just a few weeks ago, the website I'd been doing most of my work for in the last couple months had its own freelance budget cut down a bit. Luckily, I've still been getting a lot of good work from them (which is very greatly appreciated), but assignments aren't always as readily available as they had been.
So I started brainstorming to see how I could fill in the potential gaps. For starters, I decided to significantly increase my blogging gig at What They Play -- I'd previously been doing about 6-8 posts per week, but have recently been doing about 15-20. Blogging/news writing isn't necessarily my favorite thing to do, but it's easy to fit around other work and it's a much less time consuming affair than when I was doing news for 1UP. That has paid off significantly already, but I also started looking around for new places to write for. I decided to hit up The Escapist about doing occasional reviews and they were really receptive, so I did my first review for Magic Ball (PSN) earlier this month and have another in the works.
Review: Magic Ball (PSN)
I've also been talking to a gadget-oriented website about potentially doing some game coverage and possible iPhone app/gadget articles, but nothing's certain at this point and it may or may not work out. A couple of really positive things have happened work-wise in '09 for me, though -- I've been doing a lot of work for Nintendo Power recently, with four Community articles and 2 reviews since the beginning of the year, with two more Community pieces in the works at the moment. It's really my only recurring print gig at the moment, and I'm really happy that I've seemingly become the go-to guy for the Community section, and that they're starting to use me for reviews as well.
And very unexpectedly, I got an e-mail from my old editor at GamesRadar last month -- they'd lost their freelance budget last June, and I hadn't really expected them to get it back anytime soon considering the economic woes. But lo and behold, it happened and he contacted me straightaway. I wrote a big feature for them (going up tomorrow, I'm told) as well as a review for X-Blades, and just agreed to do three more reviews over the next couple weeks. If this holds up, it'll essentially replace the gap that 1UP/EGM left as my primary review outlet, and I always really enjoyed writing for GR (and my buddy Eric), so it's just an exciting turn of events for me.
Review: X-Blades (360)
I saw a bit of dip in the amount of available work last month, but by upping my efforts and finding new outlets (or having old ones spring back to life), February looks to potentially be my biggest month to date (at least one of the top ones). I feel a little overworked sometimes, but as a freelancer in these times, I really can't complain. And won't. Back to the grind!
(P.S. Wow, that's a long post. Will probably be the biggest you'll get for a year or more. Savor it?)