Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new! The dust on my blog almost matches that of my Wii, almost. There’s been a lot going on and I’ve missed several opportunities to talk about current issues that are now ancient history. As I was going through my feed reader this evening, a few articles caught my eye and I thought I would take a moment to touch on some of them. I kind of have an informal standard of single category posts around here, but that’s all going to shit right about now.
I’m Pretty Sure the HD Movie Format War is Over
A couple weeks ago I picked up the Xbox 360 HD DVD player – actually, what I bought was the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel. But the wheel itself was off-centered by about 10 degrees, which didn’t render it useless, just sucky. I did a quick Google and found that it’s a pretty common issue and read tales of people going through 2 or 3 wheels before getting one that wasn’t broken right out of the box. I said to hell with that noise and got my money back. I thought it would be a good idea to ignore my better judgement (that being to stay away from HD DVD and Blu-ray until their is a clear winner of the format war) and pick up the HD DVD player add-on.
There’s nothing wrong with the player – in fact, it’s great! I love the fact that you don’t have to remove game discs to watch a movie as you end up with a dedicated drive for each. And of course, HD movies look fantastic! But there’s only one local shop within reasonable driving distance that rents them (which happens to be a Blockbuster) and Rogers VideoDirect service sucks for HD movies as they seem to have very limited supply.
Then the news came that Blockbuster are stocking their 1,450 locations with Blu-ray and only carrying HD DVD at the 250 outlets that currently have them. That is an absolutely massive blow to HD DVD and unless a rival video rental service does the complete opposite and dumps Blu-ray, I don’t see HD DVD recovering from this. The second I read that headline, I was filled with anger, which was fully directed back at myself for putting myself in the middle of this stupid format war in the first place. Fuck it! I’m selling my HD DVD player.
The Wii Was a Massive Waste of Money
Xbox 360 was the first console I bought within a year of being released since NES. I picked up my Xbox 360 in early March of 2006, just 4 months after its release. Since then, there’s barely been a day gone by that I haven’t played it or at least turned it on to use it for other purposes (movies or music). The Wii on the other hand, has been a complete waste of money at this point. The only time it sees any action is if someone comes over who hasn’t played one before. Even my 8 year-old daughter has grown tired of it.
There’s still nothing good to play! There are hardly any exclusives and the games that are available on other platforms are best played on them. Out of the last 10 games to be reviewed at GameSpot (excluding VC games, it would have been a lot lower had I counted those), the highest received a 7.5. Many of which are cited as having bad control schemes – and what does the Wii have if not a unique control scheme? Terrible graphics, extremely limited support for widescreen resolutions and no multiplayer. Whoo! From the last 2 Wii games reviewed – “…the gamepad-to-Wii Remote transition has made this lackluster game play even worse.” “…but the Wii control scheme isn’t ideal.” Just when I thought we were out of the drought and Mario Party 8 hit, it proved to be just more of the same. Hannah (daughter) has been a big fan of the Mario Party series since number 5 – I rented Mario Party 8 for her and she played it for a total of 1 hour out of the 5 days we had it. Well, I guess there’s still hope for Super Smash Bros Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3. Those games better be good.
Giving Up on Myself as a Freelancer
At the beginning of March I wrote about my departure from the freelance world as I joined the team at the newly formed Graphics.net. Full time status only lasted about a month as I wasn’t thrilled on the work I was doing which was mostly due to the company being so fresh and things being put into place as the days went by. I decided to go back to freelance part time and continue to work with Gnet in the afternoon. Knowing full well that I would be struggling with the workload of only having 4 hours a day to dedicate to freelance, I asked for some help. The response was tremendous and I received more help than I could even make use of. The problem there, was managing subcontractors and coordinating workflow took far longer than I had anticipated. I found myself doing more managing than “working” which resulted in a pretty significant back-up, which was exactly what I was trying to avoid.
A couple months in, I was feeling so worn out. Buried under a pile of work and emails that never seemed to stop coming. Just when I was discussing my next move with my wife, the bossman at Gnet made me another full time offer. This time, going into great detail on the work I’ll be doing and role(s) I’ll be fulfilling with them. And of course, the proposed wage is a significant increase over what I’m making freelancing, so I decided to give it another go.
I’m definitely going to miss the nature of the work I’ve been doing as a freelancer, along with some of the people I’ve worked closely with over the past year or so. I’ve actually still got a few freelance projects that are yet to roll out that I’m really excited about – I feel a couple of them are my best work to date, so be sure to watch out for those. But that’s not to say the work I’m doing at Gnet sucks. For the most part, the work is a little different as we’re catering to business as apposed to the individuals that I normally work for.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that I totally sucked at handling everything that is required of a freelancer. Had I allotted more time for managing leads, networking with other freelancers, handling money and all that business type stuff, I would have been able to carry on doing my own thing as a one-man-show. But that’s not the case, so here I am, moving on…