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…

25 Comments

Good luck with the move back to full time work Matt, I’m still thoroughly looking forward to seeing your new blog redesign when the time comes. Best of luck with everything!

Yes, another person who can see the light. I bought both a Wii and a PS3, both of which I sold a short while after.

My 360 on the other hand is used daily, I just can’t get enough of it. We have to play online sometime because I’m sick of seeing your Pacman C.E and Geo Wars score ahead of mine. I need to beat you at something 🙂

Good luck to you, Matt.

Don’t be so hard on yourself dude, look at it like this; Now you have semi-set hours, you can get to sleep at a decent time and you can spend more time with the wifling and Hannah.

I kinda hate Wii, I bought it as soon as it appeared in any of the stores here in Kalmar, Sweden. But I’m really disappointed with the console, the wii motes doesn’t work, bad graphics.

I really wish that they would make some games that works 120%.

My 360 is the love of my life when it comes to consoles. Simply amazing.

Wii was fun the first month, now it’s dusty as you said.

@Glenn: Thanks dude! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to regain my evenings and weekends soon and put some time into my personal projects. My blog redesign is near the top of that list.

@Glen: I didn’t say there weren’t any exclusives. There certainly are some, but did you actually look at the games on that list? Bust-A-Move Bash!, Cooking Mama: Cook Off, Excite Truck, Red Steel, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Super Swing Golf, Tamagotchi Party On!, Wing Island. Need I say more?

@Chris: Oh yeah dude, the Xbox 360 is by far the best platform for gaming at this time, hands down.

@Kiley: That’s what I’m hoping. 🙂

@Alexander: It’s a shame, isn’t it?

I was completely surprised to hear about Blockbuster’s decision to go with Blu-Ray. I thought for sure HD-DVD was in the lead for the war. Like you at first, I plan on waiting it out until there’s a clear winner before plunking down money into either format.

I’ve got to say I totally love my 360, and I was never really a gamer until I picked one up. I’m seriously two seconds of adding "Play XBox" to my todo list so I can somehow fit it into my schedule as I’ve ignored it for almost two weeks now. Terrible.

I’m glad you’ve made a decision about what to do regarding work, but you can’t say you suck at what you do, man. Freelancing has to be one of the most difficult ways to go about doing work in Web design. Everything is on your shoulders and people (most of the time) don’t think your services are as valuable as others for one reason or another. Enjoy your work, learn from what you’ve done, and apply it to what you’re going to do. You’ll be good to go.

I hate to throw in the towel on my Wii, but the truth is that I’d rather pick up inexpensive Gamecube games than play most of the Wii titles.

Some have really shined. I know you thought Wario Ware was too Japanese, which I _completely_ understand, but it was just right for me. Unfortunately, on the single player tip, it was short and only relatively good.

Super Paper Mario was exciting, but I actually put it down and haven’t picked it back up. What I really want to see is a New Super Mario Bros for the Wii, but what would be the purpose?

The problem is that we’re even starting to see Wii exclusives that are effectively plain jane games with Wii controls slapped on, and developers don’t see the point in putting in time on graphics when people expect them to suck.

Honestly, I think complexity is killing the Wii more than anything else. What made Wii Sports and Wario Ware great party games was the simplicity.

The only exclusive title that’s been any fun at all is Trauma Center… which I loved completely for both the DS and the Wii… but the Wii additions were pretty slim.

I do think a lot of Nintendo’s titles… Excite Truck especially… would get much more credit if they had some form of online play. The DS has it out of the box, the Wii can surf friggin Youtube, but I can’t play against my friends? It’s ridiculous.

The 360 is clearly the winner this generation. Live alone makes it vastly superior to anything else on the market, and the game selection is amazing. It’s come to the point that when I get a 360 game in the mail from Gamefly, I get excited even if it’s a shitty launch title I never played, but if it’s a brand new Wii game, it rots for a week before I pop it in an decide it sucks.

It is nice to have a steady paycheck. I work from my home in Phoenix, AZ, for my employer in Southern California. It works out nicely, although I do have to force myself to take breaks. Sometimes you just get on a roll, and don’t want to stop.

As for Blu-Ray, I’ve been reading there are problems on some of the discs. Seems that there is "potential problem with the coating of Blu-ray discs, described by many as "disc rot" due to the mould-like spots that have made several owner’s Blu-ray discs unplayable." (from engadget.com)

I just recently got a hd lcd tv, and it looks like I will be waiting till all this gets sorted out before purchasing any HD or Blu-ray player.

I agree as well… Wii was awesome when it first came out, since it was something relatively new and something not done before on a console. But like Chris, I sold mine about 2 months after I bought it.

Only thing really holding me back from selling it was it was fun to have around when people came over, who had never played before and kicking their ass in tennis.

I wouldn’t give up hope just yet on HD DVD. Blockbuster is stocking 25% of their stores with Blu-ray while leaving the 250 stores with HD DVD put. Keep in mind that their online service will still offer HD DVD’s as well. Furthermore the Blockbuster announcement said that they have not ruled out HD DVD’s and will address the need if the demand rises.

Not to mention you’ve got a nice dvd player that upscales beautifully and will still play regular dvd’s for years to come.

Heheh I didn’t think I’d be missing out much on Wii. I don’t even have friends with it! Everyone I know has PS2 only and I’ll stick with it. 😀

As for webdesigning, I was thinking of giving it up myself but my best friend conned me into offering myself to some bands. Its looking promising but I wish to hell I could figure out wordpress! It’s stressing me out.. I think I’ll just stick with my XHTML and CSS. Screw learning anything totally new right now. I’ll just continue to improve on what I’m already good at!

Play good games for the wii… look further then blood and gore and cool graphics, change your philosophy of what you think gaming shoudl be, and enjoy the artform of it instead.

I can’t bring myself to sell my Wii. At the same time, I can’t bring myself to play it. For me, there’s nothing better then laying back on the sofa, playing some 360. You can’t do that with the Wii. You have to situp, move around, etc. It’s just not the same. If you could turn those controls off and attach a normal controller, i’d be right back into it.

I think that people need to be patient with the Wii much like with the DS developers aren’t going to master the free motion controls development instantly. Games for the Wii are getting progressively better because developers are getting better at developing for the platform.

Have you tried: SSX Blur, Elebits, Sonic, Scarface, Godfather, Madden or Super Paper Mario?

Games like these and RE4(which nailed the controls) prove that things are looking brighter.

I also don’t understand why people are so angry about the Wii not being ‘tech’. It isn’t trying to be so don’t get disappointed when it isn’t tech.

Obviously the Xbox 360 is going to have a great line up of games as it has been out longer than the PS3/Wii. But I don’t understand why people unfairly crown the Xbox360 the champ. When the other 2 still haven’t released all of their AAA titles yet.

I got a Wii on launch day and I am…somewhat disappointed. I did enjoy Zelda and Super Paper Mario. RE4:Wii Edition looks good, too. I am waiting for SSB:Brawl and MP3 as well. I just hope it wasn’t a waste…

I like the freedom of doing freelance but having a full time gig and a steady paycheck has been MOST welcome as of late.

I hear ya on the 360/Wii. I use the 360 far more often then the Wii, but there are goin to be some great games on the horizon for the Wii. Just look at the DS when it was released, people bought em up but the software didn’t catch up right away, but now it’s a run-away success!

I almost fell for the Wii but then imagined that most of the time I will be playing on my own and decided, naturally, that I want better graphics – guilty as charged!

Looking forward to the new blog design.

My only gripe with my Xbox 360 is the fact that it could break any day. And after dropping $427.xx on this thing, that really pisses me off.

[…] think Matt Brett summed the situation up perfectly in his recent mini rant on the subject: “…and what does the Wii have if not a unique control scheme? Terrible […]

Good luck at your new job… The news about HD-DVD is sad because even though I have not upgraded to either one yet, HD-DVD was looking like the smart solution since the costs are much less than Blu-ray.. I guess I will go out and see if any of my local Blockbusters have HD

If you haven’t played Resident Evil 4 for the GC (and I hadn’t), get it for the Wii.

It was made like 2 years ago for the GC, but it’s awesome on Wii, with the aiming and everything getting revamped.

The best part is… it’s only $29.99, because they released it for the GC already. And it’s more fun than any of the actual Wii games.

My advice with the Wii – Don’t sell the sucker. Could still turn out well.

Think of the DS. It had 3 must haves… In a year. Come on. But eventually, DS took over PSP and the people that sold during the first year got WTFpwned. Hold onto your Wii (lol). I lived off advance wars for 6 months,

Why does the 360 have more games? It has been out for about 3x as long. At launch all it had was Perfect dark and kameo. And i didn’t like Perfect dark.

That doesn’t mean surely the Wii will come back to WTFpwn, but come on. More then half the time selling consoles/games is a BAD IDEA. There has been 2 consoles you should have sold that were mainstream. Vertual boy and Sega Saturn. Gamecube is a matter of opinion.

On the PS3 – the console is lagging behind, but even if it doesn’t take off, there are plenty of reasons to hold onto it.

Personally I’m glad Blu-Ray is winning out. It’s much better technologically. 50GB and a 50mb/s data stream makes it definitely the choice of audio/video-philes. Higher quality video and sound than HD-DVD make it much more attractive.

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