Monday, April 6, 2015

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

Here we are: the day after my promised update on the blog's status. Granted, the crippling cold I had last week returned with an unholy vengeance this fine Easter, but regardless, it led to another delay. I even missed Biweekly Music Wednesday! last week (okay, so I was busy screaming over Lucas's return to Smash Bros., but still!)

Familiar story, ain't it? Empty promises and frustrating delays have been the name of the blog since maybe four years ago, and it took until I missed every single written assignment due at university last week--right on the eve of my graduation, no less-- to realize I have a work ethic problem, and I have to put my foot down on it.

For over a year now, I've been planning some major overhauls to the blog following my Kirby column, which at this point has run two years. This isn't to imply an ugly redesign or anything like that, but after all these years of experimenting and tooling around with my writing, I'd finally found the direction I'd desired for the blog to go into, and the time's been ripe again and again to finally embark on that path.

Only one problem: I still haven't finished this column, which has taken way longer than it should have.

There are so many factors I could blame on this -- my entirely too large expectations for word length, my Asperger's, school work, whatever. But it ultimately boils down to one factor: I'm lazy, and I have to stop thinking about what I want to do and instead put it in action.

So, for starters, I suppose it's time to finally share what I have in mind. I've divided my plans into the three following segments.

1) From now on, games will no longer be reviewed within columns

For years following Leave Luck to Heaven's inception, I believed my uniqueness in writing would shine best in various column-based articles. This began with four intensive multi-post analyses regarding Super Mario Bros., Kirby's Adventure, Mario Kart DS, and Pikmin. While this system had its own strengths, I found it ultimately distracted me from not just current industry going-ons (more on this later), but real life in general, and it got to the point where I was wondering why exactly I was dedicating so many posts just for one game. Two of them ended up being unfinished, and while there were merits found in the ones that weren't (Kirby's Adventure and Mario Kart DS), many portions of them are rather...difficult to read, to put it kindly.

Granted, I guess many old writings are, but when you're interspersing melancholic self-reflections in articles based on a Mario Kart, it's hard not to cringe.

Since then, Leave Luck to Heaven meandered from irregular postings to promises of articles that never came to be until Ten Years of Kirby dropped by. This is a far more relevant/interesting undertaking, if you ask me, but it also came with its own problems. For starters, it actually began as a review for Kirby's Dream Collection before transforming into the column that takes roughly two/three months to pop out a new entry. By that point, it's no longer quite relevant no matter how much passion I put into every post, and that's been bothering me since I've wanted to move on.

Then I realized something: aside from my innate laziness, what's there to stop me from simply posting about other games alongside the column? It certainly hasn't stopped Biweekly Music Wednesday! posts, and it's been...what, four years since I reviewed the latest game from Nintendo on here? Time for some change.

From now on, game reviews will no longer be subject to columns. Unbeknownst to you all, I've begun replaying certain classic Nintendo series/titles as of last fall, and now that I'm finally equipped with a Elgato Game Capture device, I can now supply game reviews and articles with screenshots of my very own! Bear in mind while this only applies to home console games (apparently handheld capture devices cost a pretty penny...), I've decided now is the time to individually review games without restricting them to columns. Within the coming months, you can expect reviews of Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Paper Mario, Metroid Prime, and Star Fox 64.

Bear in mind this does not mean Ten Years of Kirby has been put down! After just about reaching the halfway point with Amazing Mirror, I intend to see that column to the end. What this means is that for the next half-year or so, I'll be providing 3-4 reviews a month, with at least two Kirby games per month so we can plow through the column. Eventually, I want the ideal model to be four reviews per month, but don't be surprised if we start off with just two or three.

In regards to new games, you can expect reviews over at whatever site I'm working with (such as Nintendojo) within the month, but their respective reviews at Leave Luck to Heaven might take a little longer. I'm planning it so after achieving 100% completion on relevant games and then initiating deep reflection will I deem it time to provide my complete, full thoughts on those games. For example, DLC factors into this, so you shouldn't expect reviews for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS or Mario Kart 8 until their DLC period is done and over with, so that could take some time. So, as some readers may have gleamed already, you can think of my journalist reviews as appetizers until I provide the full course here.

While columns are done and over with, this doesn't mean I won't have fun with "themes" or the like. For example, maybe one day I'll like to have a Pokémon spin-off month, or a Smash Bros. one in prepration for whenever the next title will come. Who knows, so keep an open mind! I want to expand on Leave Luck to Heaven more and more, so feel free to drop any suggestions.

Oh, and one more thing: I CANNOT GUARANTEE THIS WILL START RIGHT NOW! At the moment, I'm putting my full resources into wrapping up my last four weeks at college, so that's my number one priority. So at the very least, this will begin no later than mid-May.

2) Leave Luck to Heaven will begin opening up new pages and archives for articles

While the blog has always been accompanied by a handy yearly/monthly archive, I think it's high time we had more of a convenient method for tracking down old articles and the like.

Beginning early this summer, I'll be gradually adding new pages to the blog to provide full access for all the blog's articles. This will be divided into reviews as per console/series/alphabetical order, my old columns, all Biweekly Music Wednesday! posts, and all my articles within the wonderful world of gaming journalism.

Bear in mind I know little about the page-building process on Blogger, hence why this will be a gradual process. Regardless, I plan to update them regularly throughout the blog's lifetime, so look forward to it!

3) Constant reactions from Yours Truly on Nintendo news

One thing I've always regretted about the blog is that I've never felt it was in touch with whatever was going on with Nintendo. From releases of new games to major announcements, these were often sidelined in favor of whatever column I was currently working on. As mentioned previously, while they served their purposes before, they ended up distracting me from relevant going-ons in the industry. I still distinctly recall briefly discussing the brand new Kirby's Epic Yarn right before diving back into my Kirby's Adventure feature, for example. Only the annual E3 articles have maintained relevancy, but it's not enough.

As someone who aims to embed himself further into the industry, this is a problem. What's also a problem is that I've been unable to provide constant updates. How can I provide relevant updates while maintaining constant contact with my readers?

I've come up with a solution: at least one to two times a week, I'll provide some commentary on the latest Nintendo news, be it a meaty Nintendo Direct, a shareholder conference, a game announcement, whatever. While obviously I won't fatten the blog with fluff (OMG A ESHOP SALE!!!), at least this will ensure relevancy all the whilereassuring you all that I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth.

Bear in mind this is a very recent decision, so for the moment the size of my commentaries will be relative to however big the news is, and they won't be anymore than 500-700 words. I also urge readers to constantly read up on Nintendojo's weekend round tables, where I'm certain to comment on the latest going-ons regarding the Big N (reminder: I'm under the name Anthony Pelone) .

And that's it. Once again, this may not be effective immediately, so please be patient. To everyone I've kept waiting, to those who've given up, please know I'm truly sorry for any frustration you've endured. But now that I've acknowledged my weaknesses, I believe my content and work drive will be even stronger moving forward.

With my recent rejection from Arcadia University's MFA program and my future academic career under question (as well as the uncertain status regarding Daily Gamer...I'll let you all know what's going on with that within the week), I'm thinking I'll be spending the summer working on both the blog and constantly striving to improve my writing craft. At the very least, I'll see you this Wednesday for another music write-up.

 See you soon!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Retro Scope: Pikmin 2 (Nintendojo)

Read Here

We had a GameCube-themed week over at Nintendojo, so I volunteered to write about my favorite game for the console. I'm planning on replaying the entire trilogy later this summer, so I'll be able to settle once and for all which is the best.

For readers waiting for the next article on this blog, please look forward to a post tomorrow that will elaborate on my plans for Leave Luck to Heaven this year.