Dan’s tips for social media success

People have asked me if I plan to write a book about being a community manager and using social media to follow up Critical Path. Nope. Critical Path came from leveraging 15 years of experience, after which I thought I’d learned something valuable worth sharing. I’m still a newbie at community stuff.

But I can tell you the one thing that I know works wonders, but many people and brands get wrong. And I can sum it up in three words. Continue reading

Every one of your stupid complaints about the Ghostbusters reboot, shot down in flames

So, new Ghostbusters project is finally getting off the ground. It’s a reboot with a female cast, from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.

Naturally, the internet lost its shit.

I saw a lot of moaning, criticisms, and prejudgments, and conveniently, most are summed up pretty neatly in this GeekTyrant article by Joey Paur. I generally like GeekTyrant’s coverage, but this particular post is as selfish and misguided as it gets. Let me break it down:  Continue reading

My PAX Prime 2014 schedule

Yes, I’ll be there! So will Kat!

FRIDAY 8/29 | 8:00PM – 9:00PM | HEDGEHOG
Game Show Night: Jeopardy!
This…is…Jeopardy! Well, no it’s not – since all the answers and questions are going to be about gaming and geek culture, it’s more like Mild Peril. The contestants will be you, the PAX attendees, so bring your thinking caps to this panel—you might be on the show! Just don’t wear anything that will clash with host Dan Amrich’s incredibly blinding red jacket. Part of Game Show Night at PAX Prime 2014!

Note: This is the middle block of Game Show Night, between Pyramid and Blankety Blank. The show really starts at 7 — but show up early if you want to be considered as a contestant for any of the games!

All three games will be livestreamed on Twitch here, starting at 7pm on Friday night! 

SATURDAY 8/30 | 2:30PM – 3:30PM | SPHINX
Help Design Game Journalism Story!
You’ve been invited to help design a games journalism simulator, a majestic open-world universe featuring Doritos-stained keyboards and fantastic bribes for reviewing games. This satirical panel, featuring game press veterans, invites the audience to participate in the faux-design meeting, allowing for honest and humorous discussion about some of game journalism’s most persistent myths.

SATURDAY 8/30 | 5:30PM – ??? | TABLETOP FREEPLAY
Our annual PAX tradition continues — The Great Dalmuti! All are welcome, as it’s a card game you can learn on the spot. Or watch this. But we’ll do that for a while Saturday night.

SUNDAY 8/31 | 8:00PM – 9:00PM | WYVERN
Three Old Guys Play Falling-Block Games
Join us for the 30-year history of falling-block puzzle games, from the genre granddaddy Tetris through clones and milestones like Columns, Super Puzzle Fighter, and even a few you’ve probably never heard of before. As usual, our panelists will demonstrate how not to play.

Jethro Tull, Metallica, and the 1989 Grammys: The Last Word

Someone recently brought up Jethro Tull’s win over Metalllica at the 31st Annual Grammy Awards as a way to discredit Grammys. I think there are many more valid reasons to discredit the Grammy Awards. But the reality of the Jethro Tull Grammy win is not quite as cut and dried as “Metallica lost to them so that’s dumb.” And yes, I say this as a biased fan of the band, but I was a budding music journalist in 1989, so I was watching this very closely. Since it has become a musical history punchline, I feel the need to set the record straight. Whether you like Metallica, Jethro Tull, both, or neither, stay awhile and listen…
Continue reading

The Mystery of the Nearly-Broadband House

Whenever Kat and I talk about the house we will one day own — that is, the house we hope to buy once we get off the rental treadmill — we have agreed that one necessity is that the entire place be wired for broadband. I want Ethernet jacks in every room so we can stop relying on flaky WiFi for all our various computers, video streamers, game consoles, and whatever else comes up later.

We found a great place in Hayward for the move back to the Bay Area, and I immediately noticed that the walls contained both coax barrels and RJ-45 jacks marked DATA in most rooms. There’s even one in the kitchen.

Could I be that lucky — is this house wired for broadband? Well, if I am and it is, I haven’t figured out how to make it work. And this is where I need your help.  Continue reading

Farewell Activision & LA, hello Ubisoft & SF

I’ve got a new gig! In early April, I will start at Ubisoft as Community Developer for Studio SF, the team behind Rocksmith & Rocksmith 2014.

This is awesome for several reasons. First of all, anybody who knows me knows I define myself with the words “guitars” and “gaming.” I think Rocksmith 2014 is brilliant, it’s a perfect personal fit, and I’m thrilled I get to work with the dev team. Since Los Angeles and I never got along, I can’t wait to get back to the Bay Area; I’ve missed my friends, real sourdough bread, and weather. My friends who work at Ubisoft speak highly of it, and I’m a sucker for a good pun in Latin.

I leave Activision very proud of what I was able to start with One of Swords and I’m extremely grateful for the unusual amount of trust Activision placed in me for the last four years. I’m thrilled that 1oS will continue, particularly [REDACTED DUE TO NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT]. But if you’ll allow a quick look back, here’s two One of Swords features of which I am particularly proud:

Interview: Pitfall! creator David Crane
David Crane is a key reason I am a gamer today. The chance to talk to him on Pitfall!’s 30th anniversary was a personal thrill — he was one of my boyhood heroes.

The Secret Skylanders You’ve Never Seen
This look at handmade prototypes was one of the times I really felt like I got to share inside access. It’s a story that would not have happened through another outlet.

After 215 episodes, the One of Swords Podcast has come to an end, but Kat and I plan to launch a new podcast soon. Follow @DanAndKatTalk on Twitter and we’ll post details when we have something to share. UPDATE: We’re live.

That’s it. Thanks for all the support. I’m coming home.

The Universal Truth of Ellen Page

Twenty-five years ago it was “Be excellent to each other.” Forty-five years ago it was “All you need is love.” Guess it was time for another reminder. Tucked within Ellen Page’s speech was a universal truth:

“You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just five minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives.”

That transcends any discussion of who or how you love. And this is really the core of my entire life philosophy, which I always just summed up as “mutual respect” but I’ve since realized needs to be more active. It’s nice enough to be neutral, but when you can spread positivity, you have more of a chance of making a difference.

My trip to Norman’s Rare Guitars

I’ve wanted to go to Norman’s Rare Guitars for a long time — mostly because Nigel Tufnel wears their shirt in This Is Spinal Tap.

“We’ve got armadillos in our trousers.”

Norman’s is also where they got/rented/borrowed all the guitars for Nigel’s guitar room scenes — including the infamous Fender Bass VI that “can’t be played…never.” After talking about going there “someday” for a long time, Kat finally kidnapped me and took me there as a surprise. I didn’t expect to buy anything but the shirt, but in the words of Marty DiBergi, “I got more — a lot more.”  Continue reading

So You Want to Buy an Electric Guitar…

I’ve been approached by several friends this year who want to buy a guitar, and I know the arrival of Rocksmith 2014 has something to do with it. I am happy and proud to be The Guitar Whisperer for them, but I realized that my advice has slowly grown over a series of emails to the point where I felt it was worth posting publicly. My goal is to tell you what you need to know to make a buying decision that’s right for you without slipping into too much jargon or cork-sniffery. So with that in mind…  Continue reading