A rare instance of making a difference as a game journalist

The problem with writing about videogames is that it’s all transient. As soon as someone reads your review or feature, they internalize it and move on to something else. You only hope that what you wrote helped them out in some way; you dream of making an impact.

Years ago I wrote a story for OXM where I tried to create my own XNA game. I failed — spectacularly! — but I thought the article chronicling that failure was worth writing.

I was simultaneously super proud and totally humbled to find that I was right.

Dean’s long-anticipated game Dust: An Elysian Tail comes out this week on XBLA. I’m gonna buy it.

Advice for guitarists

  • Learn to play a song. Doesn’t have to be tricky, doesn’t have to be long — but everybody can play riffs and call themselves a guitarist. Playing songs is what makes you a musician.  
  • Learn to play a song your parents know and would like to hear. They will be proud of you. 
  • Learn to tune without an electronic tuner. Armed with one reference note and harmonics, most strummers will never need anything else ever again. 
  • How you get that one reference note: Buy multiple A440 tuning forks. They are cheap. Keep one in your guitar case, one on your desk/home music area, and if you carry a bag with you every day, keep one there too. 
  • Skill and talent mean more than your gear — but don’t buy crap. If it’s cheap, there’s almost always a reason, and that reason often becomes an excuse for not playing. If you do not enjoy interacting with your instrument — it’s not comfortable, it doesn’t stay in tune, it doesn’t reflect who you are — you will not play it. Save more, spend more, buy quality, and get what you really want. Your playing will benefit. 
  • Don’t end your practice on a bad experience. If you are trying to learn something and you are sucking, end your session with something you are good at playing. Don’t walk away angry or frustrated or you won’t want to come back. 

My Kickstarter Win/Loss Record

Kickstarter! Kickstarter! Kickstarter! And yet I often hear people darkly warning anyone who will listen that KS is a fad, or a ripoff, and a lot of projects never get backed, and they all ship late, and there’s nothing to say the people won’t just take your money and run, and all that. Hmm. I have been backing projects on Kickstarter since before it was cool (that is, in December of last year, before Double Fine) and my experience has not been doom or gloom. In fact, I can now report back on several projects that I have funded…

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