Next Stop, Anywhere

𝅘𝅥𝅯 Updaaaates… 𝅘𝅥𝅯

1. I start my new job sometime next week, so I had this weekend off to do whatever I like 😀

2. I’ve written one final article for VGFAQ, and I plan to finish one final one for Daily Esports as well. I’m pretty proud of that VGFAQ one, even though it’s clearly content-mill drivel, though it made almost no splash whatsoever among my social media or any friends I linked it too because, well, it’s content-mill drivel.

3. I finally finished “Intuition Payment,” the last story in the Electra City canon I’d left unfinished and been hella procrastinating on completing. It first appears in the Hemlock Gang document on September 12, 2015, meaning it wins the record for my story that took the longest to complete. Thank god it’s over with.

4. I got to play Magic the Gathering for the first time the other day! My old college roommate Luke actually gifted me a red/white deck back in 2009, and my new circle of friends play every week so I got to test it out. The red half is all about cheap low-damage goblins and the white deck is all about health regeneration, so it was extremely noob-friendly and I had fun even though I lost every game with aplomb. I don’t think I’m gonna get addicted to Magic, but its fun to do while hanging with friends on a weekly basis. Though I kinda want to swap my red deck out for something that hits harder, like green.

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I bought a foil card for 50 cents, and couldn’t resist the poor sacrificial cow. She turns into a meat pie when she dies! Your sacrifice is appreciated, Hilda. 

I GOT THE JOB

Brendon.com called me with some followup questions, they liked the answers, and I’m gonna start work soon as an assistant video editor!!! This is seriously crazy news, I can’t believe how I landed a job doing what I love. I still haven’t quite recovered. For years now video editing has been a passion but I have no actual certifications beyond my portfolio of throwing myself into the deep end and doing it for years and years of projects (especially YouTube channels), so it’s crazy to think I’m gonna be video editing in an office environment. I am so done with the freelance life, I can’t wait to show up, work with other video editors from 9 to 5, and then come home and be free to work on my creative projects without feeling like I should be doing gigs to make rent.

I’m honestly really excited to transition away from game journalism too. It was getting kinda soul-sucking spending so much time reporting on virtual worlds and AAA studios that were never gonna give me the time of day, it felt like everything I released was a brief flash in the pan before being drowned in the ever-spawning deluge of new releases. I didn’t feel like my content was making a difference, so I’m really pleased Brendon.com has a focus on personal development. Mental health is the sort of thing that would give my work a bit more meaning, feel like I’m making a positive difference in the viewers’ lives.

So that’s far and away the biggest news I have, and I still haven’t quite come down from cloud nine. I bought that Regigigas event for Pokemon GO and wandered Portland all day yesterday in a happy funk, and now I just need to wait for them to contact me re: wages and contracts and the sort before I can begin work.

This is going to lead to some pretty big changes for this blog and pretty much everything I do online. I don’t really want to do the freelance life anymore, so I’m going to be pruning a lot of the things I do online and focusing on other things. By no means do I plan to go fully radio silent, but my plate is far too loaded right now. I’m planning to drop VGFAQ and Daily Esports after finishing my currently-assigned articles, and I’ve let the role-players on the Gang of Five know that I’m retiring from RPing. (More about that in the last blog post.) The SPUF of Legend will remain publishing semi-frequent videos, my itch.io page may publish new games every blue moon, and I may even write Daily SPUF articles now and again.

The times they are a-changin’, and I can’t be more excited!

On my retirement from the Gang of Five

Nobody on the Gang of Five reads this blog, so I think I’m safe to note why I’m leaving the site. I don’t really see a need for them to know, since I’m pretty sparse over there anyway outside the RPing section, which has a mere 3 other active users these days.

But yeah, with my new job starting up, I’m retiring from role-playing on that site and will focus exclusively on solo creative projects starring my characters. TBH, the RP scene on that site has been very disappointing for years, and I was starting to get mad that the few players left were basically ignoring what I wrote for my characters. In Insane Cafe, I had Hailey drop a uniform and her security card in a pile outside Dr. Zanasiu’s unlocked cell, only for him to ignore both and “find an ID card a security guard forgot” down the hallway to do his machinations. He also completely ignored Lúcia Shelton introducing herself to him, despite her having the last name of his longtime teammate who died mysteriously years ago. Then his author wrote that a fleet of nauseated security guards abandoned their posts, and when I asked the GM why, he said the other writers all thought Hailey had poisoned the water supply. When I said I never had her do that (she couldn’t, she didn’t have her keycard?), he replied “Well, it sounds like something she could have done.” I fully admit I got more needled about that than I should have.

Honestly, none of these were the dealbreaker I’m making them sound like, I was just tired of collaborative writing by this point anyway. I’ve been feeling way more fueled by my five novels starring my owned characters, to the point I’m pretty annoyed by the fingerprints the other authors have left on the works (like Chief Broadstreet in Officer Echo.) I’d really like to go self-publish them, or send them as manuscripts to agents, but I’m worried of the legal ramifications regarding some plots/characters having starting out as shared content. Luckily, I see tons of reasons I could have improved them and don’t really want to publish them anyway. I’d rather go write new ones that are better, but in the future I want to 100% own the storylines I tell.

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I guess my last-ever sentence will be a parody of this terrible line someone else wrote about pizza.

I hate to admit I was also frustrated by how the other RP writers never seemed to care about the supplementary content I wrote. In total I’ve released 40 short stories, 2 novels, 3 novellas and 5 flash fictions, and I announced every one of them in our shared Skype channel. They’d all ignore me except for one who I needed to badger via private PMs before he’d read anything. After releasing Gamer 2, a tie-in video game I’d worked for over 4 years on, I got the exact same indifference as I did with everything I’d ever released for our universe. I just think it’s time for me to find a new creative circle, maybe one with a bit more reciprocity.

My last piece for the Into the Black RP universe is this finale for Blanking the Slateas the RP petered off and I hate for it to end with so little left in the storyline. (The GM never got back to me with one-sentence epilogues for his two characters, despite saying he would, hence the two blanks at the end). I’m not retiring Emilena or Flora, but I’ll be creating an entirely new canon that borrows nothing from the RPs, to save myself from any legal headaches down the line.

Happy Halloween!

(Technically its the 30th for me, but WordPress publishes everything on some weird timescale where it’s usually listed for the day after)

Three big things happening soon! These all cropped up within the same 24 hour period, so that was an experience.

1. PCI Gaming, the L4D2 speedrunning community who I voiced a tutorial for (and also appeared in a speedrun) has asked me to v/o another project. I’ve already sent them the lines, and I like supporting their community since they’re keeping L4D2 alive in their own little way.

2. Ken Blanchard Co. had a brief freelance gig for me, I had to add text to a video and make it look “fun”. I decided pastels and wiggly text would best get that across, and they didn’t complain so hoo-rah? (And trust me, the shaky-cam vertical smartphone footage is all them, I just did the editing)

3. Most importantly, I’ve got a job interview tomorrow! I get to meet with the head video editor for Brendon.com and see if I fit a couple different video-editing positions they have available. It would literally be a dream come true if I could land the position, I love video editing and I’ve always wanted to do it in a “go to work everyday” office setting. Tomorrow I gotta wake up early, print my resume at the library, and get a haircut before heading over by 11am. (It’ll also be the first time I get to do a job interview in costume. I’m going as a Star Trek redshirt!)

And after that, I get to attend a wedding at 3:30pm between two of the friends I’ve made in Portland. It’s certainly gonna be a humdinger of a Halloween, I’ll tell you that. But I can’t wait!

We got a second follower but it is a LIE

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oh god make it stop

gamecool10 is no longer the only follower of this blog…except he is. Because Appeals is clearly a bot account trying to lure me into following back or acknowledging in some way. But I’m too wise for you, Appeals! I even let autocorrect change your username so your robo-detectors don’t perk up at this blog post and pay me any more attention.

(I wonder what gamecool10 is up to these days. I highly doubt he still reads this, and he flagged his blog private a long time ago so nobody could access it. Maybe he knows something I don’t.)

In other news, I’ve finally arrived in Portland and am currently in the process of setting up my room and gathering groceries. It’s cold and rainy, but not as cold as Ohio so I think I’m going to be okay. I’ve informed all relevant persons about my lack of a high-powered gaming desktop, which most notably means I can’t make VGFAQ videos for the time being. My #1 priority needs to be finding a job anyway.

Not much else to say. I love the room, it has its own bathroom which is a luxury I haven’t enjoyed since Ohio, almost five years ago. And the snow gives me an excuse for staying holed up and exercising on my exercycle instead of jogging or swimming at the local beach.

The Medical Necessity lore nobody asked for

Remember Medical Necessity? It was the game development project where I had my first ill-fated experience as a project manager. In the end, we got cancelled due to lack of progress during the first quarter of production, and the only surviving product is the purchasable sprite sheet on itch.io.

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The design document and production wiki note that the default names for the player’s allied soldiers are Homer, Berenson, Collins, and Cunningham. And while digging through a lifetime of old boxes preparing for my move to Portland, I found the original action figures those names came from. Their plastic has gone gummy and they’re now too fragile to do anything but collect dust, but at least I can photograph and chronicle the 4 most important toys I owned growing up.

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“Corps Man adventures” were one of my favorite pastimes growing up with my younger brother Jake. We had huge boxes of GI Joes, LEGOs, Star Wars figurines, and other assorted toys, and we went on countless adventures where we’d each control one or more characters in sprawling odysseys that often took us around the house, backyard, and even our friends’ houses if they were participating. Arctic expeditions, police/detective procedurals, time-traveling, natural disasters, jailbreaks and manhunts… we role-played a huge amount of scenarios throughout the years, very rarely reusing characters or locales in favor of constantly inventing new backstories and storylines.

The squads on this page are among the very few action figures who always represented the same recurring characters. Jake and I each controlled our own 4-man team of special forces soldiers, and over the years they went on dozens of different missions for the “Power Team”, an international peacekeeping force. We made them ID Cards and everything.

The Rangers

My squad was the Rangers, and tbh they’re way more boring than the crazy stuff Jake came up with for his backstories. Just jump straight to the Mini-Force if you wanna see what a precocious 7-year-old can come up with.

Cunningham

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Cunningham (the American) was the leader of my squad, with pretty typical leaderly qualities like being good at any team role and keeping a clear head under pressure. His main gimmick was believing that tools are unnecessary with sufficient skills, which was why he had no backpack and no attachments on his rifle.

Homer

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Homer (the Australian) was the team’s muscle and combat specialist. He was always needlessly positive and optimistic, and had a tendency to get injured and need the other characters to drag him around until they found medical attention or a lull in combat to patch him up. He also wore the team’s parachute, which in our young minds made him literally immune to falling damage at any time.

Berenson

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Berenson (the Brit) was the team’s engineer and tech specialist. He wore a radio backpack so he could communicate with HQ, and was usually the one hotwiring vehicles or “hacking” something while everyone else defended him. He was the team complainer and usually sarcastically whining about having to do anything.

Collins

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Collins (the Norwegian) was the team’s pilot and sniper. He’d always be the one driving/flying whatever the squads were using to get around, and during combat he’d often hang in the back and snipe with his scoped rifle. He was a scaredy-cat and always nervous about what the teams were getting themselves into.

The Mini-Force

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Jake’s squad was the Mini-Force, and they wore tan uniforms to distinguish themselves from the Rangers’ green. Each teammate also outranked the next (unlike the Rangers, where everyone but Cunningham had the same rank) and could issue orders to anyone below them in this list.

Jake

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Jake himself was the commander of his squad. He had a custom uniform we made by stitching a bunch of different army men pieces together ala Frankenstein, and it represented his chameleon abilities–because he didn’t wear the uniform of any specific army, he could bluff his way into enemy bases by claiming he worked for them. His sidearm was a laser pistol he canonically built himself.

Cooper

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Cooper (the Canadian) was “the competent one”; he was the teammate who knew how to do everything, and Jake’s second-in-command. This often left him in-charge whenever Jake was infiltrating an enemy base. I don’t remember a single time he actually put those goggles on.

When it came time for me to move away to college, our parents got Jake a dog so he’d still have someone to play with, and he named it Cooper since it was his new second-in-command.

Loft

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Loft (the Antarctican) had a Barbarian-style rage that he could enter whenever he ate a Snickers bar. He didn’t talk much and he didn’t use guns, choosing instead to wade into battle dual-wielding a knife and a metal club. We used him as a “Shit, we need someone to do xyz but no human could realistically pull that off” plot device a lot.

Fireburst and Bentley

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Originally, the fourth member of the Mini-Force was Fireburst (the English, cause we thought England and Britain were separate countries). He was “the stupid one” and usually just fired his gun at enemies or screwed something up to make the mission harder. Then one day we lost him in the backyard and he got replaced with Bentley (the Russian), who had a black printing error on his chin we both interpreted as a minuscule soul patch. Bentley was a rock climber who could scale any wall, but he never got much of a personality; his main gimmick was not being incompetent like Fireburst.

(Years later we found Fireburst, who we decided was now a badass survivalist that retired after being rescued and reintroduced to society.)

The Power Team HQ

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Some other action figures entered the canon as we bought more figurines from the same set. They only rarely appeared as “guest stars” for a mission, or in storylines that involved the home base being attacked by invaders.

Xaviers

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Maximilian Xaviers was the commander of the HQ, and often the one assigning us missions. He preferred to stay off the front lines, so he’d wield a high-powered sniper rifle whenever he found himself involved in combat. Sometimes he’d get kidnapped and we needed to go rescue him.

Damont

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At some point, we realized HQ’s radio operator should get a name since we’re constantly talking to him, and thus Omeed Damont was born. He was a redeemed criminal and sworn noncombatant who refused to fight or kill anyone, so he never did anything beyond being the radio guy.

Møter 

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Achmed Møter was far-and-away the least seen character. His only job was being “a soldier stationed at HQ” and filling any minor plot role when we didn’t have another character to do it. I think he even died once or twice. We pronounced his last name as “Moy-turr” but that’s probably not how that letter actually sounds.

Mahgninnuc

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Mahgninnuc was Cunningham’s evil twin, and he had a red eye and blond goatee we added with sharpie. Sometimes he commanded the evil forces, sometimes he was an underling working for the current villains, but he was always Cunningham’s arch-nemesis and the only recurring antagonist. He wielded a transparent red sword that could superheat to cut through anything, and often used it to escape after the heroes destroyed his evil plan of the week. I don’t think they ever ended up catching him.


This is actually the second time I rediscovered this small bag of action figures. They also reappeared while Jake and I were cleaning the basement shortly before I was gonna move away for college in 2009, and we enacted a short ceremony where Xaviers gave all eight of them medals and they retired with full military honors. Shame I can’t really remember any of the missions they actually went on, but these dudes are an important part of why I grew up loving storytelling to the degree I do.

New Novella!

Ever wondered where Emilena learned to swordfight? Want to see her clash with pirates, survive tropical storms, seduce a pirate queen, and negotiate with poorly-managed cruise liners on the high seas? Read Surviving the Serris Sea!

I didn’t actually set out for it to be 18,000 words long, I just had a lot of different oceanic complications I wanted to fit in there because it’s a pretty big departure from my usual plots. I wanted to push Emilena out of her comfort zone and leave the gritty urban environments where she and Flora have most of their adventures. Hope you like it!