I miss E3. Wait, what?

You know, before E3 kicked off — was it really just last week!? — I was dreading the whole thing, and all I could think about was how great it would be to be back home once the show was finished. But then the stupid event had to go and prove me wrong by being really excellent; lots of interesting things were shown, lots of interesting people sat to let me interview them, I met tons of fellow writers from the trenches of the gaming press. Heck, the show floor itself was even great, with larger, more spacious booths and fewer roving nerds to jostle with. Since booth babes and swag were in short supply, you didn’t even have to maneuver around sweat-soaked losers toting multiple bags of free crap, posing for pictures with courteous but clearly uncomfortable seminude women. I can’t imagine a better show.

Conversely, this week has been awful. I had intended to jump right back into the swing of things by getting back up to speed blogging here, but obviously that didn’t happen. I was briefly distracted by the human suffering inflicted by Black Sigil and the befuddlement cast by Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, and then all hell broke loose as I had to make a bunch of deposits on venues and such for my wedding, which wrecked my bank account, which left my finacée traveling to Las Vegas on business with hardly any cash to speak of. (It didn’t help that a greedy cabbie ripped her off for about $50 as soon as she landed.) I’d say the low point came the other day when she called me in a panic because she had gotten in a cab to the airport without realizing that it wouldn’t take a credit card and that she didn’t have the cash to pay for her ride, leading to a dispatcher attempting to have her arrested. While I was trying to sort that out, I learned my grandmother was in the hospital, which stressed me out even more given that my grandfather passed away the week after E3 2006, and part of what I hate about E3 is that I already associate it with that. So, yeah. It’s been a pretty bad week.

There was also the part about Loki’s great Game Boy history comic getting hit hard by Reddit and StumbleUpon, a traffic boost which is still wreaking havoc on the forums’ stability. Internet goons have been decrying the comic because it has too many words and not enough funny; knowing Reddit’s collective tastes, this means it lacks math nerd stalker creepiness masquerading as romanticism and adolescent screeds about how God is, like, this way fake idea. I’ve gotta say, I’m not a big fan of link aggregator sites like Digg, since the people they send have no interest in developing a long-term relationship with the sites they hammer en masse; the only benefit that a link from such places offers comes from the boost your banner ad impressions receive. Needless to say, this does you no damn good if your site doesn’t have banner ads. Then it’s just a lot of people racking up bandwidth charges so they can vomit a half-formed complaint and hyperactively flutter to the next shiny link that catches their attention.

God, I’m the Internet equivalent of a cranky old person yelling at kids to get off his lawn. “In my day, we had webrings! And link banners! And we had to hand-code our own HTML for our E/N websites! And we liked it that way!”

Anyway, they’re mostly gone now, Cat wasn’t arrested, and news on the hospital front seems positive, too. And to top it off, I decided not to force myself to play any more Black Sigil, because they don’t pay me enough to hurt myself like that.

The one good thing about being away from E3 — well, besides not being in LA — is that the music from New Super Mario Bros. Wii is finally dislodged from my skull, replaced with “Ahead on Our Way” from Final Fantasy V. About bloody time.

Anyway, sorry to vent. But GameSpite is technically still my blog; I get to do that occasionally. Tomorrow: something topical. And I don’t mean ointments, baby.

18 thoughts on “I miss E3. Wait, what?

  1. So… what kind of befuddlement plagued FF4: the After Years? The what to do next kind or the why did they even bother with this kind?

  2. I remember seeing a howto for blocking Digg and Reddit referrals because they were empty traffic. I’ve always wanted to try it.

  3. What Levi said. Wouldn’t even be hurt if you took some time off after a week like that. You know, from personal obligations; still expect you to try and make money and all.

  4. Merus: Yup, I’ve since adjusted my htaccess file (which I also use to block certain other unsavory sites and prevent image hotlinking) to deny Digg and Reddit. It works great! Try it out — you’ll get a 403 error. I should have done this after I got 70,000 Digg hits to an image last summer yet had exactly the same traffic levels as before a week later. I’m still letting StumbleUpon through, because it’s more persistent and viral in nature… and, perhaps more importantly, it seems to attract a higher class of user.

  5. Yeah, I just checked the server stats and confirmed my own suspicion about the quality of readership. StumbleUpon readers spent a minute on average when they visited (about enough time to read the whole comic) and only had a 66% bounce rate, which means 1/3 of them actually stuck around to look at more pages. Reddit readers, on the other hand, spent 17 seconds at the site on average and had a 96% bounce rate, meaning they glanced at the comic, saw something with more text than a lolcat image, and immediately turned around and left.

  6. Man, I totally miss Web 1.0, not even kidding.

    Hope things improve for you soon.

  7. I really don’t understand why everyone around here has to hate XKCD so much.

  8. “I really don’t understand why everyone around here has to hate XKCD so much.” Huh? What makes you say that? Is it the line about ‘math nerd stalker creepiness masquerading as romanticism’?

  9. Sorry for the double post, was just going to say that is why I hate XKCD. Hope things start looking up for you Parish. On a side note, I got Gargoyle’s Quest this past week thanks to the Gamespite quarterly, and am loving it.

  10. Who said anything about XKCD? I was just making a generalization about Reddit users.

  11. So what’s the status on the Black Sigil review? Are you going to hand it off to someone else or will it be scrapped?

  12. I was watching gameplay videos of NSMB:Wii that didn’t have sound, so I found the theme from the DS game and had it on in the background. It was a little sick.

  13. I couldn’t agree more w/r/t sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. Though, to be perfectly honest, I only have a vague idea of what StumbleUpon and Reddit are (essentially the same thing as Digg, right?). I’ve seen a smattering of traffic from StumbleUpon, but then again I only see a smattering of traffic on the best of days.

    Anyway, I was posting a link to this article on my own personal site because I enjoyed the line about being an old man on the Internet (and the link buttons, and the webrings, and whatall) and it got me to thinking about my own engagement with this site. I reckon it’s a far sight different to be a consistent lurking reader than a divebombing link follower but I’d hardly call myself “engaged” exactly if I didn’t bother to comment.

    Hence, the comment.

    Funnily enough, I’m currently at work on a link button. I’ve never been too keen on them myself. Not at providing them to the public at any rate. It smacks of desperation. But, it makes sense for this particular site to have one.

    Oh, did I mention that the owner of the site also runs a webring? I actually signed up for it but I couldn’t figure out where to but the navigation thingy and my membership has since lapsed. I’m none too distraught.

  14. Coming back a bit late, but as Parish has noted StumbleUpon users tend to poke around a little bit more. They generally don’t see StumbleUpon as a community so much as a button to push to get something potentially awesome, so they’re generally more willing to sniff around as opposed to running back to their own community to vote and make disparaging comments.

    Nothing beats being linked by a high-traffic website with an explicit recommendation to check out the entire site, though.

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