Bits and bobs

If you were thinking about maybe possibly picking up a GameSpite/Anatomy of a Game book sometime soon, Blurb has informed me that the coupon code BLURBGIFT-1 is worth a 20% discount. This seems like a pretty good deal until you realize how much Blurb prices have risen; 20% basically puts the books at where they were priced when I started this venture five years ago. Yes, I’m exploring alternatives.

Over on USgamer, we’ve kicked off our obligatory wave of 2013 retrospectives, though there’s no structured best-of-the-year countdown or similar selections. Instead, we’re exploring more general topics, interspersed with granular analyses of games we found notable (not necessarily “the best”).

On the broad topics front, Pete Davison and I have duked it out over the state of game history and preservation in 2013 as well as what we’ve seen happening overseas in Japan (and why). As for single game selections, I put up a piece yesterday about why Saints Row IV is one of my favorite games this year, even though it’s not necessarily a great game.

As a fun aside, when I filed my nominations for this year’s VGA/VGX awards, I put in a vote for Saints Row IV‘s “GAT V” as best DLC. Again, not that the content was great, but I liked the fact that they had the gall to publish it on the day GTA V came out. It didn’t make the cut, though. (Neither did my nomination of Shin Megami Tensei IV for game of the year, but I can’t say that was a surprise.)

This week’s Retronauts is a pretty great listen and I recommend it. However, my favorite thing about this episode isn’t the podcast itself but rather the Twitter interaction I had afterwards. I mentioned not having Apple II computers in elementary school since the school district in my hometown of Lubbock, TX had a deal with Texas Instruments (which operated a plant there). Someone from Lubbock messaged me to let me know his school did have Apple IIs, but it turns out he was in school more than a decade after I was. In fact, it turns out he went to school at the elementary where my father was principal and hadn’t made the connection between me and Dr. Parish. What a strangely small world.

That inspired me to look up the elementary schools I attended, and it turns out a couple of them are closed. Sadly, that includes the elementary I attended in fifth and sixth grade, which were easily the best two years of my entire education career. Mahon Elementary was one of those open-concept schools that began as a hippy-dippy experiment in the ’70s and has largely been phased out of existence for insufficiently crushing the joy from children’s lives; the entire school took the form of a huge, open square with a continuous ring of classrooms circling the library and assembly area in the center, each class being separated only by small movable partitions like wheeled chalkboards and rolling bookshelves. It was so much more energetic and communal than typical individual classrooms. I tend to feel a strong connection to physical spaces, so I always feel a pang of loss when those spaces disappear. Stupid entropy.

Finally, the DSi Ware game (yes, they still make those) Orion’s Odyssey hits eShop today. This was created in part by Talking Time’s own Adrian Sandoval, so you should support his work, because that’s what cool people do.

4 thoughts on “Bits and bobs

  1. I have never liked Blurb, for I could not purchase the various thingamabobs from there, what with lack of PayPal/whatever support. As for a different storefront, I have one to suggest.
    In a similar situation to Anatomy of a Game, there are Reverse Designs of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger on the Game Design Forum. The Chrono Trigger version on the site is a preview of an eBook that can be purchased. I happen to have this eBook because it can be purchased with more means than just credit cards, including PayPal.

    This store is Payloadz. I haven’t the foggiest whether or not you’ve already looked at them, but I would like to suggest them, still. And even if this is not what you settle upon, I, and possibly a number of others, would greatly appreciate if the possible alternatives have more ways of payment than just credit cards.

  2. I have a couple of the books (the SNES and Playstation retrospectives), but I’ll admit I only have the rest in PDF since my budget won’t allow for the colour editions of many of the others, especially with Blurb pricing. I’m hoping to pick up all of the “anatomy of a game” books in colour when I’m able to afford them, which would be even sooner if you’re able to find someone who ships to Canada cheaper than Blurb.

  3. Yeah, all print-on-demand has gotten WAY out of hand. That being said, while the value of your content for me is there, the cost for the quality of the print is not. Blurb always manages to get something wrong on a colossal level, being color balance/saturation, too thin on the font (making it unreadable) or those damned “scan lines” that are part and parcel of color inkjet printing. just out of curiosity though, (if you are comfortable disclosing it) do you get a cut of each book?

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