Week 697

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Lots of deliverables last week, most of it finishing writing that had been in the works for a while. But some new things as well.

First of all, I wrote my Diablo 3 review. Essentially, it’s a defense of the common “Bloody hell, it’s a slot machine!” rhetoric: yes, Blizzard exploits brain loopholes, but so do all games. I found the rest of the experience (story, world, detailing) rich enough for this to avoid abuse territory. My review was published in nrc.next on Wednesday, shortened but not butchered, next to a longer piece by Reinier Kist.

Secondly, I finished my article on word games for nrc.next, for which I interviewed Gert Jan Spriensma of Distimo, Camiel Kraan of United Games and Ard Bonewald, who recently left GameHouse Eindhoven and started Butterfly Games. It’s about how everyone is trying to make the next Wordfeud, even though the numbers show that word games by themselves are not all that popular. It hasn’t been published yet.

Thirdly, I wrote a Next Level column for the paper about VVVVVV and other futuro-retroistic games, a concept I explained two weeks ago. This article hasn’t been published yet either.

Fourthly, I finished my interview with Honeyslug, creators of Frobisher Says on PlayStation Vita, as well as the intriguing Hohokum, which got an IGF 2011 nomination, then went into quiet mode. The interview is for the Dutch Official PlayStation Magazine, for which I’m doing a monthly indie interview from now on.

Fifthly, I wrote a PlayStation Memories column for the same magazine, a monthly mix of Sony nostalgia and personal memories. This was the seventh edition, about Final Fantasy VII, which I played for a large part with my dad looking on from the couch.

Otherwise, I prepared some new stories, such as an interview with David Kushner, author of the Grand Theft Auto book Jacked.

I played a lot of Max Payne 3, trying to analyze its cinematic influences for an essay in the film appendix of NRC Handelsblad, which I’m very excited to write for. So far they seem to be into my article, which I hope will be published this week.

On Thursday I got excited by the release of Coda 2 and Diet Coda, a new version of the web editor I use, and its cleverly named surprise iPad counterpart, made by the sympathetic software house Panic. Both made me really want to build a new version of Bashers.nl. At the same time, we were busy discussing the future of our site over at the editorial department (which is a secret Facebook group).

Also ongoing: the preparations for the games and tech spread in nrc.next. This week David Nieborg and I met with editor Stijn Bronzwaer to discuss the spread that’s still nameless.

On Friday my sister Lieke got married in a church in Bodegraven. Outside, balloons and bubbles were launched. Then we went to De Hollandse boerderij. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful place, where kids could play freely, and adults could eat and drink freely. Cake was cut, speeches were given, songs were sung and gifts were handed over.

At night my sister, her husband and some friends kicked off the party with a brilliantly choreographed dance. Then, the loud and happy music and ecstatic children goofing around with water pistols gave me a burst of nostalgia-tinged sentimentality. Everything suddenly reminded me of my own childhood, with my sisters, and of how much we’ve grown and how fast this happened. Also, I was so proud of Lieke with her own particular style. I couldn’t stop crying.

Speaking of growing older: Sunday was my birthday. I turned 32.