Long running TV shows – particularly sitcoms – are famous for relying on ‘clip shows’ when they run out of time, money, ideas or a combination of the three. The ‘clip show’ normally takes the form of a framing device with two or more characters in conversation, usually with a variation on the ‘do you remember when…’ line, leading to a number of previous scenes from the show’s run being presented as a flashback. It allows the show to have a drastically reduced budget for an episode, given that new footage is minimal – plus, few actors are needed and the script required for the new material is also much reduced. It’s a quick, easy fix for any number of issues the show could be facing.
Pulling the curtain back to expose the necessity for – and format of – a ‘clip show’ probably isn’t the wisest thing for me to do when I’m presenting my own variation on the format. Then again, mine isn’t borne out of necessity in the same way – I don’t have other writers (it’s all me!), a lack of content (honestly, I worried that I would be able to maintain a daily schedule – but here we are 132 days in and I still haven’t missed a day), a lack of time (again, daily schedule being maintained here…somehow!) or any budgetary constraints, beyond being able to afford to keep up with the latest games to cover (though I’ve never let that stop me from covering whatever I can – which leads to a less common focus on smaller, indie or retro titles here – and makes things arguably more interesting too).
This is simply something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Back in the old days – and we’re talking about the ‘old days’ of February and March 2019 here, before I had my own blog – I reached out to a number of websites in an effort to get my writing seen again. It had been a while since I had the confidence to allow my writing to be seen by anyone other than me. Perhaps we should go back to the beginning for this one? Do you remember when…?
I got my start in writing when I worked at CEX in the late 90s; they offered staff the chance to write reviews on any game they chose to cover – and paid for the content too. I was the first staff member there to take advantage of this and became quite a prominent voice on their site back then. Though those articles have been lost in the mists of time, they gave me a real confidence in my writing that I’d previously lacked.
A mishap with a writing application to a print magazine, thanks to an ex-partner accidentally sabotaging my application package (a story for another time, I think), somehow caused me to lose my confidence and it was a few years before I seriously pursued writing opportunities again, beyond writing reviews for fun on sites such as BoardGameGeek.
I wrote mostly voluntarily until I was contacted by a UK board games retailer and was asked to write for them in exchange for store credit, which I was happy to do (unfortunately, that retailer’s doors have been closed for a number of years now, which means that my work from the period is lost).
Around the same time, I used my then-current board games writing as a springboard to write for an American board games magazine that had just launched, called Knucklebones. In their all-too-brief run of magazines, I had four articles featured (including one that made it to the cover of the magazine!). Getting my name in print, rather than just on a screen, was something I was incredibly proud of achieving – despite the fact that there’s little difference in having work featured on a website to having it in a print medium.
I had work featured online in another few places (pop culture PDF publication ‘Disposable Media Magazine’, indie comic website Panel2Panel.com and others), but over the next few years – and for no clear reason – the confidence I’d built up in my writing just disappeared. I’ve always juggled a full time job with other responsibilities and writing just seemed to fall by the wayside. The less I did it, the less confident I felt, until eventually I just wasn’t doing it any more – or at least not in a way that it’d be read by anyone.
I don’t know what changed this year, specifically, to make me want to finally break through that mindset and get myself writing again. The effect that keeping fit and losing weight had on my mental health was positive and perhaps its this that allowed me to focus a little more clearly on my writing. I set up my Twitter account to write about games, initially, which is also likely to have helped massively – given the welcoming, encouraging, inclusive and positive community I soon found myself a part of.
In any case, I reached out to some gaming related websites, publishers and developers – and the feedback I received on my work was overwhelmingly positive. The guys at Jumpcut Online were fantastic – and really gave me the chance to shine in their gaming-focused section, Jumpcut Play. They’ve done wonders in making my words look lovely on their website and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for giving me the opportunity to get my writing published again. It’s this work that forms the majority of my pre-blog articles for 2019 and the clip show is really just an excuse for me to link to those – so here goes with the links!
First up, I was fortunate that Jumpcut were on board with me writing a review on a non-video game – I covered King of Tokyo for them. Next up, for a sitewide celebration of the 19th birthday of the PS2, I provided a retrospective on multiplayer, top-down racing classic Mashed. I then took a look at the beautiful and non-lethal questing in the chilled out RPG Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles – a game which, for me, feels utterly unique. One of my all time favourite games followed, with an article on Rez; following that, one of my favourite indie games of recent years with a review of Horizon Chase Turbo. Some smaller games followed – reviews of Super Phantom Cat, OMG Zombies and Godly Corp. Undead’s Building, Box Align, Dustoff Heli Rescue II and Awesome Pea – all provided as part of the Indie Select program via Twitter (thank you, @IndieGamerChick!) – came next. I covered Darkest Hunters after that and my last piece for Jumpcut Play (for now, at least) was Zombie Kidz Evolution – a review of a family board game that evolves as you play.
As you’re probably aware if you’re reading this, my writing simply shifted from writing for other websites to providing content for my own blog. I set myself an insane challenge of publishing an article a day for 100 days – and, as mentioned above, I’m still posting daily as of today: 132 days down the line. Given that my personal circumstances may be changing drastically over the next few months – as well as how hard it is to write a substantial article every day – it might be difficult for me to maintain this schedule for much longer, but even if I’m not writing daily I’ll still be posting as regularly as I can. Much like my weight loss and exercise regime, it’s been great for my mental health and my confidence. The experience has been absolutely invaluable too – and I can tell that my writing has improved even since the first day I posted here. I’d also like for my work to be featured elsewhere, so again – though you may not see my work here on a daily basis – that’s not to say that it won’t be appearing in print or on the web in places other than my blog.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my clip show article. I only intended to post a collection of links to my non-blog work here, but – true to form for me – even though I’ve done that, I wasn’t able to just lazily cobble together and present it in a list format without feeling like I haven’t given you something substantial to read, so it’s not exactly the quick and easy ‘clip show’ that I perhaps alluded to in my opening section.
I want to thank everyone who has been reading my blog almost as regularly as I’ve been publishing it too – even if you don’t like or comment, it means a lot to me that you’d stop by and check out my writing. I hope I can continue to entertain, inform and interact with lots of you as much as possible, for as long as possible. After all, I wasn’t always here – do you remember when…?
If you’ve enjoyed reading this – or any of my other content – it’d be much appreciated if you’re able to share this article via social media. I’d also be forever grateful if you’re able to support me via: Ko-Fi.com/geekmid – all of my work is provided for free and I earn no income from the blog, so any donations are gratefully received and assist me in keeping my writing dream alive. Above all else though, thanks for reading – I truly appreciate it!