Category: Thought-spillings

October 31st, 2011
Blog Entry

Happy fun promotion time!

It’s been a long time since I last blogged – almost exactly one year, in fact! – but thought this was worth writing about.

As of today I’m officially the Editor of the Nlife network of sites: Nintendo Life, Movemodo, KINECTaku and VitaGamr. Previously I was News Editor, but in my new role I now have full editorial control over all aspects of the sites. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m immensely grateful to the higher-ups for continually putting their trust in me.

I’m very proud of how far we’ve come in the past few years thanks to the hard work of a really talented and dedicated team: Ant, Corbie, Damien, Darren, Des, Jon, Thomas, Zach and all our reviewers and contributors who have given their free time and expertise to the network.

I have unbelievably high aspirations for the sites: there’s still so much left to do that this really feels like the start of something awesome. I’m proud of where we are and really excited about where we’re going.


November 30th, 2010
Blog Entry

My latest outings

kinect I haven’t written here for the whole month and with the last few hours of November now ticking away I thought I’d share this bit of gaming news with you.

As you know I write for three gaming websites, and recently the official Microsoft France blog asked me to write something to be posted on their blog. Yesterday it went up, and here it is!

http://xbox.frogz.fr/post/2010/11/29/Le-lancement-britannique-de-Kinect-vu-par-KINECTakucom.aspx

If your French is as good as mine, there’s an English version at the bottom, or reprinted below. The website itself also has a photo from my wife so double bonus!

Gamers up and down the UK braved the cold to get their hands on Kinect first, but customers in London were treated to a touch of glamour at Kinect’s official launch party.

Above a glowing ice rink at the Natural History Museum, popstar Leona Lewis took to the stage to perform several of her biggest hits whilst staff from Kinect developers Frontier, Rare and Lionhead were on hand to discuss the new technology.

Following the party, the countdown to Kinect was on at Game’s flagship Oxford Street store, where boyband The Wanted were on hand to try out the games and serve the first customers at the tills, even taking part in a Video Kinect call with gamers attending the midnight launch at Game’s Leeds store.

They weren’t the only special guests, however: Kinect’s creative director Kudo Tsunoda was on hand to check out proceedings, snapping photos and chatting to customers about the sensor, its games and the future of Kinect.

Of the launch titles, by far the most asked-for was Rare’s Kinect Sports, without a doubt one of the most impressive applications of the technology out there, and MTV’s Dance Central flew off the shelves too. Both titles seem to have captured the imagination of gamers and non-gamers alike, although many customers spoke of their excitement at playing pack-in game Kinect Adventures.

The readers and staff at KINECTaku joined in with the excitement on their forums and via Twitter gamers counting down to the launch of the sensor and sharing their hopes for the future.

Whilst the UK launch didn’t quite match the sensor’s global debut at Times Square for spectacle and impact, it still carried the same kind of atmosphere normally reserved for new console launches. The excitement surrounding the product was unbelievable, with all ages and levels of gaming experience eager to become the controller.

Kinect got off to a flying start in the UK, and once word of mouth begins to kick in Kinect looks like being a huge success for Microsoft.

James Newton, KINECTaku

Let accusations of bias commence now!


November 2nd, 2010
Blog Entry

The press release to end all press releases

I read a lot of press releases. Actually, that’s not true: I delete a lot of press releases without reading them, usually because they’re not relevant to my (very niche) websites. But this press release… this is what I’m talking about.

Taking sideswipes at everything from game chains to rival franchises, it’s funny enough to be worth a read regardless of whether or not you care about Superstars V8 Racing, the game in question.

Reverb Games News: I like your style. More of this please.

GameGasm Issues Apology Regarding Superstars V8 Racing Availability

Midwestern Retailer Mistakenly Throws Launch Event for Digital PlayStation®Network Release

Ivanhoe, MN—November 2, 2010—Midwestern video game retail giant GameGasm confirmed today that Superstars V8 Racing was never actually stocked in their stores after throngs of customers showed up for their midnight launch last Tuesday morning at 12:01 a.m.

“We had people waiting in line outside in the cold from the minute we closed at 8 p.m., right up until the clock struck midnight and we reopened for the Superstars V8 Racing launch event,” said Hugh Harding, District Manager for the Ivanhoe-area GameGasm chain. “Little did we realize, despite the fact that we had filled our quota for pointless, high-pressure pre-order sales, the fans were in for a huge shock. Apparently this game wasn’t actually shipped to our stores, and instead went live exclusively on PlayStation Network across North America.”

GameGasm Assistant Sales Associate Ryan Bullet added, “Consumers were just as confused as we were. The game is apparently packed with features and is only $19.99. I mean, sure, it’s no Gran Turismo 5, but is that game actually ever going to come out? We’ve had pre-orders for GT5 since before the PlayStation 3 even launched! Superstars V8 Racing is at least good enough to fill the gap until Polyphony Digital’s game hits– however much longer that may be.”

After the midnight launch incident, GameGasm corporate officials issued an official apology to all of the customers that pre-ordered Superstars V8 Racing at its stores, and instead directed them to PlayStation Network. Even still, all customers asking for a refund on their $5.00 pre-order deposit were met with grief, as per corporate policy. Other customers instead opted to move their pre-orders to Call You Names: Banned Ops or Just Pants 4.

Developed by veteran racing studio Milestone s.r.l., makers of premiere European racing franchise titles like the SBK: Superbike World Championship series and WRC: FIA World Rally Championship, Superstars V8 Racing puts you behind the wheel of world-class cars in five single-player modes and supports up to 12-player online racing across 10 official tracks.  The game also offers pick up and play mechanics and adjustable realism settings that drive home the experience for hardcore racing fans and casual enthusiasts alike.

For more information about GameGasm and the availability of Superstars V8 Racing please visit: www.gamegasm.biz

###

About GameGasm Stores, Inc

Aside from being completely fake, Midwestern retail giant GameGasm operates nearly 400 video game store locations across the middle of the country in the CST time zone, which may or may not also be a complete and total myth. The company has consistently won the annual “Consumers Approval of Performance” award for the last nine years, and continually remains profitable each fiscal quarter thanks to its “Sixty-Dollar Game Is Worth Forty Cents” trade-in program.  For more information please visit: www.gamegasm.biz.


November 1st, 2010
Blog Entry

Fun with statistics

I’m not half as competent with numbers as I am with letters, but there’s something about a good statistic that lifts my heart nonetheless. There’s one result in particular that’s cheered me up, but first, history lesson.

In April this year my hours at work were reduced, which was a blow for obvious reasons. I set about looking for another job, particularly ones in the field I most want to work in – games journalism, of course – but it’s a massively competitive field and I didn’t have enough experience to get anywhere, despite having written about 100,000 words for Nintendo Life in a few years.

Doing fewer hours at work meant more time to focus on things I wanted to do, so I saw it as an opportunity to establish myself and gain extra experience. I made a start on May 1st, with a target of 5 articles a day and 2 at weekends, and since then I’ve had great fun doing it.

Anyway, you’re not here for my wild anecdotes, you want those statistics I promised. Here, let me get to the point.

Since May 1st, our readership has almost doubled. We’re going through the biggest period of growth I’ve known on the site, from ~500,000 visits to nearly a million visits a month. We’re now probably the biggest independent Nintendo news and reviews website. I’m certainly not claiming I’m solely responsible for this – the Nintendo Life team is a success story in itself – but it’s nice to know I contributed.

Now I write for Movemodo and KINECTaku I feel I’m making progress and am on my way to establishing myself as a decent writer. Next year we launch Sega Fusion, and I’ll be heavily involved in that as well, of course.

It’s very, very exciting. Even more exciting than statistics. Maybe.


October 28th, 2010
Blog Entry

KINECTaku is now live!

The third part of the Nintendo Life world domination plan is available now: KINECTaku launched yesterday and has already received a rapturous reception (mostly from me).

I was busy preparing content before the site went live, so I’ve got around 7,500 words on there already. In total for October I’ve so far written 62,829 words, or thereabouts.

Last month I wrote the equivalent of The Great Gatsby; this month I’ve even surpassed that. Next year, when I’m writing for four websites, I’ll probably be churning out Great Expectations every month or so.

On the whole I’m rather pleased with how my writing’s going. Movemodo perhaps hasn’t had the huge impact I was expecting but it’s very early days yet, and looking to the future it’s a very real possibility I could be writing for three big sites, or even just one massive one.

Sometime next month I’ll hit a milestone: 500,000 words written across Twitter, my blog and all three gaming sites since I opened this place about five years ago. At this rate I’ll likely hit 1,000,000 in about a year’s time, which is simultaneously cheering and frightening. I’m writing at a pretty fast pace these days, and I’m obviously proud that I’m actually writing, just like I always wanted to.

I hope you enjoy reading KINECTaku (or you can call it Kinectaku, I’m easy!) and the rest of my work too.


August 22nd, 2010
Blog Entry

Change is on the way

jamesbricks Next week I start work on another gaming website: Movemodo.com, a PlayStation Move-specific site from the guys behind Nintendo Life. That gives me another site to maintain, and means I’ll have less time for The Collected Writings, sadly.

However, my super-smart brother Phil, of PhilNewton.net, has been busy developing a new look for this site that will finally fulfil the title’s promise. Everything I’ve ever written online – be it for Nintendo Life, Twitter or here – will be contained within these hallowed virtual walls.

There will be a few visual tweaks, but you’ll mostly notice a huge increase in content. For this blog over the past few years I’ve written nearly 100,000 words: for Nintendo Life in August alone I’ve written over 10,000, and I’ve been writing there since January 2008. This could provide some very interesting statistics, to me at least.

Soon this will be a digital vault of everything I’ve published online; well, the good stuff anyway. I’m very excited.

PS You might have seen this photograph of me in GamesTM issue 99, page 88


June 10th, 2010
Blog Entry

July 17th, 2009

Looking back over our wedding day photos, it’s hard to believe it was nearly a year ago that all the fuss was made over Hannah and myself.

Lots of people travelled a combined distance of hundreds of miles to be there; guests took time off work, left children with carers and everybody did what was necessary to join us there on that one day.

0029_EIMG_5297I look at the photos now and I find it astonishing, really: a true one-off occasion, with friends and family all present to show how much they cared for us. It’s humbling and heartwarming at the same time: it’s a wedding cliché to say that everybody’s presence mattered, but it genuinely did. Old friends, loved family members, energetic children: every person there made a huge contribution to the day.

Hannah is in Berlin this week, a place that is arguably more “our city” than anywhere we’ve ever lived. The zoo, the parks and the streets belong to us, and not having her around is naturally getting me down. To know she’s there, revisiting some of our favourite places from our honeymoon, is enough to bring a smile to my face, though.

I remind myself every day how lucky I am to have found Hannah: we’ve been together for nearly ten years now, and I look back and laugh at the 17-year old boy I was when we first met. But I still see a lot of him in myself and Hannah is still recognisably the girl she was all those years ago: passionate, forthright, beautiful and unique.

Of all the billions of people in the world, all it took was a short message to introduce the two of us. I don’t really believe in fortune or luck, but I truly feel we’ve beaten the odds. I miss her now, but when she’s back I couldn’t be happier.


June 9th, 2010
Blog Entry

Am I in the industry yet?

tiny tshirtI’ve been writing for Nintendo Life for about two and a half years now. In that time I’ve been to London, Paris, Poland and Dewsbury, reviewed over sixty games, written hundreds of articles and met dozens of wonderful people, from PRs to developers.

That said, there’s still that nagging feeling that, because I have a day job to pay the bills, I’m not quite a meaningful part of the industry yet. Not to say that the industry metes out status by the size of your pay packet, but to make my living solely from doing what I love to do – that is, writing about it – is a long, long way off yet.

There’s the thought that I still measure my success in a print medium, that to transfer across from writing online to getting my name on paper is a huge step up, when if anything the overall industry is trending in the opposite direction. Perhaps that explains why I’ve been so reluctant to start work on a piece to pitch to magazine editors, though it’s much more likely I’m simply being lazy.

I do wonder where I’ll go next, and I don’t mean geographically. This year promises to be a huge year for me to prove I’ve got what it takes to make a name for myself in such a hugely competitive industry. From small beginnings I have the opportunity to go global, and that brings a smile to my face.

The answer to that seemingly rhetorical question is “yes”. I am in the industry: I may not have influence, but I have a part to play. The 10-year old me would have dreamt of this lifestyle and it seems blase of me to criticise it. I have the opportunity to make my dreams come true and I’m going to do just that.


October 13th, 2007
Blog Entry

Back in time

It’s been a long time since I posted here, mainly because I’ve lost Internet access at home, but now I’ve got a little time I thought I’d fill you in on what’s been happening up here in York.small squirrel

Working Man

As usual I’m working myself hard at Gamestation and things are going from strength to strength. I recently organised two launch events – a 32-player FIFA 08 tournament and a 48-player Halo 3 event with networked 360s. Both were hard work but I actually had a lot of fun, and hopefully I can put on some bigger and better events in the future – you know you’re onto a good thing when the commercial director of Gamestation picks up on it!

Ring Ring

As most of you know by now, I asked Hannah to marry me in July and she said yes. We haven’t set a date yet but we’re looking at Spring 2009 in the Lake District. I can’t wait!

Flattering!

Another high point of July was settling into our new flat – it’s still in York but further out, and it’s ten times nicer than our last two places despite not being a house. I hope we’re going to stay there for a while.

I’ll try to set up some automatic posts for the next few weeks and months, but beware – it could be another six months until I post, although I promise it will be absolutely worth it.

headphones I’m listening to Puncture Repair by Elbow, from Leaders of the Free World


July 16th, 2007
Blog Entry

Carnival of Video Game Bloggers – July edition

Hello and welcome to another truly tremendous edition of the Carnival of Video Game Bloggers, hosted right here at the Carnival’s spiritual home, the Collected Writings of James Newton. Normally I devote more time here, but at the moment I’m going through a period of upheaval as I’ve recently moved to a new flat, so there’s no regular Internet access! Hopefully it won’t be too long until I can come back and update regularly, but still, there’s more than enough good content in these websites to sustain you!

Don’t forget – please leave a comment on a blogger’s work and consider submitting an article yourself for next month’s carnival. It’s going from strength to strength and that’s because of your contributions, so thanks!

I’ve not enough time for the usual witty intro, but the posts speak for themselves. Enjoy them and come back in a month!

Justin Consuegra presents Unique Gift For Men: Real 1up Mushroom posted at The Men’s Gift Guide, saying, “Video Game guys are gonna love this gift idea. Absolutely unbelievable!”

Jeremy Hitchcock presents WTTF: Welcome to the Future » Archive » Quickie posted at WTTF: Welcome to the Future, saying, “Which would you choose?”

Utsay Ahmed presents Addiction not applicable to video games posted at Utsay Dot Net.

Jigsaw hc presents Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars Review posted at Jigsaw hc’s Rants & Reviews.

Jigsaw hc presents Carcassonne Review posted at Jigsaw hc’s Rants & Reviews.

Jigsaw hc presents Eternal Sonata Demo Review posted at Jigsaw hc’s Rants & Reviews.

James Nicholls presents Another attack on Sequels and Clones | Gaming Legends posted at Gaming Legends.

Chris presents How I (Gradually) Became Less Obsessive About Playing Video Games posted at How to have more social success.

Alvaro Fernandez presents Working Memory Training from a pediatrician perspective, focused on attention deficits posted at SharpBrains, saying, “A new application of videogames: training worming memory, which usually is a key deficit in people with attention deficit.”

Once again, another top-notch Carnival from you all. Thank you for your submissions! You can enter the next carnival of video game bloggers by using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Thanks again for coming, and come by next month for another cracking Carnival of Video Game Bloggers!


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