Saturday, April 25, 2015

The state of console games

Two posts in two days...what is the world coming to? I'd usually leave video game ranting to Angry Video Game Nerd, except I'm getting that feeling right now.

I love video games. I may not have the console history that rabid fans use to measure their e-peen, but I've always enjoyed console gaming (even though I'm a PC gamer at heart). And really, growing up it seemed like the good games never stopped. Even now, as a member of the 9-5 workforce, there's always time for games, or at least I make time for them (usually to the extreme ire of Cindy).

There's always something new to play...except when there...isn't...

I just completed a year working as a tester on the Xbox One. The "next-gen" consoles have been out for a while now, with the Wii U finally hitting its stride (supposedly), the Xbox One slightly making a comeback (maybe), and the PS4 still going strong (uhh sure?). My question is, where are the games?

I haven't bought an Xbox One or PS4 yet. In my opinion, neither console has a strong enough library of games already released or announced to justify a purchase. Dragon Age: Inquisition? That was a no-brainer buy for PC for me. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Not a fan of the PvP and the campaign's like 10 hours long, if you're slow. Forza? Sure it's fun, but I still have my 360 racing setup. Bloodborne? Seriously? Mortal Kombat X? Sorry but that's a nostalgia buy at best...and the new and improved fatalities are a negative in my opinion. Destiny? Sure, if Bungie hadn't run that IP into the ground shortly after release... Evolve was the March of video games (in like a lion, out like a lamb). Halo MCC had sooooo many issues, but it was fun playing the Halo single player campaigns again...until you realize that wait, I'm just replaying the old Halo games, which were twitchy and had really terrible story-telling...and are still twitchy with terrible story-telling. Assassin's Creed Unity...what a mess that ended up being.

I seriously had more fun playing Powerstar Golf on the Xbox One than any of the games I just listed (excepting DA:I but I played that on PC). So then, Nintendo must be doing okay on the Wii U right?

Well, let's see...Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. Those are the only two games mainstream fans care about. Me personally, I've never been a huge fan of SSB. Hyrule Warriors was fun for a while. But that makes...3 games? Bayonetta 2, but it still has the ridiculously unnecessary gratuitous nudity issue that the first one had, which they fixed with Nintendo costumes, but left in the sequel? Nintendo is still the king of poor design decisions...

This was supposed to have been Nintendo's year. Last year's E3, Nintendo completely blew Sony and Microsoft out of the water in terms of pure excitement concerning new games. Except now we're coming to E3 2015 and Zelda has been pushed back, Codename STEAM didn't actually generate any steam, Monster Hunter 4 still has the same crappy control system as the previous Nintendo ported Monster Hunters, and Xenoblade Chronicles X still doesn't have a Western release date despite releasing in Japan next Wednesday.

Come on, everyone. The heart has really dropped out of video games this year. Considering my top games of 2015 are Pillars of Eternity and Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, it seems a return to the basics is in order. Make me want to play games instead of writing blog posts!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

To freelance or not to freelance

I'm very bad at this writing thing. I always start writing projects thinking "this time I'll keep it going!" and it never happens. This is why my blogs (like this one) are always empty, and I'm not a writer. However, what I've realized is that I'm an extremely good editor. It's not just spelling and grammar; I can pick out tone and style as well. I have frequent issues with self-published books (usually picked up on my Kindle), but it happens quite often with major content providers as well (e.g. news, current events, pop culture sites).

I also find myself enjoying translation work in the only two languages I'm fluent in: Chinese (Mandarin for spoken, both Traditional and Simplified for written) and English (mostly American, of course). Japanese has been my next project for years now, but much like writing blogs, learning it is a stop-and-go affair.

That brings me to the subject of this post. For the past year, mostly due to financial concerns, I've been toying with the idea of doing freelance translation and editing work. I already do a lot of this on a pro bono basis (starting from high school actually) - mostly for family and friends but also for kindred souls on the internet. For examples of my latest work you can check out the Xenoblade Chronicles X video subs by 許為傑. I own the Google+ page darkshard45, and I've been helping 許為傑 with grammar and flow.

The major issue with making this into a side business is time. Translating and editing are typically very time-sensitive. Editing is something I can complete within an hour or two for most projects, but translation projects can take days or weeks with work and life competing for attention. I can always start with just editing, but translating is where I stand out and usually do my best work. I'm afraid that it will become too time-consuming, and I'll end up letting down customers who would actually be paying now.

I figure this is where I needed opinions from people who know me. Some of you know me well, and most of you don't. What do you think should be my course of action? Should I attempt to make this into a freelance business or just keep it as a hobby?