Life

Allison by Allison James

For anyone curious, I recently came out as transgender. This wasn't a decision made with haste - it was one made through a lifetime of wonder and years of knowing. This will be a blog post to detail everything I remember as I see, plan, and experienced. (Skip to "Realisation" for just the actual meat of this, everything prior is piecemeal older memories.)

First Experiences

I had a number of early life experiences that made me suspect early on.Perhaps my earliest was of running around the playground in primary school at maybe 5 or 6. I tasked one of my friends at the time with making me follow her around, scalding me wearily with "Come on, Alice." every time I stopped. I remember little else other than that, I just know it was profoundly stupid.When the Pokémon craze first hit its stride in 1999 or 2000 or so, I was swept away by it. I bought the cards. I watched the animé. I screamed with delight when my parents bought me a copy of Pokémon Yellow, and I played it to death. But I remember having an admiration for Sabrina. Any time I fantasised about living in a Pokémon world or pretending it with friends, I wanted to be Sabrina. She was really mysterious and interesting as a character - far more to me than anyone else in the show.Speaking of wanting to be animé characters, Pokémon brought with it a number of other, similar animé TV shows. One of those I watched Cardcaptors/Cardcaptor Sakura, and yep, she was another one I always wanted to be.

Enter Videogames

When games started to be more inclusive of women and specifically when character creation or just choice allowed you to pick your gender, I always swayed female.Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and 3 are my earliest memories of this. I would always pick Elissa Steamer as my character - I had a male friend that was also explorative of playing as females at the time and would use the games' character creator to create her a sister. I can still visualise how Stephanie Steamer looked - I had THPS3 for PS2 and didn't own a memory card for a while, so he would have to recreate her every time we played the game together. We didn't play the actual career mode, we literally just role played in Free Ride.In Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire, I picked May. My excuse to others was simply that I was born in May so she seemed fitting, which was convenient, but she felt like the correct choice. Brendan looked stupid anyway.I've blogged about a decade ago about my experience with PlayStation Home, a PS3-native free online game where you could socialise with people. I was a girl in that, as is tradition. But there's a small twist to that one - I was asked for my name once, and with my username on that account being NAL-USA (my main friend at the time had a US account, so I played on one myself), I used the AL of NAL to conjure the name "Allie". As far as I can remember, that is my first use of Allie or Allison as a name.Home was one of numerous games with in-depth clothing options though, and I've always been terrible for sinking hours and hours into virtual fashion. I grinded in newer Pokémon games with dressing mechanics (X, Y, Gen 7) to get the most expensive stuff I liked, then ground again when I needed new colours. I experienced actual anger when a game like Elder Scrolls or Fallout forced me to choose between dressing how I wanted and being armoured enough to actually be alright in the game.The strongest gaming memories were immersive ones - games where I could feel like I was in them, as a girl. Fallout 4 has been the strongest to date. When I started playing it, I made myself - that's the Allison version of myself - with the intentions of playing the game in a very specific way. And... I couldn't. I was so into the game, I became her. Every single choice I made was literally just exactly what I would have done in her shoes. I couldn't finish the game any other way until I made a guy with a man bun called Boobies.But plenty of others captured that too. Animal Crossing was great for it. Far Cry 5 was as well. VR has been incredible for it.

Daydreaming

For quite some time (a decade or more), I generated a female persona I daydreamt about, mostly between closing my eyes and actually sleeping, to let out more feminine steam. This is an exceptionally deep rabbit hole so I'll skip the details now and perhaps go into it in the future via the medium of blog or game or something, but long story short, it's how I suppressed my feelings.The persona drifted wildly and started separating into two - the unrealistic persona there is no chance I could ever be, and then a more realistic one that I could. The former's name is Lara; the latter, unsurprisingly, was called Allison. Anything ridiculous like film-making, athletics etc went to Lara, but game ideas went to Allison - because they are realistic, and she is me. Many of those ideas still exist in my mind, perhaps to be created one day or at least to be written down and turned into something.

Realisation

Perhaps four years ago, I worked out that an actual transition was the route I was going to have to take. Fantastical feelings became almost a sense of claustrophobia, uses of my old name incorrect.I started off slow. I stopped getting haircuts and started growing my hair long. I removed as many uses of my old name as possible, changing simply to NAL. Any account I could make gender neutral easily, I did. But it wasn't enough.Through the late end of 2015 and most of 2016, when work with Chequered Ink was picking up, I started researching properly. I worked out what to expect in terms of time from initial contact with a psychiatrist to getting hormones and to getting surgery far beyond that. I worked out what would be covered by NHS and what I'd have to pay for. I also worked out how much I'd expect to pay if I went private, and what advantages might make it worth it. I also joined a couple of support forums.I nearly actually came out two years ago this month, but felt eventually like I needed more time to be absolutely, 100% sure it was the right move. Minuscule shades of doubt still glossed over me now and then - I didn't want to execute the start of a full transition until I knew that everything it entailed was something I could handle, from the physical changes, to the mental ones, and also to the kinks of the transition itself.In the meantime, I created Soundproof Cell. It was a free, narrative game that, although largely fictional, did cover a lot of how I was feeling. Focusing on a transgender woman called (by birth) Emilio, who wanted to be Emily, it covered my feeling of claustrophobia, my anger at my genetics, my desire to release my feminine side and wear it proud. I called her that because she was often referred to as "Em", which is "Me" backwards, and ended the story with "This is my key". It wasn't my key (to escape from my own "cell"), it was a little too fictional and disconnected. But it did help me.Throughout most of 2017, I felt like I had stabilised. I was more and more certain it was the way to go, although still not quite ready to come out. I was wearing gender neutral clothing since 2016, my hair was becoming very long, uses of my name were rare so I didn't get much in the way of dysphoria. I felt feminine. There were certainly pangs of emotions though. I think a key one was when I had given my hair a particularly thorough wash, and later that day my mum, for a laugh, plaited it, joking "I always wanted a daughter!" I feigned embarrassment, but I got insane butterflies from that moment - a glimpse of the future.2018 has been a crazy year. Me and Dan (the guy I live with, who I've been friends with five years since we met at YoYo Games, and who I formed our company with), at about the start of October 2017, were looking at our Chequered Ink earnings and realising that, if we were sustaining the income we were getting, we could finally afford to rent our own house. We made a simple pact - if the last three months of the year were stable and didn't drop off, we would start the year by househunting. And that is what we did.It took us three months of frequent searches for affordable, pleasing Newport houses on Rightmove and Zoopla, and a good few unsuccessful viewings from Dan (who lives far closer to there than I did), for us to finally secure one, which we moved into in mid-April. In those three months, my mind was largely focused on the move, but I did still think about my gender - especially with the fact that Dan was already fairly aware of it. Living in a house with just him would (and did) mean that I could get more and more comfortable with it.However, the more time went on in the new house, the more the feelings bubbled. And to me, the more I felt ready. My immediate company was okay with it, and I knew most if not all of my friends would be fine with it, but I had a proper first step into the true beginning of the transition that I knew I needed to take, which's outcome I had no actual idea what the result would be of.In this time, I named a lot of Chequered Ink's fonts after small subtle and not-so-subtle hints at transgenderism and my emotions:

(And a few since have been references to stuff too:)

Coming Out

Dan has been immensely supportive the entire time, and I figured he would always be accepting of me. He wasn't the one that worried me.My parents were. Not because I figured they would be against it, purely because I didn't know. Being transgender is such a foreign concept in the eyes of most still, and to them, it certainly is - nobody close to our family had gone through it, Mum only had characters in soap operas and Dad didn't even have that. But I spent years trying and failing to work out an approach to them, to no avail.September 22nd, 2018. I had no plans to come out. But I was on my second alcoholic drink of the night. Dan had gone out for a walk, and I was sitting at the dining table, my phone resting infront of me beside a copy of the i newspaper open on the weekend crossword. And I wondered. What if I just did it? Today. Right now. No script planned, no answers beyond what I'd worked out through years of research. Just good old Dutch courage. I pushed each of the eleven numbers of their landline phone in, but couldn't hit call. I just stared at it, penned in, one touch away from communication.I stared at it for a full other drink, and I poured my fourth. With a shaking hand, one finger outstretched, I switched my brain, which was generating a forcefield around the call button, off. And I pushed it.I heard the dialtone lightly as my shaking hand picked up the phone, nervously pushing it to one ear as my other hand found solace through running through my hair. Eventually, mum picked up. I was a wreck. She picked up on it fast - I could hear her getting worried. Maybe I was in jail, maybe I was in hospital, maybe something had happened to Dan - I could tell I was worrying her. It helped me say the words."Mum, I- I think I'm transgender."I had to say it twice, she couldn't hear it the first time. My voice was too stuttery and sporadic. After the second, though, she gave me an instant reply."That's fine!"I was crying. Really, really badly. But at the same time, I felt an absolutely insane feeling of relief. Over the next 25 minutes or so, me and mum talked. Not just about my gender, but my plans as well. I calmed down. I felt happy.At the end of it, she told me she'd break the news to dad as well. 15 minutes passed. Dan returned shortly before the call ended, quipped right after "Well, that sounded like it went well!" (presumably sussing what it was about, despite me not even knowing I was doing it when he left), and then went upstairs to shower and change.Then my phone rang again, it was Dad. He expressed surprise, but gave me my full support. It was a shorter phone call, but a positive one.Once that phone call ended too, I felt a catharsis stronger than any I have ever felt before. I ran around the house, happily screaming, walking with a swagger in my step, feeling like I could take on the fucking world. Allie was free. Allie became me.Over the rest of the evening and the day after, I spread the word elsewhere. First to my closest friends, then to the internet world. All I ever got was support - and the occasional "you were shit at hiding it", which made me smile. Everything made me smile.

Present & future

So now I'm here. I've spent the last couple of weeks removing my old name from everything left - I had gone exclusively by NAL for years. Now I get to go by Allison or Allie JJ - that is my name, along with my new second initials - my parents' first names, in dedication of their support of me. Not just through this; through everything.Updating 219 fonts on DaFont is a pain in the arse, but every single little change to take my dead name out felt like a fresh, tiny release of a lifetime of hiding. It was an absolute joy to do.Next steps? I'm awaiting a second witness so I can get a deed poll to officially execute my name change. I've already changed my name on most things, but when I can tell the world, with official backing, that I am Allison Janice James, I'm going to be a happy bunny. I'm also initialising contact with official specialists so I can get the actual body transition kicked off. Depending on how much spare money I accumulate, I will also likely get laser hair removal done at some point.Already wearing the clothes and the nail varnish and living female full time, though. (Fuck, why are armwarmers and leggings so comfortable?!)

To finalise...

To anyone reading this, I do not mind what your opinion of me was or is, and whether this has changed anything at all. I don't believe it should if you only know me through fonts or games - my gender bears no relevance on them. I am happy with people referring to me as NAL - NAL is a pseudonym I have used for over a decade and will likely continue to forever, and does not need to be associated with a gender. (References to me as Allie or Allison, and uses of she and her, do make me smile like a child though.)To those of you that have shown me support though - it means the fucking world to me. I'm not always articulate enough to express it, but I love you all. Every use of my soon-to-be-official name and gender fills me with glee. Every kind message gets put in a little mental vault I keep to crack open any time I need a fresh smile.I will also readily answer any questions you may have. I am not easily offended and plan to be an open book on this - if you want to know something, I will probably just tell you!I don't, however, want any special treatment or any further articles done about this, really. In my eyes, I would be a terrible role model for anyone else going through similar feelings - I'm sure there are better ways about this. (Soundproof Cell actually covered this feeling accurately.)I'm just NAL.And Allie.[There is now a Part 2 to this post with up to date information and happenings!]

Forbidden Moonfruit by Allison James

As of this month, Moonfruit have stopped free accounts from being a thing. Which means that the final glimmer of pre-2009 NAL (short of delving into The Internet Archive at least) is now done and dusted - my website from between 2006 and 2008 was with Moonfruit, was free, and had been dormant and available since 2008.I still have access to the website for now, it's just not live unless I pay them. I'm not paying them.But here are some joyful, memorable quotes of a version of me perhaps less mature or perhaps just immature on a different plane."Some stuff about me...I like PS3.I don't mind Wii.I don't like Xbox 360."Aah, a more innocent time when I couldn't just buy all three of the bastards and laugh maniacally like the responsible, financially sensible adult I am now. Also a time before Yahtzee Croshaw, be it accidentally or purposefully, infected the world with "PC Master Race", a group of people that somehow managed to out-sad excessive console fanboys.I only disliked Xbox 360 at the time because my friend spent the year and a half between his getting his 360 and me getting my PS3 not shutting the fuck up about it. It's a fine console now I have one, although it's probably still my least favourite thanks to how badly it ages - mine is an original unit, and having the 20GB hard drive, the antiquated component cables for HD and the addon to enable Wi-Fi is irritating. Wii gets away with its stupid foibles because most of its content was unique to it. And MadWorld rocked."I hate using text speak.I hate seeing wronged punctuation."#teenagegrammarnazi"I think Bill Gates is a moron.I think the same of Richard Branson.I think Kate Moss is hideous."#teenageedgelord"My favourite actor is Jack Black.My least favourite is Andie MacDowell."Fair play on Jack Black, might not put him in first any more but I do still enjoy me a silly comedy film. No idea on the latter choice, I've never seen a film with her in. I think she might have been overexposed in adverts at the time, so that might have been it. Not sure who I'd pick now. Probably Jim Carrey for favourite and Adam Sandler for least."I am 50% English and 50% Scottish.I created the alias of NAL when I was six.I like amusing facts."Fair play, unlikely to change."I hate console fanboyism."A smidge hypocritical given the statement at the top. Dumbass self."I like cutesy platforming games.I'm not a fan of violent games (excluding Grand Theft Auto and Elder Scrolls games)."The former's still very much true (and 2008 me would have been disappointed by the landscape of that genre for like six solid years), but because of that bracketed disappointment, the latter changed. MadWorld, Mad Max, Fallout 4, Mortal Kombat X and many more have been games since 2008 I've fallen in love with, all of which are pretty damn violent. And that's the tip of the iceberg."I'm a flange fan."#teenagerandom"The shortest time taken to make a game is 24 minutes, with Floccinaucinihilipilification.The longest is Gamanstake: started in February 2006, ended in July 2006. (it wasn't constant working though...)"Both beaten since - 10*2 took me 20 minutes, and Innoquous 5 was on and off for three years."The game getting the best public reception is r!!!dicule.The game getting the worst is The Boy in the Plastic Bubble."I'm struggling to imagine this world. The Boy in the Plastic Bubble was shit, but it was better than r!!!dicule. And in 2008, r!!!dicule was easily surpassed by games I made after it - Elemence AuX and Rockit for two. Maybe I wrote this the day after r!!!dicule came out and never updated it - then I can pretend all this embarrassing crap was 9 years ago, not just 8!"The only games ever to have had real inspiration for their creation are Up Shint Creek and Blokkeid (which later became Elemence)."Yep nope! Ne Touchez Pas was inspired by Flywrench by Messhof, Innoquous by every GM game before it that had done gravity flipping gimmicks but all in really gammy, nasty ways, ExecutioNAL and TimeStop were PARODIES... the list continues!"I have also won the following things:- a brick game, £50, a yoyo, £1,000, £500, a £10 gift voucher. Furthermore, in a game of hoopla at a féte once, I won every prize on display in ONE GO."Sudden recall of that last one! Can still remember the pissed off look on the vendor's face when I essentially shut their stall down in one go. Hoopla champion!"Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny is an absolutely fab film, and you must watch it."My opinion on the above hasn't even remotely changed. LONG-ASS FUCKIN' TIME AGO IN A TOWN CALLED KICKAPOO, THERE LIVED A HUMBLE FAMILY RELIGIOUS THR... whelp now I have to watch it again"The worst three films I have EVER seen are:3rd worst: Kung Pow2nd worst: Dude! Where's My Car?WORST!!!: Picking Up The Pieces"Sadly no longer true. I've now seen Movie 43 and inAPPropriate Comedy.But now we're into the top 10s!"THE TOP 10 SONGS OF MINE OF CURRENT1. Dario G - Sunchyme2. Toto - Africa3. Royksopp - Remind Me4. Groove Armada - At The River5. Alannah Myles - Black Velvet6. Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta7. Moby - Porcelain8. Fischerspooner - Never Win9. Lo Fidelity Allstars - LoFi's In Ibiza10. Frankie Fame - See Through You"Not a vast amount of changes, and an adequate amount of appreciation for the stunning Grand Theft Auto III original soundtrack too. I now cite my absolute favourite tune as Röyksopp - Eple (if that means nothing to you, listen to it - you'll probably recognise it) because it's the rare track I find it physically impossible to get sick of. So I'd definitely swap Remind Me for Eple on that list. Fischerspooner remains a firm favourite, but I'd pick Emerge now. And I'd swap a few of the tracks for other ones - Black Velvet, Lo-Fi's In Ibiza, Africa, See Through You and Flagpole Sitta would be out and some stuff like His Majesty King Raam, Me And You, Unfinished Sympathy, Atlas and Eve of the War would be in."My Top Ten Current Favourite Films1. Sin City2. The Warriors3. Pleasantville4. Phonebooth5. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind6. The Green Mile7. Road Trip8. The Truman Show9. Robots10. Hot Fuzz"Not many changes here either! Pleasantville's jumped to #1, Phonebooth wouldn't be on the top 10 and Robots DEFINITELY wouldn't be on the top 10 (what I ever saw in that film, I don't know - it's watchable, but nothing compared to a half-decent Pixar flick). I'd also probably demote The Green Mile, and shuffle Road Trip down - it would still be in my top 10 but probably only just. I'd then let Fight Club, 21 Jump Street, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, WALL-E, Inside Out, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, Pulp Fiction, Scott Pilgrim vs The World and The World's End duke it out for the remaining spaces (The World's End perhaps knocking Hot Fuzz off the list)."The Blackadder Order Of Brilliancy (best to worst)1. Series 32. Series 43. Blackadder's Christmas Carol4. Series 25. Back & Forth6. The Cavalier Years7. Series 1"Even something I wouldn't expect to have an opinion on, I still have! Series 2 should be above Christmas Carol, and Series 1 should be above The Cavalier Years and Back & Forth."My Top 10 Ever Albums1. Moby: Play2. Keane: Hopes And Fears3. Scissor Sisters: Scissor Sisters4. Groove Armada: Vertigo5. Moby: 186. Kaiser Chiefs: Yours Truly, Angry Mob7. Fatboy Slim: Palookaville8. MIKA: Life In Cartoon Motion9. Dido: Life For Rent10. Fischerspooner: Odyssey"Yeah, this is all wrong now. A vague mockup of my list now would be:1. Röyksopp: Melody AM2. Massive Attack: Mezzanine3. Röyksopp: The Inevitable End4. Lemon Jelly: lemonjelly.ky5. Fischerspooner: #16. Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds7. The Fratellis: Costello Music8. Battles: Mirrored9. Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells10. Nero: Welcome RealityAnyway, it's about high time I allow that era of my past to disappear now. Bless it, it was so silly, but it was fun to reminisce....BUT YEA THERE WAS A BLACK SHEEP, AND HE KNEW JUST WHAT TO DOHIS NAME WAS YOUNG JB AND HE REFUSED TO STEP IN LINEA VISION HE DID SEE OF FUCKING ROCKING ALL THE TIMEHE WROTE A TASTY JAM AND ALL THE PLANETS DID ALIGN...dah dah dahhhhhh

How to Make a Clickbait Blog Post About How to Market Your Indie Game by Allison James

So you've decided to write a post about how to market your indie game. It might be on your own website, or on a gaming website that accepts guest articles and has a far-from-rigorous quality control. Great, the world needs so many more of these articles! Here's a how to.

Step 1: Make a game of dubious quality

Let's face it, the reason you're writing your marketing article is that you think that writing an article on how to market your indie game is an efficient and effective form of marketing your indie game. And you might be right! If you can bullshit enough tactics into it and really hammer home some arbitrary percentages on the ratio of developing to marketing you should be aiming for (and how going for 1% less than that is indie suicide), it's bound to get you at least 10 yesses on your game's Greenlight page. Or if your game is already through Greenlight, maybe someone will buy it once!

Step 2: Oh, but while you're at it, you should be tweeting pictures, GIFs, and videos of it

Lead by example! And then your pictures, GIFs and videos can get another round of attention when you cite/embed them into your article! You should also have an IndieDB page for both yourself/your company and your game, and keep churning out long and picture-heavy news articles about the development of your game on it - IndieDB will frontpage news articles only if they are informative and actually fucking interesting.

Step 3: Also, social media

USE TWITTERLOTSAnd, like, make sure you've got a growing follower list on it.And then do that for all the other popular social shit that everyone's got nowadays. Instachat, Snapgram, Facespace, Pinterflickr, everything. Even if you just use the wonderfully free and freely wonderful IFTTT to carbon copy your content from one social network to all the other ones, that's better than not having a presence on them at all.So there's two ways you can go about improving your follower count. Well, three, but if you do #3 and just go and buy them, none of your followers are going to actually have any interest in your content (making them useless) and anyone that looks through your followers on Twitter are going to see that you're the sort of dick that goes around giving shady companies money because you're self-conscious about the low size of certain numbers pertaining to you.Numero uno: "I'd rather take my time than be a knob". Pump out those GIFs of your game! Make them good! So good, that your 10 followers retweet it! And then two of those 10 followers' followers become YOUR followers! Rinse, and repeat. Basically, make content engaging. How do you make content engaging? Yeah, GIFs are great - they're that halfway point between screenshots (everyone will see it but it's static) and videos (it's interesting but only 10% of people might watch it), whereby it's a pared-down video of your game but people will still see it.By the way, to make gifs, a lot of bastards swear by GifCam, a program that directly and easily records footage to a GIF, but I find it's a bit buggy - the footage it captured of Innoquous 5 was corrupt and the filesizes were astronomical even for short GIFs. The longer method is essentially to capture a video of it then use something like GfyCat to convert it to a gif.Numero twono: "I'd rather be a knob than take my time". If you actually care about your Twitter timeline, start by making a list of people you currently follow. The tweets in that list are your new timeline, get used to it :) Now, create a free account on Crowdfire and use it to help you start culling people you're following that are inactive, or the people you followed at the earliest time that aren't following you back. Meanwhile in Keyword Follow, search for #gamedev or #indiedev and start whacking that Follow button on people, particularly those with more following than followers.While you'll receive less engagement (in general) from followers generated with this method than you would people following you because they saw and enjoyed your tweeted content, they will still be actual, active Twitter users that have at least some interest in indie games (because they were using #gamedev or #indiedev).One thing to note: Crowdfire's free accounts impose a limit of 25 people you can freshly follow and 100 people you can unfollow using them per day. It's worth actually sticking to this, I've never run into problems but Twitter isn't keen on you literally just following people with their potential follow-back in mind, and then unfollowing them when you don't receive it. So unless you hit Twitter's variable limit on number of people you can follow at once (starts at 2,000, increases the more followers you have), don't unfollow people you followed with this method.Oh, and one other thing. Crowdfire also has an option to automatically DM new followers. I'd recommend avoiding it, it's spammy and horrid. But yeah, use it daily to follow 25 fresh faces and grow your audience!

Step 4: Also, when the game is complete and tested but not out yet, start pumping out your own marketing

You need to actually follow someone else's shitty blogpost on how to market your indie game to market your indie game before you can make your own shitty blogpost on how to market your indie game. To market your indie game, you'll basically want to:

  1. Set a launch day for your game. Work out when the game will be done, then add some time after it for extra QA. And then add some more time after that, because it's going to go wrong in some surprising way. And then add some more time if that launch day clashes with a big release from some other indie or even a big AAA game. You'll clash with something, better it's a game your own game utterly outclasses
  2. Write a press release with an informative but attention grabbing title, and a few paragraphs of copy text explaining your game with both accuracy and attractiveness
  3. Link to a place where the game can be downloaded DRM-free for free, on every available platform
  4. Embed a couple screenshots. Good ones
  5. Link to the best trailer you or your friendly neighbourhood motion artist can produce that you've upload to YouTube, even if it's Unlisted for now
  6. On your website, get an extended presskit with a lovely .zip file containing all the copy text, screenshots, gifs etc of the game. Make them interesting as well as representative of your game. Make it clear they're freely usable. Just use Rami Ismail's presskit() for fuck's sake
  7. Link to that in the release as well
  8. Don't have a website? Make one, you prick
  9. Link to your website in the press release as well
  10. Okay, now email that bastard out. Lots. And lots.

So email it to who? Here's a comprehensive list of YouTubers, possibly the best way in 2015 to generate your press. Also, basically, do everything else on PixelProspector's marketing page."But Andrew," you exclaim with whimsical delight, "that page is just full of everything I was going to include in my blog post on how to market your indie game, along with other things I had entirely forgotten about or wasn't going to bother doing because it felt redundant and my game's so fucking good who cares - the first gullible bugger to buy it is going to cum in their pants in the first 5 seconds of playing and immediately do all my marketing for me!"Well, yes! Blog posts about how to market your indie game are all essentially just that PixelProspector article, with some vague, wandering mentions, as well as stealthy links of advertisement, of their own game, as well as "how they got on" written like it was the sort of thing your school made you do in essay form after two weeks of work experience.And for fuck's sake, don't just email press people - social media it up! Make sure that your tweets and posts are still engaging, nobody wants to see the same link to the same game in their timeline 100 times - and with one gentle smack of the Unfollow button, they don't have to. Keep booting out new screenshots, GIFs, and even the occasional video, and attach a unique one to each mention of your game. That way, even if someone's seeing it for the Nth time, they're still seeing fresh content along with it.

Step 5: Upload it to all the stores

Is it done? Sweet. Upload it to all the stores you're targeting with plenty of time remaining. Where possible, go through the buying/downloading process while the game is still private and make sure you didn't fluff the upload. Cool, that step was relatively easy, unless you're like me with a 425MB game on your hands and an internet connection that rivals dialup for shittitude.ALTHOUGH, if something does go wrong, there's a silver lining to this thundersnow cloud - your game might suffer a loss of sales, but it makes for some great content to blab about in the mandatory "Mistakes I Made" section of your blog post about how to market your indie game!By the way, if a store allows HTML tags (or similar) in the description, for god's sake doll it up - pictures as headers for each section. And if you're doing your game's itch.io page, customise it!

Step 6: Now release the bastard

Hey look, release day! Assuming you've reached it smoothly (and if not, why not, you gimboid), all the stores it's on should unlock its content! Great! MOAR TWEETS. Again, if shit goes wrong here - your game doesn't work on any Nvidia cards because you've been a tit and only tested it on AMD ones - you've got content for your blog post about how to market your indie game.

Step 7: Give it a few months

Keep tweeting new content. Retweet, or tweet to, YouTube videos and articles that cover your game. meanwhile, start on your new game. You'll need to reference this in your blog post about how to market your indie game.There are things you can do post-release to help market your game as well. Give away free one-time use codes to the game. Turn it into a game - stick a ? in place of one of the code's letters/numbers - this also serves the purpose of stopping code-grabbing reseller bots from registering it in place of an actual interested person. If your game includes a level editor, do a little competition on who can make the best level. Or competitions for first person to complete the game, or best score, or quickest completion of a particular level. Make it so that people tweet their entries, so their followers see it and possibly get interested in the game and shit!I mean, you could even pull the age-old crap where you give something to a random person that follows you and retweets a specific competition tweet during a set amount of time!Just remember everything you're doing, it's crucial that you tell other people to do that exact same thing in your blog post about how to market your indie game. So maybe write it all down for the ultimate in blog postage.While this is happening, prepare a load of graphs. They don't really have to be relevant to much, but then in your blog post about how to market your indie game, you can point at all the anomalies and speculate aimlessly about what caused those bits of your graph to not be in the right place. You can also take your mandatory Sales by Week graph with its inevitable downward trend, and point that out, as if nobody ever realised that games become less popular as time progresses.

Step 8: Fuck me, it's time for your blog post about how to market your indie game

You've got your game that performed below expectations probably, because very few games perform above them. You've got your three months of wisdom. You've got graphs, GIFs, and gumpf. Time to do your article.Go back to PixelProspector's marketing page. Like every other bastard on the planet that's written a blog post about how to market their indie games, basically paraphrase it. But for each thing that that page recommends, slot in how you went about that thing for your game, with examples embedded and sources linked.There are extra things you'll need to do for your article. For starters, make up a good figure for the aforementioned ratio of developing to marketing you should be aiming for. Don't go for 50/50, everyone goes for 50/50. Do like 57% marketing, 43% developing or some breakthrough shit. Really blow some fledgeling indie minds as to how goddamn important marketing is. Keep using the word marketing, even long after you've written the entire article and are now attending your grandmother's marketing. Chisel marketing into her tombstone. And fuck it, the two percentages don't even need to add up to 100. Make them add up to 107%, that way you can tell people that it's the extra 7% that makes a game successful. That way, your readers think they've just opened Pandora's Box and found it to be full of fivers.Another one you absolutely must do, as has also been mentioned, is your Mistakes section. Come up with some mistakes you made, because you were an inexperienced dildo when you started but now you're the fucking indie second coming of Christ. These mistakes should be silly oversights - "whoops, forgot to make a game lol!" isn't going to suffice here. Show how you learnt from those mistakes. If you didn't make any mistakes, your mistake was thinking that a 56,277th article on how to market your indie game was a productive use of your time. It is only a productive use of your time if you made a more successful game than anyone who has ever previously written about how to market your indie game.But here's the most important thing you need for your article on how to market your indie game. You need a hook. A hook, unique to your article and your article alone. A singular piece of advice that the entire article revolves around. Don't make it "you need to make the game for yourself", that's bullshit. Maybe "you make the game for your mother". Or "you only program after you've downed a bottle of Jack Daniels". Or "every 20 minutes, you take a small break to writhe around on your floor naked pretending you're a wriggly worm". Something.Personally, I went for "make it seem like the article on how to market your indie game is taking the piss out of itself".

VOTE FOR INNOQUOUS 5 THANKS

PIXELPROSPECTOR'S FUCKING MARKETING GUIDE

Sonnet for My Laziness by Allison James

Each month I used to make games, two or threeExperimental nature were their themeBut now burnout has come and tackled meThat frequency is merely now a dreamIn part it’s since I now make games full timeThough no control I earn a salaryI’ve no complaint, the feeling’s quite sublimeThat Lemmings guys could think something of meIt isn’t like my idea pool is dryI’ve got enough for three lifetimes or moreYet I can’t seem to even try to tryTo make a game to pass Innoquous 4So here’s a final note, it’s to my brainEngage yourself or I will go insane! :|

Dundonian Relocation by Allison James

Any YoYo Games users reading this will have more than likely read the website's latest glog entry, on a job offering to work within Game Maker at the YYG Office in Dundee full time. I know for some of you, it's a very tempting offer - a full time wage to use Game Maker! I also know that for most of the tempted ones, the "big thing" that's holding you back is the need to relocate to Dundee, Scotland.This is a blog entry to try and convey exactly what I went through, and still do, having done that relocation from a quiet village in eastern England to the city centre of a Scottish city. It will be a little similar to a previous glog entry, I Would Drive 500 Miles (Nearly), though that was written just six days after I arrived and five after I'd started work. I've now been here nearly seven months.I won't lie, the relocation is hard. If you're close to your parents (I am) and your relatives, friends and pets (again, yes), it's a little difficult at first. But MSN, Skype, or even just your everyday telephone alleviates that quite significantly. There's also the travelling to Dundee with your belongings - by train works if you don't have to bring too much, though without the car space of my dad's Ford Mondeo I would've had to shed 90% of what I did end up bringing. If you're not within Great Britain you'll probably have to factor in a plane too. These aren't hugely expensive; a return train ticket this Christmas from Dundee to my home village (450 miles each way), bought two weeks in advance, cost me £100 (about $150 or €150, I'd guess. Don't quote me on that). This was without any special discounts, just the fact I bought in advance. Plenty of websites will let you gauge the fares of whichever method of transport you think you'd end up taking.Dundee itself is a very nice city. It's far from a massive metropolis, but it has everything you need. There's about six different Tesco supermarkets, including a nice large one by the River Tay and a Tesco Metro (the store I use weekly) within the city centre, essentially a half-sized Tesco which has everything you need to live off, just a bit less of it. There are three malls in the city centre with everything from clothes shops to Argos (for those unfamiliar, it's like Amazon.com but a shop of it) to Starbucks. They vary in "quality", with the Overgate being predominantly full of well-known brands while The Forum (I think that's its name) seems to be more leaning towards independently owned shops. Both have a Gregg's bakery. For pubs, Japanese supermarkets and pretty much any mainstream chain you can think of that operates in Britain, Dundee is more than adequate.On the entertainment side of things, I haven't done much research, but there's a large, swanky Odeon cinema and Dundee Megabowl, with its 36 or so bowling alleys, pool tables, arcade area and a little Wimpy's segment so you can stay in the place for several hours and let the fast food bit cover a meal. Both of those are a couple of miles away from the city centre, but it's only around £10 both ways for a taxi. If you're a fan of sightseeing, Dundee is great. There are a number of points of interest (it's the "City of Discovery", y'know!) including the permanently anchored RRS Discovery ship and the McManus Gallery, which includes some DMA Design-related tidbits from Russell and Mike (including a collection of Mike's old business cards!).Weather is a common complaint, and is fairly understandable. Being up north, and part of the UK in the first place, it can be pretty cold. It doesn't rain a huge amount though - certainly no more than England. There was some very heavy and disruptive snowfall this year, which also caused one instance of the rare but cool thundersnow, and at least one day when every road was like a giant footpath. I've been told by Russell that it's the worst case of snow Dundee has seen in decades; it isn't regularly snow-coated here. But generally, if you own a coat (hypocritical of me, I know, given I don't!) and you didn't live in a permanent sauna before, you'll be fine.Last part I should probably get to mentioning, and probably the most important too, is the job itself. The next thing I'm going to say, I have to reiterate is 100% my own words. I've not been told to say this, I'm not lying, and I'm not doing anyone any favours. I absolutely love the job. I'm getting paid a very liveable salary to do what I spent seven and a half years of my life prior to starting doing for nothing. When help is needed with something I have some very experienced and very friendly people all around willing to give it. It is just an amazing atmosphere. Casual, but not jokey. Productive, but not overly-serious and not strenuous.Yes, the distance from home is a bit of a kick in the balls. Yes, I miss my daft cats, and my little bedroom in the little quiet English village. But can I go back for a visit whenever I want? Yes. Is it a great city I'm in with plenty of convenience and friendly citizens? Yes.And do I love my job? F**k yes.

Half A Grand Spend & Life Updates by Allison James

The "half a grand spend". Now, there's this little device that gets very mixed reactions - the iPad. I used to hate the very idea of the device - over expensive, under-made (lack of Flash support, any kind of memory expansion slot, and from people that are like I used to be, countless others. I just thought it was flat out daft. Then I tried one.Of course, YoYo Games has recently released its first iPad game, "Maddening HD". For anyone unaware, its primary creator is me. The updated graphics were done by the resident artist Geoff, and of course all the iOS stuff was the work of Mike/Russell. But fundamentally, I made it. But that's off-track. As a result of the entry of the company I work for into development for devices including the iPad, there are a few around the office which are used for testing etc. When I used one, it really was very, very nice. Slick, functional (moreso than it's often credited for), and most strikingly (and possibly the least credited thing about it), bloody lovely to use.So, checking the series of numbers comprising the money level in my bank account, taking into account the amount I need to keep for my accommodation and necessities and suchforth, and realising I was both safe monetarily and particularly impulsive (in a way - I was going to get one shortly before the Christmas season), I went ahead and bought one. 32GB, Wifi only, and with a protective cover. Final price - £529. Bam! Yes, I still think they're overpriced (you should see the price of some of the accessories - the stand slash keyboard costs £55 - and the cover I got was £30), but they are nice and it's good to spend a lot on something I'll be using frequently for a long time, instead of accumulating a ton of crap for around the same price and having it just take up space.Last iPad point, which is geeky and pleasing for me: I got it engraved with my name and my website URL! My theory is that if somebody steals it, it'll be easily identifiable to police/others as mine, and maybe the thief will visit my site and play some of my games :)More todayness: was in until 11pm today (14 hour working day) working to get something as complete as possible. This included a lovely, gigantic pizza (Large Domino's Double Decadence Meateor, double mozzarella and double pepperoni), a large amount of which remains uneaten and will make up two or three future meals.Anyways, life is lovely at the moment. I'm looking forward to Christmas as it'll mean I spend a few weeks at home catching up with friends and family - got a long list of stuff I want to share with my parents - links, presents, quite a few films and more. But yeah. I'll try to blog more often, but as that seems to be a curse, I'll just say this - I'll blog again next time I feel like it. Have a good time between now and then, and goodbye!

I Would Drive 500 Miles (Nearly) by Allison James

As many/all of you may well know, from last Monday I have been working for YoYo Games in Dundee. As less of you may know, this involved moving out of the East Anglian countryside village I've lived in all my life and taking a 450 mile journey to a room in the middle of the noisy city. As I've said before, it's a huge system shock. But here's a little bit of information on the journey - I'm on limited bandwidth so I can't upload the large number of photos I took during yet but I'll add them later.I went to bed at 11pm on Saturday 10th with an odd, and unpleasant, feeling. I was laying in a room that, for sixteen years, had been my room. Bar a few vague memories, it was basically where I'd slept, every night excluding sleepovers/holidays/whatever, for as long as I remembered. But, in eight hours, it would effectively be gone from my life. I'm not ashamed to admit I didn't sleep very well/much that night. As my dad was looking to set off early, we left the house at 6am, leaving a sad mother, and, to my complete disdain, three cats that were nowhere to be seen. No goodbye hugs or anything.After a short while of not doing much, and realising I'd left my phone in my red holdall (buried under all the "cargo") instead of in my to-hand satchel, with a loud, non-automatically-stopping alarm set to go off at 8am, I just thought "meh", took out my iPod, put on the Ochre playlist and fell kinda-asleep.At 8:20, I woke up to realise we were in a layby - dad had to stretch his legs. I seized the opportunity to get my phone out - despite his not hearing it, it was blaring away. It's only past this point that I was able to take photos (my phone's my camera). A largely uneventful "middle leg" of the journey followed - a second leg-stretch stop, a playlist switch to Owl City, and a level created in Innoquous 4 (for future me's sake, the level I made is called "Navarone").At this point I really wasn't feeling great. The mixture of the length of the journey (I'm not travel sick but I get really tetchy), and continued thoughts of how this was basically crossing that line where the latest stage in my life is over, made me nearly want to vomit. I drank some water and laid back, though never actually fell asleep again - though I did miss our crossing the England-Scotland border because of it.The shot of relief came from seeing the first road sign with "Perth" on it. Thanks to the golfing tournament, most inns were filled up so instead of getting one in Dundee, we went to the nearest town or whatever it is, Perth. Wasn't a big fan of the inn though. The room was nice, but the bar was really depressing. To my surprise there were dogs running about in it though (I have pictures of one of them, will upload when possible).So, the Monday morning saw us heading to Dundee. Without much time to find what is now my room of residence, we headed straight to the University of Abertay. My dad came up too to see the office (which would've been hell to find if it had not been for Mike Dailly coming down to lead the way!), and I set up the computer at my station. At 10am, we left to view the room. I accepted it immediately, which I assumed I would, and I headed back to the uni to complete the day of work.Upon returning, I realised I would be put into physical exercise jeopardy - all of my belongings (of which there's a LOT) had to move from the car to the room. That's seven flights of stairs, and repeated journeys both up and down them to move everything. I'll happily admit I'm big and unfit. So it was murder! It was a relief to get it done though, and an unorthodox way of meeting one of my flatmates (*pant* *pant* "hi..." *pant*).And that's pretty much it. My dad slept on the floor that night, then left early Tuesday morning. As we both somewhat lack outside emotion, and as I was still asleep, this consisted of the word "bye".Despite the aforementioned system shock that is beginning to fade but still is there, and the odd pang of sadness (which is nothing more than a pang. Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed or anything), I don't regret any of it in the slightest. The job itself is huge fun (getting paid to do something I've pretty much been doing for free for seven years? Yes, thanks!), I'm all set up in the room now (having today bought mobile broadband from the 0.04-miles-away Orange store, and a TV licence because I don't watch broadcasts, just play games on it, but whoever conjured up the TV licence concept is a bitch), and things just feel damn good. I'm in regular contact with my parents and friends, and the sheer amount of appreciation I've seen from the Game Maker universe regarding my position with the company is absolutely gratifying. If you're one of those that has commented positively on the Glog entry, Game Maker Blog entry or anywhere else, thank you.Here's looking forward to life.

Laptop by Allison James

A month since my last post? Preposterous!Anyway, I've been meaning to post. Honest. I was initially going to do one chronicling (looks wrong?) my time volunteering at Redgrave Community Shop, as a couple of weeks ago I ended my nine month tenure there. But my computer crashed on that last day and by the time I had it back up (which took a while as it's over four years old and showing its age) I didn't really feel like it. There wasn't much to say anyway.There have also been a number of other happenings since the last blog entry. I'll touch up on some now before the "main event".On the 15th May I celebrated my 19th birthday. I mainly got money (around £100 in total, with an extra £50 or so coming later or in cheque form meaning I couldn't get it very quickly) but also got a preorder of ModNation Racers and a few other things, including some old but lovely copies of such games as Far Cry Instincts on Xbox, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap on GameBoy Advance (win), and Call of Duty 1 on PC (also win).After staying up until 4am to play these for extended time, I was woken up three hours later by my dad asking if I wanted to go to Banham Car Boot Sale. Bleary-eyed and wanting bed, but realising that a nice supply of money + Banham Car Boot Sale = jackpot, I accepted. There, along with a couple of old GameCube games, The Getaway: Black Monday and a couple other throwaway items, I found an Xbox 360. It was £60 with a functional wired controller, a usable but dodgy wireless one, a headset, an additional component cable (basically old HDMI) and a copy of "Gears of War". I wasn't sure if I wanted it though. What if it was faulty and was a RRoD-bricked machine? I couldn't test it. But, thinking about all the games I wanted for the thing but never could get, I risked it. It paid off.I now have, along with Gears of War and a copy of the excellent Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City I also bought at Banham for £20, these games: Dead Rising (£8 - stunning game bar a few blasted flaws), WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007 (£2.30 - mostly to help complete the set, I now have 2006-2010 unbroken), Saints Row (£5, not very good, but to get some back story as I have the multiformat Saints Row 2 already), Project Gotham Racing 3 (£2.30, not keen but it has the slick Geometry Wars and Retro Evolved demo which both win hard), and Fifa 07 (99p, not played. Got it because it was 99p!). On other gaming notes, I got a copy of Amplitude on PS2. I've only been looking for a copy of this game for seven years (more than a third of my life) - when I held it in my hands it was gratifying, akin to Mario holding Luigi's balls.So, five days ahead and I got ModNation Racers. It was disappointing. After a couple of days loving it, I hit a difficulty spike and spent the next four or five slugging through the last stages with frustration beating out fun. Then I discovered it was region locked online. This means that, not only could I not play anybody else I know that owns it, but it also means that because 99% of UK MNR owners seem to hate ranked matches, I can never find one. So it's just lost all appeal.Lastly, here are the answers to the quiz in the last blog. 1. Kaitlyn. 2. SNES - I've never owned a NES, PlayStation was my second console and Megadrive was something I got in the PS2 era for retro laughs. 3. Yellow, and at the time it was entertainment perfection. 4. Wheelcage: Test & Win, though all four are levels I've published. 5. XIII - I own the other three on Xbox, though prior to having SSX On Tour on Xbox I did own it on PS2, and I have Metal Gear Solid 2 on PS2, though not the special "Substance" edition. 6. Bottom - I have no Young Ones, a quarter of the Fawlty Towers series, and the entire Blackadder collection on DVD. 7. Robert Rodriguez - did films such as Sin City, Planet Terror and From Dusk 'Til Dawn. Tarantino would be second, I doubt either of the others would be in the top ten. 8. Yellow, though in the past it's occasionally swapped with green. 9. Inflatable sheep. I have no idea if he was even aware what it was meant for. 10. Pair of pliers. It also has a keychain which is all too good at getting in the way of the goddamn pliers.Quick breather!11. Lopham. "Redgrave & Lopham Fen". 12. Lindstrom. La Roux inspired "La Rolloux", LCD Soundsystem did "Get Innocuous!" which was one of my addicted songs at the time of a particular gravity flipping game, and Padded Cell did "Signal Failure" which was, of course, a direct influence. Lindstrom did influence a game name, but that game got canned very early in so it doesn't count. 13. A Bug's Life. But I still like it, which is testament to how good Pixar are. Now don't screw up Toy Story 3, right? 14. Insert, because I hate that thing when you type and it autodeletes stuff infront of the cursor. 15. Crazy Taxi 2 on DC. I own Crazy Taxi on PS2 and CT3 on Xbox, and played the Dreamcast version of the original at a 1999 motorshow. 16. Goes Forth. The only series I don't like is the first. 17. Impaled it on a screwdriver, which in bloody retrospect was a bad idea! 18. The Matrix. The others are poor. 19. Jesus. 20. A woob woob woob Dr Zoidberg!Okay, so now that's done, the laptop. I've needed one for quite a while, given possible future needs to move house and that the computer I use and have done since April 2006 is a family desktop that's horribly outdated and unreliable. So, today, I ordered one. Total cost of £603.50, though without the reductions it would've strayed into £810-odd. To save the effort, here are the specs.

Module Description
Base Intel® Core™ i5-430M (2.26Ghz, 4Threads, turbo boost up to 2.53 GHz, 3MB cache)
Microsoft Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64bit- English
Memory 4096MB 1333MHz Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM [2x2048]
Keyboard Internal UK/Irish Qwerty Keyboard
Video Card 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD5470 Graphics Card
Hard Drive 500GB (5400RPM) Serial ATA Hard Drive
Optical Devices DVD +/- RW Drive (read/write CD & DVD) with DVD Burn software
Wireless Networking Dell Wireless 1397 Mini Card (802.11 b/g)
Cables 1 Meter Power Cord (3 Wire) - UK
Shipping Documents English Documentation
Gedis Bundle Reference N0655803
Standard Warranty 1 year Collect & Return Hardware Support included with your PC
Enhanced Service Packs 1 year of coverage included with your PC
PalmRest Silver chainlink palm rest – with Black Chainlink cover only
Order Information Studio 1558 Order - UK
Primary Battery Primary 6-cell 56 WHr Lithium Ion battery
Carrying Cases No Carrying Case.
Dell System Media Kit Studio 1558 Resource DVD (Diagnostic & Drivers)
Camera 2.0 Mega pixel Integrated Web Camera
Colour Choice Black chainlink
Accidental Damage Support No Accidental Damage Support
Online Backup DataSafe Online Backup 2GB 1 year
Theft Protection Solution Computrace LoJack for Laptops, 1yr license - included with your PC
Telephone Contact NO - Dell may NOT telephone me in relation to my order and related products and services
Labels Wireless Label CI5
LCD 15.6" High Definition (1366x768) WLED
DataSafe (Services Owned) Datasafe Local 2.0 Basic
Microsoft Application Software Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 (Word Starter, Excel Starter)
Protect your new PC McAfee® SecurityCenter 15 Month Subscription
Power Supply 90W AC Adaptor
Operating System Recovery Options OS Media MUI Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 BIT) Resource DVD

That's about all there is to say. Oh, it doesn't mention - it's a Dell laptop. Should be here in about two weeks - if I can get round to it, I'll put up my thoughts on it when it arrives.Anyway, that's all for now. See y'all!

Musical Tastes & Down With the Sickness by Allison James

Kinda related segments to the title but not in the sense I'm planning on using 'em.Recently I've noticed my musical tastes changing. I've got into a few bands I've heard and disliked in the past. Here's a few that I've become a fan of in the last month or two.3OH!3: First heard of this band as a band from a friend. He has a taste for stuff like this - an odd fusion of indie rock, rap elements and electronicky bits and pieces. Upon first hearing one of their songs as he was listening to them, which was about two years ago, I immediately took a dislike to it and dismissed the band. However, recently, another friend mentioned them and linked me to another of their songs, which I recognised from the radio (I don't like the radio much, my mum does though and car journeys are always accompanied by it). I took a chance on their album, "Want", and slowly grew into even the rappier of songs on it. Personal favourites, excluding the two singles Starstrukk and Don't Trust Me, are Colorado Sunrise, I Can't Do It Alone, and Photofinish.Crystal Castles: Same again. Heard it from the same friend, dismissed for exactly the same reason, and picked up a day or two again and started loving. I actually had a sub-stage in which somebody else tried to recommend me to them and I still wasn't a fan. But particularly their track Courtship Dating I now adore, and have their album, though have not really listened to it yet. Having said that, I still don't like the song I initially heard of theirs, Alice Practice. Also, I point blank refuse to get into Hadouken!. Just... no. o.o22-Pistepirkko: Though this isn't really one for the whole "musical tastes changing". Royksopp is a testament to my love of European pop rock. This one's mainly one track too - Just A Little Bit More. Or, in the band's Finnish accents, "Jus' a Leedle Beet More".Black Eyed Peas: I gotta feeling... that every time I listen to this band I feel guilty for betraying myself. As well as I Gotta Feeling, I also regretfully enjoy Pump It. My enjoyment of the former song originates from a CollegeHumour parody of it.Infact, it seems parodies get me into the original songs even when I don't like them. I've found the following songs (well, found I like them) from parodies also:Tech N9ne: In The RainJay-Z ft whoever: Empire State of MindOwl City: Fireflies(Can't remember her name - Estelle or something?): American BoyPlain White Ts: Hey There Delilah (another one I hate liking - ex related!)So as my brain descends/ascends/goes leftfield/goes less leftfield/whatever into the enjoyment of what I can't really place so will simply call "scene music", as in "seems to be enjoyed by people into the scene style", I move on to the second part of the title.Earlier today (FYI movement, cover your eyes) I was rather sick. As in, the literally keeled over being sick into the toilet. Worryingly, this has been mildly commonplace recently - I think I've probably been sick more during 2010 than I have 1991-2009 put together. I think my life really needs a reboot or something - less inactivity, better diet, less drinking that f*cking milkshake, less dwelling, more future. Not that I want to stop making games or anything.I'd love to go to IGF one year - depending on whether the age limit is 18 or 21 (I've heard both) it's a goal for either 2011, 2012 or 2013 (the year I'll be 21 for March-April, my birthday's in May)... at least. That also gives me a good 10-11 months to improve, because at the moment I don't consider myself skilled enough in game development (ideas - probably, skill - nah, effort levels - pathetic). Perhaps a nice break from having this 17" screen sitting a couple feet away from my face all day would help my motivation... but I don't know. The village I currently live in is absolutely crap for getting out because you exit the door, and you're presented with nothing. Well, I could go and play on the toddler swings or walk around the nature reserve about a mile away and watch a bunch of horses do absolutely nothing. But that sucks. Lack of transport (it's an awful place for catching a bus) means I can't readily get anywhere better either. I'm hoping like crazy I can get that job in Dundee and start life new. If it doesn't happen, guess my best bet is to find something similar somewhere close but not Redgrave.But, yeah. I think that's it... oh right... to be relevant to the very purpose of the blog for just one sentence, I made a game.See y'all.NAL  

The Purchase of the Weirdest Things by Allison James

As I mentioned yesterday, today I went out. Me and my mother went to a town around 12-15 miles away called Thetford... and we bought things. Well, she bought things for me. Being completely skint I can't really afford my own stuff, just borrow money from her and eventually pay it back when I'm less moneyless.So, here is the stuff I got today. Don't judge me.PC Gamer May 2010 issue 213 [£5.99] - this isn't weird, I get it every month. Thought I'd list it for the hell of it though.The Rise + Fall of ECW [£2.99] - from a charity shop, a 2-DVD set covering six hours of what happened to the old wrestling promotion ECW.Persepolis [£2] - a DVD of a film just a couple of years old, which I've been wanting to watch for quite a long time now.Red Sky crisps [£2] - two big-ass bags of crisps, Cheese and Bacon flavour, which will be stored for later consumption. This is only the start of the edibles.Bovril drink cups x24 [£3] - three packs of eight cups which you stick some hot water in to make an awesome drink that tastes nothing like the spreadable Bovril but is yummy nonetheless. It's kinda like beef gravy.Smarties Easter egg [£1] - why be on time for Easter when you can be late and get an extortionately-priced hollow piece of chocolate for a fair alternative price?Coconut Ice [50p] - the same shape and even the same colour as your standard piece of nougat. I'm not entirely sure if I'll like this or not but it looks yummy. I spent most of my life not really liking desiccated (sp?) coconut but recently I kinda got into it, so yeah. Plus it's full of sugar so it's automatically awesome.Spicy Balti Mix [49p] - a packet containing a spicy version of what is essentially Bombay mix. Bombay mix + spicyness = my drugs.Chilli Tortilla chips [79p] - will be saved until I can get my mits on some guacamole. That is the only way these can be consumed.Mint Chews [50p-ish] - a four pack of mints that are basically Mentos - same shape, same flavour, same tube length - but not quite as good. Still good though.Complimints [£1-ish] - a two pack of mints that are nothing like Mentos. These are more like those ridiculously expensive Smint things, but each pack is in a nice tin and contains rather a lot of mints that are small but powerful. Niiice.Chilli-coated peanuts [79p] - self explanatory. Just to be "cool" and "original" they're branded as "Nutz". With a Z.Milk Chocolate Mini Delights [50p] - one for the packaging gods, a card outer layer containing ten individually-wrapped chocolate "sticks" that are filled with a strawberry and cream kinda filling. Very tasty.Disco Biscuits [49p-ish] - Biscuity bit. Chocolate bit on top. Then with some UK-Smarties-like sweets on top. From memory they get sickly fast but when they're not sickly... mwah!Super Long Drinking Straws [£1.49] - 50 one-metre-long straws for long-distance drinkiery. Mum suggested they ought to be cut to size. I said no, I'll be using these puppies at full length!Blow Bubbles [£1] - One pound, six thingies of blowable bubbles. They even have a wand each. I mean, seriously, sweeeeeeeeeet! Child at heart and PROUD.So that's my little excursion's worth. Enough food to last weeks, enough toys to last days, and enough DVDs to last, like, as long as I like them. Will return to relative relevance with the next blog... maybe. See y'all!