Friday, 27 February 2015
In Britain on your one hundredth birthday amongst all the cards to fall through your letter box is one with a royal crest. Without doubt, reaching 100 years of age is a massive feat, an occasion so grand that The Queen herself sees fit to send you a card. I don't think there is a British Retro Game Blogging equivalent to The Queen, but if there were, I wonder if reaching 100 posts is a sufficient enough achievement to warrant a card from them?
It's difficult to talk about personal success without sounding arrogant, but I do think reaching this post milestone is cause for celebration. Other blogs I've looked at often fizzle out around the thirty post mark. The blog author’s declining enthusiasm for their writing hobby can be quite easily tracked based on their upload frequency. What starts as two posts a day dissolves into a post every three months. Typically the one goal of these infrequent posts is to remind their audience that they haven't died and that they are still devoted to documenting their gaming adventures. Sadly though, despite their claims to the contrary, their interest isn't really there anymore and it's depressing how often the "I'm not dead" post becomes the last thing a blog author uploads.
I can't blame them, maintaining a blog is hard work. Anyone who starts a website thinking it'll make them rich will be sorely disappointed. Even with 45-50,000 views a month Boxed Pixels doesn't cover its expenses, meaning I actually lose money writing it. The income I get from advertising is actually so minuscule it doesn't even pay for the cost of the domain name and certainly doesn't mean I can live a lavish lifestyle. With the financial return so disproportionate to the amount of effort required, I imagine many writers simply don't see the point. There are exceptions of course, but anyone wanting to get rich and quit the 9-5 job by blogging will be let down.
If you can’t get rich from it, writing, therefore, is something a blogger must do while continuing their normal career. It's something you must make time for in a busy life filled with work, child care and of course actually playing games. For me, it's harder to find time to write when not working though, as Boxed Pixels is something I do while on the train. Without those two hours a day to put finger to keyboard, getting the opportunity to document random thoughts on old games is a struggle.
Perhaps this is why it has taken nearly two years to reach this 100th post, averaging one post a week. With each of these posts varying in length it's hard to say exactly how many words the blog totals but when an average is 2000 words it's a body of work I'm certainly proud of.
When I started I never really thought that two years later I would still be writing random observations about obscure old games. If I had I probably wouldn't have pledged to post weekly, as at times meeting this goal has been a bit of a strain. It isn't something I can promise to maintain but even after writing nearly a quarter of a million words I still have lots I want to say about retro games. Fortunatly, it seems other want to read these words and I continue to be blown away that now over a million people have visited Boxed Pixels. It only seems fitting therefore that if people are regularly coming back to the blog, they see something that looks attractive.
To mark the double celebration of reaching the hundredth post and passing million page visits, I have enlisted the help of two creativepowerhouses.
The first Adrian Lo Monaco, has been described as "one of the most exciting new pixel artists to emerge on Deviant Art in recent years". We are united by our mutual love of the ‘Ace Attorney’ games which is no doubt fairly obvious in the character portraits that have started to appear on the site since the New Year. The goal of the new look was to create a contemporary version of ‘Total!’. In this nineties Nintendo magazine, an overriding feeling towards a given subject was presented in a single character sprite at the bottom on the article. This idea is something I hope will be replicated on Boxed Pixels. Much like the magazine several "themed" sprites have also been made for specific games.
These sprites have also been used by Richard Otlet to create a video introduction, just in case I ever put some video content out. I know Richard from work but more than 14,000 subscribers know him as Webber101 on YouTube. I can't say I'll be joining him on YouTube any time soon though. As I spend 10 hours a day editing TV shows at work, the thought of doing more at home isn't that appealing to be honest. However, it's nice to have the option to do some videos one day especially as anything I upload to YouTube will have a snazzy intro to match the amazing Pixel art done by Adrian.
To conclude this massively self indulgent 100th post, it only seems fitting to thank the returning visitors who seem to visit each week. It really is quite humbling that everyday more than 1,500 people read something I've written and I do hope that the next hundred posts maintain the interest.
Thank you all so much, and just in case it wasn't obvious: "I'm not dead!"