State of play: January 18th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: ZERO

Well, I dozed off on the couch before I could write this update.  If only i didn't have a real job, I wouldn't be too tired for this!

Didn't manage to fit in any work on the book today, because I was desperately trying to finish and send an interview.  I didn't quite get that finished either.... just need half a dozen more interesting questions then I can get it sent off.  It'll be another great addition to the book when it comes back, though!

As ever, I will keep you posted tomorrow as to how that goes, and also the work on the book.  See you then!


State of play: January 17th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 104

Interesting day today... the word count didn't increase by very much, but I've been writing questions for an interview I'm sending out soon, so I guess that counts.  I haven't included it in the total, though.

I've also been working on stuff for the upcoming issue of Reset magazine.  If you're not familiar with it, it's a free magazine dedicated to the Commodore 64.  It covers all kinds of things... games both old and new, interviews with all kinds of scene people and lots of news and previews.  I'll let you know when the next one is out!


State of play: January 16th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 589

So I moved on from writing the intro to writing about the first game in my longest interview.  It's a fun one to write about, because it's going to be in the book twice... once by its original author and once by the programmer who converted it to his machine of choice.

He says, cryptically.

Incidentally, for those of you wondering what made me consider these updates, it was the Diary of a Game features in the Newsfield magazines.  I used to love reading them and in fact, I still enjoy reading them now.  I know that these updates aren't *that* interesting, but hopefully you can see where I'm coming from with them.


State of play: January 15th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 104

Well, I lied about getting more done tomorrow (today).  I actually had an accidental nap when I got home, which tells me a lot about myself.  It hasn't helped, either... I still feel knackered.  I need to try and have earlier nights!

All I really wrote today was one paragraph.  It wasn't about a game, it was part of the intro for the person in question.  I couldn't help but re-read the whole intro to the piece again... it's always a great read!  I love the interviews I've got for this book!

I'll be back tomorrow with more...


State of play: January 14th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 176

I'm working on my longest interview at the moment.  The section I'm working on is currently at around 2,500 words... and none of that is about any of the games!

So, it goes to show that there will be a lot for you to read in this book. I'm not going to delve too deeply into what the non-game stuff might be about, but I promise you it's all interesting.

I'm going to try and work through this one until it's complete.  Sometimes I jump from one interview to another as the inspiration hits me... I might see a game by someone I've talked to and just fancy writing about it right then.  But it's nice to get a totally complete article in the bag (I do have some, by the way!), so I'll aim for that with this one.

Should get more done tomorrow...


State of play: January 13th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 267

Just a bit of tinkering today, as it was another long work day.  Well, not exactly tinkering but I didn't even manage one complete section.  Still, it's more words added.

I'm still confident that the total number of confirmed contributors at the top of each update will hit 40.  I still have quite a few out there that I'm confident of getting back, plus there are two more interviews I'm still writing.  I think that getting six back is realistic.  I'll keep you posted, of course...

 


State of play: January 12th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 645

Bit of a switch today as I hopped from one interview onto another one... my biggest to date, in fact.  There are lots of great quotes about lots of great games in this one, but then I can say that about all of the interviews.  Still, we're talking about some legendary games here, and I know you're going to be impressed.

That's about it really, I don't want to give any more away.  I'm sure you all love surprises, after all.  I'm going to be getting in touch with the stragglers soon... I really want to pull together my final list, so I'm going to do a "last call" on all those who have interviews that they're working on just to see that they still want to be in the book and to get their interviews back in for me to work on.  Once they're in, I can consider revealing the list of participants, although I have some great exclusives that I want to keep secret as long as possible...

 


State of play: January 11th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: ZERO

OK, this time I actually didn't do anything on the book.  Not a stitch.  I'm just really tired today for some reason, so I'm taking the evening off.  I'll just have to do double tomorrow...


State of play: January 10th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 114

Not the best of days today.  I ended up not being in the house very much ans when I was, I had stupid stuff like chores to do.  Horrible real world.

There are always going to be days like that, though.  Tomorrow is going to be horrible, I'll probably be out of the house for thirteen house because of work.  So don't expect a massive rise in the word count then, either!

Before I go, just a quick shout-out to Retro Asylum.  In their latest Bytesize podcast, they talk to Sam Dyer of Bitmap Books fame.  Sam was nice enough to give me a shout-out for helping out with his ZX Spectrum Visual Compendium book, and he's also giving away a deluxe copy of the book via Retro Asylum.  So go and listen to the podcast and get your entry in!



State of play: January 9th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 306

I fell into a bit of a funk today, so I spent a lot of time playing Driveclub on my PS4.  It's pretty good fun as driving games go... unspectacular, I suppose, in that it plays like most driving games.  It looks phenomenal, though.  It's not exactly photorealistic, but the courses look absolutely fantastic.

Anyway, I spent all of my writing time on just one game today.  In fact, I spent that time writing my opinion on the game in question.  That's a bit of a new thing, I haven't done that very much so far.  I haven't even decided if that's something I'll include or not, but I did get around to thinking that people who read this might not have played every single game I feature, so a short overview of each game might actually be a sensible idea.

Any thoughts on that?


State of play: January 8th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 161

Well I didn't get the early finish or hours of writing time that I was hoping for today.  I've also felt particularly tired for some reason, so I only worked on this for a little bit.  Still, a little is better that not at all, I'm sure you'll agree.  I'm still 161 words closer to finishing than I was yesterday.

Tomorrow has potential, although I have some work to do for Reset magazine and I definitely plan to do as much of that as possible.  If you're a Commodore 64 fan and don't know about that mag yet, you really ought to check it out.  It has loads of great features in every issue, featuring old games and stuff from the current (very active) scene.

I'm also going to be finishing up the interview I'm writing for a Speccy God, so it's definitely going to be a busy but fun day.  I'll keep you posted...


State of play: January 7th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 76

Bit of a deceptive word count today.  It's only increased by 76, but I've actually chopped out and rewritten a big chunk today, so I've written quite a bit and am much happier with the section in question.

I know, I know... that's probably not very sensible.  I should be writing what's not yet written, and then concentrate on any rewrites later.  That's probably what I'll do in the main, but I'm not sure... it's like rearranging furniture... you might realise halfway through that you don't like something so you go back and fix it.  That's what this was like!

Friday tomorrow, and I'm hoping for a short day at work so I can get back and do some serious work on this.  One by-product of doing a daily progress blog is that my mojo has picked up and my enthusiasm for writing is greater than usual.  That's good news!

 


State of play: January 6th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 2,458.

I have to make a confession... that word count is cheating a little bit.  A lot of the words have been copied and pasted from an interview, so they were already written by my interviewees.  Still, I have actually been writing my words to go along with it.  Those 2,458 words represent, by my estimation, about a quarter of the interview.  Sound good to you?

It was a bit of a weird day... I was back to work today for the first time since the Christmas break, so I didn't think I would get much work done on the book.  Then I remembered I was on public transport... an hour of free wifi in each direction would be handy.  However, I didn't feel in the mood on the way into work, and on the way back my phone's battery died.  That was annoying... the buses on my route have power sockets but unfortunately (and, sadly, as usual) they weren't working on my bus.  I'd forgotten to bring along my little Chromecast computer, so that idea was scuppered!

Not to worry, it turned out that I could be productive at home.  I'm happy with that!


State of play: January 5th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 1,662.

Now, that's more like it.  With the missus at work for half the day and one of the kids at school, I cracked on at a fair old pace.  To be honest, I don't have many days like today, but I do need to have more of them in the coming weeks and months.  Tricky, seeing as I have a day job!

Still, I'll take today as a success.  It's always enjoyable, at the very least, to write the narrative to go around these great games and great quotes.  I get a kick our of re-reading them every time!

I've also been writing that interview I was talking about yesterday.  I haven't finished it yet, so I'll probably crack on with it some more tomorrow, unless I get particularly productive tonight.  Actually, the missus is watching Celebrity Big Brother so what better time to do more work on this...?

 


State of play: January 4th, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 117.

Stop looking at the word count and judging me!

I know, that's not much progress.  In my defence, I've been writing out another interview today.  I didn't get it finished, but I wrote a lot of questions.  The little bit I added to the book came when I needed a bit of a break.  As I said yesterday, thinking up questions is quite draining mentally!

It's worth the effort, and I'm confident that I'm well on the way to having a set of questions that will provide another great interview.  I'm not telling you who it is yet, but they do have some very well-known games... and some much less-well-known games, too! 

I'm off work again tomorrow, and the plan is to finish and send that interview and then get back to working on a rather splendid and lengthy interview which contains some really good stuff you've never read before...


State of play: January 3rd, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: ZERO.

It might look like I haven't done any work on the book today, but don't be fooled by that word count.  I actually completed and sent a list of questions to another potential contributor.  I always call them "potential" contributors until the interview is returned and in the bag, because you never know what can happen once you've sent it out.  In all honesty, I've probably destroyed the enthusiasm of some with my horrible-looking Word document full of questions.

I've said it before: writing interview questions for someone's entire 8-bit career is actually tricky and time-consuming.  On the one hand, it's the sort of thing we've all wanted to do for thirty years.  On the other hand... you pick a favourite programmer, list all their 8-bit games and then write questions to ask about them.  See how you get on.  It doesn't always flow as you'd expect!

Anyway, it's another interview sent so I'm happy with my progress.  Tomorrow is probably my last day off work for the holidays, so we'll see how much I can manage to write in tomorrow's update!

 


State of Play: January 2nd, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34

Total number of words added today: 895

The obvious way to write this book is to take one interview and work through it from start to finish.  But it doesn't always work like that.  It's odd, but sometimes you want a break from one person so you move on to write a bit of someone else's piece.

I'm not sure why that is... trust me, there's nothing boring about any of this, as far as I'm concerned.  I think that maybe it's a case of shifting focus to get rid of writer's block.  Certainly, coming back to a piece after a break usually sees me tackle it with a new freshness.  It doesn't really help me to move this along at the pace I'd like, though.

That said, the person I'm writing about now is a terrific They Were Our Gods exclusive.  I'm going to try and focus exclusively on this one until it's finished.

 


State of play: January 1st, 2016

by Paul Morrison


Total number of confirmed contributors: 34 (by confirmed, I mean the interviews are returned)

Total number of words added today: 214

OK, so that doesn't sound like much progress was made.  Maybe you're right.  But it is progress, which isn't bad going for New Year's Day.  After all, I spent half of the day at my parents' house, and much of the rest of it working on other hobby-related stuff.  Oh, and there's also the temptation of my new PS4.  So to actually get any writing done is really a bit of a bonus.

Anyway, just a brief explanation... every day I will post an update a bit like this.  Sometimes, there might be very little to say.  But I'll always have those two figures at the top... the number of contributors is still subject to change, so keep an eye on it.  It represents all the completed interviews I have in the bag... there could be another six or so when all is said and done.

Actually, if all the interviews I have out there were returned, I could end up with sixty contributors, and that would be too many, so I'm almost praying that they don't!  Or at least, if they do, that they make it too late for this one and I have to start on a Volume Two...

I think that the daily updates might be in something like a diary format, but it will depend upon whether I've got much interesting to say or not.  Stick around though, and count down the days to release with me... I might add that to the top of the page, too, when I finally know an actual date!


The return of daily updates

by Paul Morrison


"Hang on, what?", I hear you say.

Don't get too excited... they probably won't be lengthy.  But I figured that it might be nice to do a sort of countdown, seeing as this is planned to be the year when I release this book.  So every day, I'm going to write a short post to let you know what I've done that day.

Obviously, I'm not going to give you too many details.  That would be silly!  But at least you'll see my blood, sweat and tears in black and white as the book fills in and moves toward completion.  Sound good?  Thought so.


Happy New Year

by Paul Morrison


Well, 2015 is coming to an end and my book isn't finished.  Don't be mad at me!  Please?

I'm hopeful that 2015 will be the last year when I can say that.  In 366 days' time, on the next New Year's Eve, you should all be reading the finished book, all being well.  I have the majority of my interviews in, although I am waiting for a couple of stragglers and some surprise last-minute inclusions.  But the interview content is almost there, so the sooner I get my bits done, the sooner this can take shape.

One thing I'm looking forward to is finally releasing the full list of contributors.  I believe it's a great and very interesting list, and I'm sure that you will feel the same.  Each contributor has given me tremendous material, I promise you that.  It's a joy for me to work with, so it should be a joy for you to read.

That's all for this coming year.  I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience and for sticking with me, and to wish you all a very happy 2016.  Finally, I'd especially like to wish our Gods all the very best, whether they've contributed to this book or not, and thank them all again for giving us such great times with our 8-bit computers.  Here's to them all!