This was the other topic that I wanted to start a blog for, although it took decidedly longer than I thought it would to get done. Almost seems pointless now, considering this one was actually a bit time-sensitive, but here goes anyway.

In July 2008 (I forget the date) I attended what  my first ever press event, although it wasn’t for Strategy Informer as it happens. I was sent to this rather posh hotel in the heart of London, and I didn’t really know what to expect. The first person I saw was this rather tubby, sweaty guy who worked on another gaming website and I couldn’t help but think “Way to help the stereotype there”. Mean, I know, but I was nervous and my mind often shoots off random garbage when I’m nervous.

I was there to see Dungeon Hero, a rather generic looking RPG with a rather interesting story, and it was being developed by the same guys who made the Stronghold strategy games. A rather odd move, everyone agreed, but I did my interview, wrote it all up, and that was that. I never heard anything from GameCock (who went bust the following year), or Firefly Studios after that. It’s a shame because with some work done to it Dungeon Hero could have been something special.

Over two years later, two things happened to me this year that felt oddly significant to me. First off, I went back to the same hotel, to the exact same bit, for the first time since that first day, although in this instance I was previewing Tron: Evolution. Shaping up to be a good game by the way, especially for a movie tie-in… I might dibs that one for review.

Second, I met Michael Bradbury again for the first time since that day as well, although this time I was at the Studio’s headquarters in Clapham, and I was there to see Stronghold 3. It seems that, despite GameCock being bought out by SouthPeak (who themselves were in quite severe financial difficulties until just recently), Dungeon Hero had been put on the back-burner, so they instead went back to do what they do best – Castles. Stronghold was one of those game that I’d never played before, but I tried my best and you can read what I thought of it here.

It’s strange to think that I’ve been doing this for over two years now. It’s hard to rate or value yourself in an industry that’s so fragmented that it’s hard to compare yourself to any sort of standard. Obviously magazine and high-profile website work is what you could be aiming for in terms of a sign of accepted quality, but aside from that it’s hard to know whether or not the work you do normally is actually any good, or whether you’re growing as a writer. The Managing Editor thinks I’m a good, which is something, but apart from that I haven’t really had any feedback.

Reflecting back on that first meeting with Simon and the second, (poor guy look much older and more haggard), and even reflecting on my first visit to Soho and the second, I think I’ve definitely grown into this space though. On a personal level, I’m way more confident than I used to be, I’m socialising and making friends easier, and there’s a core group of people who I always enjoy hanging out with. On a professional level, I consider myself always and amateur, always learning, but I do think I’m good at what I do. Good enough, anyway. Obviously I’ve touched upon where I can improve a bit with Operation: GBTD.

It’s certinaly been an interesting ride so far though, and I looked forward to the next two years and beyond, whatever challenges they may bring.

Until next time…

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