September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – 512 Pixels

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by Stephen Hackett for 512 Pixels

…Josiah is special. When he was just six months old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

To be honest with you, his diagnosis feels like it was several lifetimes ago. It’s hard to keep track of how much he’s been through between surgeries and physical therapy and chemo and MRIs and feeding tubes and speech therapy and on and on and on. Cancer doesn’t give a rip about what you had planned; when dealing with a tumor, you’re on its turf most of the time.

Josiah made it through. He’s no longer a cancer patient; he’s a cancer survivor.

That’s thanks to the work being done at St. Jude.

Just like the title says, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Each September, the podcast network Relay FM (co-founded by Stephen), raises money and awareness for St. Jude’s mission to save children from cancer. As of this writing, they have already raised over $80,000 this year.

St. Jude does not charge the families a dime to treat their children. Donations allow families to focus on their children’s health, without the looming cloud of hospital bills.

From a network that has personally given me so much to an organization that has given countless hours of research and life-saving treatment, I hope you will consider donating. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to donate for the past two years. Every single dollar helps these kids.

Don’t miss out on the Podcastathon on September 18 either:

This month, you’ll hear about St. Jude across the Relay FM family of podcasts, and from 12-8 PM on September 17, Myke Hurley and I will be co-hosting the third annual Podcastathon for St. Jude on Relay FM’s Twitch channel.

I Hope This Video Doesn’t Suck – Razbuten

I Hope This Video Doesn’t Suck by Razbuten on YouTube

I made this mostly for myself, but you can watch it too.

I have been in a creative rut for most of 2021. That may sound odd, especially with my launching two podcasts, but all I’ve really come up with are those podcasts and blog posts. And I feel frustrated because I, too, have a list on my phone full of little ideas. Not only a list, but a notebook, and the back of my office door. I may not be out of ideas, but I am definitely beginning to feel overwhelmed by them and thought of executing them.

I need to reign it in. My brain is bouncing all over with plans to work on this and that. Projects get started and then stopped. Ideas are stuck in creative purgatory.

Recently, I played through Chapter Select Season 2’s first game, Death’s Door, and earned the platinum trophy in Castlevania Requiem (aka Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night). I was so zoned in on these games, with clear goals to collect and do everything each game had to offer. When I finished the platinum trophy hunt, I realized I didn’t have the next project/goal/thing lined up and fleshed out. I’m waiting to begin post-production on the first episode of season 2 before I dive into the second game. Finding a guest for The Max Frequency Podcast has been tough these past two months (although I do have some ideas for September).

Chasing the Stick, my history of Naughty Dog, is its own self-contained nugget of too many ideas. I have been paralyzed by ideas and “if I just got this piece of equipment.” The project has been filled with its own amount of failing to get interviews and make progress.

I feel paralyzed to make a real decision.

After watching Raz’s new video yesterday after work, I’m pretty sure my subconscious began working on my problem. I intentionally left the house last night and helped Abby with her own tasks. I did it because I needed a break from sitting around trying to decide which mole hill mountain to climb. We ended up watching Back to the Future and Part II. Despite bringing along my notebook for working on my ideas, my brain was totally not swimming in the Idea Sea.

It was right before bed that I think I came up with a solution, which I understand is fundamentally another idea. My subconscious found an answer and brought it to the surface.

My ideas are big. I need to break them down. I need to build up into the big ones. So, I’m going to try and break them down. I’ll create smaller pieces of them, publish them, and move on to the next one. Sort of like when I was hung up on a name for The Max Frequency Podcast: I wanted a great show name before I started. That small element was stopping me from doing the show. I ended up picking the simplest name and then actually began producing the show.

Instead of ideas that take months of work and skills I haven’t fully developed, I need to tackle shorter turnarounds and develop those skills. Honestly, that’s the approach I’ve mostly had with Chapter Select. I suppose I’m adopting that across all my projects.

To semi-quote Raz: I wrote this mostly for myself, but you can read it too.

Halo Infinite Should Be Delayed – Comicbook

Here’s Why Halo Infinite Should Be Delayed to 2022 by Logan Moore for Comicbook.com

From the outside looking in, it just doesn’t seem like Halo Infinite is ready to release this year. While many other publishers would feel a need to rush their games out because of fiscal calendars and such, Xbox has already shown that it’s bucking the traditional release format as it is. With Xbox Game Pass becoming the main way in which Microsoft wants consumers to interact with its first-party titles, getting a game out before Black Friday, for instance, doesn’t carry the same weight as it would to another publisher. So why is there even so much urgency to ensure that Halo Infinite releases before 2021 comes to a close?

Logan nails exactly how I have felt about Halo Infinite since E3 2021. Clearly, there is pressure to get this game out. I imagine they feel multiplayer is in a good enough spot to release and start raking in the money from battle passes et al., since the whole multiplayer suite has switched to free-to-play. The game has cost hundreds of millions to make alongside the new Slipspace engine and Microsoft clearly wants to start recouping those costs.

Where it truly feels rushed is when considering that this game was supposed to launch last year, presumably with all its features in tow. Now it is coming in hot to December with two keystone features on the back burner for 6 months. I think they just need to delay the game and release 1.0 in a completed state. The game may be “living,” especially with its free-to-play nature, but launch is important. I know I won’t be playing the campaign until co-op launches.

Halo Infinite feels like it is going to be launching in a “early access” state.

It’s not too late for Microsoft to pull the plug on December 8. Honestly, I could see them doing that. They clearly had no confidence in a date for E3, but do for a massive RPG (Starfield) to give its date a year and half ahead. The would tease fans during their own Gamescom stream to turn into Opening Night Live. Microsoft just doesn’t seem to have any confidence in their biggest IP (all right, maybe their biggest IP before they bought Skyrim). It’s not a good look. A poor, incomplete launch won’t look good either.

Also, I promise this has nothing to do with a prediction riding on Halo being delayed again.

Exposing Fraud And Deception In The Retro Video Game Market – Karl Jobst

Exposing FRAUD And DECEPTION In The Retro Video Game Market by Karl Jobst on YouTube

You may have seen last month a copy of Super Mario 64 sell for $1.5 million. I even joked how my mostly sealed copy of Ocarina of Time could make me a millionaire. Well, Karl Jobst has dug into how the market has spiked so dramatically in the past couple of years all thanks to WATA Games and Heritage Auctions.

Karl’s research and reporting is thorough and damning. This video is well worth your time.

This helps explain (along with a spike in collecting due to people staying home during COVID-19) why game prices, even for loose games, has skyrocketed.

Since March 2021, I’ve been on a Pokémon game collecting kick. I know it is poor timing given the franchise’s 25th anniversary is this year, but some of the prices I have seen just don’t make sense. In March 2019, Pokémon Emerald was roughly $40~ loose, $100~ Complete-in-Box (CiB). Two and a half years later, it is $90~ and $400~. Pokémon Diamond was $15~ loose, $20~ CiB. Now it is going for $30~ and $60~, with a peak of nearly $100~ earlier in the year.

GameCube games have blown up. Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes has doubled. Billy Hatcher too. I understand those aren’t super popular GameCube games, but these spikes have never happened before.

This upward trend is clearly influenced by WATA Games grading and these extremely high, anonymous sales at Heritage Auctions. These auctions and grades are inflating the market until it will, eventually, burst.

Just the other day, I snagged a copy of Pokémon Silver at my favorite local shop. The owner shared with me how the prices have shot up and that even they have to pay heftier prices to get the trade-ins for their business. He talked about how just a couple years ago the Pokémon games were $20 maybe $30 a pop, now much more in the $70-100 range.

This also appears to solely be impacting the North American market. The same games for Japanese or European consoles have kept reasonable prices. Pokémon Diamond from Japan is selling for $35~ CiB. Emerald is $76~. That same store I shop at has all of Gen 1 and 2 cartridges for Pokémon at or below $30. If the game’s were for the North American market, the prices would double or triple.

Excellent reporting and research from Karl. I hope this bubble bursts sooner rather than later.

I Swear I Didn’t Know

Death’s Door Thoughts and Impressions by Me for Max Frequency

Hunting bosses down for their souls, reminds me of, well lots of games, but Titan Souls specifically comes to mind. I dabbled on Vita back when it came out.

Guess who made Titan Souls?

I had no idea that developer Acid Nerve made both Death’s Door and Titan Souls. I only found out today when I looked up the soundtrack for Death’s Door and the composer’s are the same person – David Fenn– aka 50% of Acid Nerve. David is their producer, designer, composer, and sound designer. Mark Foster is the programmer, writer, designer, and animator.

Out of all the kill-bosses-for-souls games, I chose to compare two from the same developer without even knowing.