Backlog Blues

Do you know that slight mix of dread and panic you feel as you work on something under a tight deadline? And how it increases as time moves forward? For some reason, I start to feel this way when I game. Rather than fully enjoying the game I’m playing, I start to wonder if I should be playing something else on my backlog instead. Or watching a movie or TV show. Or doing something more productive.

I didn’t used to be like this. I’ve never had any issues that I would describe as having a short attention span, or anything nearing attention-deficit. But for the last several years I find it anxiety inducing to do one thing for longer than a span of about an hour or so.

When I watch a movie, I often take a break in the middle and try to pick it back up at a later time. For episodic TV I sometimes watch one episode a month and struggle to get back to it. I’m not 100% sure what has caused this, but I have a couple of suspicions.

At work I’m the boss and second in command overall which means I’m on-call 24/7/365. I’ve had countless days at home interrupted where I had to drop all of my personal plans in order to report in. Certain periods are worse than others, but I have an almost PTSD reaction when my phone rings. It can get to the point of feeling like fate punishing me for trying to have my own time.

Secondly, I’m getting older. I don’t have as much free time and don’t view that time the same way I used to. This may get a little dark, but the older I get, the closer I get to death. I don’t mean to sound so blunt about it, but I’ve been at peace with and fascinated with life’s impermanence since I was a child. But unlike when I was younger, and life felt long and death felt improbable, I’ve turned some kind of corner where the years pass me by in what feels like moments. Doing any one thing for too long starts to make me feel guilty for using my time that way.

And lastly, I start to feel guilty when I’m not spending enough time working on my YouTube projects. YouTube is meant to be a hobby for me, and I try to keep that mindset. But my output is very slow. Maybe unforgivably slow. I have a number of people who truly like what I produce and I feel a bit of responsibility to not let them down. But I only devote a small portion of my free time to it. I could do more.

This anxious feeling when I’m doing one thing for too long isn’t necessarily new, but I feel like it’s been getting worse for a few years. My gaming backlog is so huge, there are so many TV shows and movies, I just feel disinclined to commit. There’s a joke about browsing Netflix for a half-hour and never actually picking something. This sums me up to a tee. Every couple of months I’ll spend an hour just watching movie trailers. I watch commercial compilations on YouTube. I secretly like when a show I like gets cancelled because it means there’s a finite number of episodes to watch.

I’m certain many of you can relate to some of what I’ve described. Please share your experiences or coping mechanism. And, yeah, this has taken too long to write. I need to go do something else. Take care!

Top.

I’m looking for a little help with my channel.

I’ve thought about doing something new with my YouTube channel for a little over a year, but I’m actually not much closer to making a decision than when I first thought of it. For that reason, I’d love to hear your input.

If you know my channel you know that my ‘Game Room Ideas’ series of videos are my most popular content. Of the videos I make, they are probably your favorite as well. Because of this I treat the series with a degree of care and importance. I don’t want to capitalize on its popularity at the expense of quality.

With that said, how would you feel about ‘community submitted’ Game Room Ideas videos? Basically, I’d open an opportunity for submissions, and then work with other creators to bring their idea to life in an episode on my channel. It would still be curated and hosted by me, but I’d be able to give attention to other collectors and content producers.

One benefit to this approach is that it could mean more episodes in less time. Plus it would bring a diversity of ideas and skills to the table.

I have a couple of qualms with the idea too. I could lose control over some aspects of production quality. Not that my videos meet the highest production standards, mind you, but I try to keep a certain level of consistency at least. Plus working with other people would bring new and as yet unseen challenges. And I don’t look forward to having to reject submissions either.

The last thing I want to do is dilute the series with subpar content. I’ve tried very hard to make every episode have a genuine purpose for existing.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this. I have a poll below, but I’d love to hear your thoughts in detail too. Encouragement is always appreciated, but be sure to consider it fully. I’d also like to know how this would affect your image of my channel. Do you predict any pitfalls that I should avoid? What do you dislike about this idea? Publicly you can respond here, or to the Twitter post; or privately my Twitter DM’s are open.

(A few final notes: While I’m seeking a variety of opinions, there’s no guarantee I’d proceed regardless of how supportive the feedback is. Please keep you hope in check. And if I decided to work toward this as a goal, I would see fall/winter as the earliest I could hope to get this structured and implemented.)

Internet fame and mortality.

I was very disheartened to learn of the passing of Dylan Hart; the occasional face, but mostly the brains and voice behind the YouTube channel Household Hacker. I’ve watched and enjoyed this quirky channel for years, yet I never knew much about the world behind the scenes, other than it just seemed like a few buddies having a good time making videos within a certain niche. With the way their videos were edited, there’s a bit of disconnect between the voice over and the voiceless people being filmed. I never got a full sense of who was in charge or whether the VO person was also one of the participants. Dylan was one of the people I recognized from video to video, so I kind of assumed it was his channel, but I never knew for sure. I didn’t even know his name and I didn’t have the scope of his contributions confirmed until his ‘in memory of’ video.

I’ve lost other internet personalities that were important to me as well. Grant “The King of Random” Thompson was lost a year prior to Dylan. I’m eternally saddened by his premature loss as well.

As much of a blow as Grant’s sudden death was, we at least have a wealth of content to look back on to help remember him. Grant went from being very camera shy in his early tutorials to eventually become the out-in-front face of his channel five days a week (before hiring other talent to spread the workload). I never met him, but by all accounts, he was the same exuberant person off camera as he was on. I have a very solid sense of the person and, even though it doesn’t make it less sad, that helps provide me with a bit of closure.

Dylan’s death is different. He was the main creative force, and the excellent VO artist for his channel, but he didn’t put himself out in front the same way Grant did. Certainly his personality bleeds through, but it isn’t quite the same as having a named presenter. At least not to me. I’m left with the feeling of barely knowing this person, even though I’ve been touched by what they’ve put into the world. It’s a feeling that’s a little hard to explain. I wish I knew him and could have appreciated him better when he was still alive.

And I’m a little afraid of doing the same thing to you, my viewers.

There are a lot of reasons I’ve chosen to be on what NESfriend‘s Travis calls ‘team #noface’ on YouTube. I’m camera shy, introverted, insecure; these personality traits have a lot to do with it. But there’s a little more to it. I don’t want my content to be judged on superficial traits. If I were the best looking person in the world, or the most charismatic (I’m neither, by the way), I wouldn’t want to be popular for these reasons. My doctrine when making my videos has always been that I want my videos to be judged by how good the ideas in them are. Not by who I am, not by who I know, and not by their production quality. I’m the presenter, but I’ve always wanted my ideas to be in the limelight, not myself. If my ideas can be liked, then that’s something I can actually be proud of.

But someday I’ll be gone. And when I’m gone, you may not even find out about it. And if you did, you may be left wanting to know more about the person that used to run that channel. And I don’t know how to reconcile this. I’m very much myself online, and I think I let enough of my personality out on my channel and on Twitter, but it seems there will always be some level of disconnect from not being on camera, and not using my given name online.

So for now, I will preemptively apologize. I’m sorry for what I choose to be private about. I’m sorry if you are ever left feeling lacking in connection from me. And I’m sorry that at some point I’ll die and the people on the internet side of my life my be left not even knowing what happened. I don’t know how to fix it. All I can say at this point is that I’m always grateful to anyone who takes the time to interact with me. You truly make me feel appreciated and accepted and I don’t know anything else a person really wants to feel from a community.

Be well.

Top

New series, Top’s Spotlight!

For a change of pace, and because it’s a format that I enjoy from many of my online contemporaries, I wanted to try my hand at the capsule review.  For the pilot run of five episodes, I knew I wanted to cover games that could easily be introduced and described in about a minute.  So I chose to show a few of my favorite mobile games that I think are overlooked, forgotten, or under the radar.  To keep them in one place, I present the initial five episodes here, Continue reading “New series, Top’s Spotlight!”

My podcast debut!

I have really exciting news to share! I was invited to be a guest on the DrunkFriend Podcast, hosted by YouTube’s SNES drunk and NES Friend. We chat about my channel and YouTube in general. Whether or not you listen to my episode, it’s a great place to hear conversations from creators in the gaming space on YouTube, Twitch, etc. So if you are interested in learning more about the creation process, or just want to hear interviews with people such as Cannot be Tamed or Friday Night Arcade, you really ought to subscribe.  Search DrunkFriend in your podcast provider of choice or you can listen to my episode here.

Thanks again!

The most narcissistic thing I’ve done so far.

I’ve had internet access since 1995 or so, but I largely kept to myself until my YouTube channel.  I haven’t been shy about saying that I’m introverted, and I viewed blogs and social media largely as a place for blowhards and egotists. 

It wasn’t until I started making regular monthly video content in mid-2017 that I decided to branch out into social media myself.  In that time, I’ve really favored Twitter as my platform of choice.  I didn’t start to use it with much frequency until 2018 or so, but now I count many of the folks I interact with there as internet friends.

To be fair, my overall opinion of social media hasn’t changed much, but with YouTube, Twitter, and this blog I have to count myself among the ego-stroking masses. 😝 At any rate, Continue reading “The most narcissistic thing I’ve done so far.”