Upcoming Feature: 2010s Retrospectives

Here we are folks, just two and a half months from the end of an entire decade. It feels like only nine years and ten months ago that I was a teenager going around to dozens of internet forums trying to figure out, scientifically, what the best game of the 00s was. (Here is the answer, direct from my teenage self.)

So to celebrate the fact that we made it another ten years in the history of humanity, starting in the next few weeks, I am going to be writing various articles about the decade, waxing poetic about all the good and bad and stupid and way more stupid things that happened. It’ll be about pop culture, the news, and my life wrapped up in those things. No topic is safe, as long as I’m willing to spend a few hundred words writing about them. I will be calling these articles, creatively, the 2010s Retrospectives series.

There’ll be a few more non-retrospective articles mixed in the next couple months, but the bulk of everything I post for the rest of 2019 will be about looking back on the past ten years. How many will there be? I’m not sure yet; I’ve developed concepts for a large number of them so far, but it depends on how much time I have for the rest of the year to actually write blog posts. Expect more than a handful, at the very least.

…I don’t know why I’m announcing this when this blog doesn’t have a single subscriber, but, hey, maybe that’ll change once ATL hits it big suddenly in the next week and gets a front page story on The Daily Dot or something.

NC Backblog at Ten Years

So, today marks the tenth anniversary of my first post on what became “The Backblog,” a blog that started as a way for me to post articles to show other users of the old Nintendo City Forums about some of the dumb games I was playing; I had a keen and strange interest in canceled, pirated, or otherwise obscure retro games, and finally had the guts to download all the ROMs for them and take screenshots.

Here’s the first post:

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Advice to Teen Writers

I wrote a forum thread post about this. But it got pretty long so I decided to share it on this blog too.

I was typing a reply about this on another thread, realized this was gonna get kinda long, and so I’m making a whole thread about it.

Here’s my advice to anyone in their teenage years who is feeling called to be a writer:

Write lots of stuff.

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Box Office Release Date Swaps: What If Captain Marvel, Alita, and Glass Switched Places?

I have had this past three weeks “off” work, in that I have to go to City Hall every day and sit there doing nothing but use my computer rather than teach any classes. So in all of my free time, I guess I’ll be uploading a few more random blog posts than usual. Here’s one right now:

File:Alita Battle Angel (2019 poster).png

Glass (2019 poster).pngFile:Captain Marvel poster.jpg








One thing I love to do in my spare time, probably my nerdiest and least-redeeming hobby, is to analyze the movie box office and see what movies are doing well, what movies are doing poorly, and how well the movies I love are performing. Even though I’m obviously most invested in what I care about most, I wish for the best for (almost) every movie, even though sometimes you just get pretty big failures out of nowhere.

In the case of the hypothetical scenario I’m about to write about, the first three months of 2019 were considered pretty terrible for the movie box office. There were a few hits– Captain Marvel, obviously, and then How to Train Your Dragon 3, but a few more big movies had major underperformances (Glass, Lego Movie 2, Alita, and now Dumbo) that have dragged the entire calendar down.

So I began to wonder one thing… what if the release dates of three of the biggest movies were swapped around?

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That Time I Predicted the Wii U and Switch Eight Years Ago (Part One)

This is something I locked away in the recesses of my mind until recently, but as I was stumbling around old computer files looking for something to blog about, I remembered that I accidentally predicted the future of video game consoles. I even posted about it in my high school-era blog, which you can read here.

It was April 2011, and I was thinking about the next Nintendo console, which I figured would be announced at the upcoming E3 press conference for a release in 2012. I figured what the essentials would be for a new system, what Nintendo absolutely needed to survive in the field after the Wii’s lagging end-tail sales, then what I thought might be able to be enhanced from the Wii era. That brought me to the idea of new controller designs, and thinking about how Nintendo loves to try new innovations, I ruminated on just what they might to to differentiate themselves.

Turns out, for all my teenage weirdness I was a bit of a prophet about the future direction of console video gaming.

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Attempts to Quit Social Media

First off, oh I don’t post on this blog very much do I? It’s mostly saved for when I have actual news to share, and there isn’t much of that at the moment. ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture is still running smoothly, somewhat close to ending its second big story and moving onto its third, whose title I will reveal somewhat later in the article… but only if you read on!

Nobody is gonna click this, are they.

OK now onto the actual blog topic.

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I got comments back from a friend…

It’s like Christmas morning for any writer, and this weekend I finally got back some beta-reading critiques from a friend on a novel manuscript of mine. Getting your story torn to shreds is always a fun thing to go through as you revisit it for the first time in a while. Highly recommended for all writers.


This friend is no mere commenter.

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It’s an old photo of John Malkovich that makes him look really smoking.

I have never considered John Malkovich in my pantheon of hunky male dreamboat actors, but it turns out that he ended up being relatively hunky in his early years after all, if this photo is any evidence.

Is it something about the combination of black-and-white and a suit, or was he actually just a good-looking dude back thirty-plus years ago? It’s hard to tell. But what I do know is this guy right here looks like he’s about to star in a neo-noir film about a dystopian future where the world is controlled by alien invaders who are mining the planet for precious resources, but John’s just a private eye trying to make it through the week on booze and cigarettes.

Also, he kinda looks like Ben Stiller. Weird.

The Eve of Cybermancer

Yes, as the title suggests, the eve of the Cybermancer is upon us. I mean, it’s more like five eves away if you really want to get technical, but in the spiritual sense, we are just moments away from the start of the new ATL story arc, Trials of the Cybermancer! Whoo-hoo!

I want to bring this up to talk about how the writing process here has been a little tough when it comes to Cybermancer, and how its evolution over time has marked my change in approach when it comes to the entire series as a whole.

You probably didn’t know this and couldn’t have even conceived of this before, but way back in the beginning, before ATL was even the title of the story, I had actually planned on writing it as a single novel divided into several short stories and multi-chapter novelettes that told independent, but connected stories all like one “season” of television. I was thinking something around 50-60 chapters, a 300ish page novel in paperback, and introducing the whole world and all its characters with some decent sequel hooks. The first story was going to be a 15-20 chapter-long Social Media Killer and that would take up about a third of the entire novel while also telling the most important story for the rest of the bunch to work. Back then, the story that would become Trials of the Cybermancer! was called “Four Dollars,” a silly filler arc intentionally designed to be a comedown from the larger-scale first story that works mostly to develop the world.

And then… well, the scope got bigger. ATL turned into a web serial instead of a novel, and stuff got more detailed. You know how it is; it was probably inevitable that it would happen anyway. So what was once a one-chapter filler story is now Trials of the Cybermancer!, which you’ll be seeing on your computer screen real soon.

As time passes and my idea of the story shifts, I really like reflecting on what ATL used to look like to me versus what it looks like now. It’s sometimes really funny to think of what has changed and what hasn’t!

For reference, here were the titles of the stories that were supposed to make up the novel that would become ATL:

  1. The Social Media Killer
  2. Four Dollars
  3. Embed
  4. Fascination
  5. The New Knights
  6. An Election and a Duel

Maybe you’ll see some of these titles come up again in the future, or maybe they’ll all fall into obscurity, never to resurface except in this blog post. Still, it’s nice to think about what might have been in a slightly-altered timeline.

Just don’t forget– Trials of the Cybermancer! starts on January 29th! It won’t just be a silly filler arc, I promise!