July 17, 2012

The Journey Ends

It's hard to believe that little more than six months ago I had never even considered the possibility of writing about games. It's funny to see people coming along now assuming I'm some kind of old pro, but the reality is that I'm just thing guy who happened to have a lot of opinions and could string together a mean sentence. On a less funny note, I won't be stringing together sentences anymore, as I'm going to have to stop updating the site.

In theory, the concept behind the Backlog Journey was simple. Take some of the hundreds of games I unwisely bought on Steam, play them, and then write about them. The point was to build a portfolio, a sort of website resume that I could send potential employers towards as an example of my work. And it did work, albeit in a rather roundabout way. Bundle reviews were an afterthought, but quickly became the most dominant and popular work on the site. This was great in many ways, since it brought a lot of traffic to the site and allowed me to write for other websites, but also rather challenging due to the extreme time commitments enforced by the rapid ballooning of the bundle phenomenon.

It definitely took up a lot of my free time, which is basically what wound up capsizing my writing career. Despite my general upbeat demeanour, my home life is, for lack of a better word, completely fucked up. For nearly ten years I've been suffering from what's now been diagnosed as clinical depression, which flares up at the worst times. While on my best days I felt like I could really make this work, the rigours and stress loads of writing and managing a website, even a tiny blog, took a huge toll on me.

Without going into details, a rotten series of events has occurred which means I lost a huge chunk of my funding and can no longer finish school. The vast majority of websites require at least some kind of postsecondary education to be hired as a full time writer, so that is now impossible. The alternative would be to try to work on my own site with ad revenue, but I have made a grand total of six dollars and twenty one cents since the site began, and I haven't made a single cent for the last month. It's simply not possible to live off of freelance writing alone at this point, and I don't think it would be possible to continue doing it on the side since I'm likely going to have to start working two minimum wage retail jobs just to keep up with rent.

So the site is going away for a while. I'll certainly leave everything up, and I'm going to be renewing the domain name for the foreseeable future, but I'm giving up on writing for now. There's still a handful of reviews to go up on New Gamer Nation, but aside from that this is it. Maybe one day I can get back up and try again, or perhaps I'll find someone who can take my blog concept and run with it. For now, I'm off the grid.

Cheers to everyone for making this a fantastic experience, even during the bad times, and I really do appreciate all the positive feedback and really wonderful comments from readers. You all helped make an unhappy fellow into a very happy game reviewer, at least for a little while. Thanks for playing along with the backlog.

11 comments:

  1. Going to miss your posts. I'll probably end up saving what I can for my archives. I hope to see you around. Best of luck to you.

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  2. Colin, it's been a pleasure working with you these past months. The end of the Backlog Journey will probably leave a big heart-shaped hole in many a gamer's heart, so thank you so very much. (This is no goodbye, though, no worries. Right?) Anyway, wishing you all the best etc., things will get better, because they always do. Cheers, and see you around.

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  3. i've really enjoyed your writing; sad to see you stop. i hope you'll find a way to finish school and get where you want to be.

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  4. Yeah, I never really cared about the backlog. Had this been solely about that, you would have had a nice niche with a few people who were really interested in it. By going almost solely bundle-review, you carved a greater niche, one that's never been filled, one that everyone who follows suddenly realized they desperately needed. Yeah, for one person, it's definitely stressful. Finish one bundle, two more pop up. I don't know many people who could do it, aside from professional reviewers. It's like writing up E3 impressions, but year-round. Crazy.

    I can safely say you sold me on at least $40 of bundles I probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise. I'm sorry you saw less than $7 for your efforts. Many could possibly consider it whining, and I would agree if we were still talking about backog stuff. But bundle reviews? Yeah, you deserve more.

    Maybe it'd work better with two people working on seperate sets on bundles. One person does Humble and Indie Royale, another does IndieGala and BeMine, and they'd split the wildcards.

    I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a site hire a full-time bundle reviewer in the next year. Until then, good luck with retail, and I hope things get better.

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  5. That's a real shame, man. I only recently discovered your blog but I found it thoroughly entertaining and I genuinely valued your opinions on the games you reviewed.

    I hope things go well for you in the future and if you ever decide and manage to get back into writing about games then I'll gladly give anyone a recommendation for you :)

    All the best.

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  6. This is really sad and I frankly loved your work; hope things get much better for you very soon and, of course, that you return to game writing. Also, I might have an idea or two so if care to hear them do drop me a line. Oh, and one of them ideas is, well, why don't you try a round of donations?

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  7. Really sad to hear. :-/
    Hopefully everything turns out OK for you in the end.

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  8. I wish you all the good luck, and that you feel better. I know how horrible it is to have depression, I hope losing touch with your readers won't discourage you. I'll keep my subscription to this rss and any time you feel the need to drop a line I'm sure many people will be here. Success for you! <3

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  9. That is incredibly sad Colin, you are a great writer with tremendous insight into gaming. This is truely a loss, not only for you but for those that enjoyed your work. I will look for your work on New Gamer Nation and I hope you keep writing in some form or another whether it is here or elsewhere. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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  10. Thanks for everything bro, since I discovered this site, I've been visiting frequently. Keep up the good work in real life too, don't give up! :)

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Hey. The one rule for comments is common sense. I'm pretty relaxed about it, so just be cool and polite. Cheers!