My 2018 Thanksgiving ‘state of the Simon’.

It’s been a little while, and it’s roughly turkey time in the U.S., so I thought it might be good to give some thanks – while going over some of the many projects I’m currently working on, circa November 2018.

(Actually, I just updated the ‘You Might Know Me From’ page with two of them, which shows I’m making a difference, right? Or just flitting from one to the other, I guess! In all seriousness, I’m trying to concentrate on doing things that add value. So this rundown should be a good test. And it has arbitrary ratings!)

– Game Developers Conference – this is a given, because it’s a fairly large chunk of my dayjob at Informa (GDC parent company). We’re gearing up for the 2019 show (March 18th-22nd) with a bunch of smart/actionable content live already, a FINALLY done with construction Moscone Center, a number of special projects (many via dynamic new GM Katie Stern, some unannounced, though the GDC Film Festival & alt.ctrl.GDC are back!) We’re also working hard behind the scenes on initiatives around issues like inequality/homelessness in SF, our current host city. SCORE: B+

– Black Hat – another decent chunk of my dayjob, and actually I’m off to Black Hat Europe in the UK later this week (also taking the opportunity to visit the family in South London during some downtime!) The entire team headed by Steve Wylie is veteran & has many of the best practices down re: presenting the best trainings/research, operational smartness, and all that good stuff. Love working with them on maintaining that quality, brand extensions & more for 2019 & beyond. SCORE: B+

Video Game Deep Cuts – this now has a mini-section on the site, but basically, I’ve been through almost 120 of these newsletters – which feature “the best longread & standout articles about video games, every week”, mailed directly to your email address, and also crossposted onto Gamasutra later that weekend. It requires a lot of information-crunching – often from eclectic sources – to put the thing together, and it’s something I’m likely uniquely suited to. Which is why I’m really enjoying it! SCORE: A-

No More Robots – also now with a mini-section on here, it’s been going well! As an advisor/investor in this indie publisher, the relative success of the first couple of No More Robots titles, downhill mountain biking game Descenders & post-Brexit bouncer simulator (!) Not Tonight has led to an expanding team. And I’ve learned a whole bunch about working capital, VAT, & the back ends of various game sales websites thanks to helping out behind the scenes. The team headed by Mike Rose (now at 3 & rising) seems to have it sorted from here, but I’ll still lurk & help as I can! SCORE: B 

Prisoners Literature Project – well, we’re managing to keep up with answering & providing free books for the 300+ letters we get per week at the ‘books to prisoners’ charity that I help run finance, social media/website & some organization for! (Though now other programs got Pennsylvania’s unfair ban partly reversed, we may be getting a lot more letters again soon.) It’s super enjoyable to help, though as you can imagine, everyone is VERY busy in the Bay Area, so wrangling more seasoned volunteer help sometimes gets complex. But it’s working! SCORE: A-

MobyGames – not going to lie, this project (for which I help with community & site updates) has been a bit rough. We’ve done some great stuff recently like adding magazine advertisements, and you can see some of the fruits of that on our social media. But the coder who was planned to do a new version of the (20-year old!) site unfortunately doesn’t have the time. And the existing site puts an onus on manual approvals which are good for accuracy, but very time-consuming to keep going. Ah well – myself and site owner Reed will keep truckin’ on it! SCORE: B-

– Personal life – you know, that thing that isn’t any of the above? Actually, seems to be in a really good place right now, thanks to a SLIGHTLY less workaholic-y schedule. (Yes, really – I’m way better than I used to be when I was running GameSetWatch in addition to a dayjob.) And I’m really enjoying spending time with family, exploring the Bay Area and beyond, and being a father of a demanding (& very active, haha) toddler. So, definitely… SCORE: A

Otherwise, have to say I really dropped the ball on The MIDI Tiki Show, but maybe I’ll get more videos up onto YouTube soon! And I’m still helping Frank Cifaldi on plans for the Video Game History Foundation, but in a much more abstract way. Aand… there’s probably some other stuff that I forgot? But that’ll do for now…

[Pic at the top of this post via our visit to the Autumn Lights Festival in Oakland a few weeks back!]

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