So 2019 has been a big year for me, and more to come!

JohnHQLD Site Background

The only constant this year has been change

As I said on Monday in Last Week’s Gaming, there have been a lot of going on for me over the last few days.

The main cause hasn’t been work for once, but I am moving again. That’s right – twice in one year!

Our current home has been sold to make way for units, but luckily we got a new place pretty quickly. This does mean a lot more activity over the next couple of weeks, which puts us right up against the holidays.

What does this mean for the site?

So because of this, I am going on a break a bit earlier and a bit longer than normal. Between the physical move, setup, lack of internet etc, I think it’s the best choice.

I am hoping to get a review up on Friday for Terminator: Resistance, but no promises. I don’t think I will get it finished before the move now, so it’s hard to review what I haven’t finished!

There will also likely be infrequent Last Week’s Gaming articles, as for at least 2 weeks I probably won’t be playing anything. Anything I do play though I will throw up on Instagram and maybe Twitter, with the odd random Facebook post to keep things happening.

Yeti hunting in the Puzzles will continue as normal though, as I have a few weeks primed already 😀

I am thinking I will bring things back to normal from the 13th of January. This will give me plenty of lead time to get things happening and maybe finally some of the new projects as well!

That’s a big break!

Yep, it is. And I am sorry it’s late notice for such a long break, but everything has been up in the air and moving close the holidays will surely bring some more suprises. Planning for the unexpected hoping it’s enough!

As mentioned, there will be infrequent bits and pieces happening, so keep in touch via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and I hope you all have a more relaxing time than we will 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

An unexpected break while the site is being reorganised

JohnHQLD Site Background

I know this is short notice, but I need to make some changes

Hi everyone.

I know this is a little sudden, but it’s more sudden on the front page of the site than if you know me behind the scenes.

JohnHQLD.com started as a bit of fun and as a cathartic experience that I genuinely enjoy creating for.  What started as some loose goals formed into the site you have known, and I have lots of plans and projects that I want to do with the site going forward.

As with anything, one factor you need for something like this is time.  Every activity needs it. When JohnHQLD.com first started, it was an excuse to force myself to make time to do something I love – gaming.  My opinions, rants and summaries have been some of the sites most popular content – but I just don’t quite have the time to do them anymore with the current format.

Things have been happening in the background that I have been trying to balance, and that balance has tipped almost past the point of no return in some areas.

It’s nothing bad or ominous, just the ‘normal’ work/life balance issues that we all have to deal with.  Work turned around and is going really well in letting me have my personal time balance back.  There are some new exciting things happening that will be big, but they aren’t 80-100 hours a week projects so that will be good!

But I started looking at how much time I was looking at keeping the site the way it has been, and I am essentially working another 15-25 hours a week on top of my paid work to do the close to daily content of the site.

Big Trouble in Little China On The Table
Getting games like Big Trouble in Little China has been worth it, but they take time

And this time doesn’t include the time it takes to actually play the games in question.  As all gamers know, finding the time to play bigger games like Big Trouble in Little China can be very difficult.  It’s not just a case of ‘Now I have time to sit and play’, so do 2-3 other people at the same time.  While I have enjoyed the part game we played on games night, I am nowhere near playing it enough times to do a formal review on.

And it also doesn’t include the extra 20-30 hours a week I want to devote to doing new things much more regularly on the site.  And that is part of the trap I have set for myself – in finding more time to do what I enjoy, I have managed to put myself into a second full-time job.

Time isn’t the only trap though – I have caught myself steering to what I think will be popular content or stopping myself from playing other games for the sake of the site.  For example, I have been holding off my Chronicles of Crime review as I had the Kickstarter copy well before retail channels could sell it.

When I started the site, I wanted to use it as a tool to go through my shelves and have a repository of my thoughts on the games.  This meant reviewing games that have been out for some time and in today’s ‘Cult of the New’ publishing mentality, I have come to realise how unfair this can be.

What is the point of reviewing a magnificent game that makes someone need to have it in their lives only to discover it has been out of print for 5 years?

Take Forbidden Stars for example.  A game I really want to play still (I have only had a half game so far), but because Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop split it may never hit shelves again.  That makes it feel more like an in memoriam than a review 🙁

Forbidden Stars Setup
Something like this may come from the Games Workshop / Wizkids deal, but it won't be Forbidden Stars

Instead of clearing my shelves, I have added over 150 titles that I haven’t had time to play at all.

So hey great I have a great games library – but I haven’t played almost a third of it the way I want to.  And when you are looking at more than 700 titles (not including expansions) – that’s a lot of regret and pressure sitting on a shelf looking at you.

So what will the new plans be?

Honestly – today, I’m not 100% sure.

  • Last Week’s Gaming is fun and reasonably popular on the views, so that will stay. Formal reviews will be intermittent rather than Tuesday and Friday, at least for the short term.
  • What I might do are mini-reviews based on Last Week’s Gaming?  I need to work this out during the break, but I like this idea.
  • Kickstarter news that I just started getting back into the groove with will be when I back something or when I am really opposed to backing something. That will be being cut down as I need to really limit the new games I am adding to the library.
  • Podcasts will stop until I can set up a more permanent recording location, so they will be largely on hiatus.
  • The weekly puzzles – these might actually increase in regularity, and have one video game and one board game related?  I find these fun, and stem from brief flashes and doodles.

I really do want to get into video content, and I have recorded almost all of my Kingdom Hearts 3 and Resident Evil 2 gameplay in preparation of video reviews.  The problem already is this is about 60 hours of footage to review and edit, and that is only 2 games!

Later in the year I should have a better setup for capturing both audio and video content, so all these plans are being put on hold until then.

The one thing I am 100% sure of is the site will continue, and if it was a sportsball team this would be a rebuilding season.  The overall goal is to come back better again.  We have done it once, it can happen again 🙂

To help with this, this will be the last regular update until Monday, March 18th.  This will give me the weekend to do the things I just need to do and have a chance to talk to people and sound out some ideas.  The first article back will be what I have decided on, and hopefully some timelines as well.

Upcoming Plans
Between GoG.com and Steam, there are plenty of old classics to relive and more to play for the first time! And I will be doing it on video - well that's always been the plan

So once again, I do apologise for the late notice and apparent stop on the site.  It just worked out this way behind the scenes. This is something I have been musing on for about a fortnight already, but I don’t think it’s something I can delay any longer.  Stepping away from the ‘have to have something up for tomorrow’ and pushing new projects aside will be the best thing long term I think.

Thank you for all of your support, it really is appreciated and I hope that the changes will be something you enjoy going forward.

Until the 18th,

JohnHQLD

Closing down a bit over the Holidays!

Vacation

Well, that’s been a year, hasn’t it?

JohnHQLD.com relaunched on the 29th of January, 2018.

So technically, publicly, this has been going again for around 11 months.  But what an eleven months this has been for me.

Some things I didn’t quite get off the ground as I hoped.  Video is still something I want to do, but I couldn’t quite get the handle on I was hoping for.

The podcasts though – both JohnHQLD Blatherings and Clear, Concise Ramblings – went better than I could have dreamed.

Sure, we won’t be winning any awards soon, but the reception and feedback have been positive and there are tweaks coming in the future as well.

Being able to share the chats I have with Alpal in the Ramblings has been fun, and it is something that we enjoy doing.  Still, need to nail the sound recording process, but it’s getting there!

Blatherings Banner
Regularly talking out some game thoughts has been a great experience

Kickstarter news has taken a bit of a nosedive, which is unfortunate.  I still keep an eye on Kickstarter, but not as much as I used to.  This is something I am hoping to address in the coming year and fills in that little void on Thursdays.  You knew it was there for something!

But reviews have taken off, and are also being well received.  From a ‘when I can’ to a regular twice-weekly affair, this is probably my biggest time achievement in regards to the site.

The Wednesday puzzles have also been a lot of fun, but they could be evolving again early next year – let me know if you want them left ‘as is’ or would like to see something different!

There is also a new feature that has become surprisingly popular – Last Week’s Gaming.  These mini-snippets into our gaming experiences I thought would be a bit of fun, but have started turning into something more.

Fireball Island 20181210
See the sights, take happy snaps, and don't forget to explore! Oh, did you get hit by a lava ball? Have a free souvenir!

But as much as I am happy and pleased that I have been able to bring you something five days a week, there is something I am a lot prouder of.

Thank you for finding a random link somewhere and coming to have a look.  Thank you for staying, and thank you for joining in.  It sounds cliche, but without you reading this there is no point to me writing it, and I am happy that we can be taking such a journey together.

Hopefully, now, you are starting to wind up work and prepare for the gauntlet that is the holidays.

I know I am, and I am working at clearing the decks as much as possible to continue to grow the site and community next year.  To do this though, I will be taking a little time off from the site over the holidays as well.

So from December 23rd to January 7th, I am going to be taking a bit of a break from updating the site.  The puzzles will be staying, as is possibly Last Week’s Gaming, but Reviews and Clear, Concise Ramblings will be away for a couple of weeks.

Vacation
That image of an Aussie Holiday. Yeah, not going to happen 🙂

During this time, I will be doing a few things.

I am looking forward to spending time with loved ones.  A couple of days or more will be cataloguing and starting to clear out the gaming pile (Yes, there will be the inevitable ‘shelfies’ once I know what I have again!).

There will also be a concerted effort to getting ready for a couple more large changes in my life next year, not the least of which being moving house.  There is nothing as carefree as moving after the better part of 6 years!

I also hope to be finalising plans for a better setup of my video gaming stuff.  I don’t know if I will have time to implement these plans, but this will hopefully make recording and spoilers! streaming easier.

All in about 9 days.  Why do they call these HOLIDAYS again?

During it all, I will be randomly posting things on Facebook and Twitter, so don’t forget to follow me there as well to see some shenanigans happening!

But that’s my plans.  I hope you enjoy whatever you get up to over the next couple of weeks, even if it’s just enjoying a bit of quiet time at work while everyone else is away!  As always feel free to send me a message showing off what you are up to over the holidays as well – if it’s on Twitter though don’t forget to @JohnHQLD me!

Once again, thank you for joining me this year, and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.  Even if this year has been a short one, it’s been a great ride and I look forward to continuing 🙂

All the best, be safe and enjoy, and once again thank you.

JohnHQLD