In which I may have made a slight mistake

I still haven’t really decided if I’m going to return to an hour of new videos a day once the Elden Ring series ends tomorrow over on YouTube; you would think that my use of the word tomorrow in that sentence would imply some urgency, and you might also think that the existence of a Let’s Play thumbnail right there on the screen might imply that I had, in fact, already started another series! I have. Sorta. I’m two episodes in, and then I got distracted by Infernax, which is more fun than it has any right to be, only that game is only like six hours long and I’m already most of the way through it and I haven’t been recording any of my playthrough because I’m currently kind of tired of that. So I need to finish up this game before I pick up that game and I already don’t remember where the hell I was or what the hell I was doing and did you know that the way the Xbox handles family accounts is bullshit? Because it kind of is.

There will probably be a whole post on that, once I figure out how they think this bullshit works.

Oh, and also Cuphead, which I’ve settled into a nice little boss-a-day schedule on, although I think my video game skills are going to top out before the game does. I don’t remember the last time I played a game and thought “I can’t beat this,” but this might be the one.

This is all to say that I have been playing Infernax pretty much nonstop since dinnertime and I have to write an assignment for my shitheads students tomorrow (I used the phrase “rude-ass child” to refer to one of my kids today, and when she threatened to tell her mom I told her to go for it and that the conversation wasn’t going to go the way she thought, and I don’t feel the slightest bit of remorse over it) and I probably ought to do that at some point. Then again, I get to work 40 minutes early most days. That’s plenty of time, right?

… right?


In which I am inconsistent

Do you know what I did when I got home from work today?

Well, okay, I ate a pile of Arby’s. But after that?

Yeah, I fired up fucking Elden Ring again. I only played for a few minutes, but there was this one minibus I hadn’t killed yet, and … well, I wanted to, so I did. I am currently trying to decide whether I want to go ahead and dive into New Game + or hold off in hopes of being properly leveled for the inevitable DLC, which hasn’t been announced and probably won’t be released for months yet. I think the answer is probably “dive into New Game+,” except for … everything I said yesterday, which is all still true even if I’m apparently too dumb to act like it.

Today went well, I suppose; there are 31 days of school left as of right now, and I’m being observed tomorrow. I should probably figure out what I’m having the kids actually do during said observed lesson. I’ve never actually done an observed lesson by the seat of my pants, though, and if there was ever a time to do that just for the hell of it, the last month of my boss’ time in the building is probably it. He’s not going to give me a bad observation. He’s just not. I know this, which allows me a certain amount of freedom. That, and the fact that even if he did give me a poor evaluation I don’t think it would actually matter to anyone.

(I’m not going to do that. I’ll come up with something. We’ll see what it is, though.)

Let’s see, anything else? I wrote a post about the Expanse series a month or so ago, and while looking for books to compare the Expanse to, I commented that I’d never read any of Iain M. Banks’ Culture books. That wasn’t 100% true, as it turns out; I have owned the first book, Consider Phlebas, for long enough that my single, aborted attempt to read it doesn’t show up on Goodreads anywhere. I decided to take another shot at it and finished it the other day. The good news: I can’t figure out why I put it down all those years ago; the bad news: that doesn’t mean I thought it was especially good. I’ve heard that Phlebas is among the weaker Culture novels if not the weakest, so I might go ahead and try the second book anyway. Anybody out there have any observations to make? If I didn’t like the first Culture book, should I continue on anyway?

A Genuinely Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: I finally beat ELDEN RING

I finally– FINALLY managed to put Elden Ring to bed just now, after a completely ridiculous 122 hours of gameplay over roughly a month and a half (the game came out on February 25) of my actual life. I’m not doing the math to figure out how many hours a day that represents; I can tell you I did actually take a couple of days off here and there, but not many.

Here’s the review: this is easily one of the best games I’ve ever played, and I’m probably never touching it again. Now, there are plenty of other games I’ve put more than 120 hours into– there are other Fromsoft games I’ve put more than 122 hours into (Sekiro and Dark Souls III, definitely, and while they aren’t Fromsoft, Nioh and Nioh 2 as well) but those have all been on multiple playthroughs. Even something like Skyrim, which is legendary for the amount of content it contains, wasn’t close to 122 hours on my first playthrough. 122 hours is twice the length of a really big game, and I am one hundred percent certain that there is a ton of stuff left to do in this game that I left on the table– even if it’s just as simple as the fact that I was playing a strength build and so I went basically the entire game without casting a spell. I’m sure I missed dungeons. I probably missed entire quest lines scattered here and there, and who knows what other little landmarks or interesting bits of content I just never noticed.

It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t play video games just how big this game is, and how– much as I predicted, about 90 hours ago– that kind of scope ends up actually being detrimental to the game. Because, okay, this was my first playthrough, and subsequent playthroughs won’t need to be nearly as long, because 1) I really won’t feel the need to do every single thing that I can possibly do on a second playthrough and 2) Since I know the general layout of the world and the basic path for exploration I won’t need to do as much fiddlefarting around as I did on the first playthrough, where there were big stretches where I didn’t really know what to do next so I just sort of wandered around until I stumbled over something. So I’m not in for another 120 hours, but even 50-60 for a second playthrough of something I’ve done before is just a big investment of time. That’s literally multiple days of playtime. Like, I loved it, it’s delicious, but if I eat any more I’m gonna throw up, and that’s not what I want.

I am uploading the final batch of episodes now; episodes 88 and 89 will go live today, so that’s 22 more episodes, meaning that the last episode will air on the 21st, since I don’t intend to bump up the release speed at all. I need to decide what I’m doing with the channel now; I’m closing in on a year that I’ve been doing this (I started in June of 2021) and I was really hoping that this series would goose my follower count a bit. I started the series with 116 followers on YouTube. I currently have, after 88 episodes of what at least to me seems like quality content about the hottest game on the market, have … 116 followers. I think a year of an hour of content every single day— I didn’t miss a single deadline once I started– is probably enough to determine whether I’m 1) going to blow up or 2) want to blow up on YouTube as a platform. I think the first answer is no; I had heard all kinds of stories about how follower counts pick up a lot once you get your 100th follower and your first video with 500 views; I’ve done both and they haven’t. The second … I’m tired, y’all. Video games and reading are my two big leisure activities and I effectively converted one of them into a job over the last year and I’m really not sure I want to keep doing it. I’m going to take those eleven days and play a game or two and not record at all, just to see if I feel differently about it, and we’ll see if I pick things back up in a couple of weeks (I could always just finish that year out and make it official) or if I decide to walk away from the channel for a while. I mean, I could always just record stuff when I want to, or cut down on the recorded episodes and do more livestreams or something. There are avenues in between “keep doing exactly what I’m doing” and “completely shut down.”

Elden Ring, 35 hours in, and the channel

First, the I’m-maybe-a-third-of-the-way-through review: Elden Ring is phenomenal, a towering achievement that has all sorts of interesting things to say about its predecessors from FromSoft and the notion of “open world” gaming to boot; this is one of the best games I’ve ever played on any console, and if my opinion ends up changing on that front it will be because ultimately there ended up being too much of it and it got overwhelming.

What’s killing me is I’ve got the next two games for the channel on deck already, and they’re both also huge, and I recorded episode forty-seven tonight for Elden Ring and … yeah, I’m maybe a third of the way through. Maybe. This is going to dominate my channel for two months, easy, unless I increase the number of episodes per day that I’m airing, and even then I could see it going two months. Three episodes a day for 60 days is 180 episodes. That’s not unimaginable. And I’m regularly crushing my typical 30-minute limit because breaking every half hour just doesn’t make sense the way the game is structured– there are no missions, like there usually are in an open-world game, so there’s not a situation where you can go do something and it takes 20 minutes and it’s discrete. There’s always a tower in the distance or a cave to explore or a new boss that’s killed me five times in this episode and I’m pretty damn sure I can kill the motherfucker with one more try, and it leads to longer episodes. The cool factor is off the charts. I’ve already used the word overwhelming once; it’s absolutely the right word.

What’s a real pain in the ass is feeling like I’ve got to record it all. I started the channel last June, so we’re at about 9 months now, give or take, and I’ve been rock-solid about not missing episodes that entire time; at least two a day, with occasional but rare 8:00 episodes as well. I’ve got 115 subscribers; I was led to believe by the Internet that subscriber counts would start rising more drastically once I hit 100, and so far that hasn’t happened, and … I may be getting tired of waiting. I mean, the chance that this was going to lead to any kind of money was slim to begin with (it is worth pointing out that that 115 followers puts me in the top 5% of YouTubers globally) and the channel definitely has some fans, but having to spend an hour a night or more locked in my office playing video games and occasionally dealing with tech or editing hiccups which takes even longer is kinda getting old. I think I remember what the boy looks like; he comes in occasionally to ask for money.

I dunno. This could just be the tired talking, but I’m starting to feel like the work/fun balance in this whole thing is starting to tilt too much toward work, and I might need to reevaluate some things. I’ll finish this series out, so it’ll be a minute, but I need to think.

(I uploaded four episodes while I was writing this, by the way.)

Well, crap

I have recorded, as of ten minutes ago, twenty-five episodes of my Elden Ring series. I discovered before doing tonight’s recordings that episode 22 has just … disappeared. The audio files are there, and the folder is there, but the recording itself? Gone. Anybody out there wanna recommend some good Mac file recovery programs? I can’t imagine how the hell I might have deleted just the .mp4 file out of that folder and kept everything else; that doesn’t adhere to anything about how I manage game files, but it appears to have happened, unless what actually happened is I made the file invisible somehow, and showing invisible files on a Mac is literally just a button-press and it’s not happening. So I need to see if I can find it.

It’s actually been a decent couple of days at work; I can proudly report that I have been to school three whole days in a row, and am planning, like a grown-up, to attend tomorrow as well! And if I pull that off all I have to do is go to work on Friday and then I’ll have shown up a whole week in a row!

It’s madness, I know.