Last October I posted an article called ‘Tired Old Hack: a word on the coming months’.
It explained that I was about to start work on a new project that would “take up a massive chunk of my free time” and that as a result the number of articles on the site was going to take a hefty knock.
Six months later, that project – a 190,000-word book – is now complete. Expect more information on that in a while: there’s still some work to be done by the publisher before we’re ready to share the news and I can start trying to convince you lovely swines to pre-order it.
That’s news for the future, then. The news today is that – now the book’s finished – Tired Old Hack is back up to full speed again, meaning you can expect far more regular and varied articles instead of just the occasional reviews and podcast episodes I was posting during the site’s downtime.
So what can you expect over the coming months?
A site revamp
In case you haven’t already noticed yet, this one’s already started.
The site’s had a slight refresh: nothing too dramatic but there are a couple of new features in there to make things more useful.
There’s now a site search on the sidebar, something I never had before but folk were always asking about.
In the coming days there’ll also be an enormous new Site Index page. People have been telling me they don’t like the fact that articles on the site are essentially lost to time once they drop off the main page, because nobody can be bothered traipsing backwards to see what my previous articles were.
The new index will list all my reviews, videos and other articles, split into categories, which will better let you see everything that’s ever been written for Tired Old Hack. There’ll also be a section on my freelance work, so you can follow links to articles I’ve written for other sites.
Essentially, I want to make sure you can always see everything I’ve written at a glance, so you can peruse the archives any time you’re looking for something new (well, old) to read.
Finally, the old logos have been retired and replaced with a bunch of new ones. I may bring some of the old ones back in the future, but for now here’s a look at all the new logos that’ll be randomly appearing at the top of each page:
I mean, reviews are still my thing so I’m clearly not going to ditch them now.
Expect more review round-ups of Switch eShop games and the like, similar to what I was doing shortly before I stopped to focus on the book.
I also want to add more reviews of lesser-known games on other formats too, including digital-only releases on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam.
I want Tired Old Hack to be the site to cover games that bigger sites don’t prioritise because they won’t draw enough traffic: since this site isn’t designed for making profit I have the luxury to be able to write about less prominent games and not worry about hitting certain targets.
Full-sized reviews of single games are also still on the cards, mind you: I’m hoping to get reviews of Labo and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition sorted, all going well.
One of the few advantages of the ‘old’ bit in the site’s name is that, as someone who’s been around long enough to remember the days of 8-bit gaming and everything that followed it, I can provide retro articles that come with a degree of heart on top of the research that anyone else can do.
It also means I can pull some fairly obscure shit from the depths of my memory banks, so expect my retro coverage to be more than the usual “hey remember A Link To The Past?” stuff you might get elsewhere.
These won’t just be coverage of single games, either: it could be anything, from elements of gaming that no longer exist to specific moments (like when you could play as Darth Maul in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 for no apparent reason).
Long story short, I want to go retro in a big way: it’s my speciality, and I want to build on that in the coming months.
It’s almost as if the book will complement this decision. But that would be too much of a coincidence, I suppose.
For those who don’t know me, I’ve dabbled with film reviews in my spare time for seven or eight years now, over on my other site That Was A Bit Mental (which was also ‘relaunched’ right before I started on the book, meaning I’m going to have to relaunch the prick again).
My film reviews may not exactly be Empire or Total Film – game reviews are clearly still my area of expertise – but I still have fun writing them in my usual conversational style and I’d hope that comes across when you read them.
Despite this, I’ve never been sensible enough to put two and two together and review video game themed films on Tired Old Hack. That changes now, starting with a review of Ready Player One later this week.
I’m not just talking new video game movies either: I’m going to be trawling through the depths (and they’re pretty deep) of past game-to-film adaptations, with a review of the Super Mario Bros movie on the way soon.
More long articles
I continue to believe that the long-form articles on Tired Old Hack are the ones that best sum up the site’s main principles: quality content, all on one page, with no ads.
I’ve had loads of positive feedback on my longer articles – especially my 30 Best series and my Complete History articles – from readers who appreciate massive, meaty articles with no extra clicks and no annoying ads or slideshows getting in the way.
This will continue, although naturally their lengthy nature means they’ll be less frequent. The 30 Best series will be resuming, as I continue to share my favourite games of all time on a per-system basis.
Meanwhile, in May I’ll be completing The Complete History of Street Fighter, an article I started last year before the book project started, and one that’ll be timely for the 30th Anniversary Collection coming to Switch, Xbox One and PS4 at the end of May.
A few months from now I’m also going to be posting a lengthy article covering a retro topic I’ve always thought would make for a great read but one that nobody’s ever covered.
When you aren’t regularly adding new articles to a site, your mind is free to wander a bit more. As such, over the last six months I’ve been coming up with a number of sillier articles I want to try writing for the site.
Anyone who knows me knows I prefer the less serious side of things: even in my reviews I want to try to make sure you’re leaving with not only decent information, but a smile on your face too.
These articles I’ve been coming up with range from silly to frankly ridiculous. I’ve got a Trello board full of them: some will go well, others may fall flat. But they’ll all be stuff you won’t see anywhere else, for better or worse.
Think of it as the sort of thing I used to write for the Nintendo Gamer site in the nine months I worked there, such as my video lesson teaching you how to paint a shit Spanish fresco in Art Academy.
The website’s hiatus meant less regular episodes of the Tired Old Hack podcast too. Now that the break is over I want to make these far more regular.
I’ll be aiming for one a week, but at the very least I hope to have one a fortnight. They won’t always have guests: sometimes they’ll just be shorter podcasts with me recapping the week’s gaming news, other times they’ll be longer ones where I’m joined by a guest.
I’ve also had a few folk asking if Louise is going to continue co-hosting with me sometimes. Absolutely: any time she feels like it, she’ll join me for it.
The VHS Preservation Project
Another project I started before the book turned up, my VHS Preservation Project is going to be continuing in a big way.
I’ve still got loads of gaming VHS tapes to digitise, remaster and upload (in both commentary and non-commentary flavours).
These include a huge batch of tapes generously donated by a Spanish reader, and some tips videos from the likes of Amiga Power and Mean Machines Sega.
I’m still passionate about preserving as many of these old tapes as possible: if you have any old gaming VHS tapes and want to help by donating some, please check out this page for more information.
Long-time Tired Old Hack readers will remember Gemhunter, a video series in which I played through old forgotten and ‘shovelware’ games in the hope of finding a hidden gem.
Gemhunter will be coming back in the near future: I’ve got a load of games sitting here waiting to be scrutinised.
As ever, the vast majority will turn out to be garbage, but that’s the fun of it. Besides, it makes the rare times I do actually find a gem all the more rewarding.
If Gemhunter’s passed you by so far, you can catch up on all the old episodes here.
It’s been a while since I’ve done regular gaming streams, but I want to get back into it soon.
In keeping with the nature of the site, the majority of these streams will be for retro or more obscure games: there’ll be no Fortnite or Rocket League here because I’m not trying to compete with others who stream those games.
The aim with my streams isn’t to show you how good I am at the games you’re already playing anyway: it’s to show you stuff you haven’t seen for years, or (ideally) haven’t seen before at all.
I’m talking stuff like a full runthrough of anti-drugs NES game Wally Bear And The NO! Gang. Weird shit like that.
Finally, annoying though it may be, I’ll be taking another break in the second half of June. The reason’s a sound one, mind you: Louise and I will be having our first baby.
Naturally, when yer girl Scullion is born I’ll be focusing my entire attention on her and her mum for the weeks following the birth, and I won’t be touching the site until we’ve settled into things and are able to get into some sort of routine.
I’ll let you know when that’s coming, but it won’t be another six-month break like the book was so hopefully things won’t be disrupted too much: maybe just a month or so of downtime while we figure out the baby’s tutorial stage.
That’s it (for now)
So there you have it Tired Old Hack is back, and it’s onwards and upwards from here.
Finally, just a quick note to my Patreon subscribers: thank you all so much for sticking around and supporting me financially during a period when I wasn’t able to give you proper value for your money.
I really appreciated your help, especially given that I had to turn down freelance work while I was writing the book: your Patreon money made things a lot more manageable.
Expect the Patreon to see loads more activity and behind-the-scenes stuff now that I’m back on track again.
For those relatively new to the site: Tired Old Hack has no ads, and all its articles are on single pages. This is a site where the reader’s convenience is the central focus, and as such I make no ad revenue from it whatsoever.
My Patreon folk help me cover costs and help to keep the site running smoothly: it not only pays for my hosting subscription, it also covers a monthly subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.
The fancy site logos? I did those in Photoshop, because my Patreon money made it possible. Same deal with all the video content on the site: Adobe Premiere, innit. And when I get a bit more free time I’m going to look into maybe doing a PDF magazine using Adobe Illustrator.
If you want to support the site but can’t commit to the Patreon, that’s completely fine: there are no hierarchies here. If you read an article you especially love I’ll have my PayPal tips jar button thingy at the bottom of every article for anyone who wants to keep my Irn Bru fund topped up.
And, as ever, UK readers can do their Amazon shopping using this affiliate link to help knock back a few pennies my way too at no extra cost to them.
Of course, if you don’t want to do any of that, the site remains free to read and free of ads for everyone, and that’s how it’s going to stay.
Friends old and new, welcome back to Tired Old Hack.
But you’re neither old nor tired.
That’s up for debate
The new Sonic banner is slightly reminiscent of the old UK Resistance header. Here’s to those blue skies!