A note on Tired Old Hack’s status during the rest of 2021

Well, hello there. It’s been a while.

Last year I went on a wee bit of a Twitter rant in which I explained that I was disappointed I’d only managed to write 26 articles on Tired Old Hack in 2020.

It wasn’t due to laziness or anything, mind you: it basically boiled down a number of things, most notably my daughter’s nursery closing down due to the COVID pandemic.

At the time I was working part-time and had hoped I would be able to spend a couple of days a week working on Tired Old Hack stuff, but when the nursery shut down my priorities obviously completely changed.

Artist’s impression of me taking care of my daughter

As part of my Twitter thread, I ended on a positive note, saying that everything was finally starting to fall back into place again, and that disruption was back to a minimum. I set myself a new goal: 100 Tired Old Hack articles in 2021.

The one you’re reading right now is the third.

Pardon my pessimism, but I don’t think I’m going to hit the milestone. But this isn’t a ‘woe is me’ article: quite the opposite, actually. The reason I’ve failed in my task is because life has continued to throw unexpected changes, and they’ve been good ones.

Because the pandemic rules allowed for childcare and because my mum used to be a professional childminder, she and my dad started looking after Serena as an alternative to nursery. In theory, because I was working part-time, this was going to free up two days a week for me.

I’d agreed to write two books this year: the N64 Encyclopedia and Jumping For Joy (my spin-off book about platformers). With two free days a week to hammer them, that would free up evenings for Tired Old Hack stuff.

The plan lasted a fortnight, because on 15 January I agreed to return to professional games journalism and work full-time for VGC. Yes, yer man is back in amongst it again. Look, we’ve even got a podcast and everything!

I’m so happy to be back doing what I know best again, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mess up my year a bit. Working full-time is great, but I had already committed to writing two books in 2021, under the impression I’d be working part-time.

Long story short, that’s why Tired Old Hack has flatlined this year: I simply don’t have enough hours in the day, and it’s the only thing I’m juggling that doesn’t have contractual or family commitments to it, therefore it’s the only thing that can realistically take a back seat.

Importantly, though, it’s a temporary one. I’m currently working on The Nintendo 64 Encyclopedia, with the aim to finish it by the end of the year, so the site will probably remain pretty quiet until it’s done because all my free time will be spent working on that.

However, Jumping For Joy was originally planned to be the first in a series of genre-based spin-offs. When I still thought I was going to be working part-time, the plan was to write a genre book, then an Encyclopedia, then a genre book and so on. The second book was going to be about racing games and I was going to start it in January 2022.

Now that I’m full-time again, I just can’t write two books a year. That’s crazy. So the publisher and I have agreed to scrap that series, turning Jumping For Joy into a one-off.

It’s looking good, mind

This basically frees up the entire year for me to write Encyclopedia 5 next year, which in turn will give me more free time again, which in turn will see Tired Old Hack returning.

When the site comes back in 2022, the focus will be almost entirely on retro gaming. Any modern gaming coverage I’ll be writing will be for VGC, with the exception of daft comedy stuff, which will be better suited to here.

Kartography will be back, the VHS Preservation Project will be back, loads of feature ideas I’ve had sitting waiting but haven’t had the chance to implement yet will still be coming too. I’ll also be doing retro reviews of games requested by Patrons (I’ve still got a list of requests from the first time I asked them, and will be doing those first).

And I’ll also be kicking off my ONM issue tours, which will see me taking you through every issue of ONM, complete with loads of brand new video footage as I re-review every game featured. Here’s the prologue for that if you haven’t seen it yet:

Long story short, then, the site is going to stay asleep for the rest of the year, with only a couple of exceptions (most notably the article that will let you pre-order for signed copies of the Mega Drive Encyclopedia: expect that in a few weeks, all going well).

Thanks for your patience, everyone. Please do continue to keep in touch on Twitter while the site’s having some downtime, and I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned next year once my schedule becomes manageable.

See you in 2022!

Chris x

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