Sunday Thoughts: 23/11/08

The Backhander

Mid week I recieved a heavier-than-usual parcel from the friendly (but ever-so-slightly smelly) postman.  I had no idea what it was, but recognised the PR agency’s label and hurredly tore open the packaging to reveal an old metal tin marked “Barlow Biscuit and Crackers” seemingly from Buffalo, New York.  Sony have never been shy with the promotional stuff for their big games, but for whatever reason I had absolutely no clue as to what this could have been for.  I shook it, and the contents banged around, probably now broken.

Five minutes later (and one broken tin lid) I was in.  Inside was a birth certificate for a Henry Douglas Stillman, born 1916, a sepia-stained photograph, some form of school exercise book, a couple of tickets to a movie, a series of creased flyers for what appeared to be the American Air Force and a newspaper dated October 31st 1952.  The headline read “Chimera Invades USA!”  Ah, Resistance 2.  Sure enough, tucked under the newspaper were two minature 45s, with (obviously) Blu-ray disks inside.

As far as setting the scene goes, Sony had done their job.  I rushed over to the PS3, pushed in the game and settled back to enjoy the follow up to my favourite PS3 launch game, all the while with the odd, rusty smell from the tin lingering in the background.  This, then, is what I consider a ‘perk’ of running a site like this.  Yes, it’s the same game that you’ll be able to pick up on the shelves next Friday, but it’s encased in a seriously cool box that (presumably) is quite limited.  Think of it as the special special edition.

But as far as perks go, that’s pretty much it.  Michael and I have worked together on a few sites in the past, not always PlayStation brand based, and although we’re still 100% behing TheSixthAxis it’s not always easy to find the time and motivate ourselves to the extent that perhaps we should be.   Thankfully, we’ve now got a great bunch of people willing to help write stories, we’re constantly trying new writers like TheRealCelShady (writing anonymously) and seeing the comments from our visitors is certainly rewarding enough (please use the star ratings, they help us decide what sort of stories you like) but for the most part we just rumble on day after day without really changing anything.

Naturally, recent highlights like Andy Torr’s sublime TSA Towers masterpiece makes us feel really proud of our little community, but with viewing figures now higher than SCEE’s semi-official outlet ThreeSpeech it’s not always easy to find the money to keep the thing running without some form of advertising.  To hear comments like “it’s ruining the look of the site” really messes with us because when you’re shifting as much bandwidth as we are doing there’s not really any other way to do things, and it’s not like we’re the only ones.  We considered pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-behinds and pop-tarts, but thought that custom-designed background images fitted the site quite well.

And then there’s news like this.  I’ll not comment on what’s prompted this rant, but we’re not naive to thing that this sort of thing doesn’t go on – we do pride ourselves in reviewing games with utmost honestly and integrity.  Never have we been paid, bribed or similar to increase (or decrease) a game’s score – what we score a game out of ten is genuinely what we think it deserves at that given point in time.  It’s the same with our news.  As I’m sure you’re aware we do speak to Sony (and most other major publishers) and although we’ve only ever held back a story once or twice (and removed just two, I think) we’ve never been explicitely told to edit anything, and that will remain the case.  We’re entirely independent, and on nobody’s bankroll.  Sadly.

So, it’s on to another week of ups and downs, no doubt.  Hopefully we’ll get less of the shitty emails (we’ll update the damned Trophy List when we get chance) and more of the shiny promotional trinkets that keep us going.  In the meantime, we do welcome your comments ([email protected]) but please remember this isn’t our everything, Michael and I have lives outside the wonderful world of the PS3 (and we’re still working on that game) and apart from the occasional bit of cash from the Google Ads that pays for my tequila we don’t make a penny out of doing this.  It’s not funded by anyone; we’re not biased, sponsored or otherwise paid off and simply do it because we (sometimes) like doing it.

Right, back to those pesky Chimera.