If you’ve come here expecting the typical Miketendo64 content we’ve become known for in the last year than I’m sorry to disappoint you, but what you’re going to get to read instead, is something far better.
Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living, at one point in our lives, there will always be at least one moment when we feel down on our luck. Lower than low and asking ourselves if we made the right choices. For the last six months, that’s what I’ve been going through.
Life has given me a thorough beating and Miketendo64 has been made to suffer for it. I’ve not produced nearly the amount of content I usually do. My response time to emails has diminished and quite frankly, the team my brother and I have built, have had a bigger workload to deal with this time around, but this piece is not a rant about me hating my life. What this piece is about, is the wake-up call I had at Gamescom and the epiphany that came with it.
Having dedicated four years of my life to Miketendo64, trying to do whatever was needed to make sure it could be both a Nintendo media site and something of a gamer community, there were days I wanted to give in. To turn my back on everything my brother first created and seek out a more peaceful existence because unless this hobby we’ve chosen has developed a life of its own, keeping it going is nothing short of frantic chaos.
I know we have done plenty of giveaways and even helped some people achieve their goals, but I often can’t help but wonder if any of it matters? I know in our community we have a small, very loyal cluster that reacts to anything and everything we do and our team loves working with one another, but to have doubts is natural and in the last year, my doubts have been plentiful. Yet, thanks to Gamescom, my eyes have been opened immensely.
Having missed the chance to attend last year due to family drama, i.e. my parents getting hit by multiple tax bills for vehicles that were sold 10 years previously, but never had their paperwork changed correctly, my summer was spent working like a dog, to help clear the debt and handing over the money I had saved up for the trip.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until October 2018 that the bill would finally be paid off, but a week later, due to all the stressful few months that occurred previously and the worry of Brexit, my dad would sustain his first and last heart attack.
I won’t divulge every detail of what went on between the day he died and today (August 24,) but he’s passing, coupled with Brexit, cemented my family’s decision to move back to the UK and for 8 months, we did what was necessary to raise the required funds possible, make our goodbyes and ensured we could hit the ground running when we got back to Essex in early May.
Because of what went on, what we had to do and how busy I was (and still am,) I was adamant that I would attend Gamescom this year. I already missed it once and I dared not to miss it again and there was no way in hell that I’d attend it alone.
With none of the other Miketendo64 guys able to attend this year, instead I reached out to the Richard Atkinson and Paul Murphy from Switch Player to see if they wanted to go together and that’s precisely what we did.
Now, I don’t want to bore you with the semantics and planning stage, so let’s fast forward past the unnecessary chaff. Due to working very long hours, arranging appointments and interviews was down to my brother and although he vastly arranged things differently to how I would have done it, I still made it work, just.
If you have never attended Gamescom before, it’s huge. There are four main entrances, multiple halls, two floors and just as soon as one interview would end, I would be throwing my notebook into my bag and having to traverse close to half a mile, just to get to the next interview, but more on this later.
Because I had arranged to meet up and stay with the Switch Player guys, the night before we left, Richard actually stayed over at mine, before we met Paul and drove to the airport in the morning. Unlike Richard, I’d never previously met Paul, so even though we’ve spoken a lot through Twitter the last couple of years, there was always the possibility of our personalities clashing, but everything worked out.
We have a similar sense of humour, a playful personality and not once did I ever have to tone down my dirty jokes. We even united with ribbing Richard for hours on end due to the many things he said, did and the fact when our flight did land in Cologne, he left his suitcase on the plane.
He was acting so smug when I genuinely asked him “Where’s his bag?” but when the penny dropped, so did his jaw and his face was a sight. I should have taken a photo, but sadly I didn’t.
Thankfully, Richard was able to get his bag back after dealing with Lost & Found, but it came at a price. We had lost an hour and the private taxi my brother had booked, had already moved on to their next appointment. Like a good little driver though, he got in touch with his company and arranged a second to pick us up, so all worked out well in the end, until we got to our hostel.
Despite our room having been booked for months in advance, there was difficulty finding our booking and things looked ‘touch and go’ for a bit. Thankfully, things worked themselves out and the three of us were able to relax for a couple of minutes before we decided to venture into town and spent the afternoon exploring and preparing ourselves for what was to come.
Now, when it comes to video game events like Gamescom, for those attending as press, they’re not just about the games, they’re about forging bonds with game developers you know and love and saying “Hello” to a dev friend you haven’t seen in quite some time and that’s precisely how I spent my Gamescom.
Although the Tuesday was a press day and I could have very easily played every single game Nintendo had playable in Hall 9, I only actually played a small handful of them, with The Witcher 3 being one of them. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I probably only played 8 games in total, across the three days I was at Gamescom.
Like I said before though, Gamescom is more than just playing games. In the four years Miketendo64 has been running, we have interacted with a number of game developers and games press over the years, but we have very rarely had the chance to meet a lot of them in person and finally put a face and voice to the names of the persons we’ve been interacting with for so long.
Well, during my Gamescom trip, I’ve had the chance to put right some of our wrongs and meet some of the great people who have been in our corner and taken the time to answer our questions, respond to our every email and send us codes for games, even when we didn’t ask for one in the first place.
In light of that, here is a big shout out to Wired Productions, Dead Good Media, Plan of Attack, Yacht Club Games, Marvelous, Numskull, Modus Games, MixedBag, Frozenbyte, Sumo Digital, THQ Nordic and so many more of you beautiful lot. The hugest of huge props however, is reserved for Matthew Pellet of Dead Good Media.
As one of our prominent points of contact in the last few years, he has been one of our biggest supplier of codes, press releases and as far as this year’s Gamescom was concerned, he had a huge role in arranging a number of appointments I had and when some of my sessions were overlapping, he took the time to quickly rearrange them for us wherever possible.
More than that, he provided an emailed list of directions to find where Modus Games was camped out, and on my last day of attendance, walked with me over to Modus Games and got me last minute into a game presentation we forgot to book an appointment for. He is a true legend that went above and beyond and so is Tom Davis.
Whilst waiting for one of my BigBen appointments, I saw the Sumo Digital team sitting to one side and I couldn’t help but walk over to them and thank them in person for Snake Pass. When the game first released back in March 2017, it was a game I really loved on the Nintendo Switch and even to this day, still play on occasion. Then, as I was talking to them, out steps Tom Davis of Plan of Attack.
The second I name-dropped my outlet, instant recognition was there and we had a general catch up and he was able to book me an appointment for Sumo Digitals’ new game for Switch and got me a meet with Yacht Club Games to play all three of their offerings. I also got to have lunch with him and the Sumo team the next day and geeked out over Xenoblade Chronicles 2, as I shovelled down some really good hotdogs. We also expressed hopes for Astral Chain to be really good.
The biggest surprise of them all is one that came completely out of nowhere. If you told me before I even left for Gamescom that I’d end up meeting with Suda51, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, somehow, instead of the Gods smiling down upon us, the godly Aaron Cooper got in touch via Twitter and arranged us an appointment with Suda51 with the same ease as a fairy godmother waving her wand. Other star players worth giving praise to are Kieran Fifield of Nintendad fame, Phil Myth from Nintendo Village and Charlotte Kenny.
From positives to negatives though, there was one disappointing factor during my Gamescom trip. Being the Nintendo site that we are, Mike and I would love to have a better relationship with Nintendo UK and Europe. Not just so we can get more games from them, but so we can have a much better interaction. To be invited to more of their private events, to be able to arrange interviews and engage in other activities.
We might not be the biggest and best Nintendo site on the scene, but we are definitely a site that is very dedicated to all things Nintendo and talk about them and their games often, when others say nothing, only to then suddenly be overhyped about a game that is now releasing within the next seven days. Yet, despite all that, cementing a lasting relationship with Nintendo is something that still proves to be very much a work in progress.
Given what we had spent to attend Gamescom this year and everything we’ve done to build the site even further, we had hoped we could get a session with Nintendo Europe, but nope. If you’re not on the list, then there’s no getting into the private Nintendo area and you’re not even worth the time it takes to talk to you.
But you know what, so what if we don’t have a good relationship with Nintendo? I would like to have a great one with them, but what we’ve got with Dead Good Media, Plan of Attack and Wired, I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Being a small site and being recognised by so many, it was overwhelming. Our efforts did count for something after all and the last four years have been worth it.
What’s more, because of the reception I did receive, I know now where Miketendo64 went wrong. In an effort to keep up with the competition, we changed how we did things and sacrificed a lot of our personality. We stopped being a community site and become like everyone else, but we are not everyone else.
We are Team Miketendo64. We are gamers and it is time we got back to the very thing that saw Miketendo64 take off in the first place, our passion for gaming. The relationships it developed and the lives it enables us to share. Change is coming to Miketendo64 and we have Gamescom to thank for it, but don’t worry, this change is a good thing and you will start to notice it through our Gamescom content.
I thank you for the time you spent reading this whole thing. As for everything else that happened in Cologne, that’s just going to have to remain as a dirty secret shared by a select few of us, along with the photos that should never see the light of day!
Until next time, Keep on Gaming!