Podzilla 1985

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The End of Blogzilla 1985

It's with a heavy heart that I write this final entry of Blogzilla 1985. The site will no longer be updated after this post.

How did we get here? A lot of people close down their blog sites due to either a lack of interest or a lack of viewership. I'm proud to say that BZ85 has neither of those problems. We're as opinionated as ever, and we have a dedicated following that I am grateful for.

There are a myriad of reasons behind the closure, the most important of which I'll discuss at the end. First, I want to talk a little bit about the history of Blogzilla 1985 and why it was always so important to me.

I started this website five years ago this month under the title of "Blogs They Don't Want You to Know About." There were probably four or five posts under that title, and I believe all of them dealt with the state of the MMORPG industry. I'm a big fan of the genre, and I found that my greatest success came from writing about it. Of course, there was no success with those posts. I think I had two to five viewers per article, and it was disheartening.

But, it was definitely a personal blog back in 2009. There were no fancy banners, custom graphics, or any sense of style or flair. It was a simple blog for me to complain and whine about whatever was on my mind before I went in to work at Gamestop. I'm pretty sure the only people who read it were my then girlfriend Lindsey and my cousin Ryan.

Thanks, guys!

I had no real affection for the site, and I quickly abandoned it when I got an offer from MMORPG.com to write for their site and get paid for it. I wrote a handful of articles there, but left after a disagreement with the direction their site was going. I spent the next year or so doing nothing with my writing, as I fell into a trap of real depression after I lost my job at Gamestop and found myself dealing with a chaotic family.

My one legged elderly dementia ridden father lived with my half brother and his harpy of a wife, and I soon found that he was being abused by her when she accidentally called me and I overheard one of their fights. After months of bickering and fighting, I cut off ties with the rest of my family and took care of my father as he went in and out of different convalescent centers before finally moving into an apartment of his own. It was a very painful time in my life, because my father was the only family I had now, and all he ever wanted was to die. I watched him wither away into a fragile lump of flesh that used to be the big strong father that I wanted to remember him as.

In my darkest hour I reopened my blog in July of 2012. It was more than just a blog site now. I rechristened it Blogzilla 1985 in honor of my favorite Godzilla film, and I poured my heart and soul into it. It became an outlet for me to express myself and connect with people again. I had sworn off human contact after the ordeal with my family, because I just didn't feel like I could handle people anymore. It was easier to write to them and about them from behind a computer screen.

Blogzilla 1985 helped me keep what little bit of the human soul that hadn't been ripped out of me by my personal life. It's no exaggeration that on more than one occasion, writing this blog kept me from doing something terrible. I was weak, and it helped me regain myself.

Of course, the views still weren't there. By this time I had established a good fanbase of my own through personal interactions out in "the real world," and it translated to some success with BZ85. I went from four views in 2009 to upwards of fifteen per article when I reopened the site. By this time I was writing as therapy more than for attention, so it didn't bother me as much. I was happy with the site, and that was all that mattered.

That all changed on October 5th when I published an interview I did with up and coming model Christine Adams. She was the perfect person to draw attention to the site. She was obviously gorgeous, a gamer girl, and had a penchant for getting naked in her photos. Most importantly to me, she was very nice and damn interesting to talk to. We became friends afterwards, but in the months that followed we just kind of lost track of each other.

Still, her presence on the site launched Blogzilla 1985 into a new level of success.  Thanks to her, those fifteen views shot into the hundreds, and then the thousands for the site. It became popular enough that I brought in other writers to help keep the content coming.

It was at this point that things may have gotten a little out of hand. The people who started writing for the site each had their own style and subjects, and while they were all great at what they did, the site kind of lost its focus.

I would be a jackass if I didn't thank them for helping me when I needed them the most. I couldn't have done this site without them, and I want to thank Lindsey, Phil, Melissa, Louie, Ryan, and Osby for all of their contributions.

With more writers and daily content, BZ85 became kind of a phenomenon for me. People were excited about it and we had a lot of crazy ideas that never really came to fruition. We were thinking about designing t-shirts, merchandising, making spin off sites, etc etc. It was a fun time to be a part of Blogzilla.

With the new success, I got do a lot of cool things. I interviewed a lot of great people, including a personal hero of mine. In the course of the next year I interviewed old friend and radio DJ star Hunter Hendricks, former Electronic Arts designer J.P. Harrod (who got to work on my favorite game of all time, Ultima Online!), and even world renowned ufologist and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman. It was a wild ride, and I still can't believe such interesting people took time out of their busy lives to talk to me.

From 2012 to the end of 2013, Blogzilla 1985 was a real hit. People cared about my thoughts, and I felt really good about myself.

It was near the end of 2013 that I found out my father had been diagnosed with cancer. I was already working a full time job now as manager of local game store Gaming Grounds in Southeast Missouri, and I decided to spend as much time with my father as I could before he passed away. For the next better part of a year I spent most of my free time at his side, and Blogzilla 1985 obviously suffered for it. There weren't enough hours in the day, and what was left of my family came before my own life. I stopped working on BZ85 for the most part, as did most everyone else on the roster. Lindsey kept it updated as often as she could, and I will always be thankful to her for her dedication to my dream.

My father passed away from cancer earlier this year, after nine months of immense suffering and a lot of catching up with his youngest son. I was glad that he was out of pain, but I fell into another depression. I had no family now, and I had never felt more alone.

Just like before, I turned to Blogzilla 1985 for comfort. I rebooted the site with just two authors - myself and Lindsey. We wrote until our fingers bled, and Blogzilla 1985 became a hit again. Within weeks we were fetching hundreds of views per article, and I felt like I had a purpose again. Writing was my true passion, and while I would never claim to the world's best writer, I was proud of what I had done.

And then, on August 25th, I posted an article which would grant me my greatest success at the cost of my pride. I was furious over the closure of the GameStop in the West Park Mall of Cape Girardeau, MO. It was where I worked for four and a half years as manager, and I had a lot of great memories there. I also still had a handful of good friends who made their living there, and they were now out of the job. I wrote a blistering personal attack on the company, and after a dare to a friend to post it on Reddit,I found myself with a lot of unwanted attention.

As of this final post, that post is at over 39k views and still climbing daily. It was an infamy I never wanted, and it shook my desire to keep writing for Blogzilla 1985 as I didn't want it to be overrun with Redditers. I'm not a fan of that particular site, and I doubt I ever will be.

After a few weeks things settled down a bit, and I continued to write. However, the whole Reddit thing was constantly in my mind, and it was an uneasy feeling that I couldn't shake off.

I posted another article about the dangers girls face after the whole Fappening ordeal, and once again the site was bombarded with views. It became clear to me that the people coming to the site were just looking for naked pictures of celebrities, and it upset me. If you don't believe me, just look at this log of search keywords that brought people to Blogzilla in the past month -

the fappening 2
fappening 2
kate upton fappening
fappening part 2
the fappening part 2
fappening part 2 jennifer lawrence
mary-kate fappening
stars self fappening
"the fappening"

The articles I was most proud of had met with some success, while just having the word Fappening in an article title drew thousands upon thousands of horny internet losers on to my site looking for porn.

That was the last straw. I began to question my worth as a writer. I realized I was now catering to an audience I didn't want, and I felt like a sell out. I don't want to be remembered simply as an "internet writer." I want to be a celebrity, and I want people to remember my name. But there is no real fame to be found on a medium where any no talent hack with a cell phone and no morals can become an overnight sensation.

I have decided to retire Blogzilla 1985 before it becomes the kind of thing I despise. It may sound uppity to some, but it's the way it is. I'm thirty two now, and I need to find the kind of success that doesn't begin and end anonymously behind a computer screen. I'm going to devote myself to my fiancee, my work, my friends, and all of those great stories that have been swirling around in my head for years.

If I find success someday out there in the "real world," perhaps I'll come back and write about it here. But until the day I've found the success I've been looking for, Blogzilla 1985 will remain a happy memory of a very troubled soul.

I want to personally thank you all for helping to make this so successful. You made me believe in myself again.

Until we meet again, my friends.

Monday, September 22, 2014

WWE Night of Champions Post PPV Thoughts

Let's see if I can bust one of these out for John.

Another WWE PPV is in the books, and I believe it was the 999th one I've seen. The usual gang reported to BZ85's Broadway Studio for wrasslin' action, and only 99.9% of us were disappointed. We bought a whole truckload of pizza for the event, but I only had $9.99 to throw in on it so I'm glad my cronies had my back.

Are you getting the message?

WWE sure hopes you do. I think they kept the shilling to one segment on this PPV, but damn did they do a good job with it. And, by good job I mean they were so irritating that it made you want to spend the full pay per view purchase and unsubscribe from their goddamn network.

Of course, once the show is over you get a thank you email from your wallet. $9.99 is a lot easier to regret than the outrageous PPV prices once you realize what you just watched. It's like when you catch a movie you were really excited for on Netflix and skip out on the theater experience. I'm looking at you, Mr. Del Toro.

I find it hard to form full cohesive thoughts because the number 9.99 keeps assaulting my brain.

From now on, just to grief World Wrestling Entertainment a tiny bit, I'm going to refer to the Network price as 10 bucks. Screw you, Vince.

This might come across as unexpected, but I did not hate the Night of Champions show. It was actually pretty rock solid from top to bottom, and I can't recall a single match that made me cringe.

Monday, September 15, 2014

ArcheAge the Disaster & An Apology to FFXIV

I have a long and tumultuous history with Final Fantasy XIV.

I played the original release way back in 2010, but found it to be lacking in a lot of areas. The questing was boring, the level progression was confusing, and I just felt no attachment to the world around me. I found it unsurprising when they shut down the entire game a little over two years later.

The relaunch came in 2013, and I have been actively playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn  since then on both PC and PS4.

I gave Final Fantasy XIV a lot of grief when it was re-released last year. Looking back on it, I would even go so far as to say that I was overly critical.

It had a lot of problems, but they were problems that seem to follow every AAA MMORPG release.

To be fair, they seem to plague indie MMORPG's, too.

Or any MMORPG's launch, it seems.

For those of you who never got to read my initial thoughts from the second coming of XIV, here is a small taste and a link to the full article -

When FFXIV : A Realm Reborn was released last week, I decided to take advantage of my free trial to see if I could grow to love this new vision as much as I loved XI. After all, they openly admitted it was a flop and poured untold money and resources into it because they didn't want to give up on it. That's admirable, but after the experience I've had with this "new" version of XIV, I think they should have just let it die and laid it to rest next to Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes.

As someone who writes about the gaming industry, I was frustrated with the launch. As a gamer and Final Fantasy fanatic, I was downright pissed off. I couldn't comprehend how a major company like SquareEnix could botch a launch so badly. I was positive, in that moment of being a whiny bitch, that this was the absolute worst launch in gaming history.

Little did I know that on September 13th, 2014, a title would come out that not only eclipsed FFXIV's traumatic launch, but would also cement itself as one of the biggest disasters in gaming history.

History, say hello to ArcheAge.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Former WWE Star Sean O'Haire Dead at 43

Sean O'Haire should have been a main eventer.

I remember watching him in WCW when he was teamed up with Chuck Palumbo and I thought that he was good. Damn good. He was tall, strong, and as agile as a lot of the cruiserweights. He was a solid grappler, and all he needed was a good gimmick.

And then came his brilliant turn in WWE as the devil's advocate.

I still get goosebumps when I watch the vignettes O'Haire did as the guy who was just telling you things that you already knew. In the era of Ruthless Aggression, Sean O'Haire represented the kind of dark character that you just can't write. He was the only one who could make that character work. He was charming, handsome, threatening, and just plain remorseless. You couldn't tell if he was trying to win you over with a devilish grin or just distract you long enough to get the knife around your back.

He had what I consider to be one of the top ten gimmicks of all time, and he had the talent to back it up. So, of course, like all most of the other great things that Vince and company stumble across, they wasted his potential. In a couple of years he was gone from WWE TV, and a sure thing became a cult classic.

He spent time in MMA and held his own, but never quite reached the potential he showed during his run with World Wrestling Entertainment.

Sean passed away at his home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Monday. He was only 43.

Things Go Too Far in Ferguson

I know the rioters and protesters have gotten out of hand, but this is too much.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Michael Brown & the Curious Case of When Murder Isn't Important

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you've more than likely heard about the sad tales of people like Michael Brown.

Michael Brown was a young man who was gunned down by a police officer named Darren Wilson almost one month ago in Ferguson, Missouri. The details on what really happened that fateful August 9th remain a mystery, but the incident itself created a huge backlash against the police and sparked racial tension in the otherwise unremarkable city in St. Louis County.

As we creep closer to the one month anniversary of an event that shook the very country we live in, I read an article on local news channel KFVS 12's website that got me to thinking.

"The St. Louis police chief has promised a vigorous investigation after six apparently unrelated homicides in an 18-hour period and renewed his call for tougher gun crime penalties.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Police Chief Sam Dotson says police have found very little evidence into the killings, which began Thursday afternoon. The deaths pushed the city's homicide total to 95 for the year, compared to 75 at this time last year."

That's a staggering number. In eighteen hours there were six homicides in St. Louis.

Want to know the really scary part?

Not a single one was caused by a police officer.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

#X - Quite Possibly the Most Pointless Thing Ever

Dream girl...or was she?
Short post incoming, and you're welcome for that.

Also, the PSA that this blog post is about may or may not have happened. I'll explain why.

I was laying on the couch drifting in and out of sleep. I'm not usually a couch drifter, but I hadn't slept the night before thanks to my increasingly annoying battle with panic attacks. So I'm laying on the couch and sort of watching the Simpsons block on FXX, even though I had just seen the same episodes like two days ago. I don't know why FXX would choose to start their post marathon blocks with some of the more recent episodes, but that is another blog for another time.

During one of the commercial breaks I think I see the lovely Demi Lovato and she's probably saying something because that's what celebrities do. I assumed it was an ad for some kind of hair spray or mouth wash, because celebrities still hock mouth wash right? I'll never forget the commercials that Harry Anderson did for mouth wash that cost him his role on Night Court. Or I might be making that up completely because I've been hitting the wine bottle awful hard tonight.

Wouldn't you know it, the Demi commercial was actually a public service announcement about texting and driving! I can get behind that. I'm a big fan of safety behind the wheel, and I've read the statistics about distracted drivers. The OFFICIAL US Government Website for Distracted Driving says that in 2012, because it stopped updating when everyone completely gave up on Obama, there were 3,328 crashes related to distracted drivers. 421,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. Drivers in their 20's make up 27% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes, and at any given moment there are 660,000 drivers in the US using electronic devices while they drive.

And that was in 2012! With the always increasing popularity of smart phones and social media, I'm sure that number has climbed into the BILLIONS. That's strictly a guesstimate courtesy of a half asleep blogger, but you can take it to the bank, daddy!

Monday, September 01, 2014

One Thing WWE Can Do to Make TV Less Repetitive

Hint Hint
Sometimes it's hard to watch WWE and get excited about the product. There are a lot of reasons for a blanket statement like that, including but not limited to poor writing and too much John Cena.

My biggest problem with the brand, especially the TV side of it, is the reliance on the same matches every week. I don't care how good a story line is between sides, I can only see the same guys go at it weekly so many times before I switch over to Nitro.

And then I realize Nitro isn't on anymore because it isn't 1998.

Then I go cry to my parents, but they're both dead because it isn't 1998.

And then I hug my Gizmo doll, watch Ghostbusters for the 900th time, and I just plain cry.

World Wrestling Entertainment currently has probably their most stale product since the days of the Duke the Dumpster Droese. Very seldom does the product legitimately surprise you like it did during the Attitude Era, and a lot of that can be blamed on the fact there is no competition. Back in my younger days there was an option for viewers, and if you didn't like what was on the USA Network you would switch over to TNT. That forced both products to become better, and the fans were the real winners. There were great talents creating some very memorable characters, and those characters were reinforced with interesting storytelling and a feeling of anything-can-happen.

Those days are gone now.

Who Needs Tradition?

Sean and Kini's top scoring looks
This past week's challenge was to create an unconventional wedding dress and a reception look to go with it. That's a lot of work for a one day challenge, so the designers once again found themselves working in teams.

Tim used the dreaded velvet bag to draw names and match up the ten remaining designers. As usual some lucked out and got along well with their teammates, while others would just have to tolerate one another.

Discord was a popular trend in this episode.

Right from the start Korina and Char turned on their roommate Amanda. They claimed that she was a fake and it wasn't fair that she returned to the show. 

Talk about being petty.

Runway Redemption is just another new twist in the game. The judges don't treat the returning designer any different than the new ones. If anything it's the viewers who liked that designer more, they are the ones who voted for her to come back, after all. Getting bitter over Amanda winning challenges makes them look like poor sports. Maybe they thought they were being big by saying it to her face rather than behind her back. Or it was just a psychological attack to throw off her game. Either way it was a low move.

Dirty pool, ladies.

Dirty pool.

But I won't bitch about it, it just means my list of designers to see go has gained a more names. Oh, and one of them did get cut!