Twitching Towards the Future

The future is a thing that'll happen. Let's talk about it.

UPDATE (February 21, 2017)
Yesterday, after posting this article, I decided to sit down and try to get Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection’s infernal speedrun Trophies out of the way.

Having played each of the first three games more times than I can count, I know them quite well, so I decided to jump straight in without preparing myself for the challenge. To my great surprise, my attempt to speedrun Drake’s Fortune went spectacularly well. On my first go, I came in at around nine minutes under the required time. Trophy popped. Job done.

This success emboldened me to jump straight into Among Thieves. Tragically, though, that one didn’t go quite as well — I came in at just under two minutes over the required time. No Trophy. Job not done.

I considered having another shot at it then and there, but then I remembered that I’m planning to start streaming from The JHN FilesTwitch channel early next month. As much as I was dreading them, I actually had quite a bit of fun with the speedruns, and I reckon a second attempt at Among Thieves could make an excellent debut stream for the site.

So, on March 2, I’m making that second attempt. The below-mentioned Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition streams will still happen, just a little later.

Wish me luck, folks. I’m going to need it.

UPDATE #2 (April 3, 2017)
Despite my best intentions, I never did get around to the below-mentioned Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition streams. The debut Uncharted stream went well enough, but things, as they sometimes will, ground to a halt after that. Not for much longer, though — those streams are, in fact, imminent.

In the time since I wrote the below post, however, I’ve rethought things a little, and have decided to stream from YouTube rather than Twitch.

There are a few reasons for this, the biggest being that doing so will, hopefully, allow me to grow the channel a little before I start to do more with it towards the end of the year. As I said above, the streams are imminent. They’ll kick off at 9 PM tomorrow — April 4 — night, lasting for roughly two hours and continuing at the same time every Tuesday and Thursday until I get through the game. After that, who knows?

Phase 1.5 of The JHN Files might’ve taken a little longer than I’d initially planned to get here, but here it is. I hope you come along for the ride. If you’re not doing so already, you can follow @thejhnfiles on Twitter, or like the site’s Facebook Page to get notified when the aforementioned streams are about to kick off.

UPDATE #3 (April 25, 2017)
Well, we’ve come full-circle.

After a brief — and, frankly, rather unsuccessful — stint on YouTube, I’ve decided to take The JHN Files’ live content back to Twitch. I promise, though, that there’s more to the switch than my trademark indecision.

The idea to stream from YouTube as a way to grow The JHN Files’ channel before it starts to see a little more action was, I think, a sound one; in an ideal world, in fact, I’d probably carry on with it. In this world, though, I’d forgotten about copyright claims. *Thunder clap.*

On Saturday evening, I streamed an hour or so of LEGO Jurassic World. Shortly after I wrapped up, my phone buzzed like something possessed as I received not one, not two, not even three, but four copyright claims back-to-back — one of which, I hasten to add, had no business being made at all.

As for the legitimate ones, though… technically, they would’ve been easy enough to deal with. Allow the claimant to monetise the video, and impose whatever other restrictions they deem fit, or remove the infringing material. Sorted. Thing is, as I continue to stream over the coming weeks, the claims are just going to keep on comin’, and I’d really rather not destroy the copyright standing of The JHN Files’ channel with stuff never intended to be permanent.

So, it’s back to Twitch. I must admit, part of me likes the idea of getting back to having live content on a separate platform to the (currently non-existent…) other stuff.

Maybe there is some indecision in there after all…

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember: short stories, long stories, stories set in worlds not of my own creation, but which I knew and loved as though they were — but it was really only by chance that I started writing about games. In late 2013, I grabbed a notebook and jotted down my thoughts on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Three years later, here we are.

*Looks around.*

Over the course of these years, I’ve gone back and forth with myself over whether I’d like my online exploits to be — as I put it in a Tweet a few weeks ago — ‘something’, or something on the side. This uncertainty manifested itself as periods in which I didn’t put out much of anything, followed by those in which I did just the opposite. As much as I enjoyed it, was it worth devoting so much time to something that might never go anywhere?

Recently, though — prompted by my turning an age that might seem young to others, but that feels, to me, so old that I can barely think of it without suffering a wave of nausea — I’ve made up my mind. True The JHN Files may still ‘never go anywhere’, but I want it to be ‘something’. To be best of my ability, I’m going to try to make a success of it. So I thought I’d sit down and write about what that means.

At the moment, I’d define ‘success’ as looking at the notifications tab of The JHN Files’ Twitter account and seeing avatars other than my own. The site’s posts are occasionally shared by people other than myself — for which, I hasten to add, I’m tremendously grateful — but, at the moment, when I flick to that notifications tab, it’s mostly my own face I see staring back at me.

There’s a word for that: stagnation. Most, if not all, of the people who follow @thejhnfiles also follow my personal account, so my sharing its Tweets is, ultimately, useless. If the site is ever to stand a chance of being anything remotely approaching the aforementioned ‘something’, that has got to be remedied.

But I digress.

What ‘success’ looks like in the future, is — for the moment — anyone’s guess. Obviously, it would be wonderful if the site became profitable enough to pay for itself, but I doubt that’s going to happen unless I jump aboard the good ship Patreon, and I have absolutely no intention of doing that until I have a significantly larger backlog of content and am confident that I can continue putting new stuff out at a reasonable clip. Which brings me nicely to content itself.

Barring the remote possibility of becoming financially profitable, ‘success’, to me, also means having a nice diversity of content. Presently, The JHN Files is exclusively made up of written content. Never say never and all that, but that’s incredibly unlikely to change — writing is, after all, what started me down this path, and I have no intention of ever abandoning it.

I do, however, absolutely plan on introducing some other stuff into the mix.

I enjoyed producing videos for some of The JHN Files predecessors, so they’ll definitely be making a comeback — and I’ve been becoming increasingly interested in the idea of podcasting, too.

I enjoy a great many podcasts, and would love to at least take a shot at adding one to The JHN Files’ repertoire. Thing is, I think podcasts work best — and are at their most entertaining — when they’re conversational; two or more people sitting down and talking about things. Things they like, things they don’t, and things in general.

Which is why I’m just going to go ahead and put the offer out there: if you’re interested in taking a stab at it with me, get in touch through TwitterFacebook, or the site’s contact form, and we’ll see what we can work out.

As for when new stuff will start showing up… videos of the pre-recorded variety are, at present, a ways away. I don’t plan on introducing them until sometime around October, ideally just as The JHN Files kicks off its second year. They require — as does podcasting, for that matter — a level of confidence and articulation behind the microphone that I’m not sure I posses just yet. Which, just as I was brought nicely to the subject of content by another point, brings me nicely to my next: practice.

As great as it would be, the aforementioned confidence and articulation aren’t just going to show up when I need them to. They require practice, experience. I’ve thrown around a few ideas for how to get that practice, one of which was sitting down at my mic and reading my various articles aloud until I was happy enough with my performance. Ultimately, though, that would be problematic for a few reasons. 1. It would do absolutely nothing to benefit the site in the short-term, and 2. I would feel like a complete and utter lunatic.

I have, however, settled on a solution: Twitch. Games are, after all, what The JHN Files is primarily about; streaming them will — hopefully… — get the site front of a few more people, and will also allow me to get that much-needed practice behind the mic.


Beginning in March — on Thursday, March 2, to be exact — I’ll be taking to Twitch and streaming every Tuesday and Thursday evening for at least two hours: 9 PM to 11 PM, with room for some extra time if it’s needed.

For awhile now, I’ve been feeling the urge to go back and revisit Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, and so that’s where we’ll start. From the very beginning, every Tuesday and Thursday, until the credits roll — Twitching, quite literally, towards the future.

As I think of it, the eventual introduction of pre-recorded videos marks Phase II of The JHN Files. This, however, will be Phase 1.5.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride.