Sunday 15 July 2012

The blog for you and me

Video games journalists (VGJ) suck at video games.

This is a bit of a generalisation, and I know some really stellar VGJs, but on the whole it's astonishing how bad someone can be at something that they literally do for a living. Too many reviews end with, or contain the phrase "I wasn't able to complete the entire game." Notwithstanding games with multi-player or additional gameplay modes, it's astounding how many reviewers simply cannot finish the single-player portion of the game they are reviewing. It is completely unacceptable for movie reviewers to write that they "only sat through the first thirty minutes of the movie, but got a pretty good feel for it" so why has it become an accepted practice for VGJs to do the same thing?

More so, playing through the entirety of the game isn't enough. You have to play it on a challenging difficulty. Breezing through Gears of War on 'casual' is not going to give you the same feel for the game as playing it on 'hardcore'. I'm not asking you to play it on 'insane', but at least play it on a setting that provides you with the littlest bit of resistance. I've read dozens of Diablo III reviews in the weeks following its release and a vast majority of them didn't even bother trying any of the three difficulty settings above 'normal'.

So, the vast majority of 'official' gaming blogs by 'real life journalist types' out there are rubbish. For us, I mean. For the average casual gamer that plays Wii on the weekend with his young family and buys indie games off steam once in a while, these reviews are probably pretty helpful. But for enthusiasts like me and you, we want more. We don't want to spend the first paragraph of the review reading about what a 'first person shooter' is and then proceeding to read about how the game plays on 'super casual fun time' setting. We want to know how it holds up to the classics of it's genre that have proved themselves. How it plays when you are playing it with the mentality of overcoming a challenge, rather than enjoying a series of cut scenes stapled together with some gameplay segments. Where can we turn to?

The answer that many of us find, is to the pros, or more accurately, 'video game celebrities,' as I like to call them. I'm talking about Team Liquid, I'm talking about Solo Mid, I'm talking about the ever infamous Elitist Jerks. These guys know their game(s) of choice better than you know the back of your hand. If you want to super heavily invest into one of these games, these guys' blogs are definitely what you should be reading. However, while the majority of VGJ's work is lost on those with more than a basic grasp of video games, the work of these pros is lost on those of us who can't dedicate every waking moment to a single game. I played Starcraft II pretty heavily when it came out, but as other games came out it fell to the wayside. I tried to get back into it recently and was amazed at how much terminology and strategy Team Liquid was using that I had no idea about. Even a few months of inactivity had put me right back at the bottom of the pecking order.

These guys do the kind of number crunching we dread having to do for our taxes, and they do it for fun.
The casuals have their outlets, and the pros have theirs. Where does that leave us in the middle? People who I like to call video game 'enthusiasts'. We fucking love video games, ALL video games. We play way too much to be casuals, but we don't invest heavily enough into a single game to become a pro. We like to play video games for a challenge, and we like to play games of all genres and styles. Look at me for example. I sunk over 100 hours into Skyrim when it came out, but I still play Team Fortress 2 on a very regular basis. When Starcraft II came out, I got into the competitive scene for a bit, but I lost interest when a friend got me playing League of Legends. I love video games and I want to play them all and play them the way that they are meant to be played - as a challenge framing a cinematic experience. Many of my gaming friends exhibit similar gaming habits, and so I created this blog, the 'enthusiasts' blog, to cater to people like us.

If you feel the same way about video games, you have come to the right place. I plan to update every Wednesday with new content, be it a review, an opinion piece, or a video. I want to provide a place where enthusiasts can discuss games on a level we feel comfortable with, way above the rabble that official VGJ blogs provide, without the high level mumbo jumbo that the professional number crunchers are known for. Welcome, and please, enjoy your stay!

(Quite accurate) Artist representation of Steve

1 comment:

  1. This.... sounds good. Your b/g doesn't fit my screen though :(.