Have you noticed that video game criticism, journalism, and blogging is staler than a rice cake left out in the sun? That’s because most game “review” websites are little more than corporate shills. You can’t even blame them – would you want to piss off the company who send you a free copy of Warcraft?
Nevertheless, you do see a decent gaming blog poke its head out of the fog every now and again. Play This Thing, itself a crackling-good gaming blog, also calls for better-quality game writing – just in case you thought I was the lone curmudgeon.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun is a great one. Jay is Games, also a great one. There’s some more out there, but the list grows thin. Remember Four Fat Chicks? Gone! It now redirects to Tap-Repeatedly, which is apparently hosting the archive. QuandaryLand? It’s poofed as well, although the adventure game reviews are archived here
But what if a genie was granting wishes today?
What kind of gaming blog would I really want to see?
1.Light-hearted ones. Don’t take yourself so seriously! Gaming is not life-and-death.
2.Novelty finders. I’ve seen nine hundred gazillion action first-person shooters and played almost as many. Do they make anything else any more?
3.Rare/vintage games. Abandonware, freeware, and shareware stuff is having a huge revival thanks to sites like Underdogs and the rise of emulators and simulators. Now we have a whole generation rediscovering games that play on DOSBox, ZSNES, XMAME, and so on, but we have no idea how to play them (manuals long lost) or if they’re worth our time.
4.Game criticism that treats games as high art. Sites like Quandary and Four Fat Chicks held video games up to this high standard that I’d like to see more of. I don’t give a rat’s hat about the FPS or how many polygons – is it art?
5.Independent game news. Independent games are cheap, interesting, and as hard to find as the last Pokemon. 99% of independent games don’t get enough exposure, the other 1% (Portal) get far too much. Where’s the next Portal coming from?
6.Free online web games. Billions out there, I’ll never discover them all.
7.Curiosa/trivia. For one thing, how about the names behind the games? Who did the voice acting for Dungeon Keeper 2, and what else has he done? Who drew Dr. Gordon Freeman? What the heck happened to those maniacs at Zeus Software who made that arcade game Biomechanical Toy?
And just for balance, I’d like to offer:
Gaming Blogs That I’d Just As Soon Never See Again:
1.Industry hype machines. Duh, if EA sends you free stuff, of course you’ll have nothing but good things to say about them.
2.Anything that uses a rating system. Four stars, 7.8, three joysticks up. Forget it. They all level off into a flat scale after awhile.
3.Echoes. I would just as soon see a gaming blog written by somebody who’d never, ever read anybody else’s gaming blog. rather than see the same boring stats urped up. “It has OK graphics and great sound; the action was smooth. I had problems installing it, so let me whine about them for three paragraphs to fill space.” Jesus, God, never again!
4.Mr./Mrs. Nice guys/gals. There is nothing like the gaming industry to produce politically correct drones who never say anything controversial. Get angry. Get outrageous. Gush like a fangirl. Dig up dirt. Sniff out scandals. Have a personality!
- A Revisit to Classic DOS Games
- Best Moments in Gaming
- Vintage Gaming – part two: Sierra Games and DOSbox
- Vintage Gaming – part one: The Least You Need to Know
- Windows Games on Linux – Abandonware