End to Navel Gazing Week and Other Thoughts

Well I said it was navel gazing week some time ago and I wanted to wrap up, after that monster of a last post, with a few more informal thoughts. Since that time has passed and other things have happened I figure I might as well just mash it all into one post. Really all that’s left to think of are a few musing on how to make game criticism more visible at least in my tiny corner of the world. Incidentally, my best friend who set this site up for me said and I quote, “Yeah, we see you guys in an ivory tower built on an island no one can remember the name of u_u”

Before I get into that, however, I want to welcome Kate Williams to the Critical-Distance slave pit, I mean staff. She had an excellent first outing last weekend after Ben jokingly solicited twitter saying he was feeling lazy and got serious replies. As Kris Ligman said (paraphrased here), ‘no more Smurfette Principle.’ She seems to follow the Ben Abraham school of thought when it comes to weekly roundups (quotations, quotations, quotations). May Kate stick around and become enamored and jaded with the whole process as the rest of us have.

Incidentally, I saw some talk that lead me to believe people still think we are a shadowy cabal who decides what goes in and what doesn’t. That we meet in dark hoods in corners of the internet lit by a single bulb and cackle over everything we’ve read, until the appointed person (mostly Ben) types out our thoughts. I’d like to point out I haven’t had a post featured in TWIVGB for months, since December I believe. Yeah, there’s your disproof right there. Since I refuse to submit my own stuff, since I effectively work for the site, I have to hope Ben or whomever still reads my blog despite that I don’t quote Latour every other paragraph.

No, it’s one person alone at their computer filing through the list of links dumped unceremoniously on twitter and e-mailed by Ben. Remembering to delete the doubles and then reads them, alone, on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, and then has to type them and make them sound good. All in time for someone else to spell check and send it through. (A lot more of my snark has gotten through of late than I’d figure would. Not just to Critical-Distance, but on the GameSetWatch and Gamasutra reprints as well.) One person, hopefully wearing pants, is alone at their computer typing it up for your narcissistic pleasure. So welcome to that Kate.

Lots of talk of RPGs is going on. From executives making rather ignorant comments, to bloggers responding to said comments, to long twitter discussion stretched over days trying to define the term. All of this happening while I’m on an Adventure gaming binge. Yeah. My timing sucks.

In all seriousness I’ll probably get to at least the theory part of the discussion later this week. (Someone stick it to me on twitter if I don’t.) Though Adventure games will probably get their own post and not just because I’m playing quite a few at the moment. I think RPGs and Adventure games have more in common than more people recognize. I have also been informed that there are a few posts, in turn, trying to save Adventure games and toss them under the bus. Yay, relevance.

You may have noticed I’ve started doing my Indie Game Spotlights again. Well CreativeFluff, where it originated has started going again, in part because we were bored and driven. Mostly bored. I have no idea how it will pan out between the two sites. There may be some talk on how to resolve it. Will CreativeFluff get the whole thing or will I just have to do a better job in talking about the games twice via different aspects. Who knows? Also, a new editorially mandated series has started, unfortunately on Wednesday instead of Mondays because we’re a bunch of poorly timed monkeys at the moment, entitled “Basic Game Design 101.” After two years we’ll see how much the lot of you I follow on twitter and in my RSS feed have taught me. I’d like anyone who knows something to call me out over there should I screw something up.

Thank you to those of you that commented on my last post either here or on twitter. I wasn’t in so much a funk after posting it as I was writing because editing will do that to you. But what really perked me up was looking though a conversation I had with Richard Terrell about two years ago where I tried to explain the appeal, mechanically of the Uncharted series and the utter failure I did to express anything properly. Now with two years of time to learn and develop my own critical theories on games I think I can actually explain it. So I will. (Just not right now.)

I got a few more pieces in the works for Gameranx, hopefully those get finished and in the features cue soon. I think  it’s more of a challenge to write the lighter, basically fluff, pieces when compared to what I’ve been doing. The step back is nice.

I’ve got a CDC podcast in the editing process. Also, I have a fifth transcribed interview, that I thinking of saying screw it and just publish the audio. So, here’s a serious question, would people mind listening to an hour long interview with Deirdra Kiai or would rather read it?

And finally the part I’ve been trying to put off. Most people don’t care, most people don’t even notice it, but my sidebar needs some serious work. In fact, looking at it I realize one part of it is broken. This is new. Anyway, that Playing Now thing, it’s got to go. It hasn’t worked in years. I am not, in fact, playing either Left4Dead or Chrono Trigger, but I can’t update new games into it and I fear what it will do if I get rid of those games. Unless someone can tell me how Micheal Abbot does his Now Playing sidebar, I think it best just to ditch the damn thing. And then there was the most important thing there, the blogroll.

Most people don’t look at blogrolls anymore, but some do. I know one guy who based his entire entry into the critical sphere because he found my site and used my blogroll to find so many others. It is so out of date. Way over half of the sites listed are dead. It used to just be my RSS feed. That is no longer an option. With over 100 links, it would be come too long and daunting. I don’t know what I’ll cut it down to or by what criteria of what goes in or not. Do I give a broad swath of different opinions? Do I limit it to just the biggest blogs? Do I keep it very small not to be intimidating? Do I try to be comprehensive? Do I stop asking rhetorical questions about something no one, but me and my paranoia care about?

I don’t know, but I’ll find out when I actually change it, so look for that.

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