State of the Blog ’09

A year and a fortnight ago I started this site from the idea that I wanted to critique games, as one would do to a book or movie, looking at what they mean. It is hard to believe that it has been a full year. In that time I’ve learned about the larger spheres of critical communities: the brainysphere, the iris network, the border house and their overlaps. I like to think I’ve made some friends in that time and haven’t totally ticked anyone off with my constant need to argue and debate.

I’ve learned more about the nature of criticism from these astute people, many of them amateurs, than I have from my entire schooling. So to all the people to the right in the ludodidecahedron, this is my thanks to you. For teaching me and putting up with me.

I’ve just gone back over the last year and what has happened on this blog, a lot of it connected to what happened in the critical circles and the gaming culture at large. I don’t know if it is coincidence or not, but I’ve actually played less games this year, the first year I began critiquing them in any ordered manner, than in the previous years. And most of the games I’ve played were not from this year, but what I did do I have to say I am really proud of.

I know anything I could say about the nature of my being a critic I already covered earlier this year. So I wont go into any manifesto talk, but rather talk about some of my better writing this year.

In looking back over my game essays I realized more ink was spilled over Prince of Persia than any other game. A game I ostensibly disliked and felt insulted by, you can read here. My other game essays this year that I am proud of were on Beyond Good & Evil, again can be read here and a post on Flower with it’s twin linked in the post.

Of course I also wrote about the goings on around gaming sphere, throwing my two cents in where I thought necessary. Like on the Citizen Kane issue that erupted into a meme almost overnight. I asked where all the war games were and wrote an epic length response to Danc’s three false constraints. (I swear I’ll figure out that IP issue.)

While QWERTY may be dead, he did leave a legacy. Ok, not so much a legacy, more of a lot of WTF moments. But he had at least one or two good posts. And I always give credit where credit is due. Originally it was supposed to be a weekly feature on the blog, something to anchor it to some sort of schedule. Several months after QWERTY’s demise I started the Indie Game Spotlight. Though it has been sporadic for now, at least it has been more favorably received.

Despite some horrendous setbacks and some annoying setbacks I think I didn’t do too badly for an inaugural year. In looking over my categories, and this has more to do on my end that yours, while most are self explanatory others need clarification. Game Essays, Critical Responses, External Sources are self-explanatory. Recent Posts is the way my system orders the posts correctly on the front page. I got knocked a few times for posts labeled under Thoughts being not as well thought out or being wastes of time. In part I think that’s because of their schizophrenic nature. Some are just meandering thoughts about games in general that came to mind and I wrote down, while others are full fledged essays. In the New Year I am going to fix that. Thoughts will be the quick posts dashed off, while those that are more essay like, not tied to a specific title will be under a new category. I’m thinking of calling it Game Issues.

Finally there is my writing itself. While improving quality is a forever ongoing process that can be seen even over this blogs short existence, content is another matter. As of the time of writing this in 2009 I’ve posted only 43 times. With more time on my hands and presumably more disposable income I will try to write more on games, especially more game essays. Also, while there is nothing wrong with looking back and critiquing old titles, I will try and stay more in the current conversation. I will also try to keep to the plan in the new year of getting Indie Game Spotlight to be a weekly feature. It will be better for the blog and me as a gamer. And I’ve been telling a lot of people of a series of posts on the issue of formalism in gaming; I will try and keep to that as well.

In short, great year mostly spent on the old stuff. A good first year, but hopefully more content and better content in the next year and the next decade. Speaking of which, I’m putting off my decade list until the decade is actually over and I’ve gotten the chance to play some of the contenders I’ve missed. Next post will be my Game of the Year and then I’ll take off a week to actually game.

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