Dealing with Lateness and Self Justification

February 22nd, 2009

I occasionally fall into the trap of beginning articles with a short sub-story justifying why I’m playing whatever game at such a late time. It’s a terrible habit and I really out to kick it already because as you know I’m rarely ever up with “what’s now” in video games.

I write about whatever because I play whatever. Sure I lose my ticket to discussion on the super-fun ferris wheel ride of popular games blogging – that is popular within the niche – but I’d rather discuss the merits of some random game from the past 20 years than limit myself to a 3-5 game quota of popular hits. It doesn’t really work out favourably in my case – I guess my popularity can vouch for that, but isn’t this what we need?

I love the line which loosely goes: “In 20 years time people aren’t going to care what percentage X publication gave X game, what will really matter is the content which extends our understanding of X game”. I honestly couldn’t agree more, which is why I try to serve up content which does just that, well if I can help it.

There’s also the fact that such content is very, very hard to find. I mean honestly with a few exceptions who looks at old games from a design/culture/critique perspective, let alone talk about these games out of a “reviewing” standard? I don’t intend to talk myself up as the God of some super-niche (because if so, I’m a lousy God) but I honestly struggle to find this sort of stuff myself on the net, even within the blogosphere.

On one hand I love writing about what I do, and slowly improving on what I’m doing. Having made some category edits to older articles the other day, I realized how embarrassing some my previous stuff was. But the loneliness of writing in such a way can also feel like a bit of a burden, which is why I appreciate so many of your comments. I don’t know what I hoped to achieve with this article, just wanted to dispel a few thoughts and justify my standing on some issues, some of which I touched upon back here.

Ah, that’s it! I forgot to say, I changed the permalink structure of article so they now look like this:

and not this:

Since I thought it worked better if I ever had to change categories. What I learnt though was that WordPress automatically redirects to the respective article on URL changes so really it doesn’t matter. I guess that’s what I wanted to say.

  • I’m very much with you here. When I went back to my parents’ house for Christmas last year I came back with all of my old game consoles with the intention of doing just what you describe — playing older games with a stronger critical perspective, informed by the current state of games writing. (Of course, instead I decided not to play anything at all, but that’s a separate issue!)

    I think this is one area where it makes sense to compare games criticism to what we see in other media. People still write about literature that’s hundreds of years old, and theorists read those works through the lenses of new critical disciplines (thus we have, say, feminist and deconstructionist critiques of Macbeth). It would be a shame if we did not do the same for video games.