So I’ve been posting this blog for exactly one year now. I think now is as good a time as ever to look back at how this past year has gone, what I want to do differently going forward, and what the plans are for the next few weeks. So I’m going to basically be going over things as I think of them. Don’t think of this as some well thought out article. I just believe that self reflection is important, so here’s some of that.
Frequency of Articles
This fluctuated a lot throughout the year. There were times where I posted two articles a week and times where I went about a month without posting anything. I obviously would rather write more than less, but I don’t want to get into a space where I am writing bad posts in order to get them out more often. I think I did that a couple of times this year. For instance, I think I probably should have spent more time on my No Man’s Sky review. I kind of rushed that out because I had been getting posts out very quickly at the time, and it shows in the final product. So I think going forward I’m going to make my goal one post a week. If I don’t hit it that’s fine, and if I do more that’s also fine. It’s just a good goal to aim for and much more realistic than the 2 a week that I had going at some points this year.
This is something that I wanted to do a lot more with this year than I actually did. The three OOTs I actually ended up writing (Mirror’s Edge, Persona 4, and Metal Gear Rising) are of a varying quality, but overall I’m happy with all three of them. The problem is that OOTs take a lot more time than a review. With a review, I want to play a game thoroughly, but I still want my impressions to be of a more general nature. When talking about older games I want to talk about the history of its development, the context of when it was released, my own personal experience with the game, and a more in-depth look at the game itself. Mirror’s Edge is a short game, and that OOT isn’t very long either. However, it took me about two weeks of exploring the time trials and trying my hand at the speedrunning mode in order to fully grasp some of the mechanics and the depth of the level design. I don’t think I completely nailed it in the end, but I am happy with the way that piece came out. I played through ICO a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I have a lot to say about it, but I’d probably want to play through the game at least one more time before fully committing to writing about it. I have a half-written OOT for Vanquish, and it’s already longer than most things I’ve written for this site. However, I’m also to the point now where I’ve forgotten a lot of what I was going to say and would have to revisit that game at this point. And again, those are short games. Part of the reason I’m not so happy with my Persona 4 OOT is because I played that game over a 5 month period. My thoughts on it by the end were completely scattered. To alleviate this, I think I’m going to go into these OOTs with a little more focus from here on out. I think the idea of picking one old game a month to play a ton of and write about in depth is a good plan to start with. I look forward to seeing how that goes.
Reviews were the thing that I did this past year that were the most consistent in terms of both frequency and quality. As of writing this I have written 13 reviews for this site. I think some are better than others, but I also don’t think any of them are either incredible or terrible. If I was reviewing these reviews, they would all get between 2 and 4 stars. I’m hesitant to say that I want to change a lot with how I do reviews. I’m tempted to want to experiment more with them, but I think OOTs might be a more appropriate place for that kind of writing, as well as the new Extended Thoughts thing that I’m doing. I obviously want to make my reviews better as time goes on, but I don’t want to drastically change what I’ve been doing with them.
This is something new I’m doing. I thought of this when playing Civ VI and then that was the first (and so far only) game I have done one of these for. It’s basically me taking what would otherwise be one of many points in a review and giving it a full piece to really shine. For Civ it was the aspect of how you have to plan ahead in that game. It was something that I wanted to highlight, but it didn’t make sense to spend my entire review talking about it. This is a chance for me to experiment with and flex my critical muscles a little bit. I don’t want to force this onto every game I talk about, but it’s something I want to do more of in 2017.
The things that I am happiest with on this blog are some of the editorials that I wrote. The game pricing piece is something that I’ve wanted to write for a while, the Deep Silver piece was the first thing I was really confident about when I hit publish, and the PS4 Pro piece was similarly good. However, I think I finally hit what I’ve been aiming for with my final two editorials on Xbox One backwards compatibility and Bethesda’s review code policies. These were two pieces that I did a lot of research for and formed a cohesive argument. I also didn’t back down in either of them. Being a fan of backwards compatibility is obviously less controversial than what I wrote about Bethesda and the press, but in both I feel like I took a strong position. I was truly passionate about both of those topics, and I think it shows. I think the PS4 Pro and Deep Silver editorials have aspects of this as well, but the last two were more refined. I want to expand on that going into the new year, and I want to do less of some other stuff.
E3/2016 Preview/General Hype
I don’t think my E3 coverage, my 2016 Preview, or just general stuff about unreleased games was bad. I don’t think any of it came across as me just shilling for publishers or anything like that. However, I don’t know how much it accomplished. It doesn’t serve much of a purpose from a critical perspective, and in 2017 I want to scale back on all of this stuff but probably not completely eliminate it.
The Immediate Future
Gravity Rush 2 comes out on January 20th. For me, 2017 starts there. All of the stuff about one post a week, one OOT a month, extended thoughts, and editorials in the style of my last two starts there. Up until that point will be 2016 cleanup. It will be reviews for 2016 games that I haven’t gotten to yet, a game of the year article, a soundtrack of the year article, potentially articles about games I missed this year and old games I played this year, and a most anticipated games article that will take a much different format than my 2016 Preview. I just beat XCOM 2 and DOOM, so those will be the next two games I review.
I’ve really enjoyed doing this and feel like I’ve learned a lot. I look forward to continuing in 2017.