My Gaming Mission
by, 17 Jun 2010 at 06:06 PM (11862 Views)
This is my first ever blog as I don't often feel a need to talk about personal shit online. This seems like the perfect place to ramble about gaming matters, though, especially ones that don't necessarily suit a regular thread format.
While I have always loved playing and reading about video games, over time I decided that wasn't enough for me and my relationship to this medium. I look at this industry with all its talk on the internet and I get this urge to fix what I see as its biases, inaccuracies, injustices, and omissions. So, my mission is two-fold. It's both objective and subjective in nature (and with a lot of grey area in between). The first part is to help create a more factually accurate view of gaming history than often gets told by doing a lot of research and game playing. The second is to try and get as many people as I can to play quality, overlooked games and systems. I feel the latter (the subjective side) is necessary to achieve the former (the objective side). You can't have a factually correct perspective on the history of video games when your experience is limited to just the popular stuff. This is the mistake the gaming media makes frequently.
Now, I'm not saying I don't make mistakes or that only the games I like matter. I honestly don't have an ego like that. I'm someone with more questions than answers. I suppose that's what bothers me about the gaming media so much. They often don't seem to ask questions or even do basic research. They seem to be happy spewing blatant bullshit without a care (like an article saying Zelda was the first action-adventure game, for example). They act like the select games/systems they grew up with are all that need mentioning (thinking back to that IGN top 8-bit soundtracks article that where every game listed was from only one console despite numerous excellent tracks on others to choose from).
Of course, many message boarders at places like TNL see through those kind of biases and errors, and can ignore them. I just think it's a shame that newer gamers interested in gaming's past might look to these big websites for guidance and end up acquiring the same narrow viewpoints. That's not to say the major sites never impress me. There are some knowledgeable people there that occasionally get to shine with insightful articles but it doesn't happen enough. IGN Retro started out surprisingly good. And as far as TNL connections go, I think Frogacuda's articles there were exactly the kind of thing the industry needed, i.e. exposing underrated games and debunking myths. Sadly, Retro never made IGN enough money to be maintained properly.
Anyway, since I embarked on this personal gaming mission years ago, I feel a mix of satisfaction and disappointment. There have been many instances where people have thanked me for exposing them to a cool game they hadn't heard of, or that I changed their opinion on a system they previously assumed sucked. It's a nice feeling to help some designers get more recognition for their work even if I had nothing to do with making it. I thank everyone who has valued my opinions over the years.
The disappointment aspect is that I still don't feel like I have made even a dent in the grand scheme of things. The gaming media is showing no signs of improvement with regards to having a more well-rounded and accurate view of history. I don't currently plan on getting into writing as a profession either. I think I have reached saturation level with regards to getting more TNL'ers to play underrated classics as we don't really get any new posters. I guess I could post at a lot more at other message boards but time is kind of maxed out, too. Oh well.
If any newcomers happen to be reading this, and are looking for some classics, don't limit yourself to just the stuff that makes up most of the mainstream's lists. It's never too late to experience games like Under a Killing Moon, Omega Race, Wonder Boy III, Cannon Fodder, etc. We've got people here that can steer you to plenty of gems.
And that's my sick at home today rant. It probably won't seem that new for people that have known me here for a while but I figured I would give blogging at least one try. I'll keep enjoying playing games and try what I can to do this mission on the side. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to leave my mark on this industry. If not, whatever. I'm happy with my marriage, job, friends, family, etc. now (I'm quite looking forward to ATV-ing in the Oregon sand dunes soon which something I haven't tried before).
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