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My Gaming Mission

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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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Updated 17 Jun 2010 at 06:24 PM by Nick

Video Games


  1. Opaque's Avatar
    I've found that in a general sense for me the most endearing and memorable games of my past are those games that the general new gaming public aren't exposed to, but the sad part is that's because there aren't more games like them, which also is because so few people heard of them and made the purchase. That's a really shitty spiral the more you think about it. Without proper word of mouth and hype some great gems get one installment and such poor sales that no one ever looks at them as a decent model to build off. Imagine if GTA III, or Half Life or Halo had no hype or reviews or amazing sales off word off mouth how different the gaming industry might be right now, then in reverse imagine what we might have received over the last few years of something like BG&E had sold the way we all know it should have. Instead of sitting around hoping that a sequel finally gets released more than half a decade later, we would have seen the end of a trilogy which likely would have been incredible.

    It's a shame.
  2. Rated E's Avatar
    Making a large impact is difficult, especially with how quickly things are moving forward, that and the media will always be pushing in the opposite direction - which is focusing on the next big thing. Younger people who are growing up in this gaming generation really don't know anything (or seem to care to know) about the history of this hobby, influential titles, or the "hidden gems" that get swept underneath the mainstream. Growing up I didn't have anyone to expose me to all the things I missed out on, and I am forever playing catch up. But, it was this website, and certainly your efforts, that really made me care about digging into the history of a lot of games, as well as playing more oldies that I missed. So, you have made a difference!

    You really need your own retro column here.
  3. Frogacuda's Avatar
    I actually do feel like there's some progress in the gaming media, and I think wikipedia has been a really powerful tool there. Obviously wikipedia has a lot of misinformation here and there too, and the way it is dependent on the media since original research is prohibited makes it difficult for researchers who don't get to publish stuff on IGN first like me.

    But I absolutely have noticed stuff that I wrote on wikipedia get parroted elsewhere. Just for a TNL tie-in, I remember a long time ago we had a discussion on what to call the platformer sub-genre that Prince of Persia/Flashback/etc belonged to. We didn't really reach a conclusion, but someone suggested "cinematic game" or some such, so I called them Cinematic Platformers when I wrote the wiki entry, and now I see that term actually pop up more and more often. I know where it came from because I made the term up.

    Of course that's not an example of better information, but I do see research I've done and then later incorporated onto wikipedia show up all over.

    Lazy (or overworked) writers will never just start working harder, but as accurate information is more available to them, they're going to lean on that. So I do see things getting better.
    Updated 18 Jun 2010 at 04:57 PM by Frogacuda
  4. kingoffighters's Avatar
    Keep doing what you are doing NZE, I always enjoy reading your posts and opinions on things (unlike most of the tropinions hyberboles, including my own). I would imagine it would be difficult to have a higher standard in videogame journalism, but hey, anyone can start a website/blog so if anyone can do it, it is you.
  5. NeoZeedeater's Avatar
    Thanks guys.

    I shouldn't say there has been no progress in the media. I do love how today's media is much more likely to talk about console games and PC games together as both being video games although the rise of multi-format gaming has probably contributed to that. There are other little improvements as well. When I say the media hasn't improved, I'm mostly thinking of recent years and some disturbing trends like the romanticization/fact twisting of Nintendo's past. I think it's inexcusable to have articles/lists nowadays covering '80s gaming and having it pretty much all being NES and maybe a few arcade games. Shouldn't the quality stuff that wasn't as big in sales back then be getting at least a bit more recognition than back in the day instead of even less? Gamers have had over 20 years to catch up on some of the important games they couldn't afford or missed back then. And if they haven't caught up, that's fine. I just don't want those people getting paid to write about older video games.

    That wiki example gives me hope for making an impact, though. I should definitely use it more. I have made corrections here and there, and I also sometimes do little things like change the words "US market" to "North American market" or add in Oceania alongside Europe when it applies to help make vocabulary more accurate and inclusionary.
  6. Frogacuda's Avatar
    Oh, another one I noticed as a wiki ripple effect, after I named Alpha Waves and the first 3D platformer in a couple places on wikipedia, I noticed the creator of the game Cristophe De Dinechin embraced the distinction and wrote a lot about it, giving a really detailed behind the scenes account of its creation. I've seen it pop up other places too, but it's obviously not a game that comes up in the mainstream media.
  7. gamevet's Avatar
    Omega Race was a pretty cool arcade game. Have you played the 2600 version NZE?
  8. NeoZeedeater's Avatar
    Yeah, it's a good version for the hardware. Commodore's ones are much nicer, though. The VIC-20 version is easily my favourite because it's the only one the runs really smoothly and lets you do more things with your ships movements, i.e. tapping the joystick just right to quickly become stationary or send yourself bouncing back and forth in a straight line.


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