trenchant.org

by adam mathes
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VG DJ

The problem with writing about video games is that nobody wants to read it.

This is the real reason there’s no Lester Bangs of video games, not that anybody who’s my age knows or cares who Lester Bangs is anyway.

The last thing we need is more writing about video games, old or “new” journalism style.

Sure, some “new” games journalism is interesting, but most of it isn’t, just like any other genre of writing.

And I got all the traditional fawning previews and boring gameplay reviews from Nintendo Power in the 1980’s, and it was less frustrating to read than anything on IGN today.

What might actually be helpful would be something entirely different that was less focused on commentary and more focused on selection and recommendation.

I want to know what my friends are playing, and if they enjoyed it.

I also want to know what people who are much smarter and pay closer attention to video games are playing, and if they enjoyed it.

This could be as simple as focused video game weblogs that took the form of game, 1-2 sentence review / rating from people who are really smart and concise, which unfortunately rules out most people. But if Danny Cowan and Frank Cifaldi did this and added associate links to EBGames and Lik-Sang for whatever weird import games I should be playing but don’t know about, they’d probably make some money.

Well, I’m not sure they’d make any money but I’d be happier.

The more scalable solution would be for someone (who is not me) to make a nice video game collection management site focused on this - a del.icio.us like site focused on video game collection, quick one sentence annotation, and sharing of collection.

(Or 1up might be able to spend some effort to improve their not so great semi-related features on this.)

If you extrapolate taking into account the trends of shorter episodic gaming, smaller “casual” games popularity on XBox Live, continued commercialization of retrogaming through things like NES reissues, and the general expansion of the library of playable games, quality selection and recommendation in a more efficient and useful format seems even more important.

When you combine all that with increased bandwidth, networked consoles, and free demos on consoles what you want isn’t a bunch rambling gameplay reviews, but something more like trusted “game dj’s” who are given space on your ample hard drive to put interesting games for you to try (and then maybe buy.)

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