As the month of June rounds out, the final days of the Newbie Blogger Initiative are upon us. It has been a grand gesture from the community despite its impromptu nature! Despite being called “NBI Lite” by some, I feel that the new format of the initiative — the merging onto a Discord Server rather than primarily relying on forums — moved things into an even more interactive experience for all. Through the use of the main website linked above, Twitter and Discord we were able to spread the word, and keep the original vision of the program alive, and the community has been thriving once more. People are gaming, and people are sharing, and connecting in new ways, and that what makes this thing so damn special. Thanks for another great year!
Thoughts on Writing and Format
Just the other day one of our veterans, Rambling Redshirt wrote an article about choosing how to format your posts. In it, he gave his opinion on whether or not he thought it was a good idea to have single or multi-topic articles when writing for your blog. As one of the long tenured bloggers in our little community, I thought I would give my thoughts on the topic as well.
To me, blogging is a form of journalism. How many of you veterans have written a blog post that would be worthy of a larger scale news site? I’d wager most of you have. Some bloggers that run in this circle have already spread their work out onto other sites like MMOGames, MMORPG.com or even Massively Overpowered. If you pay attention to those types of sites or even more traditional news sites, they tend to have designated columns for designated subjects, which can be either single or multi-topic. News sites tend to focus on one story at a time, but then have columns such as “not so massively” which is a semi-off-topic post that collects news stories about various games that wouldn’t fill up a whole post on their own.
It is my opinion that you can have both single and multi-topic blog posts on your site, just like these news sites tend to do. What I have done over the years is to think about the things that I’d like to write about, and then proceed to determine if a single or multi-topic post is more appropriate. I have also come up with running columns that have been dedicated to both single and multiple topics. If you head up to the top of this blog, you’ll find the “ongoing series” tab, where I have collected these columns for easy access.
I write about more than just gaming so I feel that having a column with a particular name will indicate to your readers if this next post is going to be something that they would be interested in reading. For example, my “By The Numbers” column is all about professional football, so if you aren’t into that sport you can skip those posts. I had a similar column about Fantasy LCS. I have also had a column called “State of the Game” that was a round-up post of sorts, where I collected information about all of the games I was currently playing that week and talked about them all in short bursts.
The general rule of thumb, is to find the word count that you are most comfortable with writing and releasing. If you tend to write 1k word articles, you may want to get really in depth on one topic, or talk about multiple subjects to fill up that word count. If you write smaller articles, you might find that single topics are all you have room for. Generally speaking, it’s what you want to write about, so there aren’t any rules to follow. I have just found that my preferred option is to write about 1,000 words per post, so I tend to make single and multi-topic posts that are about that length. There are exceptions to every rule of course, and this post is likely falling short of that 1k mark, but that’s okay.
If you want to follow my lead, then figure out what length of posts you prefer. From there, you can determine how many topics to include depending on how much you want to say about the subject. If you tend to write about a similar subject often, try to come up with a catchy title and make a little banner for the top of those posts so that your audience knows what to expect when those post titles come up. That’s really all there is to it. Hope this helps.
A History Of Games
I know with certainty that I have most definitely written my personal gaming history down on this blog somewhere, but can’t seem to find it. I was going to link to that and then tell you all to peruse my archives for my more recent history. Seeing as how I can’t find that definitive gaming history post, here’s the TLDR version:
I was born in the 80s. Early memories of Nintendo, Atari, Colecovision, and the Atari ST. I owned a Sega Genesis, Game Gear, and Saturn before jumping ship to Sony’s Playstation and have owned all 4. Have owned a PC since the late 90’s. I’m not a Master Race-r, and enjoy consoles as much as I do my $1500 computer. I just happen to be able to do a bunch more with my PC, and I recognize the pitfalls and advantages of both. Either way, I’m a gamer through and through, and an opinionated one at that. Both of these things will likely continue until I’m old and grey.
This week’s writing prompt had to do with favorite gaming memories, our gaming histories, and all of that. Rather than sounding like a broken record, you got my gaming history above. Below, is going to be a sort of mash up with the writing prompt and the screenshot challenge, because the following picture brings so many things to the foreground in my mind.
Those of you not familiar with the game pictured above might mistake it for an old PC/Atari/Amiga classic, but it actually released this year. Despite that fact, this screenshot makes me feel like I’m looking at something from the late 80’s era of computer games, due to the pixellated graphics and limited color palette. For some, graphics are the thing that will interest them in a game more than anything else. Some would refuse to play a game from the 80’s because of this art style, though in the 80’s it was the best you could hope for, whereas today it is more of a stylistic choice to make a game with pixel art. To me this picture and the game in question, melds the best of both worlds. There is simultaneous nostalgia and hype. There are modern mechanics and frame rates mixed with the styling of old.
The game is Hyper Light Drifter.
It’s on Steam. It’s an indie game. It’s inexpensive. It’s easy to learn and hard to master. And it’s beautiful. It plays like we wished King’s Quest would have played. As a matter of fact, I’d take a new pixel art version of King’s Quest that had a little more focus on action combat and a little less focus on puzzles. But that’s me. Your mileage may vary. Still, I feel like we must remember the past as fondly as we enjoy the here and now. Yes, games like Uncharted 4 or DOOM are a hell of a lot better looking, and more immersive to boot. But damn it if games don’t have roots, and damn it if you haven’t played some of the incredible titles from the 80’s and 90’s you should really do yourself a favor. Get over the graphical snobbery, and appreciate what was done with limited capabilities. You might come to discover that games have always been good, despite sometimes looking like shit.
In other words, know your history.
At least, I feel better about making generalized or blanket statements and having opinions, because I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.
Announcing The New NBI Website
In one of those “better late than never” sort of instances, the NBI finally has a new website that is up and functional. Head over to www.nbicommunity.com to check out the past archives, and keep your eye on the site for round-ups, writing prompts and event information!
I’d like everyone to take a moment out of their day to give a big thanks to Doone of XP Chronicles for getting the event going in the first place, but also for his efforts in getting the community site back up and running! You can find him on Twitter or reach him in the comments on the NBI site or his own blog.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back with my first writing prompt and screenshot challenge post soon.
How To Be A Cheap Ass Gamer #NBI2016
As a guide, this one is two fold. First and foremost, this is the best way to save money and get the best bang for your buck. As a gamer, you know that buying new releases can be a burden on your wallet, so I hope to point you in the direction of options you may not have heard of. An added benefit is the fact that you can also use gaming to fuel your writing or other content creation. Getting extra games means having more awesome stuff to discuss and share. If you make YouTube videos, you can add more gameplay and commentary to your channel each time you add a game to your library. In some ways the two hobbies can very effectively feed each other, and given the right rhythm can allow your passion and expertise to shine through.
There is no “correct” way to write a blog. This is your space on the Internet and you can do with it what you will. That being said, it is advisable that you aren’t a complete troll, asshole or bigot. We’ve all gone on that tirade a time or two, where we said not-so-nice things about developers, titles, business models, or other people’s opinions. There is nothing wrong with this, and you will invite all sorts of discussion, but as long as you keep your cool you may still learn a thing or two from this sometimes-rowdy community. I really don’t have much advice outside of that. Find something you love and write about it. The content will come. It won’t all be great, it won’t all be terrible, it will just be. We will read it, you’ll read our stuff, and all will be well in the world. Honestly, the NBI is a great idea and I love the community support that comes along with it. But you know what I love more than writing about games? Actually Playing Games!
So how do we go about saving a ton of money on our video game habit? The first thing you should probably ask yourself is, “how often do I want to play new games?” If you answer once a month or more, then you’ll probably have some sort of benefit from checking out some of my suggestions. If you are a really hard core gamer that buys new games on day one all of the time, you still might save a buck or two if you pay attention, but it’s likely that you don’t care about saving money, and you probably bought the $80 collectors edition too. I have money to spend on games, and probably spend more than I should already, but getting a deal is still saving me money overall, or is a spread out across more games. Either way, who cares, MOAR GAEMZ.
Most people have a limited gaming budget, and you’ve probably already figured out what your personal number is. The chunk of my disposable income that I typically use on video games will go further if I make sure to capitalize on the market. I’m not stock market guy, so I’m not going to pretend to know a thing about that. But there is sort of an art to your timing on when to buy a new or popular video game. Games tend to be in the $60 range on release date (for standard editions) and can stay there for months. In most cases, you aren’t getting a day one discount on a game. So if you’re dying to get it (and trust me, I still do it) you should probably just pre-order just to get some lame bonuses (and maybe a 10% discount). I don’t know, just get the game cause you need it. But, if you can be patient and wait a day or two, Green Man Gaming tends to have 20%-ish off deals on week to two week old titles. If you’re really patient, you can wait for the Steam Summer Sale, or the Humble Store sale, and if you really prefer DRM-Free stuff, you can always hit up the GOG.com store.
There are several developers who have created their own launchers, which also serve as a store front and a way to market their sales. However, most of us tend to forget to load up those launchers, so we probably miss sales on Origin, Battle.net, or UPlay. Keeping track of such things is a pain to do manually, but if you are on Twitter, it’s handy to follow the developers and publishers that make the games you play. You’ll be more in the loop, and won’t miss out on flash sales that won’t last forever. Jumping on a good deal is always the best way to save a buck or two. Another site that does a good round up of free games and sales is Indie Game Bundles. They will let you know the next time Origin is giving out a free game so you can at least add it to your library and play it at a later date. Options are good, or so they say.
Recently, more options have opened up. Most of you probably know about Bundle sites, Humble Bundle being the most popular. Bundle Stars is another that has saved me some coin on some classic titles that I missed in years passed. Humble in particular has started a LootCrate-esque subscription service called Humble Monthly, in which you pay the monthly fee of $12 and you receive an “early unlock” of a particular game (of which is advertised the month prior to release of the bundle) and then a bundle of curated games that the company picks. Contrary to their traditional bundles, in which they pick and you know what you’re getting before you pay, in this case you get a “mystery bundle” + a game that you chose to spend the money on. Oftentimes the game that you know you’re getting is worth far more than the $12 you paid for the month so even if the mystery games weren’t great, you got one game that you wanted and some other short term diversions. I have gamer ADD these days, so I don’t mind new shinies, even if they wear off quickly.
The ultimate question that I ask myself when a game is nearing release is: “How badly do I want to play this game?” If I’m super hyped for a game, let’s take No Man’s Sky for example. I will buy that day one, no questions asked and full price. But if it’s a game like say, DOOM where I didn’t want to pay full price? I waited a few days and caught a nice $15 off deal. If I really feel like I can wait, I’ll wait. Some games are shoo-ins for the Steam Summer Sale. Others, are bundle fodder. Indies are always cheap. There are daily sales nearly everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled. Watch your head explode.
Still with me?
I’m being a little ridiculous, but you guys understand where I’m going, right? TLDR; Click on those links and book mark them. They’re a gateway to saving money. Spend wisely, my friends. Don’t forget to write down your opinions on what you’ve been playing, and you’ll be well on your way to being a gaming blogger.