I just realized I haven't posted for nearly a full year. That's quite embarrassing for me. I feel disgraced. I feel like I've let people down. "Where is Slunkadunka, with the slamdunka," people ask (I don't call myself that). So let's give a quick update on what the hell has been going on over the last year that's kept me so busy. Then we'll move onto the real topic.
- I met the love of my life (I hate saying that in a blog, for some reason)
- Been working my ass off
- Currently taking three classes
- Writing for the college's newspaper (Student Life beat, and video games too)
- Unfortunately have barely played any games.
- Got about 15 hours into Dragon Age: Origins and loved it. Then...
- Mass Effect 2 came out. Loved it for about 15 hours, then lacked time to play it.
- I squeeze in Company of Heroes to fulfill my kick, but that's it. That game is like nicotine.
Well, that was a lot shorter than I thought. Makes my life seem boring in some way. Regardless, I've been pretty out of it in terms of the gaming industry, but my experience in journalism has really grown. I'm enjoying that part of it, just not all the time it takes away. It's a love/hate relationship, really.
But I recently butted heads with my editors. Here's the situation: I wrote a story on how used video games affect the gaming industry a few weeks ago. Obviously, I put a lot of hard effort into it and talked to many people about the issue. It was a great, educational piece that I believe really, really informs gamers (and moms too! :D) on something they may not know. Now, I could give you a huge background on this, but I know it'd be boring and I'm also low on time. To put it quick as possible, the story never was published because one of my editors fooled around with the structure and really messed it up. The other editor, whom didn't work with me on the story, read that version and wouldn't let it run.
Now, I understand if the piece is unacceptable and doesn't serve a purpose, then a good editor should work with the reporter to make it better. Or if the hypothesis has really gone off of its original path, perhaps move on to something else. But I have yet to be told why exactly the editor didn't want to run it. I gave her the original, untampered version, but she couldn't wrap her head around it. My time is valuable god-damnit, and if you don't like something, then get over it and look at it objectively. Then tell me. Obviously, I'm still not quite over the situation. It's always hard the first time, most journalists say (Eric Lipton of NYTimes told me that). But I'd be completely fine if I had a well thought-out reason to back up the rejection.
Here's the main kicker: I'm now writing a story about the history of sex in video games. Something so fucking opposite of integrity and a good image for journalism and gamers that it makes me cringe. I'm doing the best as I can to make the story tasteful, but I really just don't know. I'm going with a "the evolution of sex in video games" approach. Trying to show how it has matured, but at the same time it really hasn't.
Part of me wants to just stand up and yell, "This isn't right!" or "Why should I write this shit?!" But what can I do. I've decided to post the story below, which is why this blog will be humongous. Feel free to read at your own leisure. Also, random disclaimer: Pretty awkward that I ran into another Steven Granieri. If anybody used to know him, he went by "whitecloud" on GameSpot & Giantbomb. The one in my story is a different Granieri -- pretty weird! When he told me his name, I was a little stunned. Heh heh.
Just making it aware that I completed my long overdue, jam-packed review of Mirror's Edge. It was a lot of work putting together a text review AND video review, but man that page looks pretty afterwards. Something that I wanted to do was make my video review subjective by including what I liked, and then keeping my text review style the same -- objective. I didn't really try for it this time around, because I don't think I'd make an example of the idea too well, but I may try a little harder next time. One thing that killed me was the lack of my capturing device not working, or at least, me missing the software (Gamebridge's Intervideo) for it. I can't find the CD anywhere, and Adaptech has a terrible, disastrous website. So I apologize for a bunch of trailer footage, but it's all I had to work with!
Important Note: The game technically received a three out of five, but something goofed when I posted the review. Now, because it's Giant Bomb, I can't edit or remove/repost my review. Talking with a mod right now to see how I can get it fixed.
Now ... what to play next? :)
So tomorrow is my last day of class, and I've been looking forward to it for the past few weeks. Instead of hardcore studying, I decided to spend some time writing for a second. I've been saying for awhile that my summer is going to be used to start writing about video games again, since I couldn't do it while in college. Unfortunately, I won't be able to join a website or anything like that -- summer is far too short. Instead, everything will be going on this miserable blog. This brings me to my obviously-in-the-title question: what do you guys look for in a video game blog?
Personally, I'm a fan of quick lists, high quality videos, and reviews. However for videos, I cannot stand long-winded vlogs that go on forever. Remember back when they had three minute intros? Yeah, that was pretty bad. I come to ask this because I've noticed once semi-popular bloggers, including myself, seeing some dead traffic. I know this result is because, well, you need to meet people in order to gain traffic. View counts have not really ben what I'm about, but it's nice to have read-worthy content actually being visited. So yeah, tons of stuff coming this way soon, but what do you guys look forward to? What keeps you coming back, and why?
Games Day Report: The Baltimore Games Day event was amazing. I was fortunate to meet and greet with Paul Barnett and Josh Drescher of Mythic Entertainment. Also, lots and lots of WAAAAAAGH screamin' (friend lost his voice)! However, the day was ruined for me at one point when my camera's battery decided to die within an early 30 minutes, so I didn't obtain any interesting footage. Funny enough, I have video of me scoring an interview with Josh Drescher, but not the actual interview (remember about two sentences ago when my camera died? Yeah, I was rightfully pissed off). I may post something extremely small later on, but I highly doubt it. Oh well, I'll talk to them at PAX '09.
Anyone else finally seeing some good, warm weather? May 11th is my exam week, and it couldn't come any sooner. I know most people try to stay away from final exams, but I'd like to get them over with. It's a blessing and a shame, since I am actually going to miss some of my classes. I think I'm primarily excited to finally play some damn games I've missed out on. I plan to knock out Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 3, Peter Molyneux II, Dead Space, Banjo Kazooie, and anything else that I'm forgetting or that is recommended. Also, I'm really hoping to get another run through Okami as well, since I haven't played it since 2006, maybe 2007? I honestly don't even remember. Needless to say, I'll be looking forward to reviewing some titles as well.
I've received a couple of PM's over the week asking about how the presentation went with the class I had. In a few words, it went great. I could explain everything I said and sort of replicate it here, but I fear that it wouldn't come off the same; however, I did get a chance to explain/discuss the majority of what I talked about (game journalism) on today's recording of Trigames.net's podcast, which I guest on occasionally. To those interested, the episode will be up sometime next week, and I think it was actually a great episode. It featured far less news and more interesting discussion. While I'm on topic, I'll mention that they have been hosting a contest over the last few weeks. A fan of the podcast has an accent, and whenever he says the words "video games," it sounds like "veedio games." He wants to cure this by having a pretentious name to call them. Of course, it's not serious at all and we're poking fun by accepting e-mail for the best pretentious name for video games you can come up with.
To support this fun and in the spirit of today’s indie themed podcast, I'm giving away a free copy of Braid via Steam to our (or supersonic’s, the fan) absolute favorite name/phrase/thing. In case you already have a copy, I’ll offer something of equal value instead. If you’re looking to enter, examples such as Virtual Entertainment Experience (NeoNightmareX), and Vacation Disc (Dendei) are good to follow.
Also, I’ll be visiting Games Day Baltimore on May 9 – Mythic will be there showing off Warhammer Online, but I’ll be there for the Paul Barnett action. Also also, PAX 2009 is likely for me when September 4th rolls around. A lot of my friends are going, and Dendei managed to find a cheap flight in which I can play Doom on the seat’s monitor. So yeah, summer. I just looked over at my PS2 collection and remembered I have an even larger handful of other games that I need to digest as well. Titles such as Shadow of the Colossus, God of War I & II, XIII, Psychonauts, Max Payne and Odin Sphere need to be taken care of this year. I’m SO behind in the times.
Crap, that’s so many games and not enough time. How about you guys? Any backlog clearing that you are looking forward to this summer?
Next Friday (April 10th) I will have a shared fifty minutes in a classroom teaching college students about what it's like to write in the video game industry, and how the industry has developed itself over the past thirty years. I will be going over specific details such as how writing in the industry began, what it has become, and how it has certainly changed within the last year. Although I will be going into a wider variety of topics from there, I can't necessarily say for sure what will make it or not. Only half of the class are mostly interested in becoming a journalist through some form of media, and the others are there for the credits. My ultimate goal is to deliver a clear message about not only the process, but also elaborate on the difficulties that we face in reviewing games -- challenges that no other media or entertainment experience.
Reason for this thread/blog: There are are a lot more writers out in the world than just me, so feel free to conjure your own opinion and I will try to work it into my speech if I have the chance to apply it to anything; I will even quote you directly from the comment board, as I'll have a projector. If you make a few solid points and try hard, I will do my very best to share your opinion with the fellow students. If anyone is interested in posting, you don't have to try and avoid my points -- I'm all for reading some of the same ideas I expressed above from a different voice. I may spark up the games-as-art debate, and using titles such as Braid, Okami, and many others as examples. For industry faces, perhaps Nobuo Uematsu, Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski, Adam Sessler, Jeff Gerstmann, Greg Kasavin, etc. Please add to these lists!
Give it a shot, and to all who do, thanks! You'll be helping me educate students that writing about games (and gaming in general) are more than pixels on a screen.