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Title: Blog tweakage has happened...
Posted: November 10, 2007 (06:55 PM)
I spent most of today tweaking the blogs rather substantially, though most probably didn't notice. Here's a list of what was done:
1) You can now choose to make your background fixed if you don't want it to scroll.
2) You can now make the background of the main window semi-transparent, though this will affect any images and other content displaying there. Still, it looks cool (I think).
3) Now you can add friend codes, gamertags and PSN IDs to your profile if you want.
4) Changes you make to your blog's appearance will now appear on the confirmation page, meaning it's easier to click 'Back' and correct any horrible mistakes you might make. It should also be less confusing for some users, as well.
5) Blogs now keep track of the number of visitors coming to your page (excluding you).
6) Right column features have been added, including the ability to list your favorite sites again, plus the ability to display a truncated list of all your friends (making it easier to browse their blogs even if they haven't posted recently). You can also display the number of hits your blog has received. Perhaps most importantly, you can also choose to display recent reviews, guides, cheats, fan fiction, screenshots, videos and high score accomplishments for the world to see, if you want. All of these features can be toggled on and off from your 'Settings' page.
7) The "Friends" and "Search" pages have been reworked, so that the former now actually displays up to 30 posts from friends (out of the last 300 posts made to the blogs) and the latter should include more complete results than some reported it did in the past.
8) Search results pages, as well as individual blogs pages, now include archive links so you can browse through older submissions with ease. In the case of individual pages, that feature was never actually completed even on the old blogs, so this should please some people now who were wondering how to easily access their earlier posts.
These posts bring the new blog design a lot closer to what I had in mind when I initiated the changes. I hope you all enjoy the enhancements.
Title: Moving HG into 2008
Posted: November 10, 2007 (01:02 AM)
We're nearing the end of 2007, and already I've got plans for where the site will head in 2008. They're only that--plans--because without help from staff and users, I can't possibly bring them to satisfactory fruition.
Still, any who have the good sense to check my blog might want a sneak peak at what I'd like to see happening as we shuffle through the last part of 2007 and move into the bold future that is 2008.
First, the focus (after reviews and news, which remain the number one priority for obvious reasons) from me and hopefully other staff members will be on game data, artwork and screens. I'd like to build HonestGamers into a real resource for people, so that even if someone comes and doesn't find a review for some obscure game, he might find screens or art and maybe game details that aren't available anywhere else. The more consistently random users can make such discoveries, the better. That's going to be a huge area of focus for me.
The other area of focus is on the community. I believe that we can cram HonestGamers as full of great content as we like and it still won't matter unless enough people come and enjoy what we offer. We've built up a great resource on this site and we continue to attract praise and new visitors from all over the Internet. Long-time fans are constantly telling me how much they like the site's growth and improvement over the last year or so. We don't have the audience we should, though. Smaller sites with much crappier content routinely find themselves more users, simply because people don't know that we exist or don't leave the sidelines.
As I see it, we need to really get the word out. I plan to do that with some advertising over the next year, as possible, but the best advertising is when someone tells a friend about us and says "Hey, I post at HonestGamers and you should too."
One problem we've had in the past is that people trickle in and out and there's never really a steady community. Consider popular sites and their community. As their numbers grow larger, the users on such sites 'feed' off one another, so to speak. Excitement builds because people are activiely discussing the things they care about and meeting other people who do the same. Common interests result in some of the most enjoyable content available online. HonestGamers can and should have that sort of experience readily available. All of the resources are there to make it happen, just not the audience.
So starting now and heading into 2008 and beyond, I'm encouraging everyone to do what they can on a personal level to improve the community aspects of the site. Post more on the forums. Respond to the posts others make. Post here in the blogs. Tell friends who might be interested and make a positive impact on the site. Add HonestGamers to your signature on other forums. There's no monetary reward, but you should feel satisfied as you help this community grow into the (even more) awesome place it can be.
My promise to all of you is that the more everyone does to really make the site grow as a community and as a gaming resource, the more I'll do to make sure that it remains exciting for everyone. If we have a really active community, contests and prizes WILL improve. Traffic to your content you've provided on the site WILL improve, as will feedback. Everything builds on itself, but I can't make it happen without your continued (and potentially increased) support.
So there, that's my little speech. Feel free to let me know whenever you have suggestions to improve community, and please do tell your friends who might be interested in this site. As an added perk, you might even help a pal win a free Wii!
Title: Geometry Wars
Posted: October 30, 2007 (04:10 PM)
Today, at random, I played my first game of Geometry Wars in something like a year. It seemed like everything was going wrong. It took me about 30 seconds to take out one of the stupid pink square guys. He kept slipping right through my wall of bullets. I have no idea how.
Anyway, despite my rustiness I managed a score on my first game of 191,975. That's not all that great a score, but it's better than half my record from when I played the game several hours that one day last summer. So... I guess there's no point to this entry, really, except that I expected to do worse.
Title: Games I need to get...
Posted: October 29, 2007 (10:03 PM)
I make posts like this once in awhile to remind myself later of the games that have released that I need to buy... but haven't yet. Right now, I'm flat broke, so the list will probably grow quite a bit in the short term. Here it is:
Beautiful Katamari (Xbox 360)
BioShock (Xbox 360)
Blue Dragon (Xbox 360)
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (PSP)
Contra 4 (DS)
God of War II (PS2)
.hack//G.U. Part 3 (PS2)
Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
Mega Man ZX Advent (DS)
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
Phoenix Wright 3 (DS)
Touch Detective 2 1/2 (DS)
I'll add more titles as they release and I can't buy them... My list is actually pretty short right now. There just aren't as many hot games coming out at the moment.
Title: I pre-ordered a game...
Posted: October 20, 2007 (01:20 PM)
So, I pre-ordered a game. I pre-ordered because of a pre-order promotion, and because the game looks really interesting:
IGN says not much is known about the game, but it's apparently coming out on November 3, 2008. It's by Tim Schaefer, through his Double Fine Productions company and it's being published by Vivendi. Jack Black is involved. Apparently, you head into some monstrous heavy metal world and you battle monsters with an electric guitar and your chords can melt faces or something.
Sounds sweet to me! There's a screenshot in the article, and it looks like a potentially great game. So yeah... I pre-ordered a game that doesn't come out for a year, and I might get one of 666 t-shirts because of it. I'm a freak.
Title: Fall Out Boy on Xbox Live
Posted: October 10, 2007 (12:53 AM)
According to Kotaku, Fall Out Boy will be signed into Xbox Live this Friday from 4 to 6PM, EST. They'll be schooling everyone at Halo 3, apparently. If you'd like to get your butt kicked (or maybe something else done to it) by Fall Out Boy, Friday is your day!
This important announcement was sponsored by the letter 'H.'
Title: Super Mario Bros. 3's only flaw
Posted: October 07, 2007 (04:59 PM)
I've been playing Super Mario Bros. 3 for years, and I used to think it was a perfect game. Today, though, I realized it does have one flaw: world 4 is easier than world 3.
The difference isn't huge, admittedly, but I still say world 3 is a lot rougher. It's bigger and some of the levels are definitely more vicious, requiring more attempts to clear than anything in world 4 really does. The battleship at the end of world 3 is tougher, as well.
Through and through, world 4 is simpler. So the order is backwards of what it should have been, perhaps even backwards of what it was going to be when the levels were originally designed. It's not a big dent in the game's armor or anything, obviously, but it is there. So yeah, Super Mario Bros. 3 isn't perfect (just insanely close).
Title: Oh, my aching back!
Posted: October 06, 2007 (07:54 PM)
Sometimes my back pulls. I'll wake up one morning and I can't move well. Sometimes, I can barely move at all without severe pain hitting my torso everywhere above the waist.
Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often. I very rarely suffer from real back pain, maybe a few times a year. And when I do, it's usually not of the crippling variety, or it'll be gone in a day or so.
Right now, my back is aching. It's not the sort where I can't move at all. It's the sort where putting my shoes on, walking, moving quickly, driving in the car and such hurt. It's going on the second day now.
Usually, I just pop a few Advil and sleep on it, and in the morning I'm fine. That hasn't worked yet. Hopefully, tomorrow I wake up in great shape. For now, my back hurts. It's making me grumpy. I wonder if stress had anything to do with it. I've had a lot of stress lately.
Title: A musical look back
Posted: October 03, 2007 (08:43 PM)
So, I'm wondering what you all listened to when you were in high school, and what you think of that music now. For me, it's easy to compile such a list because I bought most of what I liked. At the time, I didn't really get into Pearl Jam (and still don't think they're much to be excited about) or Nirvana (which I actually like now). I don't think I've ever listened to Soundgarden, despite people around me all being said when they broke up. And I didn't buy Alice in Chains. Other stuff from that era found its way into my collection, though:
Better Than Ezra
Blessid Union of Souls
Tom Petty & The Heart Breakers
The Presidents of the United States of America
I listened to a bunch of Country/Western at the time, too, but I won't bore you with those band names. Anyway, what sort of stuff did you listen to at the time? I'm just wondering how things compared, how much overlap there was, etc. For my part, I can listen to any of the above stuff and still like it, sometimes even more than I used to. Listening to a lot of the songs now I hear things I didn't notice before and appreciate the lyrics and stuff a lot more.
Title: A little bit of light reading for you
Posted: September 24, 2007 (05:36 PM)
Colonel Vermon CaTaffy, a once tranquil shepherd boy, who grew up on the remote banks of the Sam Sam River in outer Mongolia with his 27 sisters, turned to terrorism at an early age.
Now, after years of pillaging innocent people, he has taken control of Outer Heaven, a small nation on the outskirts of South Africa. Here he is sole tyrant and radical dictator. He rules with bullets and bombs, and in only a few months he has outlawed democracy and turned harmless villagers into mercenaries for a global terrorist network.
But his biggest threat is yet to come. For, as an obsessed madman, he has created the Ultimate Super Weapon. It's CaTaffy's greatest dream and the world's most hideous nightmare.
It's called Metal Gear. And it must be destroyed before the crazed Colonel unleashes his violence across the globe.
I love old NES instruction manuals...