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honestgamer It's not all an elaborate ruse, some misguided attempt to establish for myself an online persona of dubious quality. I really am dull. If you don't find that unbearable, though, this is my blog that examines just how truly boring I can be.

Title: Bad ass or badass?
Posted: April 19, 2010 (02:29 AM)
Okay, this is starting to bug me... Folks, there's a difference between 'bad ass' and 'badass' and it's rather striking.

'Badass' is Jack Bauer. 'Bad ass' is tub girl. If you know what I mean by that, we've both seen a horrible picture on the Internet but now you get where I'm coming from. If you don't quite get what I mean, well, that's for the best... but try to use the terms properly in the future. ;-)
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Title: Notes from a deranged webmaster
Posted: April 04, 2010 (11:35 PM)
Hello, everyone!

It's no secret to anyone reading blogs and forums today that there's some tension on the site. I feel that as the guy who started the site, I should comment on some of those things. This site is obviously (I would hope 'obviously' is an appropriate adverb there) very important to me, as is its community. I consider many of you my peeps, at the very least, and in many cases I consider you friends. I'd like for us to continue to enjoy that relationship for a long time to come.

On reviews...

I love game reviews. I like to see them for new games because new games are mostly what I play these days and so it's more likely that I can get involved in any discussion. I'm often very familiar with a wide variety of new games and in more cases than sometimes is evident from the titles that I actually review, I'm playing the new games or reading press releases and other coverage for them.

I like reviews for old games, too, for many different reasons that are no less important. I like hearing about a gem from the 8-bit or 16-bit era that I may simply have missed. I like hearing how a game that I loved or hated sits with someone else. I like studying how different people approach those same games that I remember so vividly from my childhood and I like hearing about the impact they had on the lives of others.

My hope is that many of the reviews posted on the site will be written by people who feel passionate about whatever they are reviewing--or who at least have an interesting opinion--and I hope that the people doing the reading will say "Wow, that's really cool!" I've seen some reviews come through that were covering games I don't imagine I could possibly care less about, but I was happy to see those reviews because they're the sign of a thriving community that will meet the needs of readers with interests different than my own, readers who will help give the site an extra dimension and who can foster discussion that we might not see if everyone reviewed--as was the case several years ago, to some extent--only games that fit a certain type of style that had become "acceptable" by a few vocal members in the community.

In short, I like well-written reviews that cover a diverse range of games. I think that in general we do a nice job of covering the hot new games that interest us, and there are a few who do an excellet job of covering older stuff that I barely even knew existed (even though I often added the listing to the database). Folks like LowerStreetBlues, Zanzard, overdrive, pickhut, Felix_Arabia, sho and others are constantly surprising me with new looks at old classics and I love that about this community. It's something special we have here that I honestly haven't found anywhere else online and I want to see that continue. Please keep doing what you guys--and ladies, in some cases--do and I'll go right on loving it!

On critiques...

I've critiqued hundreds of short stories and novels from chapters and reviews and I've learned a few things about reviews. This is my blog, so I will commence with the sharing on my perspective. Here's my list of how to write a helpful critique:

1) Don't write a critique that's about yourself. Like the game being reviewed? Hate it? Don't give a crap? Disagree strongly with the review's angle? That's fine. Mention it if it's relevant. Don't explain at length Why you disagree, though. Doing so would create two problems: 1) it would turn your 'critique' into your soapbox, depriving the actual reviewer of advice and feedback he or she deserves; 2) it will derail discussion faster than you could possibly imagine.

2) Don't try to fix everything at once. Does the reviewer have several big problems going on with his text? Focus on the worst. This prevents your critique from feeling like an attack. If you don't know how the person on the other end will react, it's always best to assume that he or she will be sensitive. Most people won't mind if you go easy on them. They'll be more likely to appreciate one substantial criticism--properly supported--than they will a list of complaints that are more likely to come across as you just being an ass.

3) Remember the positive. By pointing to some positive things that a review does, you show that you respect what was written and you give your victim more reason to appreciate everything that you have to say. You can mix positive and negative, as well. Example: "I like the way you described the javelin sailing through the air and the words you used, but I've noticed that sometimes you have trouble with comma placement that could get in the way of what you're trying to say." Maybe that's not perfect, but it shows that you see the good in a review. A truthful compliment probably has never hurt anyone. Probably.

4) Don't attack the reviewer's character or pretend to know his or her secret console allegience. This isn't really any different than calling the poor individual a fanboy. The difference is that you haven't said that in so many words. The sentiment is there, though, and the people who regularly contribute reviews to this site are smart enough to catch it. You may believe that person X is a fanboy and you may even be right, but review feedback isn't the place to constructively voice such concerns.

There's more to keep in mind, of course, but those four points cover a lot of ground. I often find that if there's a row over a review, people who started the feedback thread forgot one or more of those four points.

On this site...

Just so you all know, I don't plan on the site disappearing anytime soon. I'm still putting a lot of effort and thought into its design. I'm still looking for opportunities to grow its audience, to find and nurture new writers. If I'm not always around--or visible--in the way that I used to be, it's because I'm often doing different things behind the scenes or I'm continuing to square away financial debts that stand in the way of me being able to work on the site as passionately as I would like to.

I'll continue working hard to keep this community as vibrant and healthy as possible, but I can't do it without you. I appreciate all of your support, whether that be financial (you know who you are and so do I) or content-related (we all know who you are) or both. Thank you a thousand times over for helping to make this community what it is. Let's keep having fun doing this together.

Jason
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Title: A movie site?
Posted: April 01, 2010 (10:59 PM)
Consider this post a preliminary inquiry on my part.

How many of you would be interested in participating in a movie reviews site? I know that there are movie review sites on the Internet already, but I feel that there's still room for a vibrant new movie reviews community and I'm interested in potentially getting behind a project like that.

The reason is simple: Blu-Ray. The format has rekindled in me a love for movies that my HD television set has obviously made all the more thrilling. I'm building up a collection of movies that I enjoy, plus I have access to tons more because my brother-in-law buys several new movies each week, it seems like and there's also a movie theater just down the road. So I'd have the means to cover movies, but it's obviously not something I could do (well) alone.

The advantage of movies is that they don't take as long to watch as video games do to play. I wouldn't be considering this a full-time gig unless it really took off, but it seems like a lot of folks here enjoy movies and this could be a great opportunity to make something of that.

I probably wouldn't want to take the time coding a whole new site for that purpose if there wasn't good interest here, though, so... how interested would you be? I'd love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved, as well as an estimate for your likely level of involvement and your history and experiences with cinema.
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Title: CBS cares
Posted: March 28, 2010 (11:11 AM)
Why in the world do those "CBS Cares" ads start to display on late-night television? It seems like every night that I've watched the Craig Ferguson show for the last week and a half or so, the show will be coming back from commercial break and for a third of a second or so, a CBS Cares ad will flash on-screen. I'd be really upset at the interruption to my standard viewing, of course, but Jeniffer Love-Hewitt is the spokesperson at the moment so... Yum!
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Title: Final Fantasy XIII and New Moon
Posted: March 19, 2010 (04:55 PM)
I just woke up today because I didn't go to sleep until 9 this morning because I was playing Final Fantasy XIII. I've finally beaten it. Me on 6 hours of sleep is not a pretty sight, though, and of course it would be ridiculous to go back to sleep at 3 in the afternoon. I don't quite think I could.

I really enjoyed most of the last 15 or 20 hours of the game, though I was rushing through in "gotta review this" mode so some of it went less well than it would have if I took my time to just enjoy some of the spectacular stuff that happens and some of the cool places that I got to explore. I really like the game as a whole and I'm settling on an angle for a review that will likely go live at some point over the weekend, but I haven't sat down to actually write anything just yet.

Unfortunately, it's not likely that I'll have the review ready anytime in the next 16 hours or so because my three days off have ended--after being spent almost exclusively with the game--and tonight I'm one of three lucky people scheduled for a midnight opening at the store where I work. The guest of honor? The Twlight: New Moon movie release. I'm not sure that I can put into words just how little I want to be at my place of employement... tonight or any night, actually. But especially tonight.

This is probably a bad combination of events.
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Title: A video that simply must be seen, a writing update
Posted: March 09, 2010 (12:58 AM)
This is a video that every politcally minded American should watch, so I hope that I can count on each of you to do so:



In other news, I spent something like an hour today going over the first chapter of one of my novel projects. Maybe I'll spend some time tomorrow doing the same... but with a different chapter! I'm hoping I can get into writing more fiction. I go through these phases where I get mad at myself for not working on my fiction. Someday, I'd like to go through a phase where I cash royalty checks and get paid to use my imagination and I tell Matt Lauer that he can suck it. Or at least all but that last part.

In still other news, I looked up the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome after reading speculation that Peter Sellers may have had it, and there were 27 symptoms listed on one of the sites covering it. All 27 of those matched my childhood, teen years and to a large extent my present existence (which is more subdued, and which happens to be right in line with how things go for the lucky ones). The wikipedia entry on it might as well be the story of my life. I've mused in the past that I may have the syndrome. The more I read about it, the more I really think that I may have Asperger's Syndrome. It's nice to have a name for some of the symptoms, and to know that it doesn't mean that I'm doomed to failure. I just have trouble empathizing, moving without being a klutz, socializing, showing a normal range of emotions, speaking in a non-monotone voice, realizing when my obsession with a few core areas is becoming a bore and so forth. As syndromes go, I could have a much worse one clinging to me!
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Title: My book the cheapest you'll ever find it
Posted: March 07, 2010 (02:07 AM)
Powell's is offering a used copy of "Defiant Light" for less than $6.00 right now. Some other seller is, too. If you've been thinking "Wow, I really need to pick up Jason's book one of these decades," I figure that's about as little as you'd pay for it unless I pay a bunch of money to get some copies from Xlibris and then give them away on the site one of these years. Why wait, though? Go here:

Amazon.com used copies of Defiant Light

Yes, there are two copies available and both at that terrific price. The book usually costs closer to $20, which is probably part of why it hasn't sold more copies (with another part being that I haven't really promoted it).

If you're interested in a shiny new copy, you can order it from here:

http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.aspx?bookid=2032

It'll take longer to get a new copy because they have to print it first, so you'd be waiting for several weeks. Purchases are welcome, of course. I can get author copies at a hefty discount, but they still would cost me more than I'd like to pay for the book. I mean... I know it's awesome and all, but money is money!
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Title: It Happened One Infinity Ward, a play by Jason Venter
Posted: March 02, 2010 (05:25 PM)
Bobby Kotick, Vince Zampella and Jason West are in a large board room. A long table runs down the center and double doors allow admittance to one side. There is a fish tank along one side of the wall with a single goldfish and a popcorn stand is positioned in one corner for reasons unknown. Kotick is seated at a large, throne-like chair at the far end of the room. West and Zampella are seated next to one another at the far end of the table. Kotick has a cup of coffee. Zampella and West do not. Kotick also has a handheld radio by his side.

Kotick: Greetings, workers. We are in this meeting because tomorrow Activision will be announcing the full and proper bastardization of the Call of Duty franchise. I want to make sure that both of you are on board, since I'm told that you have a passion for this thing that you created that now makes me money.

West: That's true, Bobby. We--

Kotick: Please, the name is 'Overlord Kotick.' We have discussed this.

Zampella: *Ahem* I think that what my colleague is trying to say is that since we played a large role in the franchise and have overseen its development, since we have helped it to flourish, we have a certain interest in seeing it continue to represent quality for gamers.

Kotick: That may be, that may be. It seems that my sources were correct. This could be a problem. So let's be clear: the new title will be called New Call of Duty: Modern Creed X - Bobby's Fortune and we're having some new developer handle the development. They're untested, but they do have a certain pedigree.

West: The name seems a little bit long to me.

Kotick: You have no vision. Trust me, it's evocative. We're going to see that it's a mix of all of this past holiday's biggest sellers - New Super Mario Bros. Wii, of course, and Uncharted 2: Drake's Fortune, not to mention Assassin's Creed 2. That one got good reviews, made Ubisoft a pretty penny.

Zampella: This is sounding like it could be an unfortunate blunder. We need the franchise to maintain a certain aura of... what's the word I'm looking for?

West: Quality.

Kotick: *laughs* I think we've all seen that sales have nothing to do with that, or indeed very little. Sales are what matter, gentlemen. So to be clear, can I count on your support for this and for the online game we're planning that will charge players for the ability to press the 'Start' button?

West and Zampella: Uh....

Kotick: I was afraid of that.

Kotick grabs the handset and speaks into it softly.

Kotick (into handset): Execute Plan B.

West and Zampella: Plan B?

Kotick: Plan B is... you're fired. Bouncers from Joe's Bar are on their way up as we speak. It was nice making money with you gentlemen. Interns are rushing in to pack your desks into boxes. We'll send them to you via UPS. It's cheaper than FedEx, or so I'm told.

West: They always lose my packages.

Zampella: Mine too.

Kotick: Good day, gentlemen!

Bouncers burst through the double doors and escort Zampella and West out the back door.
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Title: Expanding our audience one directory at a time
Posted: February 10, 2010 (03:37 PM)
Well, work continues to spread awareness of the HonestGamers site. I just got word today that we're finally listed on the AllTop directory, under its Gaming session. The big secret about directories is that even if we don't get a lot of hits from traffic on a specific directory, those directories are edited by hand and thus a link means a lot more to sites like Google as they evaluate the value of our content.

You can now find links on the Alltop site to our latest staff reviews, updated courtesy of the RSS feed that I put into place sometime back. There are a few other RSS aggregation sites that are now posting the same stuff, meaning that when we post interesting new content, more people than ever will see it.

I'm trying to increase eyes to the same few items (specifically reviews) because that's a great way to encourage people to come to the site and look at other reviews... including yours! The efforts that I've been making over the past few weeks and over the coming few should result in more traffic to your content without you having to do a single thing extra. You can easily improve the amount of traffic you receive, however, by making sure that you post on your favorite social networking sites when you've added something interesting to the site and would like feedback from more than just the core HonestGamers community. Remember that there are links to easily tweet about your new content (something that I find does get results). You can post about your work in off-site blogs, too.

Anyway, I will continue to make efforts on my end to ensure that the site reaches more and more people and that your content does the same thing. We're nearing the point where those efforts could snowball and we could suddenly find ourselves regularly enjoying higher levels of exposure than ever before, so make sure that you keep those contributions coming!
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Title: A Color-Based Personality Test That Works? No way? Yes way!
Posted: February 09, 2010 (12:32 AM)
I just took an online color test that was supposed to determine my personality. When I got to the end of the test, which took about a minute to complete and involved nothing more than picking favored colors from a few charts, I was stunned by the psychological report that displayed. It summed me and my interests up to an astounding degree.

I'd be interested in seeing how some of you feel after taking the test. You can find it here:

http://www.careerpath.com/career-tests/colorcareercounselor.aspx

By the way, here's a listing of the jobs that this test told me would probably be a good fit for me based on nothing more than the colors that I chose:

Suggested careers are Advertising Executive, Architect, Web Designer, Creative Director, Public Relations, Fine or Commercial Artist, Interior Decorator, Lawyer, Librarian, Musician, Reporter, Art Teacher, Broadcaster, Technical Writer, English Teacher, Architect, Photographer, Medical Illustrator, Corporate Trainer, Author, Editor, Landscape Architect, Exhibit Builder, and Package Designer.

The test is interesting because as far as I know, there's no way that I could game it. I just picked the colors and poof, there were suggested career paths. What do you all think of your own results?
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