The Important Role of Memory
January 04, 2017

On the subject of game archival and the ever fluctuating stor(e)mfront of publisher release malpractice, people who remember how it used to be, and how it needs to be, serve an important role.

I was reminded of this when reading your review of Final Fantasy XIII, Jason. I couldn't get away from my distasteful experience with the PC port. I pre-ordered it ... first time ever, and never again ... and was let down in so many ways. I don't know if you heard, but it cemented the attitude players have toward Square-Enix as a negligent publisher.

In summary: Options confined to a launcher, and very limited too boot; video assets lifted from the lower quality Xbox 360 release; no voice/subtitle options, regions were locked to their respective translation; poor performance and overall instability including conflicts with connected USB devices. Some of the issues were addressed, but only after a massive public outcry.

Subsequent ports were of higher quality, e.g. Final Fantasy IX, but handled by a third party developer. Necessary change.

FF:XII helped establish Durante as the go-to fixer for jRPG fans victim of rushed, badly ported games. Tales of Symphonia suffered similarly and its most prized release was for the GameCube, being superior in nearly every way.

My point is by reviewing games with the perspective of time passed, we are able to measure the lasting impact of a game on the industry and us. Would I be remiss in suggesting that we introduce the ability to post articles where we discuss these things?

I know we all have feelings about our game experiences, certainly opinions to match. HonestGamers influences players, without a doubt, but perhaps we need to be able to place direct emphasis on our historical knowledge as well. Retrospectives have proven highly valuable to me, and interesting to others.

I have a review of Chrono Trigger prepped that is mostly retrospective and speculative in nature - though I'm sitting on it for a few days - the point of the review is to lend a perspective in its current status compared to my first experience with the thing. How has it aged? Why is it the underdog?

I firmly believe we're sensible enough to not take the clickbait route. But, consider what we might write if given the chance to express our flat out opinions about subjects like ... DLC, Pre-Order, and such. Are these good? Bad? Blatant marketing? Wallet vacuums?


Y'know. Just a thought.

Most recent blog posts from Simon Woodington...

honestgamer honestgamer - January 04, 2017 (11:51 AM)
Blogs were set up on the site specifically to allow the writers to explore those other angles you mention. The first version of the site's blogs (an old form that predates even the second round of blogs that many of the site's older users recall), was on the site before any other game site I know of hosted blogs. We beat IGN and GameSpot to the punch, even... but not enough people knew about that because I was and remain terrible at promotion.

My personal thought is that reviews should be "just" reviews, and that blogs are an ideal place for editorials, as well as for retrospectives that aren't so much a review as they are a discussion of how much things have changed in the industry or whatever. Obviously, reviews can briefly explore that angle and benefit from it immensely, but they cease to be actual reviews when that discussion becomes the entire point of the piece.

One thing I don't like on other sites is a tendency by writers to sometimes try to turn the review into something that it isn't. As a format, the review is an invaluable consumer aid, and my goal for HonestGamers is to assist consumers first, as they try to find games that most justify their investment of time and money (including a bunch of old games that other sites tend to forget exist unless something like the NES Mini comes along). There's no need to try to turn the review format--excessively--into a memoir, or a political treatise, or whatever else. If that's what a writer wants to write, editorials and feature articles are waiting in the wings, and I do hope people will post more of that sort of thing on their blogs as the site continues to grow.

My ideal future finds people posting regularly to their blogs here, discussing all sorts of things, so that someone can head directly to that person's blog and feel almost as if he has stumbled across a game site that is valuable all on its own. Then, it's just a click away to the rest of the site, with more great blogs and thousands of awesome reviews and dozens or perhaps someday hundreds or even thousands of guides. This is basically another transitional period for the site, and hopefully also a growth period. I like to think that there already is a place for almost anything someone might want to write about games, so the next step is to get people using those resources and sharing links so that other people realize they exist.

Side note: that actually does seem to be working. Site activity and traffic are up and currently seem also to be on the rise, so I'm excited by what I see happening and motivated to keep it going.
jerec jerec - January 04, 2017 (01:24 PM)
My main interest these days is the internal struggle games are having with balancing their gameplay with their characters & stories. It took a lot of effort to restrain myself with my recent FFXV review and just review the game. There's probably a lot more I could say about that game, and the Final Fantasy series in general.

And then there's a whole lot of other games... I never got around to reviewing the Mass Effect series, because I mostly wanted to spend a thousand words or more going into each character.

I hope to post some stuff like this on my blog this year (one of my new years resolutions is to write 1000 words a day on anything, so far I've done a review, a short story and a couple of blog posts about other junk). 4 days in and I've written well over 4000 words.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 04, 2017 (02:27 PM)
Congratulations on sticking to your resolution, Jerec! I would love to see that sort of content showing up on your blog.

I do think there's all sorts of stuff that can be said about games that people aren't saying, due to the rush to only talk about the week's newest hits. And sometimes, what's said fits nicely in a review. Sometimes it belongs on a blog.

This community has always been review-focused, but new blog posts are plenty accessible and it wouldn't be difficult at all, I wouldn't think, for a dedicated blogger to build up a following. The hard part is to write regularly and to not be discouraged--especially at the start--when people aren't interacting with that content at the level desired.
hastypixels hastypixels - January 04, 2017 (03:08 PM)
Basically, more "do it" and less fretting. It would make sense to highlight a blog post when it is being presented as an opinion piece or article, rather than a review. That may apply to my Chrono Trigger piece, which is certainly more opinion than consumer value analysis.

Lookie there, I believe I just answered my own question.

@Jerec when it comes down it, I've walked away from games because I just can't get into the characters. FF XIII was one of those. Technical accomplishments are meaningless to me if the story doesn't support all of the improvements the developers have made.

@honestgamer ... which, btw, was a good point made in your review of the game. I'd love to read more earnest opinion about games, and some of my favorite blogs of late have had such content. Wasn't someone griping about Dragon's Dogma lately? Even if we never see a review from his time spent, reading about his struggle with it is easily as interesting. It speaks to our struggle with games as a hobby, something anyone can relate to.

It may follow for blogs to have more of a center stage. Of course I'm referring to layout, and that's your call, but as we generate more noise, er content, it may be worth considering.

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