2020 Wrap Up, and Future Plans For Gametrodon

As we approach the end of the year, it seems like a good time to look back at what Gametrodon has been so far, and give a few thoughts on its future.

I don’t think 2020 has turned out to be anything like what any of us were expecting. When I started this blog, it was after returning from my first planned convention visit of the year, PAX East, which would end up being my only convention of the year, and one of the very few conventions to not be canceled.

Both of my reasons for starting Gametrodon were related to PAX, and the current culture of how gaming news gets processed.

Reason 1 is pretty simple: I want a press pass. I’m tired of paying full price to attend a convention, wait in line, go to the expo floor, only to be told “Oh, press booth only” and then watch as not a single god damn soul walks by that area for twenty minutes. Like, for fucks sake. Let me use that computer. Let me see your game. As long as this culture of the “Content Creator” continues to favor anyone who can shit out a 10 minute video of themselves making faces at the camera interspersed with still frames, I intend to ride its coattails as far as I feasibly can. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Reason 2 is also pretty simple: Finding cool games to play has become far too difficult, and I want to help try to solve that. Where I once learned about new games from my friends, these days they seem to just be talking about games I already know.

While this runs the risk of me becoming the gaming equivalent of the friend who won’t drink white wine with fish, and thinks that “Electro swing was better before it got popular,” that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

So, if these were the two aims of Gametrodon, how did we do on them in 2020?

In terms of the whole “Cosplaying as a game journalist” thing, I think I did pretty well. I interviewed Max from Resonym on the costs of Kickstarter, and we talked to Jeremy Choo from Ammobox about how their publisher tried to steal their game. I played the shit out of the demos from PAX East, and found a few things worth keeping an eye on.

That part went great! Let’s talk about the other part: Serving as a source of finding neat, undiscovered stuff that might not show up in other channels.

This one I think I can do better on. Let me explain why.

Right now, Gametrodon is set up like a traditional blog. This is great for my rambling rants on various games, but not great for discovery. I’ve also noticed a few other things about how I write my articles that I want to try to change.

The main problem is that the blog doesn’t necessarily structure itself in a way that leads to discovery of the neat things I found. It’s also much harder and takes longer for me to write about games I like, rather than ones I dislike.

As an example, the Didn’t Make The Cut articles require me to play each game for about an hour. After an hour of any specific thing, I feel like I know if I want to play more. Longer form articles about game I actually enjoy lead to me either wanting to complete the game before evaluating it, or “win” based on the structure of the game.

My plan in the short term to try to deal with this is to switch over to writing three types of articles:

  1. Games I play and like. These get their own full article with nice glossy screenshots, and me ranting about their systems, links to their Steam pages, tweets, parades, public executions. The full nine yards. I think I may have switched events somewhere in that, but whatever.
    Ed Thought: Why is the phrase the full 9 yards, when it’s 10 yards for a first down?
    Ed Note: Okay, so after looking up the phrase, it looks like it has nothing to do with American Football. The more you know.
  2. Games I play and don’t like. No more full articles doing what Vonnegut once called “Putting on full armor to attack a fudge Sundae.” instead I’m gonna try to switch over to a maximum of one “Didn’t Make The Cut” per week, with everything I’ve played and dropped since the last week. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean its bad, but it also means I’d rather spend that time on things I like. I’m gonna try to put these up on Mondays.
  3. Weekly Wrap-ups/What we’re playing. These are gonna consist of the most traditional bloggy sorts of posts, in which I’ll write about whatever I please. This will most likely be whatever I’ve been playing, what my friends have been playing, and what we’re planning to play. These will go up on Fridays.

I don’t think that this will be enough on it’s own, so I’m still brainstorming some ways to make it easier to find the links to the games I do like, and do recommend, like a “Random Good Game” button or something, but that will be coming in the future.

So yeah. That’s the plan for 2020. To all of the friends who I roped into writing articles, thanks for contributing. And to all my reader, here’s to hoping that when I write this article next year, I can confidently write that as readers.

Who knows, by the end of 2021, I may even have as many as three people who read this garbage.

Poor One Out – 2020 Edition

I was browsing through my Steam library today trying to find a game to play with a parent, when something caught my eye. It was a notice that a game was closing down. So I’ve decided to collect a few games that didn’t make it through the year, and just note them here.

I also want to stress that to anyone reading this in the future, I don’t want you to think that I somehow believe the loss of these games is equivalent or comparable to the loss of human life involved in 2020. Frankly, I was debating even putting this post up. But anyway…

MisBits

After releasing earlier this year, and after I played it at PAX East, Misbits shut down on August 14th. The final dev posts note that it never hit the population needed to sustain it, and as such, it had to be removed. Still, it’s sad to see how quickly some projects close down.

Duelyst

It was fun, interesting, and different. And it survived a few years. Ironically, both Duelyst and Gigantic, games that Penny Arcade seemed to like a bunch both are dead at this point. I’d say it’s a shame. Duelyst was different.

I’m sure there are other things that ended this year, but I haven’t found any that I played or cared about a ton. In any case, it’s a bitter reminder that all live-service games will eventually shut down, and if game doesn’t support player-hosted servers, the game most likely with never be seen again.

Happy 2020.


News of the Week

Another week closer to the end of this hellish year, and it’s actually been a pretty interesting one. I’m not really sure where to start with this quick recap, but I suppose Cyberpunk, being one of the biggest releases of the year, is a good enough place.

So yeah, Cyberpunk is finally out, and apparently it’s pretty shit. The two or three people I know who have been playing it have called it “Fine,” which isn’t really what you want to be hearing. Playstation has just straight up pulled it from sale, which is a bit of a “Holy fucking shit” moment, but given that I’ve heard the framerate described as “Less than cinematic,” makes sense. Oh, and in the time I started writing this, Microsoft has now expanded their refund policy for the game. And Best Buy is just letting you return opened copies.

Just in case CD Projekt Red didn’t have enough bad publicity, a re-release of Devotion was going to open on GOG, only for them to bend over backwards to big daddy Xi Jinping. I really love how other articles are calling the game “Controversial” when the only controversy is making a joke about him looking like Winnie the Pooh.

Also in the incredible fight against dangerous things like thought, Twitch has banned the words simp, virgin, and incel. Incredible. It reminds me of when we won WW2 by banning the term Nazi from being printed in newspapers, and saved the free world. I think they’d be better off banning some of the shitfuckers on their site who constantly flout their policies, but whatever.

So what did I do aside from work?

I played a decent amount of Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, and I was planning to do a writeup on that, but it looks like another level might come out next week on the 22nd, so I’m gonna hold off for a bit. Late night existential stream of that is here.

I’ve been too worn out to play more Amazing Cultivation Simulator, but I’m planning to stream some more. Last weekend’s stream of that is here. And I tried Sea of Thieves, but after playing an hour, it really looks like you need multiple people to really play it, so I’m holding out for some more folks to get it.

Until next time.

What We’ve Been Playing – October 2020

It turns out that actually writing “reviews” for games when you’re employed full time doing something that isn’t related to video games is actually kinda hard. Who would have thought? In any case, I’m gonna try to start writing these little lists of stuff I’ve been playing, or people around me have been playing. There’s no particular order or anything to it.

For me, a large portion of last week was spent in attempted extraction of wealth in Spelunky 2. Key word is “attempted,” because more time is spent dying painfully than getting gold, gems, etc. I’d love to write a review of some sort of Spelunky, but given that I’ve only ever reached the first boss after 20 hours, I’m not sure I’d give the best feedback.

I may be switching over to Crown Trick though, another game in which you loot roguelike dungeons, albeit not in real time, and also in a different set of two dimensions. I saw the demo for this at PAX Online, loved it, and I want to love the full game more, but the “One More Run, Oh Christ It’s 1:00 AM” of Spelunky 2 has kept me from it for the moment.

In the larger demographic of “People who aren’t me,” it seems like every other person I know is playing Hades, which is apparently pretty good? I’ll see if I can cajole one of those folks to give me a write-up for it. Supergiant made Bastion which I liked, Transistor, which I own and have never played, and then Pyre which I played a demo for, and now Hades. I’m just not sure I need another rogue-lite at the moment.

In terms of co-op-esque stuff, the Genshin Impact is still impacting, and there’s some Monster Hunter World shenanigans occurring, primarily in the Iceborne DLC.

Oh, and I guess Dota 2, and MTG Arena. But, like, we’ve been playing those forever. So yeah, that’s what is currently eating our time, and hopefully we’ll have write-ups for Spelunky 2/Crown Trick/Hades later in the week.