Well, we made it to one year and so here’s a brief retrospective of said year on VVG. I’d like to start off by saying a big fuck you to the people who said I’d never make it to a year with this blog. No one ever actually said that, but fuck all of you anyway! I’m only joking, of course – what I really meant was a massive thank you. Thank you to the many people who have read even a snippet of a post in the last 12 months – I have truly enjoyed writing and recording every word throughout, but especially the words “fuck you” just now.
It’s weird because I’m really not typically one for occasions. I don’t do birthday blowouts or any other celebration really “properly”, so a celebration like this is extreme by my standards – at some point I may just collapse and call this whole retrospective thing off. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!
This blog has gone through several changes over the past year, some good and some not so good in my opinion. On the plus side is the look of the site – it was pretty ghastly to start with, probably due to my utter lack of experience with all things design-y. On the negative side, the writing quality has declined dramatically over time 😛 In all seriousness, I think the writing has been consistent, but I definitely have mixed feelings about the fact that the posts have on average become longer and more in-depth.
By and large the early posts were characterised by brevity and a comic tone. That all changed with two posts from October and November 2013 respectively, Nintendo’s Religious Policy and Stereotypes of Arabs in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The latter post from November is actually the most viewed page on the site – and it’s still racking up hits – so it’s a good thing I’m still reasonably proud of it. In fact, the concept for the post is what motivated me to start the blog in the first place, having looked around online only to find hardly any in-depth, essay-type stuff on Ocarina of Time and its racial politics. There was an abominable Salon article that called Ocarina of Time racist, sexist and classist, which I reference in the original blog post, but the analysis in that was and still is just so, so bad that starting a blog about videogames practically became a moral imperative at that point.
After I got that blazing fire out of my heart and soul, the blog went on easy street with mercifully short reviews of games, compilations of videos detailing a celebrity’s history with videogames and posts that consisted of little more than a few images and some sarcastic text. This period was followed in February 2014 by an existential crisis, as I explained in a revised approach to videogame coverage.
It’s now been eight months since then, and while I agree in theory with the approach I outlined in that post – “I want to talk about games … so that I’m not simply explaining what any given game is about in order to justify either recommending or not recommending it” – I think in retrospect trying to follow that advice made me far too precious about this blog and what I write for it. What’s wrong with quick and dirty posts and short reviews that make a simple point? Why does everything have to be in-depth, complicated, profound, a (dare I say it) game-changer? I could’ve written about many more games in the same period if I dropped my pretences of being profound and just went for it. Sometimes it’s better to tackle a game or a topic in a quick and dirty fashion. There are several examples I could point to where I produced overly-long and over-wrought reviews of individual games. Those reviews got so bogged down in words they collapsed under their own weight, like the Michelin Man on steroids, or a food addict at a buffet, or a cat with pieces of lead in its stomach, or a librarian carrying the entire Encyclopedia Britannica collection, or a Jenga tower at the end of a game…
That’s not to say things have been all bad in recent months – I got Maya writing and filling in gaps in the schedule from time to time, plus we started the podcast back in May. Here’s what Maya has to say about it all:
Adrian has been trying to get me to write for this blog since it started. For someone who is so forgetful and basically good natured, he can be a persistent fellow, and has what I can only describe as a highly selective memory. He reminds me regularly about the posts I “promised” to write which never really materialised: a review of Nights into Dreams on the Saturn which is now a year overdue, and 2) a response to his post about Silent Hill and videogames as a unique medium from last December. The review of Nights I’ll have to get on with, because that game hit me hard emotionally and is almost totally unlike anything I’ve played. As for videogames as a unique medium… the trouble is I don’t even remember what the initial argument that prompted that post was even about. And I suspect – like most arguments – that we were probably on the same side but using different words for the same things. Still, I view my recent post on Code: R as fulfilling that capacity.
In the future I would like to be much the same as now, but happier.
Agreed. That about sums it up then, so thanks again to Maya and our readers, and here’s to another year.