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Published: Accidental Popularity

March 11, 2010

Some days, the internet fascinates me.

Example: My review of Shiren the Wanderer was posted on Monday.  Within a day, it had become the most-read article on PopMatters in the last week, and remains so today (and may retain the title right up until next Monday).  While this was a pleasing development, it was also a strange one — despite the large amounts of ink I’ve spilled on it, it’s a niche game, and there was nothing particularly special about this review of it.  Not only that, but despite all the readers, not a single person has seen fit to comment.  What happened?  Where did all of these people come from?

Turns out, they came from Reddit, a link focusing on the first sentence of my review, which doesn’t say much of anything about Shiren at all.  On one hand, it’s a bit frustrating to realize that the review’s popularity really had nothing to do with my thoughts on Shiren; still, if Atlus picks up one more fan as a result, well then it wasn’t for naught.

There was also a review of Eluvium’s Similes that posted last week, which might be my favorite album of the year so far.  It’s a lovely little thing, an ambient album that feels like it ends almost as soon as it begins, whose brevity might be one of its most redeeming features.  Alas, Carrie Newcomer’s Before & After has no such redeeming characteristic, save perhaps a good-natured worldview.  I probably should never have reviewed it, as I got Carrie Newcomer’s name confused with someone else’s when requesting the album, but I did, and I can’t imagine that people think it’s all that good.  I mean, some people probably do, but it’s not.

Over at the paper, I got to tinker with Aliens vs. Predator for a week, and it was decent, mindless fun — not a perfect gaming experience, but my relationships with Giger’s Aliens and, uh, McTiernan, Thomans, and Thomas’s Predator go way back.  It was fun to fight them and to see through their eyes, even if it was in a cheesy little video game.  I also did a quick 500 on the increasing prevalence of the narrative in games, quite obviously before Heavy Rain‘s narrative got stomped on so thoroughly by much of the gaming press.

In any case – here’s hoping that next time I manage the #1 spot on PopMatters’ little popularity contest, I’ll feel as if I’ve earned it.

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