July 22, 2010

A job worth doing is one worth doing well. Otherwise, you might as well find something else to do.”

What exactly am I doing here? Why am I spending what little free time I have on a blog about video games that nobody reads? Is it enough that I really, really like to play video games? Is stringing words together in the digital ether its own reward?

What do I have to offer that can’t already be found somewhere else?

The truth is, to this point, I haven’t really figured out what I’m doing. I sort of backed my way into a PopMatters editorship in 2006 after writing (I think) four video game reviews, and suddenly, my hobby just sort of became video games. I found in games something I hadn’t felt in a while — a sense of what it was I loved about my youth, a medium still grasping at credibility, an indie scene whose do-it-yourselfers were necessarily brilliant. Since then I’ve written a pretty sizable pile of reviews, helped establish the PopMatters gaming blog, freelanced for a newspaper, and traded the editorship for this blog.

Sometimes, it feels like I’ve gone backwards; if nothing else, my platform has disappeared, and nobody’s going to read my stuff just because they’re “clicking around”. What I’ve created for myself is a place where I’m only going to draw a reader if that reader has a specific reason to come here. If I didn’t care about readers, this wouldn’t be an issue, but I do — I’m not simply trying to express thoughts that I can’t contain, I want to be part of the conversation.

Here’s what I’ve come up with: I’m a 30-year-old man with a wife, three incredible kids, and a solid full-time job. This is not peripheral information; rather, this is the hook.

I am casual with a hardcore mentality — I prefer a challenge, but don’t necessarily have time for it.

I am hypersensitive to the gaming experiences of my children.

I rarely finish the games that I’m not reviewing, because I just don’t have the time.

If I’m playing, chances are I’m sacrificing time during which I could (or should) be sleeping.

Why do I think any of this matters? Because I know I’m not the only one. Those of us weaned on the Atari 2600 and the NES are now functioning adults with jobs and kids and 401ks. Many of us with a horse in the Genesis-SNES race are now fully acquainted with the corporate ladder. We own property. We have life insurance.

I’m very much aware that there are sites already dealing in this perspective, well-established and well-written sites like What They Play and GamerDad. Still, I think I can offer something different, something not quite so centered on the monitoring of what the children are playing. This is about what a gamer can do with a limited window of time for his hobby, this is about how his own experiences leak down to those of his children, this is about what one can see with the benefit of hindsight.

Obviously, it’s still coming together. If nothing else, though, it’s time to find perspective — or, at least, a perspective.


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