Hello! How are you? Great!/Sorry to hear that! (delete as applicable)
I have something to share with you that I’ve been working on recently. Some of you may have already seen what I’ve been up to; it may be news to some of you. I thought I’d share it here, though, in the hope that I can get more people looking at it.
I’m talking about the website Games Are Evil. I was a contributor there a while back in the post-Kombo years, but was then lucky enough to score my gig at the late GamePro. I kept abreast of what the team was up to during and after my time at GamePro, and always felt a certain degree of “attachment” towards it, even during the times when I wasn’t actively involved.
So when it became apparent that the site was in need of a bit of a “reboot” and resuscitation, I was keen to step forward while I had a bit of free time on my hands. I’m lucky enough to have a flexible (and well-paid) enough day job that I have time to take on a “pet project” like this as well as fulfilling my other responsibilities, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to gain some experience in running a site as well as experimenting with some “alternative” directions and content strategies.
That “alternative” thing is key. Having had some interesting conversations with a couple of my friends in the PR industry in recent months, it became clear that a lot of representatives were becoming frustrated that the vast majority of gaming sites focused on the upcoming blockbusters, while “B-tier” titles (for want of a better term — I’m not saying their quality is lower, only their profile) went forgotten, or were barely acknowledged with a somewhat dismissive news story. As such, I felt that there was clearly a gap in the market for a site to cater to the “niche”. Since Games Are Evil was not particularly beholden to advertisers or investors, the time was ripe to launch something of an experiment — a video games site that deliberately eschews stories regarding things like the Call of Duties and the Mass Effects of this world in favour of smaller-scale titles and interesting stories from around gaming culture. My original manifesto from when I took over can be found here, if you’re curious.
Since taking over the reins at GrE, I’ve launched a series of regular columns from a range of talented and enthusiastic writers keen to write about their passions. These columns are becoming the main focus of the site, supported by a few daily news stories and occasional reviews when we have code to hand. Each column has a tight, narrow focus and concentrates on a specific genre or aspect of gaming culture, meaning that readers of Games Are Evil will be able to follow their favourite niche and get to know the writer of said column in the process rather than having to scroll through page after page of news which might not be relevant to them. The model which I wanted to follow with this was the way old-school 1up used to work — people came for the personalities rather than necessarily the specific content of the articles. It’s too early to determine whether or not this has been successful or not so far, but I am very proud of what the team has achieved to date — we’ve seen some great columns ranging from comprehensive roundups of Minecraft news to in-depth explorations of obscure strategy games.
Here’s some handy links for you to find your favourite column and follow it:
- Distant Worlds — a weekly roundup of news from the MMO sector. What’s new, what’s hot, what’s not.
- FreePlay — a weekly delve into free-to-play and freeware games to sort out the “must plays” from the microtransaction-riddled crapfests.
- Insert Coin — a weekly exploration of arcade machines, arcade restoration and arcade culture.
- READ.ME — a weekly foray into the world of visual novels (I do this one!)
- Swords & Zippers — a weekly roam through the colourful worlds of Japanese role-playing games (I do this one too!)
- Tactical Tuesday — a bi-monthly deep dive into some of the most obscure, underappreciated and fascinating strategy games available for PC.
- The Craft — a weekly roundup of what’s new in the world of Minecraft.
- The Vault — a weekly dive into the annals of history to rescue underappreciated or forgotten classics from obscurity. Fans of the Squadron of Shame will be right at home here.
It’s early days for the site’s new direction as yet, but things are starting to come together nicely. If you’ve been reading the daily new content, thanks! If you haven’t, please feel free to check it out. Leave a comment on articles you’d like to discuss. And please, please share anything you happen to read that you find interesting, entertaining or just plain awesome. With your help, we can make Games Are Evil into the go-to destination for “alternative gaming”.
Gratuitous self-promotion (and promotion of others) now over. Normal business will resume tomorrow.