Cblog Co-manager responsible for duties such as inspiration and sarcastic tough love, Wednesday cblog recapper, host of the Cblog Fapcast, Nintendo FNF host, and amateur fighting game sommelier. Did I forget anything?
As some people may know, I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a bachelor's in journalism. In the four years I spent at college honing my craft on practical writing, learning how to come up with interesting stories, blogging about video games, as well as another two years of more blogging across several websites, I've written and read a lot. It's something I take seriously as a craft and something I take a lot of pride in.
For a little under a year, I've become an active member of this community and it's not the first. But the cblogging community is certainly the most active one I've ever been a part of. It feels like Smallville, U.S.A. around here as earnest and regular members are well known simply for the fact that they show their faces often around here. But sometimes I think the blogging part of cblogging community has been twisted around at times to service the needs of people who just believe cblogs to be another social media website to vomit their mindthoughts onto.
Since becoming a Cblog Recapper, my horizons have been broadened even more and I want to bring another slice of contribution to the community. Monday brought a less than subtle deluge of blogs. This goes beyond the unspoken 1-blog-a-day rule. I wouldn't complain nearly as much if a blog met a certain standard. A few scarce times, a comment questioned my judgment call on how I'd portrayed their blog on the recaps.
As I've read blogs here, over time I've gained an indescribable sense of if the author had put genuine effort into their blog. Going past just mechanically typing out words and actually bringing personal experiences and well thought out analysis. Before, I've said that if you're not enjoying what you're writing, why are you even bothering? Well, if you enjoy the process, one might say I can feel you baring your very soul onto the copy.
Which is where this idea comes in. Inspired by the Cblog Recaps, irritated by the glut of subject matter from Monday, and inspired from what I read this past Wednesday, I bring you Strider's Write Stuff. A (hopefully) weekly column that doesn't just spotlight your blogs for the games and subjects you talk about. It's about how you crafted these stories, how you caught our attention, and how you presented them. Less about how you got us discussing your topic and more about showing off how talented the community can be and giving them another chance to shine because of the time they put into their blogs.
Keep in mind this is just a small taste of the cblogs. This current list runs Monday through Friday mostly, touching on just a few great blogs worth mentioning, improving, and singling out. There are other great blogs I just don't have time to point out because they're great for the same reasons as stated on previous choices. This is the first run, so next week's post will be optimized for min-max entries, suggestions, pictures, and formatting.
What makes this blog endearing to me is that Usurp always brings it back to himself. As an unabashed Nintendo fan, we're not reading this blog because he's telling us we should be excited for the Wii U but because he puts himself as a focal point for how we make a judgment call on the Wii U. Whether or not his fandom is questionable and excessive, his personal anecdotes make it more enjoyable to see the excitement. I might not be excited about the Wii U and I don't want to be told directly why I should be. But Usurp is openly admitted that he finds a problem with enjoying the rainbows in Kirby Canvas Curse, despite finding it such a great game.
Often times we only read stuff we're interested in, like how much someone hates multiplayer or why a character in a popular franchise is a homosexual according to less than acceptable anonymous posters of the internet. But this blog post is notable simply for the amount of technical information Jinx provides for us, neatly listed in chronological format. Not only, for example, does he list all the minutia of criteria that defines the way Mass Effect's story flows according to our choices in order, but he also lists things he did not include in the list for specific reasons such as ignoring Wrex's personal quest since Jinx planned on killing Wrex anyways. A list of this caliber belongs on a well editing wiki!
I feel IndieLove accomplished a lot in only two paragraphs. In two paragraphs, he tells us what The Ship is, why we should care in the context of the current market, and a brief example to get us to understand why it's a good game. Blogs can sometimes overcompensate with long, winding walls of text but in two concise paragraphs, we are informed, entertained, and intrigued. Brevity is not only the soul of wit but it's also an appreciated gift in a life of can and cannot constrained by time.
Crayon's blog is easy to start and finish. The concept is simply and the structure is easy to get through. Pictures are often necessary to keep a reader's interest. But his relatively brief lines of text were short and to the point. It helped that each point is easily identifiable among a lot of readers. It may take less than five or 10 minutes to finish but it's easy to leave a comment with your own input.
It's important to note that this brief list article doesn't spoil the number but within the first few paragraphs he lets us know how many there will be. After that, Beast follows a golden formatting standard of a perfectly scaled image to each item and one or two paragraphs giving a well thought out delivery of the game's merits, as well as going within an established order: best to worst. He even leaves discussion open at the end by throwing in a few more suggestions.
Protagonist takes two subjects his audience may enjoy and provides a compare and contrast that is easy to follow even if you've never followed easy subject. In this case, we don't need nitty-gritty background on Metal Gear Solid to understand it nor do we need to know a lot about the Kurosawa legacy of samurai films. Protagonist provides us with the bare minimum of context we need in the beginning, provides his argument in the middle, and leaves us with a reinforcement of the question and motive at the end.
Really, the most amazing thing about this blog is the deus ex machina tie in that was stated at the beginning, which was focused on by the line breaks. Manchild defines faustian bargain in the beginning, mentions it again near the middle, and ends with the final reminder of what is happening. It's all tied together neatly.
This blog post is crammed with information. However, that works both ways for the blog. The amount of technical information and context is staggering to say the least that people interested in cult gems will be intrigued. At the same time, lines of text could have been distilled to two or three paragraphs. Even the use of images works both ways, as it keeps the reader engaged with the subject but also projects the illusion that they're reading an incredibly long essay. Still, as a review, it's filled with a depth that can't be beat.
The analysis of in-game economies was informative. As if I was reading a magazing of The Economist but enjoying it. The lack of image padding between the text and pictures makes it rough to presentation but I feel the introduction and conclusion more than anything breaks the flow of the blog and interrupts the reader's investment of the story. In other words, they were unnecessary.
A big criticism I lend to this otherwise amazing blog was the long exposition to the main body of the blog for McPixel. After nearly 10 paragraphs, we finally get to actually talking about McPixel, the main point behind the story. Those 10 paragraphs may have been spent giving us context to adventure games like Sam and Max but many people might drop off by that time.
The discussion of balance is actually really good at getting to the point with all the context you need. Talking about something as specialized as multiplayer balance can get filled with jargon pretty fast but Kudo manages to do it without breaking the word bank. The line breaks in between pictures are pretty small and used often though, turning half of it into a slideshow. It was still a good spark for discussion among the community.