I want to start this post by saying that -- obviously -- there’s more stuff from me coming down the proverbial pipeline. Last week I finally got around to tossing up the first of three posts on Devil May Cry 4, and to say it (the trio overall) is one of my favorite written pieces in a good while is an understatement. That’s especially true of Part 3, but we’ll get there when we get there. Part 2’s next in line, obviously, and my plan is to have that up a little later this week. Look forward to that, because that’s when I get to the good stuff: the story. Hype intensifies, maybe?
It’s also worth noting that I’ve got some thoughts on Until Dawn not-quite-but-pretty-close-to-ready. Granted I happened to notice that a post on the game recently made it to the front page (and it’s a good one! Damn!), so I guess that’s a good reason to hold off and make sure it’s polished. A version of it -- i.e. one of the posts -- will probably go up on my blog this week. It’ll be close to whatever version appears on Dtoid, depending on how I feel about one or two sentences…and depending on what images/GIFs/videos I add in. Some of the images don’t always translate well to Dtoid, and I’m particularly uptight about getting the proper dimensions on videos, which leads to some serious frustration/giving up. But it’ll get there eventually, among other things.
Enough of that, though. I’m on Patreon now.
I’ve thought about it for a while, and I’ve said semi-recently that I planned to give it a shot. So here I am, giving it a shot. It’s worth noting upfront that this is very much a work in progress; there’s still plenty I need to learn about the platform, and what I have up so far is by no means final. (There’s an explanatory video up, but I might end up making an entirely new one -- you know, to have something up-to-date and not quite so cringe-inducing.) That said, I at least have the rough draft -- the stalwart skeleton -- of a page, and in the days to come I’ll be building upon it. Maybe it won’t be virtual shambles by the time I’m done.
So what am I offering? Pretty much the same thing I said before, as well as what I’ve done consistently for nearly four years: write about video games. (And other nerd paraphernalia.) I enjoy it, I’m fairly good at it, others enjoy it, and I feel like every now and then I can make a good point or offer a fresh perspective. I do what I do because I want to help people out -- you know, show them what something as simple as a story can be, in the event that a story isn’t what it should be. That’s splitting hairs, but the important thing is that I want to offer a learning experience for everyone who ventures in. And I’m learning as a result; you can’t begin to imagine how much I’ve improved as a writer thanks to blogging. And/or obsessing over games.
But here comes the catalyst of disdain. I’m on Patreon now, which means that by extension, I’m making a call for patrons. I’m extremely wary about doing that; there’s something incredibly conceited about believing that you’re worthy of others’ attention, let alone their cash. Then again, my dream is to become an S-class novelist, which by default means that I’ll be screaming “Hey everyone, look at me! Look at this thing I made! This thing is good and you should read it, so read it and love me for it! Prove your love and loyalty to me for only $8.99 (plus tax)!” So I guess I’d better get some practice in.
The question that needs to be answered is pretty simple: “Am I worth people’s money?” When I first started, the answer to that would have been “No, you idiot.” But I’ve been at this for a while. I may be able to go off on a game or a topic for thousands of words -- tens of thousands in the case of the modern Final Fantasy games -- but at this stage, I don’t think I’m the stereotypical angry ranting blogger who shakes his fist at every minor flub in a product. The ideal state is to be able to explain why something is bad, not just point out something that’s bad. It’s one thing to have an opinion, but another thing entirely to make an effective argument -- and now I feel like I can do that in my sleep.
We’ll see what comes of this. Sure, it’s one thing to make such a bold announcement here on Dtoid -- which in all honesty I’m wary of, since it sounds like I’m just trying to shill a product and thus liable for a greeting from the banhammer -- but it’s another thing entirely to see some conversions from my Patreon declaration. Are people going to become willing patrons? Are people even going to read this post? I don’t know. I sure hope so, though. If this thing works out, then I’ve got some plans that I’ll try and set in motion.
So let’s go over some of the basics (which, as a reminder, are works-in-progress). As I’ve said before, my main platform is my personal blog, Cross-Up. That won’t change anytime soon, especially since it’s going to be the focus of the Patreon campaign…relatively speaking, since if all goes well, other stuff will branch off from it. But the important thing is that for now, I’ll be writing the posts I’ve always written. You can expect the game-pertinent stuff to appear on Dtoid once I’m sure it’s ready; regardless, just because I’m on Patreon doesn’t mean I’m suddenly charging people for content they’ve previously gotten for free. That would make me the ultimate villain.
My hope is to use Patreon to build up, not to stagnate -- and there are times where I feel like doing what I normally do doesn’t yield the best results. Anybody remember that time I tossed my “How to Make a Good Street Fighter” post up here on Dtoid? I sure do, because it only got about two comments…and one of those was mine. Time and effort well-spent -- and that’s why I want to make sure that from here on, my time and effort go towards something substantial. I need to build myself up, build my skills up, and build my production up. That is to say, I want to do more than just write blog posts.
I’m pretty much obligated to do that if the Patreon campaign goes well. Fine by me, of course. I’ve made videos before, but it might be cool if I did it with something even vaguely resembling production values or skill. Also, I suspect that videos have become more popular than the written word, so I could stand to make more videos than zero. Whatever the case, support from patrons means that I’ll have the freedom and breathing room to make more than just videos. On one hand, it means that I can produce more original content -- story stuff that I’ve been eager to get to, in different formats. It’s a little early to make any bold claims, but if I had to guess? It’d involve some art, some music, some chapters, and some actual story arcs.
Of course, if the Patreon thingamajig goes extremely well, then maybe I’d have the opportunity to pursue a different dream: making my own video game.
Obviously, thinking about that as an ultimate goal is unrealistic, because I don’t know how well this will work. But I can’t help myself. There are game ideas I’ve had for a while, and having done a bit of reading, I may have come up with some games that A) play to my skill set, and B) are actually feasible. It’d require me to learn a lot about game design, and create some prototypes/minimum viable products, but on the other hand? In a perfect world, it’d mean I’d have two solid games to my name. One of them would be a horror game, and the other would be something like a visual novel. Both of them (or even just one) would require a ton of work, and I know instinctively that neither will happen unless I’ve got support from fans. So let’s just slide that stuff into the “Long Term Pipe Dream” folder for now.
What would I be offering immediately, then -- besides the same old, same old? Well, I’ve already started branching out a bit in terms of what I can offer; there are a couple of things I want to roll out soon, both in terms of those “beloved” video game posts and in terms of “proofs of concept”. I’d wager that no one will be disappointed no matter what I offer, because even if I do a dumb thing and rave about Kamen Rider, there’ll be enough content from other stuff -- old and new -- that people can dig into.
Now here’s the part where I really start dangling the carrot.
I’ve made it no secret that I hate The Lightning Saga -- the trio of games that bear the Final Fantasy 13 moniker. I played the first two games, and loathed the first two games; in fact, vanilla FF13 and the fury it instilled in me was part of the reason I got into blogging in the first place. But Lightning Returns has yet to make it into my hands, for obvious reasons. If, however, I actually get enough Patreon support, then you can consider that one of the main goals that’s set in stone: I’ll play the game from start to finish, and do a full dissection of it.
But at this stage, The Lightning Saga’s conclusion deserves more than just a regular post (or eight). If I’m going to do it, I have to do something special with it. It has to be worthy of a finale, the culmination of everything that I’ve learned as I tackle my arch-nemesis one last time. Plus I have very little incentive to spend a bare minimum of twenty hours with someone I utterly hate, so maybe the sweet, sweet taste of money will grease the wheels. So even of goals and rewards (and the prices attached to them) will change, a run with Lightning Returns is absolutely on the table.
That’s not all, though. Yes, Cross-Up is my blog, and I’ve put some serious work into it. But I don’t want it to be mine and mine alone. It would move me to tears if it became a forum for discussion and the sharing of knowledge (and well-made arguments), so I’m going to do my part to facilitate that. Hopefully Patreon can assist, but my plan is to toss the keys to anyone who’s proven themselves as a trusted comrade. That means anyone who wants to write a guest post is welcome to do so, be it on a really cool song, their idea for a good movie, or (at the ultimate level) a post on whatever topic comes to mind. I wonder if it’s okay to gate the guest post opportunity behind “paywalls”, but I’ll iron that out eventually. If there’s enough of an outcry against it, I can change it. I’m flexible like that.
Really, I’m flexible about a lot of things. Yes, I’m looking to garner support and turn my efforts into something vaguely resembling a business, but what matters most is that I have more than just the money of patrons. I’m doing this, and everything else, to build bonds -- to create trust and faith using the things I create. Obviously, I want fans to be able to count on me to deliver top-shelf content reliably. I can do that, for sure. But what I want even more than those precious bonds is the chance to use my words, talent, and effort to do what I’ve always wanted to do with my writing: I want to make the world a better place. If I can make people smile with what I do -- if I can show them that this blue marble of ours still has tons of bright spots -- then I’ll go for it. I’d be more than happy to.
So that’s about all I’ve got. I’ll be working on getting the campaign in a serviceable state in the days to come. If there’s anyone willing to start contributing now, then…well, you have the link up there. Go ahead and make use of it; I won’t ask for a minimum amount, so toss what you feel like tossing into the tip jar. And if possible (or alternatively, if you don’t want to slap down the cash), tell your friends and family about me and what I’m after. They don’t necessarily have to donate or commit to anything, but I’m pretty sure that spreading awareness is a good idea.
I had a math teacher who once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That’s sage advice, for sure (albeit soured by the fact that the rest of my class was rowdy enough to drive her into an early retirement). But whatever the case, I plan to take that to heart. I don’t want to keep banging my head against a wall and have nothing to show for it but a cracking skull. I want to change the world. I can’t do that with raw power or political influence, but what I do have are words -- and hopefully, one day soon, strong bonds with those who believe in those words.
I’m not going to let my dreams die. And I hope that, whether you support me on Patreon or not, you keep your dreams alive, too.