Though that makes me sound more responsible and hardworking than I was. I had a blog on Blogger where I posted video game reviews, but it wasn’t difficult. It’s still there, but I haven’t posted anything on there in months, and I haven’t posted regularly on there for three years.
I got the idea after college. In college I wrote video game reviews for the school newspaper, not that anyone read that thing besides a couple of friends and teachers, because I thought it would be something to put on my resume. At least my friends seemed to agree with what I wrote.
There were only notable episodes of that time. One was when my editor sent back my review of God of War II, because if I remember correctly I did not specify what was wrong with it, I only complained about it. Oddly enough now I remember the game being not so bad, so maybe that was not it.
The other issue was when I was sick and could not write a review for the paper in time. Instead my substitute wrote a review of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic that I thought was terrible. She spent a large portion of the review summarizing the plot of the game and at one point compared a portion of the game to something from Mortal Kombat, like everyone reading would know what she’s talking about. I surprised myself how much I cared about some dinky reviews that no one looked at.
Anyway, after college I thought I would continue writing reviews. Because I’m naive about the world I had this crazy idea that if I wrote enough reviews I could flood the internet with my name and someone would see them and want to hire me to write reviews for them. If there was a voice in my head telling me anything I wrote would be buried under dozens of other Google results it did voice its opinions immediately. I thought putting review in all my titles would fix that somehow, limit the search.
I did not know anything about blog promotion. I was told by something or someone that I should spam places with links to my blog, like forums or message boards. I always thought that was rude and it would only get people annoyed at my blog instead of interested.
I tried to be professional about it. I posted a review every other Monday from 2009 to 2013. I wrote over a hundred reviews, always between 750 to 850 words, tried not to ramble, only spent a paragraph summarizing the plot. I thought if I never wrote anything in first-person it would be less about me and more about informing the reader, and never used contractions.
No one looked at my blog. Every review I posted only got a handful of views at the start, and almost none of them got over a hundred views. Blogger can tell you where views come from, and mine seemed to only come from Russia and China. I figured they were a mistake, Russian or Chinese people accidentally clicking my links, or some type of automatic search program. I got two comments, one was from someone who followed me from a forum and was complaining about something I said, and the other complimented the review a lot but did not say a single thing they liked about the review, like it could have been posted to anything.
At first I only posted links to my reviews on Facebook where only my friends could see, thinking that would be enough to get the internet’s attention through word-of-mouth. A couple of years later I finally started posting links on Twitter, but I did not understand how hashtags worked and did not include them. Finally a couple of years after that I started a Tumblr blog to post links to. Posting on Twitter and Tumblr were the only times I would get a burst of views from the US.
From the beginning I worried that no one would read my blog because blogs were maybe on the out. Facebook had been out for five years, Twitter for three years, and Tumblr was two years old, and I kept hearing that this was where everyone went for everyone else’s opinions. I could never figure out if these social media sites had totally supplanted regular old blogs or there was still an audience for regular blogs; I still do not know.
The only one who wanted to hire me was this one guy with a gaming website who asked me to write reviews for it. I had never heard of his website, which for me was odd. It had what looked like a forum that was near empty. He said he couldn’t pay me, all he could do was pay for a subscription for Gamefly for me. Like I said I don’t know anything about running or marketing a blog, but I figured I could get just as much attention running my own blog than working for this unknown website, and then my work would not belong to someone else, plus it seemed like a bad idea to work for someone without getting paid real money. I have not heard of that website since.
Eventually I got frustrated writing reviews for a probably nonexistent audience. I got this idea in my head that part of the problem was that I was not reviewing brand new games, I was about half a year behind everyone else in the games I was playing plus I was playing a lot of old games and thought no one was interested in reading about those. The last review I wrote regularly was Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies on January 9th. I’m guessing it was the start of another new year without an audience that burnt me out. I tried to start it up again a few times with Telltale Game reviews, since those were the only current games I was playing, but I never got back into it.
Even with all that though, I’m still thinking about reviewing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice after I finish it. The very first game I reviewed for the school newspaper was Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All way back in 2007 and I have never missed reviewing an Ace Attorney game since. Even if I have been neglecting my blog it would feel wrong somehow to not review it, like I was really giving up.