Bioshock 2 Remastered. This is the first game I ever wrote about. I reviewed this game on Giant Bomb’s community forums on September 27th, 2016 under a different name (The Mist 997). The website you see here didn’t start until July of 2018, so I guess you can say this isn’t Black Red Gaming’s 5th year anniversary but rather my 5th year writing anniversary, but for simplicity sake I just consider all of my writing to be Black Red Gaming writing because I, Benjamin Guthrie, am Black Red Gaming.
Anyways, getting off-track. This is my five-year anniversary of writing. I have come a long way since the days of writing on Giant Bomb forums. I started this website, got banned from Giant Bomb, stayed solo on my website for a while, eventually started putting out pieces on Destructoid, and decided to get back into Giant Bomb. My writing got better over time (I still don’t think it’s great, but it is certainly a lot better than in 2016), I wrote countless amounts of blogs (well it is countable, I just don’t feel like it), and I’ve spent too much money on games and website fees (I don’t even want to know this number). Blog series have come and gone, and some have stayed throughout the years. I celebrated five birthdays, graduated high school, had my first (legal) drink, got into rock climbing, and moved across the country. And throughout all that time, I never stopped wanting to write. Sure, there were and will be days I don’t feel like writing, and some of my writing can feel like tedious work because of their content and repetition (Ten After Ten and Top Anticipated Games of the Month for example), but even the most tedious blogs are still enjoyable for me because I get to check off two things I enjoy: video games and writing about them.
I think one of the more interesting things I noticed with blog writing as time went on is how my writing got better. Again, I don’t think it’s great, but there is a notable difference between a 2016 review and a 2021 review. I have been in high school and college throughout these five years, so I guess you could say the things I learned there helps me here, but I don’t know if that is necessarily the case. I never really thought of writing as something you get better at with a lot of use (I instead thought I would get better from teachings), but writing for all these years has proved me wrong I guess. The same goes for note-taking and analyzation. I still haven’t quite mastered this yet either, but I certainly find myself writing way more notes and on finer details than before. Now this evolution makes sense to me because of the experiences I’ve had with games and the learnings I’ve had from school and others, but I still think it’s interesting nonetheless.
Over the years, I have built up a sort of schedule around my writing, which I both love and hate. This schedule, which consists of blogs on set dates and certain blogs like Ten After Ten releasing on certain dates, can feel creatively sapping but also necessary. I sometimes wish I could go back to the early days where I just played one game and reviewed it when I was done, but things just don’t work like that anymore. I have a rotating schedule of multiple games to play for writing, and I unfortunately find that schedule to move a bit too fast for me as I usually have a bunch of blogs on the backburner (as I wrote this paragraph, I remembered the Loop Hero blog I should’ve done six months ago). Sadly, some blogs just stay on the backburner for too long, and that blog has to be tossed out because I don’t feel I can fully discuss a game months after playing it even with notes, and I just don’t have the the time to go back and play through the game again. I want to get to them, don’t get me wrong, but other blogs on my schedule like Ten After Ten, Top Anticipated Games of the Month, and BRG Collection take up around half of the blog spots for the month, and sometimes other blogs like recent reviews can fill up the other half.
While the schedule bottlenecks my blogs, I also feel it is a necessary evil as nothing would release without that structure and set release dates. And besides, I don’t dislike the repeating blogs like BRG Collection and Ten After Ten, as they serve their own purposes and are fun to write in their own ways. I’m starting to get into topic of work motivation with no one to enforce it (while blogs are fun work, they are still work nonetheless), but I don’t really feel like diving deeper into that, so I’m just gonna move on.
I think this leads into another interesting point that I have discovered over my years of writing. It is very difficult for me to start a new game and not want to write about it. There are a few exceptions, but they are very few and far between. Every game I play is a writing opportunity, and having this mindset leads to multiple interesting points. First, it’s now very difficult for me to turn off my critic brain when playing a new game because I want to think about points to jot down. Second, thinking this way has significantly slowed down my time with playing new games because I feel I can only write about so many games at one time (I stick to around ten or so), so while I would love to play more games, I just find myself adding onto the pile of other games to play and write about. Finally, even when I try to exclude new games from this mindset and tell myself that I want to play a specific game just for fun, I find myself not being able to break said mindset. I’ve tried to alleviate this with Mini Game Reviews and even a blog that would dive deep into what I’m talking about right now in relation to not wanting to review Monster Hunter Rise. Still, I overburden myself with too many blogs, ending up in the situation I described earlier where blogs sit on the backburner for too long (including the Monster Hunter Rise one) and end up being thrown out. Come to think of it, Telling myself I’ll do a blog on a game and then not doing it because I waited too long isn’t really any different than playing a game without writing about it, only that it’s much slower. I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day if they read any of this, but I digress.
I’m sorry for rambling on about the processes and mindset of writing, but I don’t really know what else to say. What should I be doing for my five-year anniversary blog? Take a break? Nah. I may slow down from time-to-time because of other events and work in my life, but I don’t see myself stopping at this point. I could keep talking about my writing process and whatnot, but that would be no-fun, so I’ll skip on that. I could do the whole “thank you to all my fans” spiel, but I don’t even know if I have any “fans.” I know there are a few familiar faces I see in the comments from time-to-time on Giant Bomb and Destructoid (and my thanks go out to you guys), but I usually just think that nobody reads any of my stuff unless someone comments (which on Destructoid and Giant Bomb is occasional and on my website is practically never). I don’t really even expect anyone to be reading these exact words. Do you guys like me? Is my writing any good? I never really know because no one really tells me. I’m always open to all legitimate criticisms and whatnot, but I never get any (not saying I’m perfect, just that no one reads my stuff). I mainly write for myself, so not having high viewership numbers never bothered me much, but it would be nice to know where I line up sometimes. I know I should be better about marketing myself, but I feel like doing so is pretentious, and besides Destructoid and Giant Bomb is essentially my way of trying to reach my content out to more people.
Alright, I’m gonna stop the ramblings here. Thank you to those who even give my writings the time of day (which seems weird to say considering what I said last paragraph). For now, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing (unless anyone has any suggestions, which I’m always willing to consider). It has been a fun five years, and here’s to hoping I can make a ten-year anniversary blog.
P.S. here are some of my favorite blogs I’ve written over the past five years as well as a link to my Giant Bomb profile. For Destructoid readers, the links below are all to my Black Red Gaming versions of the blogs. If you would like the Destructoid version, either let me know or find them through my profile.
My Interpretation Of The Beginner’s Guide (May 14, 2017)
Win The Gold…In E-Sports (August 11, 2017)
My Thoughts On Doki Doki Literature Club (December 30, 2017)
The Next Quadrillion Dollar Shutdown (May 14, 2018)
Writing About It With Ben Guthrie (May 24, 2018)
Recore (PC) Review (March 3, 2019)
Blair Witch (PC) Review (September 4, 2019)
Hunt: Showdown And The Art Of Building Tension (August 17, 2019)
The Brilliance Of Outer World’s First Planet (January 25, 2020)
Control (PC) Review (February 14, 2020)
Jeff: My Favorite Horror Stealth Level In A Video Game (March 28, 2020)
In Other Waters (Switch) Review (April 5, 2021)
Doom Eternal (PC) Review (May 4, 2020)
Looking Back At One Of The Most Disliked Call Of Duty Games (July 8, 2020)
Outer Wilds Is One Of The Best Gaming Experiences I’ve Ever Had (September 6, 2020)
Revisiting Mafia 2’s Open World (October 6, 2020)
Mafia: Definitive Edition (PC) Review (October 14, 2020)
An Exploration Of Hatred (The Game) And The Difference One Mod Can Make (November 4, 2020)
The Similarities Between Trackmania And Rock Climbing (November 14, 2020)
The Game Awards 2020 Was My Breaking Point (December 11, 2020)
Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (PC) Review (January 12, 2021)
Cyberpunk 2077 Is One Of The Most Detached Gaming Experiences I’ve Ever Had (January 24, 2021)
“E3” Is Getting Out Of Hand (June 11, 2021)
Kane And Lynch: Pessimistic Meh-Sterpieces (June 23, 2021)