Oh, hi, internet. I didn’t see you there.
What’s that? You want words? About video games? Well. I guess I can write some of those.
Hi, folks. Welcome to Common Memory! This here’s a video gamin’ blog, with the name having been chosen out of a paraphrasing of a quote from Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins regarding the nature of gaming as a shared bank of memories and experiences. I’ve got a lot of ideas for content to put on here, and a lot of time to do it, so I figured I’d strike while the iron was hot and start getting some posts rolling about things I’m playing, have played, will play, etc.
Before I get too into the meat of what the site will be all about, I want to introduce myself a bit. My name is Ben, or FauxBen, or Runningman, depending on which handle of mine you’ve come across over the years. I am male, American, 25 years old, and I just graduated from law school in the spring. I’ve gotten pretty disillusioned with the whole law game, so I decided to just start spinnin’ yarns about video games instead. No one’s paying me for it, but my hope is that with this site, I can get enough practical experience and work out there that I can start spinning straw into gold. We’ll see! Regardless of where it goes in the future, my plan is to keep writing my own stuff here as long as the world will let me.
As far as my inspirations for the kind of content I’m putting here, there are a few particular sites and individuals I really want to point out as the kind of thing I’m aspiring to here. I’m a big fan of the The PA Report and Rock, Paper, Shotgun as they represent a long form approach to games writing that I think is really helpful in getting down to the nuts and bolts of what this stuff is all about. I’m also a huge fan of Giant Bomb and the way that they approach producing games content with an eye towards the average gamer’s perspective, and a no nonsense approach to games coverage.
One thing I want to emphasize here is structure and a reliable, weekly type of content that can be expected on certain days at certain times. I’ve been heavily inspired by the likes of Day9 in that regard, and I admire and appreciate that kind of content. I feel like if I provide you all with a reason to keep coming back here, well, you’ll keep coming back, and some measured degree of predictability is important to that equation. So, on that note, we have the schedule:
Monday – On Mondays I’m going to be running an e-sports review (that’s Monday Morning Mid-laner by name) that primarily focuses on League of Legends LCS play, as well as some OGN LoL highlights, and maybe even a little Dota 2 here and there. I’m trying to branch out in terms of e-sports, but right now, League’s what I know, so League’s what will be here. My idea here is to focus on more individual stories, strategies, and players, and to highlight one or two things of that nature that stick out to me each week after the LCS. This is the least coalesced of the features, so I imagine we’ll see it evolve a lot as time progresses.
Tuesday – On Tuesday I’m going to be doing a trip back in time with a feature called Retrospection, looking back at older games and what makes them work, what they’ve given to video games of the modern sort, and what we might learn from them that may have been forgotten along the way. I’ll also be turning a keen critical eye onto these old games to see if they really hold up, and what about them is good to have left behind. Given my own background, this will probably largely focus on the SNES era, but may very well include all kinds of stuff from the 1980s to today.
Wednesday – On Wednesday I’ll be doing a bit of a literary analysis of themes in games that I call Theme Park. The idea here is to find some kind of narrative element, character trait, gameplay motif, or visual element and trace it through several games, identifying how each game approaches that theme, what makes it work, and what makes it fail in other examples as well. This could be retrospective through a series, or it could be a parallel examination of contemporary games; it all depends on the theme that week and the examples that best suit it.
Thursday – Thursdays are where I will be chipping my reviewing teeth on a modern game review feature called Summary Judgment, wherein I will be playing something relatively modern and delivering a more comprehensive, non-numerical review similar to the reviews you might find on Rock, Paper, Shotgun or the Penny Arcade Report. The games here are not necessarily going to be things that are brand spankin’ new, but they’ll be relatively recent (read: this gen) and will be examined from the eye of the current time. In the end, there will be a recommendation of some kind, but I’m going to try to avoid assigning strict scores.
Friday – On Friday I will be placing myself on the line for the Feeding Log, a feature designed as a personal diary of my progress in the harrowing practice of MOBA education. I’m a fairly experienced LoL player and a complete Dota 2 newbie, so this feature will be a combination of a ranked queue diary charting my progression through the League system in LoL, as well as a general diary of learning just how the hell you play this Dota thing anyway. There will be a lot of dying. Most of it will probably be me. I do it all for you, internet.
Beyond all of the scheduled features, you can expect me to be putting reactions to news and articles from the gaming world here, with most of what I’m producing focusing on my reaction to the content, not simply parroting the content itself. I’m not out to drive up page views by piggybacking off of other people’s journalism, but I do have opinions on stuff, and when stuff happens, I’m gonna write about it here intermittently. I may also write some longer form pieces on top of the normal stuff as the mood takes me.
So that’s Common Memory! I’m really looking forward to getting things going here, and I’m hoping that new readers who have come here for the first time like what they see. We’ll be starting up here later today with Retrospection, and the target of my all seeing hindsight the first time around will be none other than Nintendo’s own Earthbound, recently re-released on the Wii U. Stay tuned!