Watch the Game Awards 2016 Right Here!

Interested in seeing the new Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild footage? Want to know what games win at the 2016 Game Awards?

If so, then you can watch the awards right here:

This is because like most events (such as Nintendo Directs and E3 presentations), the whole thing is being streamed on its official YouTube channel. So once it starts in about an hour or so, you’ll be able to catch everything via the video player above.

As for us? Well, it’s getting late here, so all coverage of tonight’s events will probably be done in the morning. But if you are still awake tonight, go and watch the awards and tell us what you think!

Why Gaming Sites Should Post Leaked Information

In the last few years, leaked video game information has become an extremely common thing online. You’ve got cases like with Pokemon Sun and Moon where every release gets datamined weeks in advance. There are examples like Paper Mario Color Splash, where information is unintentionally made available due to the game being accidentally released two weeks early. And through insiders, anonymous posts and YouTube mess ups alike, we’ve seen everything from Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty and Rayman revealed way before it was supposed to be.

Yet even with the rise in leaked information, it seems a large portion of the press doesn’t seem to want to cover anything early. You’ve got people posting screenshot upon screenshot on forums and videos popping up with the entire soundtrack, all while the press sits on their ass and does nothing for days on end. Or if you’re lucky, posts about one or two random discoveries while trying their very best to ignore the rest of it.

But I disagree. I think every gaming site should cover ‘leaked’ information to the fullest of their ability.

Why?

Well for one thing, because that’s closer to journalism than anything else the gaming press has done. Journalism means going out of your way to find information that the powerful do not want others to know. It means bending the rules to get the news your readers want rather than those that make for someone else’s good PR.

Look at the rest of the media for example. Yeah, they’re not as good as they used to be (especially where investigative journalism is concerned), but they don’t just sit around online and wait for information to come in. Or game companies to email them press releases.

Instead, they go out and look for a story. That might mean heading into a dangerous war zone in the midst of a global crisis. It might mean interviewing someone who might otherwise not want to provide any information about current events. Or attending political rallies and events, perhaps even undercover!

When’s the last time you saw a video game journalist go ‘undercover’ to get a major news story? Probably never to be honest.

And that’s kind of a problem with entertainment ‘journalism’ now. It’s not really journalism, it’s more an industry PR branch. It’s more about making the games and corporations look good than telling the readers what they really need to know.

But journalism isn’t supposed to be like that.

Journalism isn’t really about ‘making friends and influencing people’. Heck, some journalists would say that being friends with your subjects is the mark of a terrible journalist or reporter. No, journalists are supposed to be hated by the people they report on. Companies are supposed to dread journalists getting involved in a story about them (usually cause they’re in the middle of a public relations disaster).

So yeah, of course a company will hate you reporting on leaked content. Of course the Pokemon Company will hate people that post the final boss of Pokemon Sun and Moon two weeks before the release date. Heck, sometimes a company will go as far as to threaten you with legal action.

But that’s kind of expected as a journalist.

Journalism isn’t all fun and games. It’s a job which puts you at serious risk on numerous occasions, and one where dangerous or financial costly consequences are unfortunately all too common. Think being sued once sucks? Imagine being Ian Hislop (editor of Private Eye). He’s the most sued man in Britain, and has been through dozens of court cases over things like libel (and apparently lost most of them). That has never stopped the satire magazine releasing new issues.

And that’s nothing compared to the horrors that have happened to journalists writing about real politically charged subjects and dangerous parts of the world. They’ve been arrested for espionage, sent to prison for decades (or deported to Siberia in the Soviet Union). Assaulted or killed for saying things those in power didn’t want to hear (or just by sociopathic nutcases who were ‘offended’ by what they were saying).

Basically, journalism is about risks. Because of this, you need to realise at some point that your own ‘safety’ or ‘comfort’ is outweighed by the needs of the readers/viewers. Unfortunately, a lot of gaming journalists don’t ever get this. They think it’s about making their life convenient. Screw the readers, I matter more.

Which is completely wrong.

There’s also a very pragmatic reason for all this too. Namely, it’s bad business to be scared of leaked content.

I mean, look at Bulbapedia. They were so scared of Nintendo’s ‘response’ to covering leaked content (which never actually came) that they refused to open up editing from somewhere in September till now. The result? Their wiki is useless now. No one visits a Pokemon wiki (or a Mario or Zelda one) that doesn’t cover hardly anything about the latest games.

And the same will be true of your website if you don’t cover this stuff. A gaming site that censors itself and doesn’t cover the latest gaming news is honestly a rather useless website, and one that’s probably not gonna still open for much longer.

So cover leaked content, and be a real journalist. Because a journalist who only covers what others want him to cover isn’t much of a journalist at all.

The Gaming Reinvented Contest Results Are In!

Well, it’s been two weeks since the Gaming Reinvented contest started. We’ve had tons of entries, lots of people have liked or retweeted us on Twitter about it and heck, even sites like Source Gaming and Mario RPG Universe have helped out here.

But now it’s finally over. And we can reveal the winner is…
Goomba Smackdown!! for his article on No Man’s Sky! Congrats, we’ll be in contact soon to ask what games and systems you want for your prize.

(You can also get the prize in plain cash, but that’s kind of boring!)

So why did he win? How did the other articles do? Well, here’s the full set of results for the entries we received for the contest. As you can see, we marked them each on ‘uniqueness’ and ‘quality’, and the best scoring article won.

The List of Entries

Advertising Games for Dummies

Entry by: Chronis

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

Because while advertising games is certainly a topic people have written about before, most takes seem to be from a developer’s perspective. Like say, how to promote your new indie title online so it gets through Steam Greenlight or gets funded on Kickstarter. A talk about advertising games well from a game’s perspective is hence a bit more unique in that regard.

So not a 100% ‘unique’ topic, but an interesting enough take on it none the less.

Quality Score: 7/10

As for the quality of the article, that’s pretty good as well. It’s decently well written, flows relatively well and seems to be easy enough to read.
It’s also an accurate look at how best to advertise video games with some decent examples of good marketing and can show both gamers and people in the industry how they should promote their game if they want more attention.

However, there’s one thing that bugged me about the whole thing. And that’s just how short the article seems to be. Yes, it’s technically around 500 words (which was around the average mark for content length in 2012), but it still seems like the article ends far earlier than you’d expect it to.

And I suspect that’s because there’s not really much of a conclusion here. It has a sentence saying that game companies should show their creativity more, but that seems like something you’d say after the ‘formal’ conclusion to the piece. After a paragraph or two summarising what makes a good ad campaign and ending with a general point about the matter (like say, ‘market your games in a creative way’ or what not).

Hence the final score is a nice 14/20. Not perfect by any means, but a decent enough take on a fairly original idea.

Overall: 14/20

A Journey through Drangleic and Dark Souls II

Entry by: TofuFury

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

An article written in the first person? Have to say, that is pretty novel, especially on a gaming news site. It gives the piece a very different feel to most I’ve read about the game, and makes it seem more like a story than a simple recap.

And while recaps based on the Dark Souls series are fairly common online (especially on gaming subreddits), I found this one a bit more unique than the norm, what with how it seems to blend both narrative and critical opinion on the game without coming across as too corny or clichéd.

Either way, it’s unique enough to get a good score here.

Quality Score: 8/10

It’s also a well written article, which is easy to read and where each point follows logically from the last one. Indeed, despite having no real experience with Dark Souls II whatsoever, I managed to follow and understand everything that was being said without a problem. That’s good.

It’s also impressive how the writer went to the effort of cataloguing the sources used for the article as well. Yeah, they’re not referencing specific pages on the wiki or certain characters in the game (because in this case, they don’t need to), but the list of wiki and photo sources is a lot more professional than is typical for a gaming article. Or for that matter, any article in the media nowadays. So kudos on that.

Add how it explained various aspects of the game well, and you’ve got an article that deserves its solid 8/10 quality score. It’s a good piece overall.

Overall: 15/20

How to Defeat Your Gaming Backlog

Entry by: J.K. Riki

Uniqueness Score: 5/10

Well, it’s a bit of a low score, but the topic here is one that quite a few people have tackled online. A quick search in Google brings up 7 articles about gaming backlogs and tackling them, two forum topics about the same general thing and one site (Backloggery) that’s often used by gamers to tackle the problem.

So it’s a fairly generic subject that’s been written about a lot in the past. But is the actual content more interesting than the theme?

Quality Score: 6/10

To be honest, the answer there is probably ‘no’. It’s a well written article, without too much in the way of spelling and grammar errors and written in a way that flows nicely when you read it. So it’s technically a very solid piece of content.

But it’s also very predictable. I mean yes, it gives advice on how to clear your gaming backlog. But it’s very obvious advice that a lot of people wouldn’t really need to read the article to figure out. I mean, stop buying games if you ever want to finish all the ones you have? That’s a true point, but it’s also very much a ‘well duh’ kind of thing.

So that’s why it gets an average score here. It’s well written, but it’s also very much the kind of ‘extremely obvious’ advice that news sites and blogs focus a bit too much on nowadays. No one who reads it is going to learn anything new.

Overall: 11/20

So Random!: How to Build Attachment to Random Generation (and Not Be No Man’s Sky)

Entry by: Goomba Smackdown!!

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

It’s a game a lot of people have already written about, but the article is more unique because of its actual content. Namely, how it’s a game design article that talks about random generation and how that applies to games like No Man’s Sky and what not.

So while the game isn’t an original choice, the direction the article goes is, and it’s been scored accordingly.

Quality Score: 9/10

Well, this is a great article on a quality level. Indeed, it’s been posted a fair amount over at Reddit and got quite a few upvotes as well. And it really goes deep into the topic too. I mean, you could probably write a PhD dissertation on procedural generation and game design with this one.

It’s certainly the kind of article that could be considered ‘10x content’ (read, ten times better than most other articles on the subject). It’s well written too, with mostly good spelling and grammar and a writing style that’s easy to read (for someone interested in the subject).

There’s not really anything negative to say about this one. It might be a tad technical for some readers, but it’s a well written, fairly unique article that’s a strong contender for winning the Gaming Reinvented writing contest.

Overall: 16/20

The Biggest Problem with Undertale

Entry by: Calin

Uniqueness Score: 6/10

It’s an article about a currently popular game that talks about an issue in said game. Again, it’s not the most original topic, though the article itself is interesting and fairly well written (more on that in the next point).

So a middle of the road uniqueness score then.

Quality Score: 7/10

Content quality wise it’s okay, with the article making some logical points about Undertale, the ‘Genocide Route’ and how the design apparently doesn’t work. I can’t see anything here that doesn’t make sense or is actually incorrect about Undertale as a game.

And the article’s use of images here is good as well. Remember, on the internet, images speak louder than words (especially if they’re relevant). So an article which illustrates its points with relevant in game screenshots is much more appealing than one that’s merely a giant wall of text with nothing to really break it up.
So it’s a good piece for the most part. Hence the decent score it’s getting in this contest.

Overall: 13/20

Why Paper Mario Color Splash Might Not Be So Bad

Entry by: Dark Young Link

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

Well, it’s certainly a unique perspective on Paper Mario Color Splash, especially considering the time in which it was written (aka, prior to the game being leaked/playable by the public). Few other Paper Mario fans were looking forward to the game before it came out, and few bothered to try and defend it.

That said, it’s still a little predictable in another sense. Namely, it’s a devil’s advocate article about a game that’s unpopular. And those are common for various titles, even if Paper Mario Color Splash isn’t usually the game being defended.

Either way, originality points for offering a positive view on a much derided game, but a few less than perfect score is needed simply because devil’s advocate articles are a fairly common thing online.

Quality Score: 5/10

Well, this is interesting. Apparently, this article’s author posted a video about the subject on YouTube, which the article itself is based on. Got to commend the amount of effort there, it’s not often someone will write an article for a news site and then record a video or podcast based on it as well, especially not if it’s a guest article rather than one by a ‘staff member.

That said, something does feel a bit off here. Like the article doesn’t quite flow properly, and seems like it was made to be a video. For example, the points (about Paper Mario post Sticker Star feeling more like a 3D Mario platformer and the story being more interesting) are alright. But they’re very basic and not very well elaborated on. That’s okay for a video defending the game, but perhaps not great for a lengthy article about it.

And the point about Sticker Star failing because we didn’t know about the changes isn’t a great one. I mean, that’s exactly why people are hating on Color Splash. Cause they know the changes are there and they don’t like them. Knowing or not knowing in advance doesn’t really matter here, since the people who hate Sticker Star will almost always dislike this one, and those that don’t mind it/want to give it a chance won’t.

In general, it’s an okay but kind of barebones article for the most part. It just won’t convince anyone to change their opinion (whether positive or negative) about Color Splash, so kind of doesn’t really work when it comes to defending the game.

Overall Score: 12/20

The Results

And here’s the list of entries ordered by score…

  1. So Random!: How to Build Attachment to Random Generation (and Not Be No Man’s Sky): 16/20
  2. A Journey through Drangleic and Dark Souls II: 15/20
  3. Advertising Games for Dummies: 14/20
  4. The Biggest Problem with Undertale: 13/20
  5. Why Paper Mario Color Splash May Not Be So Bad: 12/20
  6. How to Defeat Your Gaming Backlog: 11/20

As you can see, all the articles were at least decent, with no one getting a score below 50% in this contest. But we have to choose a winner overall, so we’re giving it to Goomba Smackdown for his article on No Man’s Sky.

So that’s all for now! Will there be another contest? Well, maybe. We’re planning on launching a more general platform for non gaming news in the near future, so that might get a similar deal too if we can get the support for it. But for now, let’s just see what Goomba Smackdown chooses for his prize, shall we?

The Gaming Reinvented Contest is Now Over!

Well, it’s finally happened. The Gaming Reinvented contest is now officially over. If you’ve not submitted your entry by this point it won’t be counted (though you can still post it on our platform and potentially make money from it).

So what happens now that’s over?

Answer: We spend the next week or so judging all the entries and deciding who deserves the prize. Why a week for this? Because we’re not just giving out scores here. We’re not just saying ‘Bob came 1st, Alice came 2nd, John came 3rd’ or whatever.

Instead, we’re actually writing out a full breakdown of every entry’s score based on the following factors:

  1. How well it’s written
  2. The uniqueness/interestingness of the subject

These will each get a score out of 10, and the entry marked best overall will win. This way, you can see for yourself exactly why one article won the contest and the others didn’t.
So yeah, it’s now over. All you can do now is wait and see who’s won the grand prize!

How to Defeat Your Gaming Backlog

header_backlog

We are increasingly fortunate to live in a place and time where entertainment is plentiful, and we have time and energy to devote to it. Sometimes, though, we go overboard in this area of life. As a result we end up with a huge backlog of video games. From Steam sales to the intoxicating allure of a brand new, shrink-wrapped box, if you’ve got a lengthy list of games left untouched, here are the steps to set yourself free! Once you do, you’ll find you have more time for gaming than ever, and be generally happier as well.

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Step 1: Set Your Goal

Do you want to completely demolish your backlog, or merely reduce it? Knowing your overall goal at the start is vital, because it keeps you on track. Determine how much of a backlog, if any, you’re comfortable keeping, then move on to the next step once that knowledge is firmly in your head.

cart_backlog

Step 2: Stop Buying Games

Alas, the first real step may be the most difficult. There is no conceivable way – barring perhaps quitting your job and becoming a recluse – that you will extinguish your backlog while constantly throwing more coals on that particular fire. The first step is to courageously declare that no new purchases will be made until the backlog is defeated.

This can actually be motivation to help you along. If there’s a game release you’ve been looking forward to, using that as your Backlog Deadline may be the push you need. Decide that you will only purchase the new game if you manage to clear at least X percentage of your backlog first. Then stick to that vow.

bored_backlog

Step 3: Eliminate the “Eh”

We’ve all bought a Humble Bundle with a few titles we might not have truly wanted, or picked up a game or two because of a great Black Friday sale. It happens. That said, now is the time to really consider deeply if your time and energy is worth each and every game on your list.

Some games are just not interesting enough to warrant your time. Your time is precious and valuable. Some would say it is the most valuable thing you possess. So go through your backlog and delete, sell, or give away any games that do not immediately beg you to be played. It’s okay, someone else can enjoy them. If, after your backlog is finished, you even remember what those that you discarded are, you can always get them individually again and play them immediately upon repurchase. It’s completely okay to do that.

This can be a difficult step, don’t get me wrong. We as human beings have great aversions to “missing out.” When you own something you never used, the natural inclination is to keep it, just in case. However your backlog is not bringing you joy, but stress. It is a monkey on your back, and your life will be better without it clinging to you. By eliminating the “eh” games, you eliminate a burden on your life.

Step 4: Play

Finally, a fun step! Once you’ve eliminated the average or uninteresting games, start playing. Not in five minutes. Not tomorrow. Right now. Pick a game at random, or choose the one that you most want to try out in the moment. You don’t have to play long; even five minutes is fine. But you must start, and you must start now. Your backlog exists because you failed to start, and it’s time to rectify that.

If you find, which often happens, that 10 minutes into a game you aren’t having fun, you may need to return to Step 3 and say farewell to that game. Why spend valuable time not being entertained by something you bought FOR entertainment? Don’t put it back “for later.” If you aren’t enjoying it now, you probably won’t in a week from now. If you change your mind, there is no one saying you can’t rebuy the game at that time. Let’s be honest with ourselves, though. We probably aren’t going to rebuy it. Instead, choose another game you will actually enjoy and say goodbye to the one that wasn’t the right fit for you. The worst thing you can do is waste your limited time on a game that doesn’t delight you. What’s the point of playing, then?

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Step 5: Schedule Future Playing Time

It seems odd to schedule fun, but it helps a lot. When you’re finished with Step 4 for the day, schedule time either later on or the following day to jump back into the game you just started (or choose another title if that one didn’t end up being your cup of tea).

If you keep this up, your scheduled time to play games may become a highlight of your day. Suddenly you have transformed your backlog from something stressful that drags you down to an uplifting experience! You will find you actually want to play, rather than just feeling guilty about not doing so for so long. That is the change we want to encourage. Games should not bring about guilt. They exist for the opposite reason.

Step 6: Recommit to Step 2 or 3

After a bit of time, you will want to buy a new game again. It is inevitable. At that point, recommit to Step 2 or 3. Either eliminate games from your backlog until you’ve reached your Goal Number, or do not buy that new game. It will be hard, but it is worth it. You are literally transforming your life and the way you value your time and money. Give it a shot!

freedom_backlog

Beyond Your Backlog

Once you’ve eliminated (or drastically reduced) your backlog, you will feel a lot better. It will be like a weight was lifted off your shoulders. Then the key becomes not inviting the weight back on!

Going forward, when you buy a game, play it immediately. Open the package as soon as you get home, or click the play button once the download is complete. Give it at least 10 minutes right away. Enjoy the experience. After all, you just laid down hard earned money to bring it into your life.

The best thing you can do is refuse to return to the Backlog lifestyle. It will mean that, yes, you miss out on some games on occasion. That’s okay. There is always the chance to play them later, and frankly most of them may not be worth your time anyway. What is worth your time is truly enjoying the games you do buy and play, guilt free. This will also make you appreciate the games you have much more than you ever did when they were stacked in a dusty pile, wishing you would play them. It will be a far better way to live.

Now go forth and conquer that backlog!