It was first proposed that we should start a website writing about video games a couple of years ago. Through various snafus and false starts (not a few of which were my fault), it has taken us this long to actually come together.
When the idea was first proposed, I worried. After all, what could I possibly say that someone with the breadth of experience and talent of my cohort would not? However, I have come to realize that this is not the point of what we are doing here. We are not reviewing anything. We are not making a list. We are not trying to reach a consensus, and I suspect that very little of what we do here will be anything like journalism.
We are writing about things we love.
I got my first NES in the early summer of 1989. My stepmom brought it to us along with the included Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo cartridge and a copy of the first Ninja Gaiden. Now, 20-odd years later, I have owned consoles numbering somewhere in the middle teens and am debating whether or not to buy the new Ninja Gaiden 3. (Not The Ancient Ship of Doom. The one on PS3 and Xbox 360.) I’ve been playing video games more or less continuously over that time frame.
I have also spent that intervening period learning to think very hard about things that a lot of people would consider irrelevant. The wisdom of this path is debatable; I certainly wonder what my life would be like if the mental space required to instantaneously recall the names of every member of Motley Crüe was spent on something more useful. But… it’s not, so I should really stop worrying about it.
A lot of that space is spent on video games. I don’t mean to misrepresent myself here: I don’t think that thinking a lot about video games is a waste of space or anything. In fact, I think that the question of whether or not video games are art is as illegitimate as questioning whether or not graphic design is art. Yes, they are both commercial products, designed to be “consumed” more than “appreciated” in the way of, say, a painting or a novel or a film. Be that as it may, they have each offered many moments of transcendence, and anyone who has spent any significant time studying the form would be compelled to agree.
So the answer to the question of “art” is: it doesn’t matter.
In the interregnum between those Ninja Gaiden titles, I’ve gone through bad clothes and glasses and pubescence and rejection from the pretty girls and being made fun of for my intelligence and lack of common sense and a first kiss on the school stairwell and a first job from which I learned loyalty to people who wouldn’t return the favor, but who also fed my intense desire for new games and music and movies. I went through barely graduating high school due to laziness and going to college and moving out of my parents’ house and then, later, moving from Tulsa to New York City. I’ve lived an occasionally rudderless, occasionally hopeless, occasionally luxuriant, occasionally bitter, occasionally magical life. And through all of that, I’ve brought my games with me.
Video games are personal to me. I long ago learned not to argue the merits of, well, anything with someone who just doesn’t want to understand, but the love that I carry for the medium of games is something else.
As previously mentioned, we do not plan to be a review site, and what we are doing has nothing to do with setting up a games pantheon. I will probably spend as much, or more, time thinking about the games that I hate as I will the ones I love. Is it likely that, between the two of us, we’re going to write about the usual suspects? Yeah, probably; good luck doing even a token history of video games without mentioning those plumbers.
Maybe that word itself, history, is a problem. It has been said by everyone with sense that history is written by the winners. While I would not exactly call us losers (at least not in such a public forum as this), I think that we have something more to say than what any history could offer.
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of other places to read other geeks writing about video games. We must have something else on offer. So if all else fails, I can safely say that we are the first website on the internet whose proprietors initially met at a hockey rink and recognized each other’s geekiness afterward when they each acknowledged that they knew what a figure skater’s tunic was called because of The Legend of Zelda.
That has to be a good enough reason to keep reading.