In this week’s From the Desk, I’m going to put forth this follow up to my recent Official Communique that dealt with how far we’ve come. I want to take this opportunity in my little sliver of private space I really should try to make more time for, to discuss where we’re going. To do that though, I need to spend a small chunk of this writing to lay down some back-story as it were behind the decision of us taking Anjel Syndicate full time and turning into the game media site it’s becoming. So indulge me a bit and let me set down some foundation.
My getting into the game media side of the industry happen really by accident, and by accident I more or less tripped into. I’d been spending years out in the wilds of indie game development or working the volunteer side of MMO community work and of course the whole Acclaim era of Project Top Secret. I’d written some editorial pieces here and there for gaming sites over the years (many of which are now gone into the ether) but never really gave much thought to game media and game journalism as an avenue for my writing career. I didn’t really start getting involved until my stint with GameFocus, and I’ll be honest I enjoyed my time there and met, worked with, and learned a great deal from some pretty solid folks. But at that point I wasn’t really serious about it and while I did do some fairly good reviews and such it wasn’t top shelf work on my part.
Then along came Game Theory and that while well intentioned didn’t work out in the long run for various reasons, none of which are either relevant and don’t need public airing. We did some great pieces and put together some solid issues, but ultimately it didn’t take off or pan out. That’s how ventures on the internet are, they last only so long as people’s interest remain. It was an interesting attempt that while didn’t succeed gave me a better idea of what does and doesn’t work and really set the stage for where Anjel Syndicate and I both are today.
Right from the onset when Tiffany and I discussed the notion of evolving from this play around blog I had and she was contributing to into a full time media site we agreed on a couple of things that I’m sure have shown through over this year. We agreed that we’d try our damnedest to avoid sensational headlines and stories. We’d skip the “Flash mob kills teen over Pokemon shirt” and the like as really in our estimation they have nothing to do with gaming and only set the stage for arguments between the industry and the flavour of the month hate-mongers that pick some form of entertainment or another to blame all of societies ills on.
The other thing we agreed on is that while a lot of sites have all manner of fluff posts to fill the quiet spaces we would skip those as often as possible as well. Hence why when you might see a whole bunch of posts on one of the bigger sites, half of which are Top 10 lists or why Donkey Kong should have his own line of fish sticks, we’re either putting out 2-4 posts that day or on occasion none at all. It’s not because those fluff posts don’t have meaning or aren’t interesting to the gaming community, it’s because we don’t want to fill up our platform with posts we don’t need or feel compelled to conjure.
Watching the stat numbers, hearing back from readers, and the other voodoo we do that tells us what is drawing readers has more or less confirmed that our main traffic drivers is the news. Of course we get traffic spikes when we roll out a review, giveaway, or special segment, but day to day traffic is driven by the news because you guys come by to find out what’s happening out there in the industry or with the titles you’re waiting for.
We don’t always get it right, and we have had periods where posting slowed down to a crawl, that’s part of the growing pains as we are constantly looking over what we’ve done, what we could do differently, and what we should drop in efforts to keep content flowing, relevant, and interesting. This goes along with the directional change regarding reviews and previews. We’ve tried a couple of scoring formulas and approaches since we started this journey. We’re always looking at how we want to approach reviewing and previewing games to really find the method that works best and conveys our thoughts and insights best. At it’s basic level, we have chosen to focus on the fun of a game. How fun it is, how fun it isn’t, why it is fun, and why or where the fun disappears is the biggest metric we use and will continue to use going forward.
Now, Going Forward..
I am still debating doing away with scoring entirely, and we may yet see the time that we do that. It’s something we’re throwing open to discussion with our readers.
- How important is the scores to you when it comes to reviews?
- What are we missing that we might want to include?
- Pros and Cons?
- Further breakdowns on mechanics?
Let us know what is important to you when you read a review. We have our own thoughts and opinions, but ultimately if we’re missing something our readers think we should either add or look into further we need to know so we can provide a better service to you guys when you come by the site to check out the content. Content is important, but only if there are people reading it.
We’re also looking at expanding into covering movies, anime, and other areas of geekery. Of course other sites are doing that and have been for a long time, which is part of the reason why we aren’t. However, we want to provide the best and most interesting content to our readers and staying still isn’t an option. We have to continue to adapt, evolve, and grow to meet the interests and needs of our community and readers so exploring areas to do that is one of our big priorities going forward.
I started out getting involved in game media as just something to do for a while, but as is evidenced by the shift of AS to what it’s become I’ve now gone all in to see this succeed and I’ve found more enjoyment and pleasure in doing this than I had first anticipated. We’re going to continue to work and grow, keep you guys up to date and work on getting you engaged so we can have some good discussion on the industry, gaming, and everything in between. We’re all in on this to the hilt now and we’re not going to be slowing down any time soon with the fantastic momentum we’ve built up over the last year. We’re going to continue doing our thing and while we’re fiercely independent we live and die with our audience, so when you speak to us, we pay attention, listen, and thankful.
All the best!
David “AnjelusX” Slauenwhite
Anjel Syndicate Editor-in-Chief, Gamer, Lover of Books, Conjurer of Words, Worlds, and Stories, Coffee Worshiper, and Nova Scotian.
“I’ve been gaming since I stood on milk crates to reach the controls. New games, retro games, you name it, I probably love it.”