Silenced all my life - videogame reviews October 25, 2013 9:18 AM   Subscribe

In the tail end of the thread about Bioshock: Infinite and the state of games criticism, Riton and others expressed interest in a review site by Mefites. This is a MeTa to see if there's enough interest in the idea and if so, to hash out the details.

Some of the things that come to mind: Hosting and site design. Possible expected frequency or length of article (as a guideline). Would there be common features e.g. Games of the 90s, and how would they be decided on? Would there be an editor in chief? Would the site try to keep relatively abreast of current events? I also expect that MeFight Club and FGEC will come up.
posted by ersatz to MetaFilter-Related at 9:18 AM (60 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Call me interested, both as a reader and as a writer. I wouldn't know what to pitch, though. I might think of something as the discussion develops.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2013


Very interested. No idea about hosting, site design, or etc. but I would definitely read and comment.
posted by postcommunism at 9:41 AM on October 25, 2013


More interested in the critical engagement side than the review side, though - lots of (admittedly crappy) vanilla review sites already. Half the fun of games for me anymore is to talk about how they work, what assumptions they make, what they're actually doing/saying with any given mechanic or conceit, how they value the player, etc..
posted by postcommunism at 9:50 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Interested in reading, might be interested in light copy-editing and a little occasional writing about old-school stuff, happy to throw a couple bucks at hosting if need be, eager to leave design to the experts.
posted by box at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2013


I would be interested as a reader and maybe writer. I wish I had time to participate over at MFC, but I'm sure they would be very interested in this as well. Did you crosspost this over there? Someone should also probably light the Stav Signal, if they haven't already.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2013


Pong is awesome. Pong is awesome. Pong is awesome. Pong is awesome. Pong is awesome. But it's a little repetitious.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:16 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm a little surprised you mention web-hosting and design, since you brought up FGEC yourself, I'd think that is almost exactly what that spot is for. You set up your account over there, and then you can write a review of a game that you want to talk about. Then others who want to talk about it can comment on your review.

And BAM, you didn't have to do any web-design, or site-hosting, or anything, because the magical mr chicken already done did it for you!

Of course, I haven't been to FGEC lately, so maybe the aim of that site has been adjusted slightly since I was last there?
posted by Grither at 10:20 AM on October 25, 2013


I'd read, and I wish I could contribute, but the last game I played was the free Star Wars version of Angry Birds on a Kindle Fire HD. Before that, it was Animal Crossing for the Wii, but mostly to clear out some weeds, because my wife said my town was a mess.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:30 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, I would be interested. To read and maybe to write.
posted by FJT at 10:39 AM on October 25, 2013


I'm interested as a writer, reader and commenter. I find Metafilter to be one of the better places to have discussions about games and the game industry, with a unique interest in the indie side as well as the triple-A side, so I definitely think there's promise if we can get enough people to contribute. I think the idea here can encompass a wide variety of things: reviews, critiques, editorials (the state of gaming, response to X review, what Y element of a game means), highlights of older or obscure games, and experiential stuff (how it made me feel to play this section.) We are a bean-plating bunch, after all. We're also not trying to get on the good sides of developers and publishers, so there's no need to hold back - the gaming community needs more smart, critical voices.
posted by naju at 11:08 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Contributing, totally depends on the era. I was doing that whole Play Every NES game thing until I went back to school and lost all the free time I ever had.
posted by theichibun at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2013


Would a Metafilter review site necessarily have to focus on only video games?
posted by Midnight Rambler at 12:30 PM on October 25, 2013


Yeah, I'm with Midnight Rambler. As much as I dig video games, I would prefer to write, say, film reviews. Also, as Grither mentioned, FGEC kind of fills that video game review niche. At least as I understand it.
posted by brundlefly at 12:40 PM on October 25, 2013


Ok so how wants to register thebeanplate.com for this site?
posted by Anything at 1:49 PM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mefightclub already exists. But I would be interested in such a thing. Or one generally about reviewing pop culture.
posted by empath at 2:05 PM on October 25, 2013


I would be willing to write stuff for this. I actually used to do that for a DS/handheld game site ages ago...
posted by emptythought at 2:11 PM on October 25, 2013


I'd be interested in writing; empath's pop culture idea sounds good as well.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:32 PM on October 25, 2013


It sounds like a great idea... whether or not the powers that be are prepared to spin up another sub-site is another thing. I can't believe that this isn't something that has come up before and it will be interesting to see what the mods have to say.

Heck, we're a bunch of opinionated people so I don't see a lack of content being an issue. Infrastructure, that's a whole different thing. While anyone can build any site they want, officially making it part of the MetaFilter empire is probably a little more problematic.
posted by cedar at 2:43 PM on October 25, 2013


It's perhaps worth noting that stavros already has a gaming nerd community blog thing up and running at full glass empty clip. It's always kind of starved for content, so if a bunch of people suddenly started writing for it that would possibly be exciting?
posted by kavasa at 3:00 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


FGEC does look pretty cool and seems ready for the sort of stuff we'd want. I guess among other things, it depends on what Stav wants out of his site, and whether there's (totally understandable) reservations with MeFites flooding it with new content, broadcasting it to the larger world and making it "their own" in a sense, etc.
posted by naju at 3:28 PM on October 25, 2013


As far as that goes, I am fairly certain Stav would be delighted to see a bunch of mefites posting. The trickiest thing with FGEC has just been getting sustained content, which is of course the trickiest thing with just about any new site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:36 PM on October 25, 2013


I missed this! I'm interested in writing possibly and have a lot of free time on my hands (and review things for fun anyway), but I'm not sure I totally understand what either FGEC or MeFight Club essentially are? I'll take a closer look later after work.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:42 PM on October 25, 2013


Oh, I'd like to write about film/pop culture, as well. Definitely.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:43 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


FGEC is the exact place that this would, in my perfect world at least, happen. That would rock. It is gaming-focused, of course, but I just recently redesigned it and put in many hours building a review infrastructure. Reviews are here, and a concise list is here.

I would encourage anyone who is a gamer who hasn't already joined us at MefightClub to sign up and hang out, and to create a (separate) user account at FGEC.

The one speedbump I've made to keeping Random Internet People from signing up and posting at FGEC is a pretty easy one to overcome: on registration at FGEC you are given Subscriber status. You just need to pop over to MefightClub and let me know the username you signed up with at FGEC, and I can bump your rights up to Author, so you can post whatever you like. There is no 'editor' per se.

Having people writing there who are not also MFC members seems like it might make my life a little more difficult in terms of keeping track of stuff, but it literally takes about 30 seconds to sign up at MefightClub, so I don't think that's too much of a hardship.

I'm not sure I totally understand what either FGEC or MeFight Club essentially are

MefightClub (past discussions about it here) is an gaming-centric community that began as (and still is) an offshoot of Metafilter. I launched it about 6 years ago, I think. We're up to about 3000 members at the moment. It is, essentially, a forum, and is a private community in the sense that you have to sign up and log in to participate in (or even read) discussions.

Full Glass Empty Clip is our group blog for MFC, which sees little activity, as folks in general tend to enjoy playing and discussing games more than writing about them. Any MFC member is welcome and encouraged to write pieces for FGEC, or just post amusing links or videos or whatever.

I'm literally just this moment working on a super-sexy new landing page for MefightClub, so I wish this discussion had happened a couple of days later. Ah well!

Anyway, yeah, I've spend what seems like a gazillion hours tweaking FullGlassEmptyClip to be a gaming groupblog, and I would be thrilled if more people wanted to post stuff there!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:40 PM on October 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh, and in terms of things like ongoing feature series or whatever, I am totally down with that kind of thing, and willing to work with people to make it work better, in terms of structure and design. Here's a review I put up more or less to test the functionality, to get an idea of what it looks like.

I just suggested (although nobody put their hand up) over at MFC the other day that an FGEC series looking at Steam Greenlight games as they get greenlit would be a fun and useful thing to have out there, that nobody's really doing, for example.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:43 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, while I'm here, in terms of broader pop-culture essays and reviews, that wouldn't be such a great fit for FGEC I guess.

But if someone else wanted to run with getting a movie/tv/music/etc site going, definitely that would be a fine thing, and if folks wanted to use FGEC as a gaming-writing platform in tandem with that kind of site (in the way that the A/V Club and Gameological complement one another, although ironically Gameological is being reabsorbed into the A/V Club site, apparently), we could certainly work on cross-pollination and mutual support and stuff.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 PM on October 25, 2013


Sexed-up new public-facing page for MefightClub is now live (I got excited and jumped the gun a bit). Hopefully it doesn't make your computer explode!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested in this on the writing side of things.
posted by Autumn at 6:53 PM on October 25, 2013


...aaaand the whole server just took a dump and died.

Why me, lord?

Looking at the problem now.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:11 PM on October 25, 2013


Fixed!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:28 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It should have comments like we do.

What really makes this site go is that the comments are nearly perfectly laid out relative to the main post. Spaced out nice so you can read them.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:00 PM on October 25, 2013


Not so much fixed after all. Damn it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:08 AM on October 26, 2013


Which goes to show that the upkeep of a site is a hard proposition :) The new design of MFC is pretty easy on the eyes by the way.
posted by ersatz at 3:23 AM on October 26, 2013


Thanks for that. I'd be a lot happier if people could actually see it. It seems like every time there's a discussion about MFC or FGEC here, the damned server poops the bed.

Ah well. I was thinking just the other day that it'd been a couple months completely free of server woes, which was clearly inviting bad luck to strike.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:27 AM on October 26, 2013


I might be able to contribute. My interests tend towards more retro stuff I guess, but I'm generally conversant on gaming. (The term I usually use is "encyclopedic knowledge of video games," but the very most recent things I can't afford to keep directly up on.)
posted by JHarris at 3:45 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hardware failure on the physical machine our VPS is located on, apparently. With luck, once they restore things, everything will be up to date. Given that I pushed a bunch of new code just today, though, I'm not super-confident.

It's almost bedtime in Korea. We'll see what the morning brings.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:48 AM on October 26, 2013


If Matt and pb could whip up a Metafilter OAuth provider, it would be simple to create Mefi-affiliated sites using the same user accounts.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:33 AM on October 26, 2013


I would read this. My kids think of Metafilter as "that place where mom discovered minecraft."
posted by selfmedicating at 6:53 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would love to contribute to this. I've been talking with a couple of MeFites about doing exactly this for a while now, but making a web site is time-consuming and I don't have a ton of time so it's awesome that other people are figuring things out instead!

And agreed that writing about more than video games would be utterly welcome. Metafilter has the best Mad Men discussions on the Internet, for example. I mean, it has some of the best anything discussions on the Internet, and I've felt many times that it's somewhat of a shame that the comments section offer such an unflattering rendering of the things that people've said. Blog posts are easier to format and easier to share.

Speaking of which, if we need a web designer for this project I'd like to throw my hat in the ring. I'm just finishing up two personal sites that've been in production since 2011, and would love to get to play around with designing things that don't end up bleeding my youth and innocence away. Typographic layouts are a lot of fun for me: the second site I linked is a bit crazy, but the text posts within it have a font/size combo that I am pretty proud of.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The morning has brought.... continued downtime.

Well, fuck.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:09 PM on October 26, 2013


I've done a bit of lengthy commenting here in some of the gaming FPPs and I often spend more time then is probably normal exploring my feels about video games so I would welcome such a thing and would also be very interested in contributing. If it included other forms of pop culture that would terrifico. Sort of like the Onion AV Club but with mefites? Yes, please.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:19 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, dang. I only just saw this today, but I'll add my voice to the chorus of people saying they like the idea. I'd be interested in reading this stuff, of course, but an all-inclusive venue that maybe takes a bit of a more alternate outsider perspective on games and game culture (without becoming a virulent hive of negativity and sarcasm like every other such space on the internet) is one I would write like the wind for.
posted by byanyothername at 5:34 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


without becoming a virulent hive of negativity and sarcasm like every other such space on the internet

This was precisely the rationale (or part of it, at least, the rest being to have a place for adults, and one free of the sexism and homophobia and all the rest of the brotacular behavior so common in the gaming world) behind starting MefightClub 6 years ago.

I encourage everyone who's interested to stop by. You know, once our server has stopped being dead. My fury that the engine threw a rod at the very worst possible moment for new, interested people to stop by at MFC and FGEC is downright olympian.

I think we're almost back in business -- probably tonight or tomorrow Korea time. Please do stop by -- I'll drop a note here once the server's back up (and those responsible have been punished to the fullest extent of the law) and I've fixed anything site-wise that might be broken after restore from backup.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:02 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm kalessin on MFC and Mr. Gin on FGEC and I would love to have more than mine and stavros' reviews among the newer reviews. I think the MFC community is vital and FGEC would be lovely to have filled with the erudite and the opinionated from the mothership. :)
posted by kalessin at 6:56 AM on October 28, 2013


I'll see everyone down at MFC and FGEC! Will report back here too!
posted by Riton at 3:07 PM on October 28, 2013


Please do this. I have an urgent need to read other Mefites’ takes on The Stanley Parable.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am experiencing withdrawal, Stav.

RE: this idea. Seems cool, depending how much ground it covers I might be able to contribute but I'd likely at least check it pretty often.
posted by whorl at 5:30 PM on October 28, 2013


I know, and I'm really sorry about this extended downtime. I may have to go elsewhere once the contract runs out unless they can give me some better guarantees on uptime.

We run on a pair of managed (poorly managed, I'm going to have to say at this point) virtual private servers, one for web and one for mysql. The web server hardware had a raid controller failure apparently, and although they rebuilt the hardware fairly quickly, they're fornicating the pooch on getting the actual sites back up. Our sites, at least.

Arkhan, who offered a while back to help me with the close-to-the-metal stuff, because I don't know nothin' 'bout triagin' no servers, is on the case and chasing support, and we're at this point basically just waiting for them to reset the web server, and hopefully things will come back up without too much other fiddling. Unless there's file system corruption, which Arkhan suspects, in which case I'm going to have to restore the actual sites from backup, which will take some more time, and in typical never-rains-but-pours fashion, I'm leaving on a business trip soon for a couple of days, and may not be able to get to it right away.

So, with luck, we'll be back sometime today (evening/overnight North America time). Without luck, argh.

Fingers crossed.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on October 28, 2013


Is alright, Doctor - I sit here and eat sandvich.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Downtime is good for writing anyway.
posted by ersatz at 10:21 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


To my utter amazement and disgust, things are still not fixed. I am officially on the hunt for a better managed VPS host that isn't going to break the bank at this point.

I didn't mention before, I don't think, but if you want to keep up with what's going on, you can follow the offsite status blog or @mefightclub, which tracks posts from there (and FGEC posts, when they ever start happening again (sigh)).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:16 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Keep us posted stavros, I'm determined not to forget about it this time and, like, actually write something for you guys.
posted by JHarris at 3:21 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


That would be fricken awesome, seriously.
posted by kalessin at 10:31 AM on October 30, 2013

Please do this. I have an urgent need to read other Mefites’ takes on The Stanley Parable.
If it's okay with everyone, actually, I can just post an analysis I wrote here. It's kind of dense, but here goes:

EIGHT!
EIGHT!
EIGHT!
EIGHT!
Eight.
Eight? Eight.
8.

8 out of 5
posted by byanyothername at 6:35 PM on October 30, 2013


We appear to be back in business! I have to get to sleep, though. With luck, things won't explode into gouts of flame overnight.

Anyone who wants to write stuff for FGEC, please do sign up, and then (if you aren't already) sign up over at MefightClub as well, and let me know the username you used at FullGlassEmptyClip, and I'll bump it to Author role.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:45 AM on October 31, 2013


What I encourage people to do, since none of us have early access to games, is to not think of reviews as a recommendation to buy a game or not. Presumably most people have already made that decision for games that have been out for more than a week. We've had time to really explore and think about games. Try and think about them more analytically, engage with the themes, put them into a larger cultural context, discuss spoilers if you need to. There's a dearth of games criticism that takes the time to do that.
posted by empath at 6:06 AM on October 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Critical Distance is a good source of links to quality game writing these days. Kris, who runs it and is also an editor at Gamasutra, asked me to cross-post this piece I did for FGEC so she could make it a featured article there a while back.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:10 PM on October 31, 2013


Just noticed that MeFightClub includes forums; for some reason I thought it was just a way of organizing private servers. Joined.
posted by postcommunism at 2:46 PM on October 31, 2013


Indeed it does! More than 3400 threads with somewhere north of 240,000 comments at the moment, I think. Welcome aboard!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:12 PM on October 31, 2013


Just a quickie while this thread is still open: we've had a bunch of new folks come over and sign up at MFC and FGEC (and let me know, so I could bump them to Author at FGEC), so hopefully we'll have some interesting new stuff to read soon!

(The best place to let me know you want to be bumped to Author at FGEC is in this MFC thread, either in the clear or as a 'whisper' to me, as I tend to be pretty spotty with checking my email.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:47 PM on November 12, 2013


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