Establishing the basics

By Alex Kierkegaard / March 13, 2008

This is the part where I explain why I am forced to link my own articles again and again on this website, in an effort to get as many people as possible to read them. The gist of it is that, from now on, at the top of every review of a JRPG there will be a link to my recent article on role-playing games. At the top of many reviews of arcade games there will be a link to my Arcade culture article. Whenever we review crap games that other websites are likely to praise as "parodies", we will link my No More "Parodies" article. Et cetera, et cetera.

So if you are a regular reader of this website who is already aware of all these articles, I want to apologize to you in advance and ask for your understanding and your patience. These links are not meant for you, you see, but for all those who stumble onto our reviews from a search engine or a message board, many of whom no doubt find it difficult to understand what is being said in them. "How can you praise a game that only takes twenty minutes to finish?", many of them are no doubt wondering. "Why are you treating JRPGs and Western CRPGs as merely different kinds of strategy games?" "Why are you trashing "parody" games? Can't you see that they suck because they're meant to be parodying crappy videogames, and therefore you should be praising them?" "And why are you giving full marks to a sequel that's pretty much a rehash, while trashing as rehashes so many other brand-new games?"

These are some of the questions many first-time readers of this website are asking, and will no doubt keep asking until they have read every single article in a series of articles that from now on I will refer to as "The Basics". Does this sound arrogant to you? Do you think I am being too presumptuous? Too full of myself? I am sorry, but it's not my fault that everyone has been brainwashed to utter retardation after a decade and a half of systematic misinformation by those who control the major gaming publications, to the point where it's now necessary for someone to step forward and clear up all the monkey business with a series of articles grandly-titled as "The Basics" (the better, of course, to attract people's attention). I am just a guy trying to inject some sense back into game writing, and if I sometimes swear too much or make one too many grand statements cut me some fucking slack: On the one hand, I deserve it, and on the other, I'd bet you'd act worse than me if you were in my place. So you can either stick around and learn something, or go back to reading Euroidiot, lamefaqs and Kotaku. It's a free internet: The choice is up to you.

What you have to understand here is that I am not putting so much effort in this website for nothing. I am aiming for results, and you better believe that I will use every option available to me in order to achieve them. One of those options is to design the site in such a way that readers are always directed towards the essential articles, regardless of whatever page they happened to enter from. Websites are not like books or magazines, you understand, the sequence of pages is not set by the publisher but by the individual reader, and it's the designer's job to ensure that links on every page point everyone towards the most important content.

But there's another reason for this more rigorous linking policy besides good web design practice. I think it's safe to say that, at this point, there's not a single major gaming blog that wants to have anything to do with me. In the past, most of them would occasionally link some of my reviews (usually the less controversial ones) or some of my less important articles (stuff like my "Top 10 Akihabara stores" article). They wouldn't link any of the important ones, you see, either because of sheer stupidity (they didn't understand what I was saying) or jealousy (they did understand, but didn't want their readers to realize how far above their lame efforts at game journalism this place is). As for message boards, there was a time when I would go around and link my articles in several of them, but I eventually gave up doing that in disgust. Nowadays, the mere thought of posting in a forum other than mine makes my stomach turn. I am not even exaggerating; I think if I was dragged into one more pointless, dead-end "discussion" with the kind of people who frequent such places I'd end up puking my guts all over my keyboard. I think I've now developed a physical aversion to that level of stupidity.

So by saying things the way they are, I have effectively cut myself off from the blogs and message boards that could have helped me expose my articles to a larger audience. In the end, my only friends are the search engines, and my only weapon the timely reviews of Japanese games that have not yet been localized for the West. Because these reviews still get linked off of blogs and message boards, since in their mad rush to one-up each other the people who run such sites or post in them will link even the Devil himself if he has managed to score an exclusive. This weak point of their's, then, is what I plan to start exploiting from now on. Sooner or later, the world will learn what's up from me whether it wants to or not. You have my word on that.