Game Design Blogs and Why They Are Necessary

There are plenty of sites devoted to video gaming out there, a few of them very professional and are actual institutions. Game blogs can and will be done, there is no way to stop that, but why on Earth would they be necessary?

Most professional websites offer new, previews and opinions, but most importantly they offer reviews. These sites are consumer information sites. They are there to provide information to the consumer of what is coming out and if its worth their time. The news and previews are designed to increase hype and visibility of products. That is all well and good, but in the information age there is a noticeable difference between video games and mediums of old. Movies, novels and poetry were around before information was available instantly at the drop of a hat. One thing that video game lack is an actual critical look at games.

What choices did developers make in level design, story, mechanics, and/or concepts worked or did not work? These are done to an extent in reviews, but there is no look at why this is so. Commercial websites don’t have the time to do this analysis. So we turn to the Blogosphere.

In other mediums people in the industry learn by viewing other people’s work several times to see what can be done and then they could read up analysis on why it worked. Video games not so much because the average game is 5 to 6 times longer than the average movie and requires much more scrutiny than the written word. Also, modern video games comprise the visuals of movies, the possibilities of animation, the story telling of books, and also add in the gameplay mechanics of arcades. It isn’t possible to note everything about a wide variety of games as it once used to be.

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How to Blog About Gaming

First order of business is to pick your Subject

This can be as general as PC or console gaming, or more segmented as competitive gaming/eSports or even in a finer niche such as dedicated to just 1 game or game publisher.

For instance, obviously our blog is about the game StarCraft and StarCraft 2. Which is a very small niche comparably in the bigger blogosphere.

Next you have to be Passionate

Passionate about said subject, and since we’re talking about gaming that means you have to be HARDCORE about the game or gaming in general. You feel your game, you love it, you could talk for hours about it to just about anymore. You re-tell old battle stories, talk about the community and can bring up big named players, leagues or events. You participated in competitions, events or was part of a fansite/community.

For example I first got into StarCraft by being an old-school WarCraft II player, and was addicted on the spot… for the next 6 years. I got highly involved in the StarCraft community by being a part of several very well known clans (The Soda Clan, SCGALS, Club G), and had affiliations with most of the top American/European players.

Competed and won money in local and national tournaments, posted in forums while writing strategy articles for fansites.

Writing articles help especially if you want to start a blog, which leads me into the next step on this list of tips.

You need to be able to clearly get your point across, spell check, read it over and forget about grammar just make sure to hit the bullseye

This doesn’t mean you have to be the best writer in the world or even a decent one. What this means is check your spelling in word, read over your article at least once before posting, refine and edit, make sure to write captivating titles and summaries.

Most good bloggers are not good writers, but good communicators. And you want to know another thing? You’re in luck because you’re writing about a game or gaming for gamers and we all know we aren’t the best writers. You can tell by visiting the forums of any game out there right now.

Heck we invented l33t speak… in multiplayer online games we invented the txting style of writing way before cellphones was the next big thing among tweens. You’ve got to get your point across fast: “u peon line” = Your workers economy line is about to or is getting attacked by the Zerg enemy, and you need to move your workers out of the way and pull back your forces. “drop his exp at 9” = Take your dropships over to the enemies expansion base at the far left center position on the map.

Gamers will forgive you if you make your content readable and understood quickly, use line breaks, spacing, different font sizes and colors to make certain parts of your post stand out.

Next tip is be a part of the Blogoshpere

Meaning follow other blogs, see what they are doing, how they write their titles, where they place their content. How they modify templates to suit their niche. There are forums for bloggers and social networks which can quickly get your name out there fast, post and comment on popular blogs which can drive a little traffic and provide linkbacks.

Enter blogging contests to further brand yourself, but make sure you never stray too far from your subject.

Gaming is a visual and audio medium. Use Video, Audio and graphics well to enhance your gaming blog

Most of us have A.D.D. and like great graphics in games, cartoons, and sci-fi shows. So it should be to no surprise that we visit sites that look and sound good. Heck even our magazines are slick as hell, any of you subscribe to PLAY magazine? Only Design magazines rival the covers of gaming mags.

If you’re not graphically inclined find graphic designers that love games like yourself to help out or pay for one. Most fansite / blog founders are good at either graphic design or web development, so it helps to have some knowledge in those areas.

Don’t forget Marketing

Being an active member on fansite forums, social networks and blogs is a good way to build up organic traffic(non-paid for) Using Google AdWords is also the most cost effective way to advertise your blog to the right audience.

Post strategies people want and collect gaming videos from around the net and put them in your posts, same with images or interviews. Be that sole source for everything Halo 3 or Mario Bros. Write good articles, top 10 lists or strategy guides and ask friends to stumble it or digg it.

Note use social media sites like stumpleupon and digg with care, you don’t want hard to read bad posts getting attention. You want your best to get out there. Ask friends to blog about you or give you linkbacks on their sites.

Go to local Internet cafes and workout advertising ideas to benefit you both, that could be a link exchange or hosting a tournament at that cafe. Running contests is also a good way to get some traffic in, but the thing is you have to use all these techniques together well to drive traffic. Ask people to bookmark your site on or reddit, subscribe to your RSS feed.

Always remember: Never get discouraged, get inspired

And keep your passion up, plan big things ahead of time like new features or upgrades to your blog/site, find guest writers and/or form a community around your blog. Go outside every once in a while when you’re not pwning people on bnet or killing elves.

Some fresh air is great for new ideas and perspectives. Read even more gaming magazines and study their layouts, how they use graphics, visit kick ass flash sites.

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