Updated: Jan 24
You may be wondering why I am bringing Nomad’s Reviews out of hibernation and changing its focus towards the eight goals outlined on the about page.
Which more sensible people might call “The crazy eight goals” since I am but one man trying to achieve all eight all by myself. Oops. To such sensible people, I say “Your right, but I have always tried to walk before I could run and regularly bite off more than I can chew, and I’m far too old to go changing old habits now 😉”
I have attempted to explain my motivations and thought processes behind each goal below;
1. Why am I creating ‘The (Almost) Complete History of Video Games'?
I am creating this to preserve video game history by it serving as a historical record where all the most salient information about the evolution of gaming can be found in one place.
I found that attempting to glean the information I was interested in was a time-consuming and tedious chore. It frequently required visiting multiple sites and having to sift through lots of uninteresting or irrelevant data to find the info I was looking for. Much of this info was rather 'dry', devoid of personal experiences or humour. I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be great if all the interesting info was all in one place, and wouldn't then bore you to tears when reading it?" Since I was unable to find such a site, I decided to create it myself.
2. Why am I advocating for inclusivity and accessibility in games?
Several of my close friends and relatives, my children, their mother and I all suffer from a range of medical conditions and both physical and developmental disabilities. These have made various aspects of everyday life difficult to engage in and enjoy over the years, and this includes video games. My research into the subject suggests difficulties such as these, and indeed many others, have been faced by many gamers all over the world.
Many of these conditions make more active or demanding hobbies impractical. Therefore, gaming maybe one of the few activities still available to some people. This makes it all the more important that video games be accessible.
Improving the accessibility of a game needn’t be a major undertaking. Quite often simple adaptations to a game by its developers, or alterations to hardware by its manufacturers - will go a long way to make a game accessible. Therefore, such measures should be championed, and those games, developers and manufactures etc. that make these adaptations should be celebrated for doing so.
3. Why am I promoting Video Games as an art form and storytelling medium?
I have often heard people decry video games as ‘kid’s stuff’ or ‘just running around killing things’. Granted, this is true for some games, but not all. I am hoping that I can help to dispel these viewpoints. For example, I argue that it is unfair to judge an entire medium based only on its most vapid examples.
Would it be fair to judge the literary merits of all books based solely on Fifty Shades? Of course not.
Would it be fair to proclaim that all movies are “Just about things blowing up” because of Michael Bay’s Transformers? Again, no.
However, just as with Fifty Shades and Transformers, it is often the vapidest, most brain-dead examples of a medium that are the most commercially successful and thus the most easily identified by the uninitiated. And the medium of Video Games is no different.
By highlighting the games that are less mainstream and less commercially successful, but are far deeper and of a higher-quality, I am hoping I can help raise the profile and respectability of the medium that has given joy (and employment) to so many.
4. Why am I promoting excellence in video game design?
There are a lot of video games with very intelligent design choices. Unfortunately, these games are often the lesser-known titles, such as indie games or cult classics which mainstream developers may not be aware of.
This may explain why some games that are released years after these hidden gems are still plagued by the problems that the earlier hidden gems had already fixed. I argue that if more games used these mechanics then gaming as a whole would be an objectively better experience.
5. Why am I promoting pro-end-user practices?
In the past, there were many examples of startlingly pro-customer practices in the video games industry. These examples deserve recognition. With luck, more modern-day developers and publishers will follow suit.
NB - I am deliberately avoiding the use of the word ‘consumer’ due to its negative connotations. You can find out more about these here.
6. Why am I highlighting anti-consumer practices in the video games industry?
I’m old enough to remember ‘the good old days’ before gaming became such big business and then infested with predatory in-game monetization and plagued by anti-consumer practices.
Unfortunately, younger generations are not, and many younger gamers may consider the anti-consumer practices employed by *some* sections of the video games industry to be the norm. After all, they have grown up with them and know no different. Indeed, some may not even see them as anti-consumer and thus not realise the ride they are being taken on.
By highlighting examples of pro-end-user practices from both the past and in the present, then comparing them to the anti-consumer practices plaguing some modern games, it may help to ‘de-normalise’ these anti-consumer practices in the eyes of some gamers. This may help to protect said gamers from such predatory practices.
Secondly, non-gamers may not be aware that such practices even exist. It is difficult to imagine any other entertainment industry getting away with them, so non-gamers might be shocked to learn of them. The way I see it, the more people who know about such practices the more pressure can be applied to curtail them.
NB – I am using the word ‘consumer’ here as it best reflects the attitude *some* parts of the video game industry have towards its customers.
7. Why am I challenging the poor working conditions in some parts of the video game industry?
Other than my journalism work and a brief stint at GAME over Christmas almost two decades ago, I have not worked in the gaming industry. However, I have worked in the past with companies in various sectors which treated their employees appallingly.
(This one of the two main reasons I am now a freelancer, the other being the aforementioned health issues.)
Therefore, I can empathize with employees in the gaming industry that have also been treated poorly. They deserve better, their plight deserves to be known, and if I can in some small way help them then I will.
8. Why have I made a video games site that also caters for non-gamers?
Precisely because most sites do not! Non-gamers may not ‘get’ gaming and may be left wondering what all the fuss is about.
However, they might be interested to know more, either for their own interest or for trying to understand what their friends, relatives, children etc. like about gaming, what games would make good gifts, what PEGI/ESRB ratings mean etc. and this is to be commended.
Regrettably, some sites, forums and even individual gamers have a dismissive ‘gatekeeper’ attitude, speak and write in ‘gamer jargon’ and can be generally rather unapproachable and intimidating. A lexicon consisting of ‘Filthy casual’, ‘Console peasant’, Rust lord’, Scrub, Noob, Newb’ ‘Git-Gud’ etc. is not exactly the language of a welcoming community.
Even sites that do not have such an attitude problem tend to assume that their visitors are either gamers themselves, or are knowledgeable about gaming already. As such, they do little to explain the basics.
My goal with Nomad’s Reviews is to help all aspects of gaming to become accessible to everyone, and this includes people who don’t play video games. If this applies to you, then this Wikipedia Glossary of video game terms is a very useful resource and a good place to start.
I think that covers everything. If you have read through to the end then thank you, I appreciate this was a wall of text and a little 'dryer' than my usual content. I hope it made sense. Please let me know in the comments section below if it didn’t.
Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to online multiplayer. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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