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Gamer’s Quarter 3

September 20th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

The third volume of The Gamer’s Quarter is now available at their website. There have been eleven issues of The Escapist since the second volume of GQ came out.

As I browse GQ3, it hits me why I can’t fall in love with this web magazine no matter how much I want to. It’s not just because Amandeep Jutla’s attack on Starcraft doesn’t make a lot of sense to me (it’s not my favorite game either, but I don’t get the hate, nor do I think it is solely responsible for why he hates PC games). And it’s not because the comics just don’t work – few comics do.

It’s because it’s too damn big.

I’m an agnostic on the whole “New Games Journalism” thing. As a blogger as well as a minor appendage suckling on the teat of old games journalism, I appreciate the importance of gamers sharing their gaming experiences. Reviews are usually just more formal versions of the type of stuff that NGJ is. NGJ is a more personal recording of reactions to games. Like all writing, it can be good or it can be bad.

But, like all writing, you can also say enough already. And over a hundred pages of the stuff is too much. This edition has some game design stuff, including a daring suggestion that an RPG could have no saves. But many of the articles just go on and on – the Starcraft article being a good example.

I will keep reading it – likely in small doses at a time – and will keep pointing to its updates. I am excited about the opportunities that these type of web publications are providing to some interesting people with some interesting perspectives. It could use a little more editorial control – maybe firmer word limits? – but that would almost go against the whole philosophy of the mag.

Oh, and the new Escapist is out, too.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • Anonymous

    I kinda had the same thought. Maybe they should try it more frequently than every quarter. But then there goes the name.


  • Troy Goodfellow

    A “quarter” is also a refuge, though, so there’s no need to change the name. You still keep ye olde arcade pun without keeping it to a calendar schedule.

    I have no idea what the editorial policy is over at GQ. I’m sure that the online illusion of infinite space could lead to some reluctance on the part of editors to pare some of the pieces down. The Escapist doesn’t fall into that trap, but they also pay for their pieces and so can exact a word limit.

    My big complaint about all online “journalism” is the temptation for people to go on too long. So you end up with 2500 words on why Starcraft is genocide or a ten page review of Big Mutha Truckers. The best skill I’ve perfected in my pseudo-MSM adventures is to write something meaningful and interesting in 300 words or less. It’s not always easy, but I won’t lose my readers’ attention.

  • Thomas

    Well, you know, it’s interesting: The Escapist accepted a proposal of mine, so I was looking at their word counts the other day to get an idea of what I should expect, and most of their articles are surprisingly short. Few of them are longer than 1000 words–most are around 800, as far as I can tell. I think their formatting (while it takes some getting used to) does really add a lot of heft to the articles.

    But honestly, it’s hard to write that much and stay coherent…. I guess maybe that’s the point. {grin}

  • Troy Goodfellow

    I look forward to reading your piece. No word on my proposal yet, but the wargame issue isn’t for a couple of months yet. ;)

  • Thomas

    It took the editor a while to get to me. Be patient.

    Okay, since I’ve got a few minutes before I left work, I glanced through the GQ#3. Jesus, you’re right. That Starcraft piece is way too goddamn long.

    It reads like something off Insert Credit–has that Tim Rogers patented “here’s a new section after where you thought I wrapped up, but guess what, this personal anecdote will introduce a new subtopic in a very long-winded way!” action going on.

    Well, at least it’s free. And the art direction has gotten a bit better.

  • Bruce

    The Starcraft piece was written by a high school kid, for God’s sake. The whole point of the article rests on the premise that games are some existence-defining phenomenon, which is a view you can only really hold when you’re in high school and haven’t really experienced anything. The article could just as easily have been about heavy metal bands. It’s not even worth discussing.

  • Anonymous

    So you’re saying heavy metal bands aren’t worth discussing?