Promoted: Cblogs of March, 2019: State of the Recaps
Promoted from our Blogs[Lord Spencer brings us up to speed on the past month of Community blogs as well as lays out the state of the community blogging scene. There’s something here for everyone, so sit back and enjoy some great blogs from the wonderful community here at Destructoid -Anthony]
I joined Destructoid back in January of 2014 after lurking for three or four years. Before that, I have only been part of one other online community and was hesitant to be involved with any gaming website. However, what pulled me into the wonderful world of Dtoid was the excellent work being developed for the community, by the community.
I am talking about the excellent work that was done, and is still being done, in the Community Blogs (or C-Blogs for short).
When I first joined, I greatly enjoyed sharing my earlier blogs (which are considerably rougher than my current writings) and reading other member’s work as well. For me, the idea that many of the first page writers in the site have originally started in the C-Blogs meant that the site is dedicated to build-up its own community. That was mostly the case because the community itself was heavily involved in building up itself.
Nowhere was that more apparent than the C-Blog Recaps, a daily blog that recaps all the C-Blogs written the day before. It was a massive undertaking, completely run by community members, which started in February 2008 and continues in some form till today.
Since I greatly enjoyed writing my blogs and sharing them with the community, and also enjoyed seeing a recap of other people’s work as well as my own, I greatly appreciated the value of the C-Blog Recaps and the effort of the community members driving it. Which is why, when a slot opened up, I volunteered to be a Recapper in my second year as a Dtoider.
In that time, the site has undergone many changes, as dear members of the community left, and others have joined. This has, naturally, affected the community-driven blogs. In this time, I have noticed how the situation in the C-Blogs, and by extension that of the Recaps, has been slowly changing as well.
Reading this, you probably realize that the Recaps have stopped for a while and now you see a recap for a full month instead of the weekly schedule we adopted in the second part of last year. Due to the current shortage of dedicated recappers, as well as the relatively low number of C-Blogs, I decided that the only way I could realistically recap all the blogs you guys write by myself is to make it a monthly endeavor.
Previously, when I first joined, the C-Blog Recaps were a daily event and each recap had about 5-10 blogs. In those days, a daily recap was a must, as a weekly recap would have covered near to 50 blogs. Slowly, the numbers started to drop, but we still maintained a full roster of Recappers and maintained our daily schedule. We also had three or four dedicated reservists to help plug-in the gaps
That changed last year, as the number of both Recappers and blogs decreased rapidly. At the beginning of last year, there was a trend where double and triple Recaps would happen. That was because some days were dropped without a reservist on the job, or because some days had only one or two blogs to cover. Eventually, we came down to six or five Recappers and decided on a Weekly Recap schedule.
Unfortunately, this was decided before the newest Recap volunteers were boarded in, and a weekly recap takes more time and effort at a single setting compared to a daily recap. Perhaps that’s why the weekly recap could not be maintained on a regular basis. Seeing gaps in the process, I made the decision that if I wanted to ensure that each and every blog is recapped, with none falling through the cracks, then the only way I could personally ensure it is through a monthly recap format. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the recappers who were unfortunately saddled with the weekly format when they had no choice in its implementation in the first place.
So, why did a consistent Dtoid institution decline to such a degree as to have one single active member?
I think there are many reasons for that decline:
First, the simple fact that the C-Blog readership has declined and continues to decline. C-Blogs rarely get more than five commentators, and C-Blog Recaps rarely get two or three comments. This decline in readership discussion would naturally lead to a decrease in both bloggers and recappers morale and motivation. There have been attempts at reinvigorating the readership by promoting a few of the weekly recaps to the front page to no avail. At this stage in the C-Blog community, there is little audience interaction, and the writers that continue are the ones that made peace with that fact. Still, here is where I would like to encourage all of you to read and comment more on the awesome work being done by your fellow Dtoid community members.
Second, there has been a vacuum of leadership and community engagement in the C-Blog Recap account. Previously, this initiative was led by Marcel Hoang, who as you know, is a community leader and site administrator at this point. Also part of the team were other Dtoid community members. As far as I know, most if not all of these members are unpaid volunteers, but they all have wider site access than most other community members. Since Marcel stepped down, other members with similar community management access have stepped up nominally to take his place. That is until the last two years when the group did not have any clear leadership, and much of the organization work was thankfully handled individually by each member, and intermittently by a recap member who stepped up for the task but never asked for it in the first place. Lastly, as the oldest continuing member of the group, I found myself with the responsibility to organize the group’s activity with little success. Since I do not have any community administration access (nor do I want to), I did not feel comfortable inviting other people to the Recap account and wished other active community admins in the account to do so.
Now, regardless of this decline, I find myself committed for the time being to these recaps, even I end up doing them for the entire year. This is my humble way of paying back the site for being a kind of internet home for the last five or so years. Blogging here has been a consistent source of joy for me, and I would be glad to help fellow C-Bloggers in any way I can.
Please keep blogging, and keep reading and commenting if you can.
And keep on playing awesome games
*- As someone who pretty much enjoys shrinking their backlog, BNix’s tips would have helped me devise a strategy back when this was a problem. As suggested in the blog, make sure that conquering your backlog becomes something fun to do. One thing I would add is making a list and sticking to it hugely helps.
*- This is a high-level “short” guide written by Fivefinger Delta on how to get a good score in Devil May Cry 5 missions using Nero’s Devil Breakers.
*- Check out this excellent research by Nior on the ill-fated and hilariously named Brazilian console, the Zeebo. I didn’t know the Ouya had an older South American sibling.
A- As we see an increasing number of female characters in video games, we need to make sure we craft more variable and interesting characters, and Michformer’s guide for writing superlative female characterization can be applied to male characters as well.
A- Our resident pro-fighting games expert, Virtua Kazama, shares with us what he thinks is so cool about the Beat-Tribe Cup series of the Virtua Fighter fighting scene.
A- With the increase of the “Games as a Service” model, ZerLao Syndicate wonders about the design mechanics of introducing new players to the fray.
B- The Band of Bloggers group is responsible for encouraging some of the best Cblog content on the site, and their latest prompt, about Cooperative Gaming, was sure to be a blast, as seen from these blogs:
S- In a lot of detail, Shoggoth2588 goes over the games he played in February in this monthly gaming journal of his. As usual, this is an impressive collection of games, with a good write-up on each game as well.
S- Following my (Lord Spencer) SNES and Genesis reviews, I started last year with reviewing the Top 100 Saturn games according to Retro Sanctuary:
See my report on the top 60 to 51 games on the list, which contains the very good Magical Knight Rayearth and Galactic Attack, as well as the Japan-exclusive Real Bout Special.
Continuing my Saturn reviews, here is my review of Albert Odyssey, which is a basic JRPG that is let down by some terrible localization issues.
Outside of the Retro Sanctuary list, I also review games based on requests. This time, I reviewed Shinobi Legions as per Ghoane’s request.
With my final blog of the month, check out the report on the top 50 to 41 games on the list, which contains two puzzlers, two Shmups, a bonus game, and a couple of other games most of which never left Japan.
S- Also check out my latest review in my Wii Reviews series. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a very good game that is mechanically deep, with some seriously challenging gameplay.
S- In this blog series by FakePlasticTree that does a deep dive analysis on videogame characters, check out the latest entry that features Mark Jefferson from Life is Strange.
S- The fan favorite feature, Comments of the Week, was back again this month. The excellent CotW team made the following blogs:
P- You missed them for nearly three months, but PStoid is back with another podcast for your listening pleasure.
You won’t be playing anything on the Zeebo anytime soon
Shut the fuck up and read some blogs (someone should photoshop that)
N- With the new Borderlands 3 announced, there is a lot of information to sort through, and Fuzunga was up to the task in this very informative speculation blog.
T- In another question to the community, Marcel Hoang asks which is your favorite weapons from the Resident Evil series. You all know that any other answer than Red9 is wrong.
T- Our own resident fighting games expert, Virtua Kazama, weighs in on the gaming entries to this year’s EVO tournaments. The exclusion of Melee and inclusion of Samurai Shodown VI are probably the biggest surprises.
T- It’s rare to from someone to get introduced to character action game through PC gaming, but here is the story of Rudorlf was introduced to the Devil May Cry series through a DmC PC port.
T- Sometimes, one level encompasses the entire design philosophy of a franchise, and Boxman214 describes here how the Halo level in the first game of the Halo franchise (confusing, right?) is just damn perfect.
T- In a VERY detailed blog, Calvinbrine goes through what he wishes the next 2D Metroid game to be like.
T- Casus Gaming has some really good arguments about how Resident Evil Revelations is a truer continuation of the Resident Evil 4 design philosophy than any other game since.
T- Interested in MAME games? Then you should check out MaximuSR5’s top 5 MAME games list.
T- Grethiwha has over 30 Switch games, and this comprehensive list of must and should play games is proof of that.
T- When a new game comes out, there is both external and internal hype. Sapato64 wonders which game’s release was a significant event in your life.
D- Osc is making a small game and is continuously updating us on the progress of that project. This is a cool blog series because it sheds some highlights on videogame programming that can help us appreciate the games we get.
D- Initially, this blog did not have much detail and looked a bit like a game advertisement. However, LifeStampGames have listened to advise and shared more background and development detail on space mining simulator game, which actually looks quite interesting.
R- This is an honestly good review of Return of the Obra Dinn (a mystery adventure game) by Dinoracha. However, it does lack pictures.
R- In a series of short and to-the-point reviews, LastKingof Hearts shares a verdict on a variety of games that are released and get sales:
Reading Dtoid intensifies
B- Fans of Dungeons & Dragons may want to check out Aurachad’s blog about the Roll20 remote games variant. It looks to be a promising set-up.
M- PhilsPhindings continues his series, where he looks for famous musical cues in some videogame music:
Fans of The Beatles may recognize the main melody of “Here Comes the Sun” in the tune of the arcade game, Vigilante.
From Arcade games to the hard as nails Battletoads, check out this similar riff from the Dutch prog rock band, Golden Earing.
I can partially hear the well-known theme of Back to the Future in this catchy videogame tune of Bubble Ghost.
Here, we get a look at some games that straight-up lifted the “March” sequence from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker without much alteration if we are being honest.
It was only a matter of time that PhilsPhindings would use a Final Fantasy tune as the subject of his blogs, and this tune in Final Fantasy VIII has incredible similarities with The Lamp is Low by Laurindo Almeida.
Here, I disagree that Deep Purple’s opening of their song, April, is the source of inspiration for several video game tracks, including the main theme of Zelda.
Going back to Final Fantasy tunes, the “Electric de Chocobo” tune is found to have some clear influence from Surf Rock tune, “Pipelines”.
Just like it was inevitable that PhilsPhinding checked the influences of Nobuo Uematsu’s music, it was inevitable that Koji Kondo would get the same treatment.
And we are back to Final Fantasy again with the famous seventh installment.
M- If you are a fan of Devin Townsend, then you will really appreciate Riff Raff’s excellent review of his latest album; Empath.
S- While arcades are not nearly as prevalent now as they were in the ’80s (not at all), there are still some places where you can see a cool arcade. Case in point this cool bar that our own Dtoider, Retrofraction, accidentally stumbled over.
R- I guess Assassin’s Creed is a little like Rambo, or so says Sapato64.
R- mickeyGfunk, who apparently does not believe in capital letters, really enjoys the Nintendo Switch because it is a no bullshit console that prioritizes playing games and has some sure first party hits by Nintendo that do not try to sell you shitty microtransactions.
F- I get that some people are very excited by Sekiro, but this belongs to the Qposts rather than the blogs.
F- Sorry, but I am naturally suspicious of first-time blogs praising the dominant future of the Google STD.
With this, I finished my first monthly recap. This month, not counting the two fail blogs above, we have posted a total of 52 Blogs. That’s an average 1.67 Blog/Day. As you can see from that, the daily recap is no longer needed. In a week, that’s about 12 Blogs, so a weekly recap still is the optimal answer. However, we did not have the dedicated numbers and did not have a mechanism to recap the weeks we missed.
Personally, working on the recap a little by little every other day for the entire month is better, especially if I can personally ensure that no blog is left unrecapped. I will continue working this way until I get enough reinforcements to help with the monthly recap or to reliably continue with weekly recaps.
To celebrate the recap of the entire month, give a hand to the following bloggers:
Comments of the Week and Band of Bloggers Team:
Most Prolific Bloggers (Not counting reposts and fails):
PhilsPhinding (9 Blogs).
Lord Spencer (5 Blogs).
LastKingofHearts (5 Blogs).
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