My Return to WGG

After 8 months of absence from Wiki Game Guides (although I highly doubt that anybody really noticed), I have finally made the decision that I am ready to come back to writing stuff for the site. This is going to be post 1 of 2 where I intend to go over why the absence and what has changed.

If you’re reading this post but don’t really care about me (hey, no offense taken) then you can check out my second post which goes over what games I’ve been playing and movies that I highly recommend.

Why the absence, eh?

Well there’s no clear cut reason why I stopped posting, I just kinda did. I guess I could blame it on school if I was to really sit down and think about it. See I’m still I high school kid, but I’m also really dumb and for reasons unclear to me I am enrolled in the full International Baccalaureate (IB) program at my high school. Now this program – for those who don’t have a sweet clue what it is – is for masochists and over-achievers who have decided that going outside and having social interactions with people is for pussies and decided that staying indoors writing essays and labs would be hella fun. So basically at this point I’m taking university (college for you America folk) courses in high school with a chance to skip the first year of university/college. Of course that requires you to get a 7 on an exam which only ~2% of all the people in the world that take the exam get.

I should also probably explain that IB exams aren’t marked normally because they (IB) are, pardon my language, cunts. They take the average global mark and assign that a 4. Then they use stats to determine the standard deviation of the data and every standard deviation away changes the mark by one. So a 3 is one standard deviation below the average, a 5 is one above and so on. This might seem like a weird system but it works in the students favour. For example, to get a 7 in the higher level math course last year, you had to get over 62% on the exam. That means passing gave you the highest mark possible.

Another lovely thing us IB chil’ren get to do is what has primarily taken up the most of my time. In addition to regular courses and bullshit exams, we had to do an extended essay, which is a research project that is done over the course of 7 months. I won’t go into too much detail but the essay basically has to have no more than 4000 words, not including a title page, table of contents, abstract, foot/end notes, and a works cited. By the time I was done, the word document contained 5500 words and was 21 pages long. And I got to print it 5 times. Yay.

Another main reason that I could attribute to my absence is that I became disenchanted with video games. I don’t know what caused it, but games no longer held my attention. I don’t know if it was sequel fatigue; although there were a lot of sequels that looked painfully bland this year.
Now I hope that I don’t seem like some kind of video game hipster that only plays indie games. I’m actually quite the opposite. I’ll admit that I played Modern Warfare 2 when it came out and liked it a fair amount. I played all the Halo games when they released as well as Assassin’s Creed. But this year something changed, because nothing seemed like it would be much fun anymore. Maybe Matt Stone and Trey Parker hit it on the nose when they made the cynicism episodes of South Park. Everything (at least as far as video games go) seemed like shit. The only games I wanted to play were old. In fact, I still haven’t even played Call of Duty: Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, or Dirt 3. All games that I eventually want to play, I just don’t care enough.

But I’m finally getting over that, and I’m ready to fully embrace gaming again. But just before I do that I want to go over what I have been doing during the past 8 months.

So what’s changed?

Well quite a bit to be honest. During the summer I spent a great deal of time doing web programming and designing. But it wasn’t for anything in particular, just really for the fun of it. For a while I had owned a few domains, including one for a personal blog and one for a gaming site. I thought it would be fun to run sites, but as it turns out I wasn’t ready. A friend had approached me to start the gaming site, but he bailed after two months. I hung around for longer but eventually came to the same conclusion as him: running a site isn’t nearly as fun (or rewarding) as we had thought.

As the sites sat defunct for many months I convinced myself that the reason they had failed was because I had used a CMS on both sites – Drupal for the gaming site, and Wordpress for the blog – and decided that I, armed with a pretty good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, would go out and build the new sites from scratch. And to an extent I was successful. Sometime in July 2011 I relaunched my blog under a new CMS that was hand built to serve me as not only a blog, but a portfolio as well. It wasn’t too advanced, hell it didn’t even have a user system but it worked for what I needed it to do.

Then I realized something that I should have realized a long time before that: making the site was infinitely more fun than making content.

Again the blog sat there sans use for months. During that time I built the CMS for the gaming site which again proved to be a good time. Even though it never went live, I was proud of the things I achieved, such as a user system, commenting, blogs, dynamic pages, etc.

Flash forward to October 2011 and something in me caused a major change in my online presence. I decided that after two years of making videos that I was going to close my YouTube channel. Not only that, but the sites that I ran would be shut down and I would fade into obscurity. All my guides would be removed from WGG and my blog, and I was no longer going to write for anything.

So I did.

The only things that survived the purges were my WGG blogs. Honestly five months later, I do not regret this decision. I was never a known name anywhere, only a few hundred subscribers on YouTube and views only around 600 per video, with the odd 3000 or 4000 on certain ones. Yet I still felt worried about the off chance that it got out of control. I guess I enjoyed making guides but it was never something that I advertised to friends. Even the blogs I’ve written have never been mentioned to friends. I guess I want a separator between physical life and internet life. You can say what you want about me for that, but fuck it I don’t care.

Why come back?

After reading that previous paragraph you might be wondering why I want to return to writing reviews and blogs. Well the main reason is that I find writing almost therapeutic. It calms me down, even when it is just writing a review. Now that being said I’m not a journalist; in fact I’m far from it. I’m going to university next year to be an engineer for fuck’s sake.

I guess in the end it’s just fun. I really do like writing and having a place like WGG to post it is great. Also, it helps the site, which in turn helps Dan and John. And considering how fun it is to listen to them bicker, I’m all for that.

Josh Kowbel's picture

Hey, I wouldn't sell yourself short. You may know WikiGameGuides is currently waiting to hear back from Metacritic, and we could certainly use your review writing talents again. It's good to have you back though, and I wouldn't mind placing bets to see how long you last in engineering school. 

Mason_M's picture


Thanks, I'm actually pretty pumped to get back to writing reviews. Too bad most of the good stuff already came out. But I guess tearing some games apart is always fun.

John Tarr's picture

although I highly doubt that anybody really noticed

I certainly noticed recently after I went back through all the old reviews during the Metacritic application process. I included your Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Bastion, Red Faction and Homefront reviews in the application that I submitted last week.

making the site was infinitely more fun than making content.

I know the feeling :)

Welcome back!

explicit_baron's picture

I'm glad your back, you should of not deleted your Youtube channel, a few hundred subscribers is an achievement. I have been trying to reach a measly 100 subscribers for two years now. If you ever want to try out some of you web making skills I would glad to try out some stuff for my wordpress gaming blog.

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