April 29, for those unaware, is both my birthday and the anniversary of MoeGamer’s first post. This year I am thirty- (counts on fingers) eight? And MoeGamer is five.
Those who have been following me for a while will know that the last five years — and beyond — have been full of plenty of ups and downs, for sure, but I’m extremely happy with what MoeGamer has grown into over the course of that time, and what I, personally, get out of putting so much time and effort into this site and my other creative projects.
I covered the story of how MoeGamer came about in detail back on the site’s third birthday, so do please go and read that retrospective if you’d like to know a bit of background. Today I’d instead like to ponder things that have happened in the last year or so. This last year in particular has been a very exciting one, as I started experimenting with lots of new ways of doing things. And I have no intention of slowing down or stopping any time soon!
One of the first things I’d like to talk about is The MoeGamer Podcast, which started around this time in April last year. My good friend Chris Caskie and I had been talking about games online for a good while by this point, and we’d often idly contemplated the idea of doing a podcast together. So one day we thought “what the hell?” and decided to give it a shot.
The result was an enthusiastic exploration of Sega, and we knew we were onto something. I found myself feeling a lot more confident talking “out loud” than I ever thought I would be, and Chris and I have enough similarities and differences in our tastes and expertise that we can always learn a great deal from each other. Starting up this podcast has been one of the most positive things I’ve ever done, so thanks, Chris, for being a key part of making it all happen.
I’d also been saying for several years at this point that I wanted to “do more” with YouTube, but was never quite sure exactly what that “more” should be. Creating videos is quite a time-consuming process, whatever form they take, but it was something I’d grown to enjoy over the course of a few experiments.
When my parents offloaded all our old Atari computer hardware and software on me (at my request, I might add) I decided that I really, really wanted to do something with these home computers that had defined my childhood and early adolescence. So Atari A to Z was born, initially focusing on the 8-bit home computers and subsequently moving on to the Atari ST, and finally the games in the Atari Flashback Classics compilation.
Working on these videos has been a real pleasure, as it’s provided not only an opportunity for me to revisit some games that I haven’t played for twenty or thirty years in some cases, it’s also allowed me to hone my craft, play around with format and, to be perfectly frank, show off some of my wonderful collection that my wife Andie has done such a great job sorting out display arrangements for.
Atari computers made my childhood what it was, so I’m just happy to have this chance to share these games — and some of the stories I have about them — with the world.
Since these videos follow a “Let’s Play” format, I’ve also been experimenting with Let’s Plays for more modern games. At the time of writing, I play Warriors games — a longstanding favourite — on Wednesdays, shoot ’em ups on Sundays and postgame content/New Game Plus modes on Fridays. I’ve also spent some time with arcade racers, an underappreciated art form these days, for sure!
Collectively, I call these videos — along with some scripted ones I’m trying to find time to make more of — “MoeGamerTV”, and they provide a means for me to experiment, express myself and, quite simply, share my experiences with some favourite games, both new and old. Much like I feel about MoeGamer, I’m not doing these to attract a huge audience or “monetise” them out the wazoo; I’m doing them because I enjoy them, and if other people happen to stumble across them in the process, great. If they don’t (and to be honest, not a lot of people do!) then that’s fine, too; at least I’ve had a good time.
Here on MoeGamer itself, the last year has played host to some strong, interesting Cover Game features that I really enjoyed putting together. Kicking off with Neptunia action RPG 4 Goddesses Online and closing off the year with the ghost-tastic Project Zero series, I’ve had an absolute blast learning about games that, in some cases, I’ve been meaning to get to for a very long time indeed.
In others, I’ve just been happy to bring my readers’ attention to games and series that might otherwise go overlooked; Evenicle is a great example. As an 18+ game with a significant amount of sexual content (including plenty of sexual violence) this is the sort of thing that the commercial press wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, but there’s so much interesting stuff to talk about with it that I knew I couldn’t let it pass by unnoticed.
The last year also showed me that I needed to rethink my “format” a little bit. While I was really enjoying putting together the Sonic the Hedgehog Cover Game feature, the feeling that I had “run out of time” on my previous monthly schedule meant that I have only just been able to get around to covering some of the games in the series that I was most excited to explore! Still, I’m getting there, and in that first set of features I finally had the chance to play Sonic 2006 and discover — don’t tell anyone! — it’s nowhere near as bad as the Internet suggested it might be. Who’d have thought it?
Anyway, the long and short of it is that going forward, Cover Game features aren’t necessarily a month long; they can be longer or shorter if required, and in some cases I’ll be returning to past Cover Game features in order to finish what I started, or to take a look at installments that weren’t available when I first wrote about a particular series. I’ll also be making more hardcopy books just like this one!
I’m also figuring out ways to tackle more “long-term” projects for series that are made up of numerous individual games that are all very long — I’m thinking specifically of both the Disgaea and Trails series here, both of which are things I’d very much like to write about in detail, but both of which will be extremely time-consuming!
Thus far I’ve gone with the Delving Into… format, which presents more immediate, ongoing thoughts about my experiences with various series over the long term, rather than all in one big “lump”. That way I can dip in and out of games that I’m especially interested in trying, and hopefully eventually cover all of them in detail.
I don’t have completely concrete plans for the coming year as yet, but I have a number of things that are pretty much certain to happen at one point or another. For one, I have the rest of the Grisaia series to cover, so that will likely follow at some point in the next couple of months. For another, Patreon followers will be aware that I’m currently playing Final Fantasy XI for a series of videos that is, at the time of writing, a long way off in the future — but I’m also thinking that this game is by far the most unappreciated Final Fantasy, and thus prime fodder for a Cover Game feature, perhaps even the next brand new one here on the site!
Other games that are very much On the List for this year include Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash and/or Burst Re;Newal, Unlimited SaGa (which I know Chris is also keen to explore and talk about on a podcast with me), an absolute ton of intriguing visual novels localised and released by PQube… and plenty more besides. And this isn’t even getting into things that haven’t released yet that I already know I’m going to be picking up.
I counted up all the games I already own that I “almost definitely” want to do Cover Game features on “at some point” and figured that, assuming a rough monthly schedule (which I’ve already noted I won’t necessarily stick to, but it tends to work out that way anyway) I have enough games to continue writing non-stop for about another eight years. And, as noted above, I’m continually adding new stuff to my collection, so that “buffer” will continue to grow over time rather than shrink! The backlog is real.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been here for this five-year journey, whether your support comes in the form of simple viewing figures or generous Patreon/Ko-Fi donations. As I frequently say, I do this primarily for myself because I absolutely love it, but to know that other people are getting some sort of value from it makes me enormously happy, too.
Video games are such a wonderful, delightful medium, with so much to offer, and MoeGamer hopefully shows that there’s much more to life than triple-A, games as a service, grimdark, military action titles. Not that there’s anything wrong with those (well, except for games as a service) — but you know what I’m like. I’m all about the overlooked and the underappreciated; always have been, always will be.
Here’s to at least eight more years of fun, frolics, pretty girls, shoot ’em ups, arcade racers, retro games, dungeon crawlers and all manner of other good stuff. The last five years have been the best possible middle finger I could ever give to my past misfortunes — and those who caused them — so you better believe MoeGamer is here to stay, baby.
I love you all. Thank you.
April 29, 2019
The MoeGamer Compendium, Volume 1 is now available! Grab a copy today for a beautiful physical edition of the Cover Game features originally published in 2016.
Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this article. I’ve been writing about games in one form or another since the days of the old Atari computers, with work published in Page 6/New Atari User, PC Zone, the UK Official Nintendo Magazine, GamePro, IGN, USgamer, Glixel and more over the years, and I love what I do.
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