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July 31, 2010

Blogs that change direction - the best?

Sometimes when I sit down to write a blog post, it comes out totally different than I intended it to be. I may start out just wanting to talk about a certain game, or a certain app, or a certain thing I've been doing, and it metastasizes into something either much more profound or, sometimes, something much less coherent (though thankfully, that doesn't happen often).

Most of the time, those end up being some of my best posts, or at least the ones that get the most response, and it's totally unintentional! Maybe it's that stream of consciousness thing sharpened to a fine point.  Maybe one of these times, when I'm facing a bout of "what should I post about today?" lethargy, I should just sit down and start writing and publish that!  It would probably be better than some of the stuff that's posted on here.

Anyway, there is a reason this topic occurred to me today.

A couple of weeks ago, on my Game Informer blog, I reacted to the news that the Xbox 360 video game Alan Wake had only sold 150,000 copies so far, pretty much a dud as far as video games sales go. I had been warring with myself since the game came out earlier in the year regarding whether I would buy it or not. I don't shy away from buying video games; if I want the game, I'll go out and buy it. But for some reason, whenever I was in Gamestop looking to buy "a game" but without a specific title in mind, I thought about Alan Wake and then decided I wouldn't get it this time. I did think I would get it eventually, but something just kept telling me "not now."

(Alan Wake is a suspense/horror game where an author goes with his wife to a sleepy Washington town. He wakes up in his mangled car, his wife nowhere to be found, and dark creatures haunting the forest. It's actually a pretty good game)

When I read the sales news, I decided to write a post about why I hadn't bought the game. Titled simply "Why I Didn't Buy Alan Wake", I just thought I would figure out a couple of basic reasons why I hadn't bought the game and then tell people about it.

However, as the post went on, it became an examination of how we purchase things like video games (and it could stretch to movies, music, pretty much anything like that).

"Unless it's a game we've been greatly anticipating, I think we all have these internal scales that we weigh our game purchases on. Do I spend my limited money and time on this game or that game? Often, we can't really say why we chose one game over another game. We just weigh them on the scales and one of them wins out. Asked afterward why you picked that game, you very well might not be able to tell them. "It just sounded funner," you could say."

With all that background, let's get to the point of this ("YAY! The point!" - The Peanut Gallery). What started out as a simple blog laying out a couple of reasons had grown into a greater post about how we make purchases in general. This got noticed by the Game Informer editor who does the weekly "Blog Herding" post (a post where she collects what she considers the best blogs of the week, both from GI editors as well as users). My post made the July 16th edition.

One of the commenters actually gave me kudos when responding to somebody who was complaining about how the editor made her choices:

"Take for example Hists' post about why he didn't get Alan Wake. What makes that a unique and thought provoking item is that he took a common thought, rethought it, and equated it to something the audience can relate to in terms they'll equally agree or disagree with. It's not a manifesto of what someone should or shouldn't do, but offers perhaps an alternative take on how people can think of things."

I don't say this to toot my own horn (though it's a nice side benefit!) but just to ask a question.

Do you find some of your best posts starting out like this? Something really simple, basic and consumable enough that you figure people will read it and then dispose of it without really thinking about it? And then it becomes something much, much bigger? And better?

(And congratulations to those of you who are able to answer that question because you've waded through all of the nonsense above. I salute you.)


  1. It's easier not to bother.
    - the wife


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