Some Reflection

calvin_new_year

I have been doing this blog for some time now. I started it back in 2012 — today sort of kind of marks its 5th birthday, in fact. At the time I was unemployed, had a lot on my mind and needed a constructive outlet for it, which is why if you check the Archive you’ll see 2012 had a fair variety of posts ranging from explanations of black hole physics (as much for my own personal reference as anything else) to lengthy peans to the old manuals that used to come with Microprose games. There were also a lot more of them, since I had far more time to write.

That all changed in 2013 when I finally found myself my first post-PhD job, which is also currently still my only post-PhD job as I’m somehow still there. The unfortunate burden of actually having to do annoying life-essential things for the first time meant that non-review posts were almost immediately jettisoned; doing the research required for a science post took 6+ hours of my time, while it takes me two or three to bang out a review. It’s the difference between spending a Sunday evening writing, and spending an entire Sunday writing, so it made sense at the time to focus on chunks of writing that were actually going to be manageable given my drastically reduced free time.

I will admit, though, that as we enter the Glorious Space Year 2017 the idea of writing another 40 reviews is starting to pall slightly; I’ve done 201 of them so far and it’s beginning to get a little repetitive. I’ve never written them for any other reason than that I enjoy doing so (although I am immensely gratified that other people enjoy reading them and value my opinion, and I very much appreciate everyone who has stuck with me this far), so the looming prospect of the act of writing becoming a chore is a rather alarming one that I would like to avoid if I can.

With that in mind, I am going to make some or all of the following changes to my output this year:

  • I am going to try and write 4-6 science posts this year. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the largest amount I think I can reasonably commit to.
  • I am also going to do more In Praise Of-style retrospectives of old games and mechanics. ┬áPossibly a lot more, depending on how many ideas I can come up with.
  • Consequently, the rate of full on review posts on here is probably going to become less regular – I may experiment with doing shorter-form reviews as I think condensing a cogent opinion into 1,000 words or so could be a challenging but useful exercise, but it’s more likely I’ll only crank out 25-30 reviews this year compared to the usual 40.
  • Most importantly I’m only going to sit down and write a review of a game if I’ve actually got interesting things to say about it that I want to commit to text. There have been a few occasions this year when I’ve had to mentally force myself to write about whatever I’ve been playing recently when I didn’t really want to. It doesn’t happen that often as I usually have a lot of Opinions About Games, so I don’t expect this to affect my output all that much, but having that filter in place should stave off some of that looming ennui.
  • Finally, and I know I’ve said this before, I will do my best to respond to most comments that merit one within a day, rather than the current turnaround time of a week. You guys are taking the time to write them, so I should prioritise taking time to respond to them.

Have a happy New Year, and one where you hopefully read more varied content on this blog.

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8 thoughts on “Some Reflection

  1. Oli Hutt says:

    More Science! Yeeeeessss

    • Hentzau says:

      Some science, anyway. I’ve been building up a list of ideas for posts over the last year so hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to work up some inspiration for them.

  2. lifeofzenith says:

    I am looking forward to reading those articles! :-)

    • Hentzau says:

      And I’m looking forward to writing them! Even if they are going to be more demanding on my time. I’ll just have to watch less Netflix this year.

  3. Zekiel says:

    Thanks Hentzau! I’m a lurker but I really appreciate reading your reviews (and the science posts in the archive). And more practically I’m grateful to read whatever you’re happy to write at whatever level of output is sustainable for you.

    • Hentzau says:

      Thanks Zekiel! While I’d likely continue writing even if there was nobody reading, it’s always nice to read comments like these and know I’m not shouting into the void. :)

  4. 86 says:

    Dude! Long-time fan, first-time commenter.

    About two years ago, I stumbled on your blog and read through your entire archive chronologically. It was great fun to see the evolution in your writing style (remember how you used to be a bit self-conscious about it? Your wordsmithing has really leveled up; you’re better at this than lots of people who get paid for it) and your methodical analyses of every topic you tackle have always been a delight to read.

    Part of life is accepting that good things come to an end eventually, but I’ll keep enjoying what you put out as long as you’re interested in doing so. It’s not surprising to see you’ve put so much effective thought into how you will keep your motivation up, and I say cheers to that!

    There’s just one thing I have to voice my opinion on: consideration and empathy are essential and respectable qualities, but is it realistic to expect they can be scaleably expressed through providing super-quick responses to Internet comments? You’re just one guy deciding to take on the posting schedules of people from all over the world. I’d say don’t promise to shackle yourself like that; you may grow to resent it. From everything I’ve seen of your readership, I think they’ll understand.

    Far be it from me to kneecap your resolution with pessimism! I just wanted to chime in with that… while letting you know your work is always more appreciated than you think, and will be for as long as you choose to produce it. Thanks for another year of fun reads!

  5. ilitarist says:

    Keep it up. You’re doing a fine job writing clever things about dumb games.

    And in case you’d want to check something you’ve missed – check Total War Attila. You forced me to return to Total War with your kind words about Total War War Warhammer, but I like historical settings and Attila is the first time Total War seems to work to me at all. Because even Rome 1 didn’t work properly. It still has problems with prevalence of autoresolve starting with mid game but it’s greatest historical Total War and it makes me very optimistic about trying War Warhammer when they finish working on it.

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