Game Critics, by videogamedunkey
Speak Like a Human: Friendly, self-deprecating, human tone Grateful for the suggestions/criticism. No jargon.
Win/Win: Determine what Win will give the swarm to let them feel like they’ve “won” in some sense
Avoid a Public Battle: Move the conservation offline
Right the Wrongs: Don’t let errors stand in Google’s cache forever
Make Friends: Email specific combatants and invite them to continue suggestions; perhaps allow them to join an advisory panel
Take the first letter of each tactic and you’ve got the anagram for the SWARM tactics that Tod Maffin described. It’s a rather safe set of evasive tactics for dealing with problems and problematic customers, but somehow, always pandering to the customer seems to rub me the wrong way. While the customer may always be right, and that you don’t want to be driving away the consumers of your content, it feels rather cheap to prioritize profits. I’m aware that my thinking is rather wishful, and in a business, wishful thinking won’t get you profits.
The idea of customer engagement being conversations with people rather than at them, doesn’t seem quite right either. There are some people out there, and especially on the Internet, that you don’t really want to be dealing with if it wasn’t for the money they spend/could potentially spend on your product. While SWARM is a good strategy, it’s not the be all, end all of strategies.
I follow a twitch streamer called WinterGaming, who plays StarCraft 2 at a competitive level. And boy, do SWARM tactics not describe him at all. He will insult you, shut you down if you’re being combative, or ban you from his chat. But people find his personality hilarious, and I’m inclined to agree. That’s mainly how he gets and maintains his following. Sure, Winter (the streamer) may have a completely different platform and dynamic, but that doesn’t mean you have to play nice all the time.
Especially if people are being dicks on the Internet.
Brand storytelling describes a brand’s vision as a cohesive and persisting narrative. It goes to describe what kind of background the brand has, and what their values are. The key point in storytelling, is how you get your message across. This as I understand it to be, can mean just about anything from promotional videos, advertisement marketing campaigns, or a spokesperson who represents the brand as a whole. If we look at the Old Spice commercials with Terry Crews, we can see him as the face of Old Spice. Someone who, when you first think of the brand, will immediately think of when trying to relate to the associated brand. Given how bombastic they had Terry Crews portray his character, it served to leave a very strong impression on the viewers.
This can extend to slogans as well, such as McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It”, was a brand message to promote to their consumers that at the end of the day, their goal was to make their consumer happy, that they were worth it. In an oversaturated market of competition, having distinguishing features or these brand stories to tell, set the brands apart from the rest of the competition (whether in a good way or a bad one). The end goal, is ultimately to create more traction for the brand, so that more consumers become more engaged and become more loyal consumers. In part, the consumers who buy into the brand become part of the brand story, and continue to perpetuate it when the situation calls.
My mission statement can be narrowed down to four words: Game design as Education. A way for me to connect with my audience of gamers (and those interested in games) by analyzing relatable scenarios and otherwise ignored design aspects in games. The topic of games is broad, making it rather difficult to just narrow down on just “design” as a concept. Rather, design becomes the underlying theme of the blog and its content, while the topics addressed in the blog broaches the many different aspects of games, like sound effects, art, voicework, level creation, music, gameplay, narrative, I could go on.
There’s no specific way I can use the knowledge of who my audience, metrics, and analytics are at the moment, as I don’t have enough of each category to make informed decisions. So the goal for right now is to focus on expanding my field of reach, and see if I can tap into the audience I’ve envisioned myself to have.
I’ve talked about this before, about the origins of the blog’s background. It was something I drew for my blog because the requirements for my Publishing 101 course needed me to have visuals.
Okay you probably wanted the creative process behind it, fine.
The background image is meant to be an old arcade machine, with joysticks and buttons. In the center where the arcade screen is, is where the content of my site is nested. As for the floral motif and the cogwheels, it was meant to represent “Aesthetics over Mechanics”, where the beautiful visuals are being supported by the hardware working behind the scenes.
It also serves to represent the game design that is hidden beneath the seamless gameplay. How certain design choices help create a smooth and immersive experience without the player noticing. These design choices are essential and serve as the biggest focus for this blog’s content:
The Mechanics under the Aesthetics.
My target community is players in the gaming community. It may seem a little ambitious to target the gaming community, but it’s simply a drop in the bucket when it comes to the end goal. And that end goal, is to target not just adolescents and young adults, but also those in the work force and retirement. In other words, people who may not have a vested interest in games at all.
Targeting the gaming community is an easier task that the aforementioned. People have already defined what they like, and simply have to have their horizons broadened. That’s not to say that I’m a leading authority, a be all end all, but there is always something out there that can appeal to different kinds of gamers. Most of the time, people who play the games they do, don’t overthink the things that are presented in front of them. That’s because the game was designed to be so seamless, that the game is an immersive experience. By teaching them what makes a seamless experience, they can come to appreciate the effort that goes into doing so.
Or simply eliciting a “hey, that’s pretty cool.”
The real challenge, is targeting the people who claim they have no time, or have no interest in games. Which is for a fact, bullshit. You can have time if you make time for it. So by talking to this demographic, I can come to a better understanding of what appeals to them, and how I can get my foot in the doorway.
Let’s talk about Todd Maffin’s How Google Killed My Startup, an eerie reminder of the competition that arise, and why it’s so pertinent to know the field you’re entering into.
Now, I think the idea behind the startup was ambitious. Making a paid service for essentially what would be, a glorified game walkthrough. The immediate problem right off the bat, is that if you knew any game with any remote semblance of a following, you’d know that there are people out there who are passionate about what they play, and will make comprehensive wikis and walkthroughs in their spare time out of sheer passion.
Saying that Google killed your startup is overexaggerating a little. If there was ever a problem like what Todd Maffin had brought up in his idea pitch, players would just consult a wiki. They would ask the gaming community; other players in the game and in the forums to strategize and share information.
“None of which the game really tells you how to do. You’ve got to figure it out for yourself. That can take dozens of hours to get it right.” – Todd Maffin
Those dozens of hours trying to get it right was a sense of accomplishment for gamers. They would tough it out, for the sake of playing the game, rather than a walkthrough handing you the solution on a silver platter. To me, that feels more like an insult.
YouTube Gaming was just a cherry on top.
YouTube was already a proliferation platform for gamers to share things about their favorite games, just for the sake of sharing. Some became streamers and played games without a walkthrough, that could be considered a walkthrough if you watched them play. Sure, it may not be the most professional. It may not be the most in-depth. But really, what mattered the most was that it was relatable. The people making these wikis, walkthroughs, and videos, were other passionate players just like you. It was just a poor understanding of the market, and the audience to whom they wanted to address.
I still can’t define what my professional self is, even if you asked me after all this time. But if there’s anything I learned, it would be that identifying and understanding who my audience is, is who my professional self has to understand.