Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Yeah, I do Punditry

The blogosphere is an awesome thing. One blogger posts about some topic and you’ll see posts on the same topic pop up all over within hours. Sometimes I try to avoid beating the proverbial dead horse, sometimes I feel like I have something meaningful to add to the debate. And sometimes I feel that the post touches on my personal work. The other day, the always insightful Eric over at Elder Game posted a rather definitive criticism of MMO punditry. My blog’s tagline says I do MMO punditry. Here’s my response.

(Be warned that this post is not really about games at all; feel free to skip it if you don’t care. I understand.)

Let me start by saying this: Procrastination Amplification is first and foremost an outlet for what’s on my mind at any given moment. Not that I don’t love being read, I do, but there would be much more efficient channels to get my voice out there if that was my main goal. So if I write stuff nobody cares about I still managed to write it down and get it out of my head. Then again, if I care about it, chances are that somebody else does. That’s where you come in, my beloved readers 😉

What I post here is mostly just my opinion about games, game design, and happenings in the business. I try to support such opinions with facts and logic wherever I can, but ultimately all you get from me is opinion with a splattering of information taken from other sources. That opinion isn’t even really a very informed one as I am at best an armchair game designer. Mostly, I’m just a gamer with what I believe is a decent idea of what constitutes good game design. Eric is right, of course, that that leaves me at a disadvantage when compared to actual game designers. I believe that there is a certain advantage as well, however.

When I tried to make my case for game analysts, I pointed out that game designers often have issues seeing the big picture simply because they are so very involved in their own game. Even if they did have the time to extensively play other games (where would they get that?), their view would certainly be biased by their own school of game design thought. Considering that gamers are the group of people that are eventually supposed to actually play the game, I would not simply discard their opinion.

Furthermore, Eric is of the opinion that we pundits are forming our opinion after the fact. Apparently we are pointing out flaws in games after they failed while ignoring the same flaws in successful games. I don’t think that is close to the truth, at least not for me. I usually try to comment on happenings in a timely manner and then state what I feel these developments will mean, and most pundits I know do the same. Sure, we are commenting after the decision (or the game) has been made by the company, but usually before actual repercussions arise.

I’d like to think that we pundits are the mirror that game developers can look into to check for the quality of their work, while at the same time providing a base for purchasing decisions for gamers and providing food for thought for fellow armchair designers. (I suppose there is a reason that a vast majority of the commentators on this blog are other bloggers with a somewhat similar agenda to mine.) Maybe we would be completely blown out of the water if actual designers started blogging in force. They aren’t though and maybe that’s not just because of the lack of time and restrictions by the company but also because the pundits offer something that designers can’t.

Here are a couple more excellent posts on the topic:

  • Sometimes designers can be too close to their babies to see clearly. An outside voice is often perfect for catching flaws… and middle management usually is to detached or uninterested to be that voice.
    Tesh´s last blog post ..Akimi Village

  • Some people read too much into an activity which is done frequently for the entertainment of the blogger rather than for any greater purpose or cause. I’m not a critic or pundit, I’m someone who likes talking and who happens to criticize and punditize in the course of never shutting up.