Writing about games is what I do here on this blog. This isn’t a news site or even a fake blog turned news site. This is a blog, and that means that a personal element is present. When you read something on Keen and Graev’s, you’re reading what one or both of us think about a game. We’re putting our thoughts, opinions, emotions, and feelings on paper for all to see. This is not a place to read objective journalism. We write subjectively.
I want to address an issue that has come up many times over the years: Excitement. I am criticized and even insulted for being excited about video games. A new MMORPG comes out and I am excited to play. I give a few reasons why I am excited, maybe talk about the game a bit, and then try it out. After a few weeks, I find that my excitement may have been in error, or maybe it wasn’t but I am simply no longer interested in playing. I write why I have stopped playing. The opposite is also true; I’ll say that I am not excited about a game, but I give it a try and end up liking it. I’ve even been excited about a game and been absolutely correct, maintaining that excitement.
Being excited is not a crime. If I was not excited about video games I would not play them, and I certainly would not write about them. When I read someone posting on a forum or even on their own site that “Keen is just doing what he always does, getting excited then trashing a game,” I wonder if that person has actually read my writing. Take SWTOR, for example. I was never, at any time, super excited about the game. I was a skeptic years before launch. The proof of that can be found in the archives. When the game launched, I wrote about some of our adventures and I wrote about some of the game’s shortcomings. Turns out, SWTOR (as it exists currently), is not for me. I’ve been accused of hyping SWTOR then trashing it, when in reality I have done neither of those things.
What is wrong, in my opinion, is hyping a game with little to no proof of what you’re saying. I have been guilty of this once before with Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. I was absolutely blinded by my passion for Dark Age of Camelot, and I let that cloud my judgment. I thought that Mythic Entertainment, creator of DAOC, could not possibly mess up what they got right in their previous game. Turns out, I was wrong. I hyped the crap out of WAR, and was wrong for doing so, but I learned a valuable lesson that has stuck with me years later.
I need to describe the differences between hyped and being excitement.
Hyping a game is intensively publicizing or promoting a game while trying to predict what features will be like without any way of backing up what you are saying. Hype might be making unrealistic promises or exaggerations about features or qualities (and can be done so without realization on the hyper’s part). If something is hyped it is crafted to sound good whether it is true or not.
Being excited about a game has a very honest feel to it. When you’re excited you don’t try to hide flaws or exaggerate about a game. Excitement is value-driven and realistic. Being excited about a game usually comes with a reason, and that reason can be shown.
I’m passionate about games and I want to be excited. I want to have something to look forward to, and I will always choose being excited over being jaded. I look forward to pleasure, not pain. I want games to succeed if they deserve to, and not fail for no reason. I am critical of developers and their games when I see the same mistakes being made, and I won’t hesitate to point that out. I’m also not going to hesitate to change my mind if I feel that I am in error, or simply want to change my opinion.
I will not apologize to anyone for sharing, on my own website, what I feel at any given time. That’s why I am writing, and that will not change. I assume the majority of you visiting this site regularly do so because you find what we have to say interesting, entertaining, or useful. If the day ever comes that I look at every future game as a negative before a positive, that’s when I will stop playing games and find another hobby. What’s the point of doing something if you’re already planning ahead that you won’t enjoy it or plan to be unfeeling at all? That’s a sad way to live.