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Starwolf Has Returned From Much Needed Christmas Break After Finals, The Blogging Continues

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Alas loyal fan base, I have am offically back from my hiatus. After a busy couple weeks leading into finals I was pretty burnt out and took advantage of the first few weeks of my break to enjoy the Christmas holiday. I am going to set a hefty goal of posting every weekday moving forward. You can expect my next post tomorrow afternoon after I get off work.
See you soon,
Starwolf

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Comparing Video Game Blogs: What Makes a Good Blog

December 8, 2011 1 comment

There are literally millions of blogs out there and thousands of them are created everyday.  While many are abandoned, there are also many who regularly post and are sincerely committed to crafting a successful blog.  Unfortunately, when there are millions to choose from, hard work and determination might not be enough to build a loyal fan base.  I look at video game blogs daily but for this post I wanted to focus on the smaller, independent video game blogs that seem to be headed in the right direction of building a loyal fan base and acquiring enough hits daily to receive advertisement deals. I want to point out the pros and cons of each blog and explain how simple tweaks can make a world of difference.  Analyzing a handful will allow you to see what works or doesn’t work with each and compare.  These blogs represent the individual who worked hard enough at what they love to do and was successful at it. I hope to be as successful or more so with my online journalism.

The blogs I chose for this comparison are titled as follows: The Lone Gamer,  That VideoGame Blog and Video Game Blogger.  I will begin by talking about The Lone Gamer.  It is a blog about video games started and authored by a single soul named Marco Dimaano. I found this blog on more than one web site containing a top video game blog list.  It has a unique sense of character and without a doubt favors some game/topics more than others.  The blog is powered by WordPress and was recently upgraded to a premium WordPress site by the creator (Premium users receive better benefits, more options and most importantly get the “wordpress” lopped off their web address). The content of the blog aren’t updated daily and posts seems to come in spurts. I happen to even post more than this author,  still the blog has seen its fair share of success and continues to thrive.  The blog’s design theme and colors as well as the banner image at the top seems to match the authors personality (based on site content. I don’t know the guy) and I enjoy that.  Dimaano has all the essential sidebar tools including Twitter, search bar, tag cloud, monthly archive, blog roll and top posts. There are more but that is a good amount to have because you don’t want to over do it like he did with his categories.  The categories on this site are too specific.  These categories are basically another set of tags.  I also like that the ads are outside of the sites content.  A good blog if the Lone Gamer’s style is your style.

http://www.thelonegamer.net/

The Lone Gamer

The second blog I wanted to talk about was That VideoGame Blog.  This is a blog that shares little information about its origin but I really like it. It has minimal clutter, it’s easy to navigate and has a clean, simple layout. It lists posts from most recent to older with images to support each one. The four hottest posts are posted across the top of the page with enlarged images. The ads are seamless with the sites design. It has a search bar that returns easy to comprehend results and sports a virtual calendar that serves as an archive of past posts.  The sites content is updated very frequently with a up to 15 posts or more each day.  The blog currently has 16 authors on its “Staff” page, which makes a world of difference when trying to remain current with your posts and content.  It also gives the impression of professionalism.  These are reasonable expectations I have for my own blog one day.  However, this blog has minor imperfections.   It could use categories to easily sort past posts into relevant information to what the user is looking for.  I would also like to see an “About Us” page to give a little background information about how the site got started and what its goal is.  Other than those minor gripes this is the most complete blog out of the three I am comparing

That VideoGame Blog

The last blog I chose for this comparison is Video Game Blogger.  At first I was thoroughly impressed with this blog. It has an impressive interactive layout that, for the lack of a better term, provides a preview window (shows a picture related to the post) that rolls through the top 5 posts like a slide show.  As it cycles through the top posts you can jump to one by clicking in the preview window.  This is a feature that has been adopted by many top sites and one I would like to implement into mine.  There are categories lined across the top of the page that allow the user to reach the material he/she is interested in with a click.  There is also a search bar that basically serves as a custom category of your choosing though it is surrounded by ads.  At first I was impressed with the all the ads because ads mean money.  Then I started to notice how many of them there were crammed into the side bar distracting the reader from the content.  It is hard to differentiate between the ads and the useful sidebar tools like the search and the “Daily Gaming Update.”  I am all for ads to make some extra cash (Isn’t that what life is all about?) but that is just careless design that in a weird way shows disrespect to your readers. Still it is an easy fix but I honestly don’t see any maintenance in this sites near future as I there hasn’t been a post since January 2011. At first when I was looking at this sites posts I thought they were from November and December of this year.  Though it proved useful for this comparison the blog has most likely been abandoned.

Video Game Blogger

By comparing these blogs it is easy to see what does and doesn’t work.  Though it differs depending on the blogs content some of the hards and fast rules like posting regularly and readability without distraction are well, hard and fast.  Over all I give mad props to all the creators of these blogs because making one that is successful with fan base and all is way, way, way harder than it sounds.

 

Navigating Skyrim Like a True Nerd

November 20, 2011 3 comments

As I mentioned in the previous post, the world of Skyrim is as expansive and utterly immersive as a video game can be.  Skyrim features an in-game map feature that automatically stores newly discovered areas including towns, caves, hideouts and anything else Skyrim has to offer though it does not store every detail. But Bethesda bestowed upon it’s fans another map in a physical form  that is made of a “high-grade” paper that has the feel of cloth or burlap to emulate maps from medieval ages.

A huge world

In-game map courtesy of G4

This map is not only a great sentiment from a game dev to its fans but also another very entertaining way to enjoy the game. Though I am only 8 hours into the 300 hour game (give or take 100) I have begun marking every point of interest, big or small, on the authentic map Bethesda has ever so thoughtly bestowed upon me.  For example, I was traveling through a blizzard in a mountainous area covered in evergreens when I become upon a “Wisp Queen” and her persistent “Wisps.”  I perished in every attempt to defeat the witch.  I decided to mark upon the map her location  and return to defeat the demon at a time I am more powerful (this is a detail, as I mentioned above, that Skyrim will not automatically store on the in-game map).

I'll be back for you... winch!

X marks the spot

I think this is a great way for players to immerse themselves into a game that deserves to be immersed into (I think that makes sense).  It gives you the feeling you are a true navigator of a completely mythical world which is simply put, Frickin’ Awesome.  Believe it or not there is a way to take this one step further: don’t use the in-game map at all.  Turn off the nav points by making all quests inactive, rely stricly on the compass and use information learned through dialogue in the game by taking notes to navigate using the physical map.  I laugh to myself thinking about the devotion this option would take but if you had the time it would be a blast.  In minus 40 below 0 weather (yeah that’s how cold it is in Fairbanks, AK) I wish this was all I had to do.
What do you think, do you have what it takes to be a true Skyrim navigating nerd like me or do you think you could put me to shame and take it to the next level like in the option I mentioned above by not using the in-game map? Tell me in the comments section!

Goals in New Media Toolkit

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment
Social Networking

Resistance is futile...

My goals in New Media Toolkit, a class I am currently taking at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, are to become proficient in the continuously growing world of modern media and never, ever fall behind again.  I am very computer savvy but for many years I boycotted many social networking tools for personal reasons.  As I have become older and focused my career goal as a journalist I have realized that it is now futile to resist in our modern world. I have taken my first step toward media modernism by signing up for Facebook just recently (I knew I would love it once I started) and am taking then next by becoming a blogger. I hope to create a blog which consists of video game news and reviews or NFL fantasy football news and advice.  I plan to try a post for both and see what ends up materializing easier.

Starwolf

Categories: About Me