Month: August 2020

Return of Game Bias

by Jed Pressgrove

“[I]t no longer represents who I am.”

Several months ago I published these words about Game Bias on Twitter, that most reprehensible website. On the surface, this blog has been about game reviews and criticism, but it has just as much been a reflection of my emotional and psychological state.

At the beginning of this year, I recognized that the person who had been writing Game Bias for six years was dead. This was not a pleasant realization, but it was the truth. The person who had been writing Game Bias was possessed, driven to make his voice heard and to prove his worth through his writing. And that person, as interesting as he might have been, was facing a spiritual sickness by putting his worldly pursuit above all else, God included.

On top of that, I had become exhausted playing and writing about video games. Over the last decade, I played an ungodly number of games, particularly in 2017 and 2018. My savage urge to stay on top of the medium had whittled me down physically and mentally. There’s a reason video games are now labeled sports. Like any sport, they favor the younger, the fresher, the greener. I have no shame in saying that I burned out.

So why am I bringing Game Bias back? The answer is simple. This blog still means something to me, and I believe it still means something to my readers.

But the blog has to change, because I have. Although I remain as critical as ever of what I play, I find myself more contemplative than reactive now. Here’s what this means for Game Bias:

1. No more reviews of pop games. This isn’t to say that I won’t comment on any of the latest high-profile games here. But at this point in my life, I see little point in keeping up with the ongoing onslaught of repackaged mechanics, aesthetics, and stories. It’s been clear for a few years now that pop games have lost their personality to a head-turning degree. The offerings of the industry are increasingly isomorphic; thus, my preferred form of criticism, the review, has lost most of its relevance. You will also not see me regularly reviewing games at Slant anymore, though I’m not against writing a review for a publication when the effort feels justified.

2. More focus on game history. I’m still beating the drum that says people need to pay more attention to games of the past. Only then can we shine the biggest spotlight on the misleading claims and insidious trends of today’s game industry.

3. More conversations. Above I described that previous version of myself who wanted his voice to be heard above all else. I got away from something important: dialogue. You may not be aware of this, but Game Bias won the Freshly Pressed Award from WordPress because of a piece titled A Conversation about Race in Video Games, which featured the great retired game critic Sidney Fussell. I’ve also enjoyed trading posts with Chris Bateman over the years. I’m still thinking about how I want to pursue conversations about other topics. More to come on this.

I have other thoughts about the future of Game Bias, but those thoughts need more development.

To those who are familiar with my work, I hope you will join me on this new journey. To those who are new to my work, thank you for coming aboard.