Category Archives: Blogging

My 2015 in Blogging

It’s the end of the year! I hope everyone’s having a good holiday. Mine has been busier than I’d like, but I’m getting through. Also, I got some awesome Christmas gifts! It seems like a good time for a bit of a wrap up of my writing this year. The year has had its ups and downs as far as writing goes. Some months I published very little, but I also posted 31 times for Blaugust (though, none of those posts are ones I consider my best). Getting into videos has sort of disrupted my writing. But, here are the things I’m most proud of.

This first one is the post that nudged me into video creation. I started writing it long before I published it and thought it would make a cool video. So eventually, after much writing and many, many hours of editing, it turned into one of my first YouTube videos, but I also posted the transcript here for those who’d rather read than watch. It looks at the trope of the insufferable genius, which is one usually seen in male characters, but is also seen in Kinzie Kensington from Saints Row.

Kinzie Kensington and the Insufferable Genius

The next article was also inspired by Saints Row. This one is about how game marketing materials and box art are often very out of touch with the players experience of the game as far as their created character is concerned. I love that I can create my own woman protagonist in games like Saints Row, Mass Effect, or Sunset Overdrive, but why do I always see the same grizzled white dude on the game box and on loading screens?

Under the Covers

Next up deals with a problem I have with RPGs. How much lore is too much lore? How can games better present walls of text that give the player background information about the game world?

Lore and the Codex – How to do it Better

This next one’s really just a plea to people to pay writers and value their own work. While for myself writing and making videos about games is a hobby, it’s also a lot of work. I had to work out for myself to what extent I’m willing to to these things for other people and sites.

Saying No and Not Working for Free

I admit, this one is also a little preachy. I’ve been making an effort to only spend considerable amounts of time on games that I really enjoy. I don’t want to do boring grinding, I don’t want to play games that make me frustrated more than happy. This post asks some questions about how we spend our time in games, and whether we’re actually enjoying ourselves.

Things I Don’t Get About Gaming: Respect for One’s Time

This month I wrote a couple posts I really liked (they’re actually my last 2 posts). The first is a bit of history about “censorship” in video games. This is the post that got the most attention this year.

Censorship in Video Games

And lastly, my latest post, inspired by a kind of comment a get fairly frequently on my videos.

One Girl Gamer to Rule Them All

Also, not writing related, but I got to be on Justice Points again this year on one of their last episodes, along with my good friend Kal and we got to chat about Bioware for a bit.

Episode #119 – “I’ll Wait For You, Kaidan”

Well, that’s my year in game blogging! I’ve got a best games of 2015 video coming up soon, and I’ll make a blog post for that as well. I just need to find some time to record it.

The bloggers who make me think

In the spirit of Listmas, I’ve been thinking about all the blogs I follow and the ones that most often make me think or want to comment and share my opinions. If you don’t already follow these blogs, you should check them out.


Void at A Green Mushroom has some eclectic game taste and shares first impressions of the games he’s playing. This can be quite handy for getting a quick look at games I haven’t played and deciding which should move up on my list of games to play. When he’s not reviewing games, Void asks interesting questions like Do you use the default character in games? or Is there a popular series that just doesn’t connect with you?


I think Liore‘s blog might be the one I comment on most. She doesn’t constrain her blog to games, and also talks a lot about movies and other pop culture. From thoughts on why she’s not watching your stream, to the occasional calling out of nonsense, to lists of the best horror movies, her posts are always interesting and welcoming of other people’s opinions. She also does TWO podcasts, which you can check out on her blog.


And then there’s the progenitor of Listmas himself, Murf! Besides all he does to encourage blogging and participation in the blogosphere, Murf writes a lot of great posts and isn’t afraid of controversial opinions like MMOs are boring or DPS is dumb. He also makes a lot of cool little games and things like this MoviexGame mashup quiz and words gamers use.


Azuriel manages to get out solid blog posts multiple times per week. I wish I could do that. Recent posts on Gameplay and Pacing in recent big budget titles have particularly resonated with me, and I enjoy reading reviews of popular games that aren’t afraid to point out their (sometimes considerable) flaws.


Dahakha‘s Steam challenge is a series of posts that particularly interests me, and occasionally gets me to post more about my own Steam backlog. Though I don’t always share his opinions on games, I like reading other thoughts on the games I’ve played like Mirror’s Edge or Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery.

Saying No and Not Working for Free

Ever since I started making YouTube videos I’ve been running into something I rarely encountered when I was just a blogger. People I don’t know are asking things of me. I get requests to collaborate on videos, to join networks, to post my videos on other people’s websites. It can get a bit overwhelming. I have a hard time responding to these requests. On the one hand many of the people asking seem sincere and enthusiastic about what they do, and I don’t want to be a jerk. On the other hand, a question that has to be asked is – What do I get out of this?

It’s very common in hobby-based content creation for outlets to only be able to “pay” you with exposure. Now, I certainly don’t write or make videos for money – based on the current balance in my AdSense account I should be set to receive my first ever cheque from Google sometime next year. After 6 years of writing here and 1 year of video making. I do it because I enjoy it, I answer only to myself, it lets me talk to people with similar interests, and because I like attention and people knowing my thoughts on things. However as soon as a third party comes in asking to use my work in some way, things change. If I’m asked to share my content elsewhere, do extra work, maybe commit to some schedule, then it turns into work. And honey, I don’t work for free.

What kind of collaborations and such I find reasonable will depend on what kind of effort is required from me, and what I get in return. As of now, the only request I’ve said yes to came from the folks at 1 More Castle (which has, sadly, shut down now). One of the site founders contacted me to see if I was interested in posting my videos on the site. I was really new to making videos and honestly I was just pumped that someone noticed me. So, after some back and forth on the details, I said yes. Luckily, I had only positive experiences with posting there. The requirements from me were minimal – I just made a post in WP to embed my video whenever I had a new one ready (along with some tags and a thumbnail and stuff) and let an editor know it was good to go. My videos stayed on my own channel and there was no schedule or rules to follow. I got a few more hits to my videos, the website readers hopefully had some new interesting content to peruse, and I made a bunch of nice new internet friends.

Currently I post my retro videos as user submissions on another retro gaming site. No one contacted me about this, I just thought it would give my channel more traffic. Again, the videos stay on my channel, I just email in a link and description for them whenever I make them. I get some views from this, but have not really felt any sense of community building. Low effort, low return.

When it comes to sites or people asking for original content with no compensation I have to ask – why would I do that? My bf let me know today that a gaming site was looking for staff writers to do a weekly column. It could be a good source of exposure so I checked out the posting and the application for it. Then I got to the fine print at the bottom, which quietly explained that they could offer no monetary compensation. Sigh. Exposure isn’t pay, and writers shouldn’t be asked to work for free.

Professional writers, especially in the video games industry have a hard time making a living wage. I’m not a professional writer. I’ve never made a pitch, I’ve never worked with an editor. I’ve been paid to write something a grand total of 1 time. However, because I think that writing and journalism should be careers that are viable for talented people, I’d never write for free for any site that collects revenue. The more people that create content for free, the more people think that this is the way it should be. That people don’t need to be compensated for their work. Why pay a writer when some schmuck with no business sense will do it for free?

I’ve sort of veered off topic (see? no editor). At least I resisted the urge to go into a tangent about game companies using fans as free Alpha/Beta testers. Oh wait, I guess I didn’t resist. Coming back around to the original topic… if you’re a content creator, how do you respond to requests for collaboration or for you to share your work elsewhere? My current tactic is to ignore anything I’m not really interested in, which is not the most mature response. I don’t want to be a jerk to people who are interested in my content but at the same time, there has to be something in it for me and I want to be sure I’m getting at least as much out of it as I put into it.

Blaugust Complete

This is day 31 of Blaugust.

Well, I did it. 31 posts in 31 days. It was easier than I thought it would be, except for one point in week 4 when I never wanted to look at another blog again.

Let’s look at the positives fist. I learned that I can put out content much more frequently than I usually do. Of the 31 posts, there are only 5 that I really consider filler that I never would have posted if not for Blaugust. That’s not too shabby. This was a really good writing exercise. Another positive is that I found more blogs to read and tried to comment more often than usual. I also got more comments than usual here (at least at the beginning of the month).

Most of the negatives of Blaugust have to do with oversaturation. After a while, the challenge was not only putting out my own posts out but also reading other people’s posts. A post a day on 50-100 blogs is a lot of reading especially since I don’t tend to read on weekends, so they pile up. I read and commented less as the month went on, and I in turn received less comments. My post links on Twitter barely got shared at all, likely because there were so many of them. Likewise, I did very little retweeting myself.

Traffic-wise, this month I received less views than 10 of the 12 previous months. So posting daily didn’t really drive traffic. My post viewed post was Breaking News, Women Play Video Games, while a number of my posts got only a handful of views (especially the ones where I just embedded a video). There were a couple posts I really liked that didn’t get much attention, I’m sure at least partially because they got buried under everything else.

Overall, Blaugust was an interesting exercise and I’m glad I did it. I won’t be making an effort to continue to post this much though.

I’d ask you how Blaugust was for you but I’m sure everyone is writing this post today.


This is day 18 of Blaugust.

This post is based on a writing prompt from Void.

If you were to create content for a different medium what would you choose? Videos, Streaming, Podcast, Something Else? What about that medium appeals to you as a content creator?


I really want to do a podcast. I’ve guested on a number of podcasts over the past few years and always really enjoyed it. A had a very, very brief stint as a regular co-host (if you can call 2 episodes regular) which I really enjoyed as well. I like writing here and I’ve really been getting into videos lately, but they’re both very solitary mediums. There are comments which I love getting and responding to, but it’s still not really a conversation – the content is created solely by me. I really crave the opportunity to sit down and talk and collaborate with people about video games on a regular basis. I think a podcast would be the best way to do that.

What stopping me? Hmm. Indecision. Fear of commitment. I don’t know what kind of podcast I want to have. Do I want to do the usual – what’s the news? What are you playing? One of my favourite podcasts I’ve been on was my first appearance on Justice Points where we did a deep dive on the latest Tomb Raider game. A podcast where I get to spend an hour or so really dissecting a single game per episode really appeals to me.

Who do I want to do the podcast with? Ask one person to co-host? Two co-hosts? A rotating selection of co-hosts? How would we split responsibilities and control of the podcast? I don’t really want to be in another situation where my (I use that term very loosely) podcast ceases to be and I don’t have a say. So I want control, but I also want people to bounce ideas off and collaborate with.

While I sit here wallowing in indecision, here are some great podcasts I listen to regularly and recommend:

Cat Context

Justice Points

Match 3

Spawn on Me

The Heroine’s Journey

The Smartest Man in the World


This is my 11th post for Blaugust.

I’ve been having a bit of a blogging identity crisis of late. Actually, it’s been going on for a while. There used to be a clear reason people came to my blog – I had a niche. I was a WoW player. I wrote about resto Druids, and sometimes hunters. I wrote guides on how to heal, tips for boss fights, the odd bit of theorycrafting, or gear advice. I got a fair amount of traffic to these kinds of posts, from search engines, regular readers and people linking to them from forums and such. My Warcraft Logs guide (which is actually up to date) and Resto Druid guide (from way back in MoP) are still, kinda sadly, two of my most popular posts each day.

It’s been a year since I’ve played WoW so, obviously, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it any more. Even in my last year playing Warcraft, I was pretty burnt out and posted sporadically. Over the last few years, my blog traffic has gone down…down…down. I’m a bit of a stats nerd and this graph is pretty depressing:

Cannot be Tamed yearly stats

It’s not so much that my views are low (they’re actually not bad), but the fact that they’ve been steadily dropping for the last 3 years, and dropping by a lot. I know, it’s not about traffic. It’s certainly not about money, as my one google ad I’ve hidden at the bottom of the page so as not to be obnoxious has earned about me about 5 (unpaid) dollars in the years it’s been there. Write for yourself, blah, blah, blah. But honestly, I like knowing that people are reading what I write. I appreciate the people who are regulars and friends, who stick around and comment more than those who come from search engines, but still, I feel like I peaked in 2012 and it’s disconcerting.

When I bring up the topic of falling blog traffic, people usually offer me two reasons for it. First, that blogging as a whole is becoming less popular. I’m not sure I believe that, and I really have no frame of reference other than my own blog. Second, I no longer have a niche. People don’t know what they’re going to get when they come to my blog. Sometimes I write game reviews – could be on a 4 year old indie game, could be on the latest Call of Duty. Sometimes I write about feminism, or what I’m playing, or The X-Files. I write about whatever’s on my mind rather than try to stick to a certain topic. The thing is, I like it that way. Just like with my videos – though my retro reviews are by far the most popular, I also want to talk about new games. Now that I’m not confining myself to WoW, I don’t want to confine myself to anything.

So… I guess I’m really just whining that my traffic has gone down, because I don’t really plan to change anything.

What do you think? Does a blog need a niche to be “successful”? Do you like when blogs stick to one topic rather than act as a stream of consciousness?

Hey, I have a food blog

I’m still playing catch up from my missed post yesterday. I didn’t really have any ideas for another post here today, so I cheated a bit (is it cheating?) and posted something on my neglected food blog instead!

If you like nice pictures of great food, then go on over to Damn Good Food and take a gander.

DaiLo beed carpaccio

This is my 8th post for Blaugust.