Here it is.
About a month-and-a-half ago, I put out a feeler about a games club similar to how a book club would act. Basically, we play a game, then get together to talk about that game for a month. And after those four weeks are up, we switch it up to bring in a new game.
After I put that blog live, the feedback was overwhelmingly in favour of establishing something like this on Facebook, Twitter and on here as well as fantastic feedback as to what it should be about. So thank you to those who gave that feedback once that initial blog went live. I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while now, but I’ve had multiple things take me off it until now, such as freelance work and other stuff.
But today, I’m making it official. It’s no longer a feeler, it’s going to be a real thing. So. Here it is in all its officialness: Game Club is going to happen. And everyone is welcome to partake in it, from the choosing of the games that’ll be discussed to the actual discussion itself (more on that below).
In the feedback I got, people said they wanted less mainstream stuff and more from the past gems from yesteryear and I agree that we should focus more the latter. So basically, stuff from the past on systems like PC, Xbox 360, PS3, etc etc, you get the drift.
But that said, I think there’s also a place for the more recent stuff too. What I mean by that is the likes of, if you want to use 2013 as an example, The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite or Tomb Raider as cases of where their inclusion would be fine.
But at the same time, most of us – if not all of us – won’t have time to play mammoth 100-hour efforts like – and again, to use 2013 as an example – Grand Theft Auto V, Persona 4: Golden or Assassin’s Creed IV. People won’t have time to burn through games like them within a month.
What I’m trying to say in my own garbled way is that, yes, lets have the main focus of the club be the underrated gems of the past. And have them be short-ish games (12 hours, maybe 15 hours at the most) as we won’t have time to do 100 hour epics. But I do think newer games can also be included too – within reason, though.
TL;DR – Game Club will mainly be of olden gems, but will occasionally fit in a newer game once in a blue moon within reason. And they won’t be 100 hour long stories of your life.
Also, I want Game Club to be mainly about narrative. I want us to talk about that moment in a game that excited you, scared you or whatever emotion you felt when you seen that scene for the first time in a long time or even ever. So basically, Game Club will only be about Single-Player story stuff, no multiplayer.Because there’s only so much you can talk about that amazing headshot in Call of Duty or getting smushed to death on Titanfall. And lets not get started on the abuse that’d put you off online for life.
To again use a 2013 example, when I played The Last of Us, all I wanted to talk about afterwards to people who had played it was the end of Winter and the kind of feelings that I went through in watching that final scene, which invoke combined feelings of disgust, horror and even relief.
So basically, let the main focus of discussion in Game Club be the game’s narrative and not multiplayer. We seem to be going through a golden era of incredible stories in games at the moment and it would be incredibly stupid if we didn’t make that our main thing.
TL;DR – For Game Club, Narrative = GOOD. Multiplayer = BAD.
When it comes to choosing the game we should be discussing on a monthly basis, that is up to you, dear participant, on what should be next on the chopping block. Whether you’ll be taking part in the stream/podcast (more on that below), participating in the chat or even just playing along, you’ll have a say. At the end of the month, when discussion on one game is coming to an end, I’ll open up suggestions as to what should be next discussed on Game Club. This’ll be done via Twitter and here on the blog for now, but if this really takes off, I might look into a Facebook group page.
That said, in-keeping with the narrative focus I’d like the Club to have, I hope nobody minds if I get the ball rolling just this once and begin with a game that has purely set on story and story only. For our first Game Club, the focus will be on Alan Wake. Released in 2010 on Xbox 360 and two years later on PC, Remedy Entertainment’s thriller brings vibes of Stephen King and Twin Peaks an excellent story, if I do say so myself, headed up by Sam Lake with the pacing of a TV show.
The game has six episodes in total that can be completed in a total of 90 minutes each, on par of the running time of a True Detective episode (with ads, admittedly). If we discuss two episodes a week, it’ll be done within three weeks. However, Remedy released two DLC pieces after the game’s release – The Signal and The Writer – which we can discuss in our final week with the game.
TL;DR – Suggestions for future Game Club to be determined by you, but I’ll get the ball rolling by picking Alan Wake as our first game.
This is the bit I’ve still yet to properly figure out, but I have a rough idea of how it’s going to go down.
This is going to be a streamed thing and I’m going to try and have guests from the UK games industry – not just journos and the like, but other folk too within – on to talk about the games we’re discussing on Game Club (*insert joke on rule about not talking about Game Club ala Fight Club here*).
But it’ll be a sellotaped kind of affair in that I’ll be streaming the sections of the game with Twitch, but discussing it with our guests on Google+ Hangouts (if anyone has a better solution that meshes streaming the game and discussion on the same channel, I am all ears). (I’ve decided to not stream the game alongside discussion live, so we’ll only just be discussing the game).
Anyone interested in taking part in the first episode (and beyond if you’re really up for it), give me a nudge on Twitter or use the Contact Me page above.
TL;DR – Game Club will be streamed, have a rough idea of how it’ll happen.
So when is all this going to begin? This month. When this month? I don’t know. But it will be this month. It could be mid-April or late-April. I’ll try and nail down a specific date as soon as possible, but for now, it’s definitely, definitely going to happen in April.
And that’s that. Like last time, I am more than willing to hear feedback and any suggestions you have for future Game Club ideas, so please let me know what you think through Twitter @JohnnyCullen, in the comments I’ve opened specifically opened just for this post or you can use the Contact Me page.