It wasn’t too tough for me to pick out the top five video game websites I enjoy. I actually don’t care much for websites covering one of my favorite hobbies, and never have. I’m a print man through and through, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy news, features, reviews and the plethora of other gaming information being just a mouse click and Internet connection away — in fact, it’s quite handy. So, without further ado, here are the best websites you should be clicking on.
This was a site I used to leave open on my computer next to my T.V. so I could collect those ever-addicting achievement points when I let myself descend into the time sucking art of collecting meaningless points. My transformation from what I like to think of as a model gamer into an achievement whore found me hooked on Xbox360Achievements.org. I have since shunned the evil and pointlessness of achievement whoring — it’s just not worth it when you have limited time for gaming — but for those who want to boost their scores so they can laugh spittle into their friend’s face because they have successfully beat a game on an unintended difficulty or wasted valuable time gaining 100 head shots or nut shots, then this is the site for you, you sorry, sad gamer.
It’s easy to see quite plainly and quickly that people with journalism backgrounds do not write for Dtoid. It gets very confusing when you are trying to read a preview about racing ATVs and you suddenly find the words are describing sexual acts that leave a female’s face, err…we won’t go there.
However, there are some things that make Dtoid a worthy site of this list: the fan view-point — as well as personality Jim Sterling, whether you love him or hate him — is different from what most sites offer. Different doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always good — the writing isn’t always top notch, and I sit in the camp that tries to ignore Sterling for the most part — but different is nice when every site has the same “news” posts. It’s sometimes raunchy at Dtoid, but it’s a breath of fresh air. Plus, the constant contests are fun and provide a great assortment of prizes for the community, a community that Dtoid is more than happy to keep pleased with gaming gatherings and feedback — a rarity from most gaming journalists who seem to shun the whole idea of being a part of the public.
Jobs and developer insight: this is what drives Gamasutra. The job board is one of the most used in the industry, and instead of interviewing developers for a feature or post-mortem on a video game; Gamasutra actually has the developers write them. It gives readers a good look into video game development and how developers cope with different issues and come up with that one killer idea or character.
1up has fallen, but the site still employs one of my favorite writers, Mr. Jeremy Parish, king (and probably queen, knight and squire) of everything RPG. The man’s a damn good writer and genius when it comes to disseminating the RPG experience beyond the simple this is how you battle and the story is about this sort of writing most people employ when it comes to the genre. He goes much deeper, and he understands the developers, the styles and the little things that make the Final Fantasies, Dragon Quests and Pokemons tick. I urge readers to visit his blog.
However, we go back to how it has fallen. Reviews are very hit or miss in writing style. Heck, the recent Beyond Good and Evil review was just darn right useless. As a fan of the game I didn’t need to read the review, but it just didn’t seem like much more than an afterthought for those who really wanted to know about the HD version of what is one of gaming’s greatest and most overlooked gems. I’ve read blogs with better reviews, and those guys don’t get paid to do the work. A site I write for has beaten 1up to the punch on several “news” items and with the exception of a handful of features — including one from my favorite (now former) writer James Mielke — there just aren’t enough good reasons to visit as much as I used to, which was at least five times a day.
Another blow is blogging on the site — I’m not sure it’s worth it. I get much more feedback from Dtoid (though that site is flooded with hardly readable posts and shenanigans of the utmost uselessness in the blogs section). Too often 1up promotes the most asinine posts in their featured spot on the home page leaving great pieces people spend time on to garner no comments and no views. 1up is actually the reason I have kept my video game writing to print before finally, after many months of inner turmoil, writing for the site at number one, a site that makes it worthwhile for people to share their opinions online.
Bitmob isn’t number one because this list is posted on their site. No brownie points will be given, and the staff didn’t pay me in Club Nintendo coins to do this. To be honest, Bitmob has faltered on many occasions with the site being broken for a long stretch of weeks. I am still afraid to post and have multiple good luck charms littered around my desk to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Aside from all the hiccups, Bitmob is the first time I felt my writing — imperfect as it may be — could be posted online and that it would actually matter. Not only would other gamers read it, but so too would video game journalists I admire and respect. There’s nothing else like it and nothing else fills me with more joy than to see Dan Hsu say something nice about a post I’ve poured hours into.
To say nothing of the community would be folly. The Bitmobbers on the site are very good writers, intelligent and often have great and insightful comments and articles to post. There isn’t anything else like it, and it deserves the K. Rool crown for best video game website.