The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
My gut reaction to this was to try and tell him things, in a tweet, then realised that there wasn’t the space for it. So then I thought about putting it in a few tweets, and then realised that that wouldn’t do it. So here, as best I can:
This is a good and interesting thing.
When we started the Downloadable Concept Podcast, one thing I had in mind was for us to do single episodes where we dug down deep and talked about a single, specific game or franchise of games. My mindset at the time was that it would be an opportunity for fans of things to really talk about the thing they loved, to be listened to, and to be heard. Love of things is very important, and we often don’t give that love enough credence. The podcast starts each week with ‘whatcha been playing?’ and that’s not meant to be a push to play new and different things: It’s meant to be a chance to talk about what you’re enjoying, what you’re having fun with.
The games industry is a non-stop churn, a vast and rolling machine which gives you about a week to have an informed opinion about a thing, then moves on. It isn’t interested in talking about the old properties, unless they’re due a re-release. It isn’t interested in its own history, really, unless it’s time for someone to kickstart something. The gaming industry seeks to make its journalists a group of Foxes.
What Jeb is doing in this move strikes me as both interesting and admirable, and hopefully be a bit of what I think of as Hedgehog Gaming (and Knuckles). Jeb is going to be focused. Jeb is going to play a game as long as he wants to play a game, and talk about that, and focus on that. We don’t do that sort of thing in this sphere of public communication enough. We put arbitary flags on things – finished, completed, mastered, achievemented – and we don’t ever look at the simplest, most elegant end point for a game.
The game ends when you stop playing it.
I’m really interested to see what this brings. I want to hear from the hardcore fans, the Fire Emblem nerds, the unironic fans of ironically bad games. And this is just another way in which the voices of gaming need to be diversified, or we’re going to lose our history, our way, and something of ourselves.