Friday, February 27, 2009
Some people write game reviews because they want the respect of their peers. Some game reviewers like being insiders in their favorite hobby. And there are lots of game reviewers who just provide information out of a sense of offering something back to the community.
Me, I'm in it for the free games.
But there's a problem. See, when I started Drake's Flames, I decided that since it was my site, with no editor-in-chief or established rules or allegiance to any particular game makers, I was going to write the way I like to write. I was going to be funny when I could, irreverent when I wanted, and downright unapologetic all the damned time. If anyone was offended, screw 'em, they can go read a nice Tom Vasel review (who, incidentally, is awesome).
That worked great for a while. I made some people laugh, and I helped some people decide what games they wanted, and I scored piles of free games. Publishers thought I was funny, so they sent me stuff because they figured people would read about their awesome games because those readers liked my off-color humor.
And then I wrote a couple ugly reviews, and the stream of free games started to slow. It turns out people don't really dig it when they give you free stuff and then you complain about it. Who knew? But I didn't let that stop me - I just kept saying horrible stuff about people I didn't know because I thought they made crappy games.
Predictably, more publishers started to lose my Rolodex card. One or two at first, but now I think they're writing each other warning emails. 'Don't send that Drake bastard any games - if they're not good, he'll insult your ancestry and compare you to a retarded jackass, and the jackass will look better for the comparison, and you won't sell as many of your bad games because people will know that they suck.'
Heh. I love that. I may have started this for free games, but the punk-rock-street-thug-don't-give-a-damn-about-my-bad-reputation part of me started to get a big head. Every time I lost another publisher, I giggled a little - but then I started to worry, because I was down to small-press guys and new startups (and Asmodee, who has never been afraid of bad press and sends me everything without me having to beg like a leper with tin cup. So buy some of their games. Specifically, buy Formula D, because it's just about my favorite game from 2008).
Enter Jason, owner of my new favorite game store. Dogstar Games is an online retailer carrying a wide variety of board games, card games, CCGs, roleplaying games and minis games. And it turns out, Jason is also a reader.
You can probably see where this is going, but in case it's not clear, I'll spell it out like you were four (of course, if you are four, you're not only an incredibly precocious reader, but your parents should be ashamed of themselves for letting you read this site). Dogstar Games is now the sponsor for Drake's Flames. I'll still review anything anybody sends me, but Dogstar Games is going to keep me supplied with free games so that I can keep telling you what I think about them without having to resort to reviewing cheap crap I got at the Barnes & Noble 75% off sale.
Now, this is awesome for me, because I'll be getting free games. But this should be pretty good news for you, gentle readers, because starting real soon, you'll be able to get honest opinions of games you might actually buy, instead of reading about Thomas the Tank Engine's Roundup Rodeo (I don't think that exists, by the way, because if it did, I probably would have bought it so I could have something to write about) because most of the big publishers would rather send me improvised explosive devices than review copies. And even better, I won't be putting up some lame-ass 'support this site' button and begging for your spare change like a bum outside a bus depot.
Instead, I'll put up a 'support that other site' button. Dogstar Games has a good selection of hobby games, and lots of their games come with free shipping, so any time I review a game that A) I like, and B) they carry, I'll be posting a link to Dogstar Games. And I ask just one favor - if you want that game, buy it from them. Because if this works, and they get more sales because you read about them here, I'll get more free games. I would tell you about their great prices and stuff, but in case you're not paying attention, I get free games. I don't know how much they cost.
So if you dig this site, go to Dogstar Games and look around. If you see something you've been wanting to pick up, get it there. And start requesting games - my email is in my profile, and you can always just post your requests in the comments area below every article.
How about a link?
Posted by Matt Drake at 7:19 PM