As of December 11th, 2018, The Game Hoard website is now 1 whole year old! In its first year of existence, The Game Hoard has published over 200 reviews as part of my goal to play every video game ever released, but the story of The Game Hoard didn’t really begin on December 11th, 2017. As you might have guessed, the idea behind this site has existed for much longer, and today, to celebrate this milestone, I’ll share the story of how we got here today, as well as answering some frequently answered questions!
To begin, a history of my history with video games is probably in order. For most of my life, as you might have expected, I have been playing video games, but unfortunately, I can’t quite remember what my first game ever was. I do have some fairly early memories of going to my neighbor’s or cousins’ place to play their Super Nintendos, as do I recall a different neighbor who was my first brush with PC games, even though they were the likes of kid-friendly vet games and the like. What I do remember is which game system my family first owned, a Sega Genesis entering the house and my parents being pretty generous with the variety of games they gave us. However, since it was a family system, it was hard to say I really owned it or any of the games I received for it, so when it comes to which video game system and game I first truly owned, that honor likely goes to the Game Boy Pocket, and with it, Pokemon Red. Sadly, I no longer own that copy of Pokemon Red since it was stolen from me, and while that would be an interesting origin story for why I am now reticent to let go of my video games, really, I just like having the games around to access at any time, and this building hoard quite obviously was a source of the idea to make a site like this.
The Game Hoard wasn’t actually first a website though. The idea for something like this had been brewing for a while, and like most things, it came with a few false starts. If I had to pinpoint an area where the idea really began forming, it was around when the Nintendo Wii got its Netflix streaming added, and I began to watch plenty of movies I had never before seen on it. For some reason, the idea hit me to record everything I watched on it on a note card, and the list was growing longer and longer. The urge to do something with this mostly arbitrary list hit me, and for a while, I wanted to maybe make a Youtube channel talking about the movies I saw. The thing is, I certainly don’t know movies as well as I know games, and perhaps more importantly, when I started to do it, I realized I didn’t quite remember movies I had watched so far back as well as is needed to talk about them. One thing I make sure to do now is play a game recently before I review it, since trying to speak on old memories is prone to inaccuracy.
Slowly though, the idea began to shift. I’ve been immersed in video games ever since they entered my life. They are how I most enjoy spending my time, they’re how I hang out with many close friends and a constant source of discussion as well. I enjoyed seeing all the different kinds of games there were, and as I’ve said time and time again, I enjoy every game I play, even the ones that are really really bad. My game collection continued to grow and I grew reticent to part with any of them as I almost always came to regret it later when I wanted to play the long-parted game. As my fascination with the variety games offer increased, my interest in the worst designed of the bunch also grew, and I began to seek out awful games specifically to marvel at how much they failed.
Here we can see the first moment of The Game Hoard’s creation, as here we find the story of Bubsy 3D. Gifted to me one Christmas by a good friend, I decided to chronicle the terrible design of the game in something I called a Disaster Report and put it on a blog I had at the time. I’d repeat this again when I’d later receive Drake of the 99 Dragons from the same friend next year, but by this point, an idea was already forming, an idea to do more than just take a look at bad games. There were two early expressions of what would become The Game Hoard. One involved me just sharing my thoughts briefly on games I had rented from Gamefly, using a Buy, Play, Skip format for my ratings on them, but this lead to something unfortunate. Saying to just Play a game came with a few negative connotations despite it basically being me saying “this is fun, but not worth the cash.” This is partly why price is no longer a factor in reviews, because there are so many ways to acquire a game and to include price as a measure of quality completely ignores the fact some people might acquire it for less or rent it. This Gamefly game evaluation was also not really professional, just more of a way to make my renting of games more meaningful by sharing my thoughts with friends, and when Sonic Mania was coming out, the hype hit me and I went back to play many Sonic games. At first, I aimed to play ALL of them, but instead I just played the classic games and gave my thoughts on those, my writing style being closer to what you now find here. The main limiter there was trying to play an entire series before a single game came out, so one thing I try to avoid now is restrict how I approach games or force strict deadlines on completion, as it can effect the end product and make it possible to straight up miss certain windows of time.
Still, we haven’t quite found where The Game Hoard actually started, which was September 14th of 2017. But this wasn’t The Game Hoard you know now. Instead, it was a Blogger blog that followed pretty much the same design as the site in its review structure, but it was a good place to feel out the tone I wanted and the review system I’d be implementing. I briefly tried to make a Youtube channel out of The Game Hoard as well, but the production time seemed prohibitive to the new goal the site was acquiring. I have played so many games in my life and will continue playing more of them, but I don’t want that experience to just be me on my own. I want to share it with people in some way, to make it more meaningful and allow others to better experience this medium that captivates me so much. So, along comes the idea of me playing every video game ever released! At first, it was a bit absurd to me as well, but as I looked more and more into it, the more I convinced myself it was possible. I know it’s still incredibly difficult certainly, but it is by aiming for what seems impossible that we make it possible. Plus, the huge list of video games does begin to thin as you start to realize how many rereleases and ports inflate the numbers. What began as a silly idea became a goal I thought I could truly shoot for, and while it may be hard to ever hit it, I certainly aim to get close before this life ends.
Now, back to the blog version! The Game Hoard as a blog didn’t really last all that long and updated less frequently than the site does. By the end of that venture, less than twenty reviews had been published, meaning that even if we remove those from the total count of reviews, The Game Hoard still managed over 200 reviews this year! That does explain why you might see some reviews with dates of publication older than the site though. I wanted more people to read the reviews than what a blog can pull in though, to increase the reach of my goal and share the experience, hence why the site was made. I aimed for a minimalist theme to prevent distracting from the actual information and while it took almost a whole year to get it, the Dark theme was finally implemented after wanting it for a while. Most of this year was just putting myself out there as I played more and more games, although ideas like review series were experimented with and developed as was the new review type just published yesterday, the Disaster Report’s good counterpart, Quality Time. While for now I definitely want to keep the focus on the games, there may be more article types in the future, and there were almost a few different ones before they were scrapped for one reason or another. I toyed with ideas like looking at game merchandise, game movies, and more, but it pulled time away from the Every Video Game goal and didn’t enhance it much. I almost published a look at the SNES Classic as well, but I didn’t play every game on it and I feel that it would be better done after each game has its coverage on the site so that people can view the quality of the titles as well as the system.
For what to expect in the coming year of The Game Hoard though… more games! No surprise there! Really, with a goal so huge, that means that games will continue to be looked at and reviewed, and there are already plenty waiting to go up in the coming days. One big change I think I’ll be implementing is a change to the review bar, mainly changing the AVERAGE rating to OKAY instead. The words in the bar are meant to mirror how you might casually evaluate a game, and the word “average” contains some weird negative connotations I did not intend as well not matching the style of the other words in the bar. It’s a simple change to implement and better reflects that the game is decent, but I think Wikipedia describes the change best, as it literally says that when compared to Bad, Okay is better, but when compared with Good, Okay is worse, which is the perfect middle ground word. I enjoy doing review series so you can expect more of those, but I think the most important thing I need to do here is… ask for you help.
The Game Hoard has done much in its first year of existing, and I have tried my best to prove my commitment to it. Along the way, I’ve received some amazing support from my friends and family, Console Classix has helped immensely in increasing my access to games, and websites like Moby Games and IGDB are both great resources for the research I need to do in order to complete this goal. I appreciate developers who have sent me their games as well, like the people behind Epic Loon and Henry the Hamster Handler, as well as anyone who has lent or given games to the cause. However, no matter how you cut it, The Game Hoard can’t play every video game ever released on good intentions alone. Acquiring games will cost money, and I’d greatly appreciate any level of support you can lend over at https://www.patreon.com/thegamehoard as it makes it possible to continue this site’s work. I can say I will never give up on The Game Hoard, but it may become harder to do if it’s not properly supported and updates could become less frequent. Many Patreon runners compare a month’s support to the price of a single cup of coffee, and comparatively, a coffee is a one and done drink whereas The Game Hoard can keep bringing you content all year round over and over, and even for just 1 dollar a month, or 12 dollars a year essentially, you are helping me immensely. Not only does it make it easier for me to keep working on this, a single dollar can literally be a new game thanks to the prices of games on sale or older titles being sold secondhand. The Game Hoard’s game coverage will always be free to the public, but the amount of support received on Patreon will directly connect to how often and how well that can remain the case. Thanks for reading this message and just reading The Game Hoard in general!
Before we conclude though, this anniversary is also the perfect time for a Q&A! Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments and I’ll answer them as best I can. In fact, feel free to comment on any article regardless of age! I love to see what people think about the games I play, even if we don’t agree. In fact, the more people we have talking, the better picture we get of the game being discussed! And one part of The Game Hoard’s goal is making sure that no matter the game, people can find plenty of information an opinion on it somewhere on the web!
Before the Q&A though, I’ll cover a few FAQs here. These frequently asked questions crop up now and again on different sites and I thought I’d compile them here for easy reference and to better explain The Game Hoard’s goals.
QUESTION: Why haven’t you reviewed a certain game? When will you review a certain game?
Naturally, a site that covers games will get asked about specific ones, but while the site may not have covered a game yet, by definition, it will some day. The games I play aren’t determined by anything specific. Usually if I have limited access to a game I’ll try to play it for review in that span, the mood might strike me to play a game or my interest in it might be piqued, and other factors just might put it next in line for a review. Access to the game is a big factor and if Patreon support becomes good enough, then it becomes much less of a concern as I can better acquire rarer and new titles. It really can be luck of the draw what is played though, but sometimes that draw can lead to a game not being reviewed at the time. If I find I’m not feeling a game at the time, I might put it down to revisit later so that a poor mood doesn’t impact a fair evaluation. I also don’t have every video game system yet, so that is an obvious limiter on which games can be played at the moment.
QUESTION: Do you beat the games you review?
Yes! If a game has a main campaign with a proper conclusion, I always aim to properly beat the title before it’s reviewed, and all games on the site that is the case for. I also try to engage with optional content and modes, but some games do have some absurd qualifications for their optional content, meaning that I do not 100% every title. For games without a proper end or ones that are functionally endless, the aim is to see the breadth of their content before the review. A lot of older games just loop over and over, some puzzle games are designed to go until you fail, and some games generate new but similar content to technically make it impossible to do everything the game throws at you, but I aim to make sure I have gotten a good look at the game before considering it for review. This does lead to some oddity with games in constant development like MMOs and certain mobile games, hence why the site doesn’t cover those kinds of titles yet until I figure out how best to do so. The modern era of post-release patches and DLC does complicate things a bit, but very rarely do games undergo a drastic redesign that would completely change how they are played in the way MMOs and mobile games under constant development can.
QUESTION: How will you review a game that’s no longer available?
One reason I emphasize “released” in the tagline is to avoid some of the troubles found there. If some developer makes a game and immediately destroys it, they didn’t release it, they just made it. However, some games are released and no longer playable like old MMOs and multiplayer games with dead servers… but there are ways to make these games playable again. Fans have revived dead MMOs like Matrix Online and multiplayer games they have found ways to connect the game to fan-run servers, so while these will certainly be more difficult than most games to play, if The Game Hoard continues to gain attention, clout, and support, it will be much easier to arrange ways to play these “white whales”.
Make sure to look at this article’s comments to see other answers when they come! But for now, thanks again for checking out this site and supporting it during its first year of existence! Here’s to many more to come!