When Sprites and Dice started years ago, it would be safe to say that we had no idea where we were going. It was two people who wanted to say some things about games they liked in a time where most major voices seemed to focus on tearing things down.
It’s been seven years since we started this weird adventure. It grew into an actual review website, with other friends from our college town wanting to join in. When we relaunched at the start of 2016, it was with renewed focus: we loved to write about indie development projects and focusing on games not often covered. At some point, Sprites and Dice had gone from being a small passing project to a real endeavor.
With our new staff of volunteers and the support of readers like yourself, we expanded to write more about board games, and then also about tabletop gaming. We got press passes to conventions, giving us more access to developers and letting us write more often. We refined our goals of building community and began hosting board game nights in our hometown bars. We even got funding thanks to many of you on our Patreon, to help us with our website costs and to assist in helping us get to those conventions.
We also learned important lessons at these conventions, such as how to avoid food poisoning.
As we now slog through the twilight zone known as 2020, I can easily state that it has been an absolute pleasure and privilege not just to write and edit these articles, but to interact with a community of gamers and game designers in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible back when we began this project.
The Overdue Overhaul
Sprites and Dice is evolving once again: as our readership spiked and our small community grew, we’ve been fortunate enough to try a lot of various ways to expand. From a renewed push for steady content to running weekly in person events, we had decided as a team that we were here for the long haul; we were ready to try and push this project to the next level.
To do that however, we had a major problem to resolve first: our website. Built from scratch back in 2015, it just wasn’t able to keep up with demand. Editing and manipulating higher res pictures from new cameras and tools was cumbersome. While we had made great strides in having better articles, iconography, and media, the actual skeleton of what we’ve been using just wasn’t up to the task.
What the website looked like for the last four years.
If you noticed starting in March this year, we were starting to have significant issues even having the website load while we tried to repair it behind the scenes. If you were trying to access our content during that time, you could probably tell our article output dropped thanks to the one-two punch of both website failure and the COVID crisis that sent us all running.
We promise that we haven’t been sitting idle however: thanks to the valiant efforts of the staff and especially Zoë, we now have a brand new website!
Crisper lines, better organized sub menus - a website that's easier to navigate is a win for everyone.
While it doesn’t look dramatically different on the surface, I can assure you that there are a lot of positives to our shift. Pictures and media should load smoothly, while mobile viewing has been optimized. Tags have been categorized and sorted, while our search functions have been cleaned up to allow you to look for the content you want. The server redirects have been permanently solved, and now we are ready to start bringing content to you more than ever.
Starting this week, we begin a whole new chapter in our journey forward.
That’s Where We’ve Been, But Where Are We Going?
If you've ever made it to our in person events, thank you - don't worry, we won't give these up once we can start meeting in person again!
After sitting idle for far too long, we’re going to be churning out content to make up for lost time. We’ll settle into posting three times a week again soon, and making sure that we’re splitting up our content between the four major categories that we have on our main page:
- News – Short articles of 750 words or less that are meant to give the highlights of information coming out of the woodwork.
- Features – Longer pieces that aren’t afraid to go into detail about a game. This could be something like Adam’s great guide on how to play Root, or an interview with a game developer about the design process.
- Opinion – Articles where we aren’t afraid to show our own voice will end up here. Shanna’s amazing first article about women in Parasite Eve is a great example of what you’ll be able to find here… or if we dare, Zoë’s six year old ode to Bidoof.
- Reviews – Our bread and butter, where we hope to bring our thoughts about all sorts of games, from digital to analog.
We have other ideas to roll out in the months to come, but in this first month expect us to focus heavily on getting our article content rolling smoothly again. We will also be updating our Patreon to be more accessible and to have more benefits; this website upgrade was only possible thanks to the support of our patrons, and its with their continued support that we will be able to keep hosting it for the years to come.
In the coming months, we will return to officially streaming after a long pause; we now have the staff and the technology to do so in a quality way. As we’ve sheltered in place for the time being, our discord has become more and more active, with game meet ups happening multiple times a week. We’re hoping to build a calendar right into our website, to make it easier to let our readers know when events are occurring.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. As we move into the next phase of this big project, we are really hoping to expand. Adding new voices with new writers, trying out other media types, while also always expanding our reach. We’re hoping to bring you quality content while we try and push towards more consistent work, and now that the website is done we are excited for what the next few months will bring.
To all our readers and fans in our discord channel: thank you. To all of our patrons and the people who attend our in-person events: thank you. It is your support and enthusiasm that has let us go on for as long as we have and will keep us inspired to keep getting better. If you are new to Sprites and Dice, then welcome: we hope to make you a fan.
Here’s to making the rest of 2020 a good year for our content and making sure we remember to enjoy life when we can, especially in trying times. Now more than ever, our motto seems to be something to keep in mind: life is short, so have fun gaming.