State of the Site, April 2015:
Getting Both Achievements and Closure

Apr 10, 2015
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Let's be honest for a moment: to play games in the 21st century is a chance to enrich your life, not just waste it away. The more time Zoë and I spend thinking about where to go next with Sprites and Dice, the more time is spent around a table together, pulling out Netrunner cards or unpacking a massive game of Super Dungeon Explore while we figure out where we want to go next with our joint project. While modern life gets busier and busier for us, we still find time to talk about our passion here, because it genuinely boosts our spirits, through cold winters and long bleary hours.

Games are a panacea for feeling helpless in a busy modern world, an immune booster for the spirit. They are an excuse to gather with friends and share in heroic and otherworldly moments of victory. There are so many worlds to explore, either alone or co-cooperatively, so why are so many games we excitedly buy stay on our shelves unfinished? That's what we want to take on this month at Sprites and Dice.

Two Years In, and Where We're Going Next

It's hard to believe, but this week, Sprites and Dice turned two years old. A lot has changed for the better since that first post. More polished writing, more writers, more frequent updates; not bad for a group of part-time volunteers. Zoë and I started writing because we felt that there was a distinct lack of positive voice in a lot of the gaming industry, and it was time to reclaim our hobby. Games are supposed to be fun, and games are also a way to have self expression, to get away from the stresses of life. It's important to capture that in the end, it's our privilege to enjoy these other worlds that have been made for us to mess around in.

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Yeah, it's a real pain, being forced to fight off hordes of evil monsters with other writers

It's no secret that Zoë, myself, and the other writers here have benefited from having to live by this sort of approach to our hobby. Our gatherings to playtest a new board game or talk about what games we should cover next are filled with excitement over possibility, rather than worrying about getting the numbers on our reviews just right. We don't review games we don't like, and we're not worried about objectivity: games are personal, and we are writing about why a particular game stuck with us, and just maybe why you would like it then too.

We've been blown away by the fact that we've expanded this much. To be honest, it's a little hard to keep up, our staff being full time students and workers. That doesn't stop our excitement though for what's coming down the pipeline. Zoë has been hard at work creating a brand new site for us, with a better fleshed out community section high on that list: we definitely want to hear the opinions of our readers. We're hoping to add a weekly webcomic, and some of our writers definitely want to get us to start doing videos too. As life calms down for some of us, we hope to cover more conventions, like GenCon, to help keep our articles more current, getting news to you guys faster.


Don't worry, the writers WILL work harder in the future...

Something we were nervous but excited about was adding a Patreon account just in the last month or two. There was a conscious decision to take down ad space, and a few dollars from frequent readers would mean a lot. The small little costs such as business cards at PAX East and hosting the website have been coming out of our own pockets, not to mention the hours of work. Even a dollar or two would mean a lot for our hopes to expand.

With that out of the way, one of my favorite recent changes is the start of themed months here at Sprites and Dice. Often times, there are issues or concepts in the gaming sub-culture that need just more than one article, and definitely more than one perspective, to tackle. A good example is a topic we have coming up, called Miniatures May : we have some writers that have loved games like Malifaux and Super Dungeon Explore for years, while others are pretty new to sitting around a table, getting their faces crushed by little plastic figurines. We want to cover the games you jump into and paint your own armies for, while also commenting on the gateway games like Zombicide, that make you realize how much fun this medium of game-play can be.

That being said though, what about this month? What topic do we want to touch on this time around? Well...

Let's Finish the Damn Game, Already

How big is your Steam backlog queue? Be honest. Is there a game that you couldn't wait for it to come out, but then never got around to buying for yourself, thanks to life circumstances? How about that amazing game that you couldn't get enough of for the first thirty hours, but never actually saw the end to? We all have one of those in our closets, but why?

Each of our writers has come up with a list of games that's been on their mind for the last few months. For some like Ben, it's going to be taking trips down nostalgia lane, looking up old favorites to see how they compare to modern day. For others like Eric and myself, it's about going after those games you never quite managed to finish.


Eric has willfully chosen to take on this behemoth. Poor Guy.

Why is this important? Well, closure, for one. These may be imaginary worlds, but whether its for fun or for work, the importance of feeling like you've seen something through can have a great psychological impact. Getting a rush of accomplishment is one of the main drives behind getting through the story of an RPG, or getting that perfect kills-to-deaths ratio in your favorite FPS match. It's one of the reasons why the introduction of achievements in gaming has really changed things both for better and worse, but that's a topic for another day. We want to explore that closure you can get when that one game you've been meaning to get to for years is finally done with.

Another reason for this theme is the idea of exploration: a lot of these games we will be finishing are years old. Do they hold up under modern day standards? What is it like to go back through and beat a game made in 1999? It's not just the graphics that have changed: game design has come a long way, and suddenly going through games that don't have save points and other more modern functions can be a bit bewildering.

So, with that in mind, April is our month for Finish the Damn Game , and it's probably going to be one of the recurring article themes we bring up in the future. We hope you like the approach on these, and would love to hear about your commentary too on these articles. Thanks for reading our little website for the last two years, and we hope you find more and more reason to come back.

Wyatt Krause

Editor-in-chief, Co-founder