On the Subject of Reviews

I owe a lot of gratitude to HonestGamers.com. Jason Venter’s tireless kindness and honesty has afforded me a chance to be read by a steady, and reasonably large audience. Maybe it wasn’t as active as it was in the old days, but as we see decline in all things, that’s to be expected. The power of visual media is practically overwhelming.

But that’s not what I’m on about, as a matter of fact. The written word has always supported visual media and only seldom taken center stage. This is a step forward in personal growth, away from a hobby that has had a very long run with me. Nearly thirty years. Not bad, gaming.

Would I say I regret a moment of it? Not for a split second. However, the time has come for this gamer to set down his controller to focus on more important work. Did I sign a book deal? Take on a job that would eat up all my time and pay really well? Am I running away because games suck?

“No” on each count. I’ve always touted that gaming is a worthwhile educational/training tool for the mental reflexes, and I maintain that is still true. Yes there are a host of moral issues to consider, but that’s something each player takes on as they see fit. I’m not your Dad, so do what you will. It’s your choice, and no one can take it from you. In fact, no one should.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That means I’ve avoided games with particular content, certainly moreso as my conviction and testimony have grown in strength. Each of us has choices to make, and we will answer for them, that’s how consequences work. For myself, it’s time to move on from review writing.

Oh yes, Bubsy on Fire was a more than subtle hint. Perhaps someone might do that game justice, but it wasn’t going to me. Yes, I did give some thought to perhaps giving it a fair shake, but when it comes down to it I can’t support a game that so inveterately wastes the time of its players. The issue is deeper than just a by-the-numbers theme pack, as it touches on the aspect of the industry that few like to talk about: Some of these games are just time wasters.

That matters to me because I’m looking to the salvation of souls. You heard that right. Even if I were to exclude that responsibility – which I won’t – the mere fact of games eating up time that can be literally spent developing life skills does not speak well of the state of the industry. The history of gaming is one of consumption, and we’ve stopped taking notice of what has been lost.

The very successful Nintendo Switch is peak example of just how oversaturated the gaming industry is. How many of us have bought and re-bought games previously released on other platforms? Just how many times do we have to circle around the drain before we’re totally sunk?

I’ll be the first to admit that even though I’ve made this determination the lure of gaming is still very strong. I anticipate that the hobby will continue for a while yet, but what has to change now is my commitment to the examination of them. It’s just too much negativity for me to be involved in any longer. Maybe now you’re thinking I could have just said that and been done with it, see ya later, dude.

That wouldn’t be honest, considerate, or fair of me. Perhaps it would be nice to see a resurgence of readers to Honest Gamers, but I’ve got to tell you I don’t see it. Things are changing, and either we’re going to dig deeper to figure out how we’re going to handle those changes, or we’re going to be swept away and left with nothing but remorse.

Sounds pretty dramatic, doesn’t it? Look, at the end of the day, what we learn from our experiences is the most important and valuable thing we will ever have. Now and in the life to come. I could get into a sermon at this point about the nature of mortality, but regardless of what you believe, standing up for what is good and right has got to be the answer.

There are a lot of people who are quite vocal about the what they believe and how others should think. I won’t do that, but I will share my testimony, which is what I know thanks to the Lord our God: We are all brothers and sisters of a vast family, and while we may not all want to sit down to dinner together, the example of God’s universal but conditional love is the best thing we have. Our potential is to be like Him, but we’ve got to get through this life to do it, and that’s the hardest thing we’ll ever do.

There are answers for all those questions we have, and they will come, in time, but not unless we start asking. In the meanwhile, we’re stumbling along with the best we can do, so by that token, I want to thank Honest Gamers, its readers, editors and writers, for all of the time and energy they put into the site, and into me.

Thank you.

  • September 2, 2019