With Your Host, Rob Remakes

Category: Business Page 1 of 2

Link: Frog’s Adventure / SEO content (Buried Treasure)

Though this is a recommendation of Sokpop’s Frog’s Adventure, it’s also a stab at the SEO mill that outlets find themselves having to work in and I have thoughts, sorry.

Honestly, this is something I think about way more than I should so if you’ll excuse me breaking up the “pointing at nice things” that I try to stick to wherever possible, about this stuff then...


Whilst John takes a potshot at the absurdity of publishing stuff that’s meant to appease the machines and the entirely arbitrary rules that Google inflicts on people, I think it’s worth noting that these articles being ridiculed are invariably written by the same people who are racing to get extensive guides out of the door.

There’s an overlap between the answering of simple questions across 300 words, complete with “ideal” formatting to fulfill Google’s requirements, and guides that take an immense amount of play, words and work to compile.

That these guides then get split up into disparate segments makes no odds to the amount of work required to put them out there but the job requiring those and elaborate yes or no answers helps obscure the amount of labour required for these guides — the speed at which they “need” to be placed online, the amount of time and effort someone has to put in to often sprawling and messy videogames just to get started and the huge amount of effort required to reduce that messiness down to something readable, understandable, by humans.


As we’re in the midst of watching suits try to replace workers with fancy autocorrect software, I think it’s worth keeping that overlap in mind because the suits certainly won’t. It’s beneficial to them for everyone to focus on the low hanging fruit of simple questions that don’t really need a 300 word answer (often just a “no” will suffice) because hey, nobody is laying off anyone doing anything that people do rely on! Just ignore the rest of the work these folks we’re laying off are charged with doing and how much of that there is, right?


These days with the MMO-ification of games, always-on live services and the likes, it’s increasingly rare for me to play through a big videogame and not have to hit up a guide for something. There’s a not insubstantial amount of games built with stuff that’s explicitly there for a (relative) handful of members of a game’s fandom to discover and unravel.

I go through phases of playing a lot of Destiny 2 and every few updates brings even more of this stuff to the game, every season contains new ‘secrets’ and completely obtuse tasks to fathom out and honestly, I have neither the time, the inclination or the ability to suss out the answers by myself and nor will the bulk of the players who will find themselves wanting or needing the solutions to these tasks.

So guides act as ways of spreading these solutions to the wider player base – anyone who isn’t 24/7 glued to a subreddit, a discord channel, a Youtube or Twitch streamer’s output. In other words, the bulk of the people likely to be playing a game.

It’s not just the huge megapublishers at this, it’s an accepted part of the gaming landscape now. Chunks of a videogame designed for an incredibly small percentage of players to work with is just part of what videogames in 2023 can, and do, contain.

Which is to say, the people who make videogames are complicit in perpetuating this situation also.


Not to get too Graeber over things here but guides are a very real case of bullshitized jobs. That’s not to dismiss or diminish the graft involved, just to point out that it doesn’t need to be like this.

We don’t need guides formatted primarily for computers to parse, we don’t need guides split into 300 pages with each page spending 300 words on each question regardless of whether it needs 300 words or not. The people writing these guides though? They need to be doing that because that’s the system we’re working in and it is bullshit built upon bullshit.

We really don’t need this many people working at writing mild variations of the same thing. There is a huge amount of needless duplication going on here and that takes time, effort, money and chunks of someone’s life to get made.

Does every large videogames outlet really need to be covering every tiny facet of a videogame that someone might be curious about, have a page or anchor for every query no matter how tangential or absurd?

On the one hand, yes they do. Because – again – that’s the system and if you want to keep the lights on at your outlet, there’s stuff that brings in the money so it gets done.

On the other hand, humanity absolutely does not need so many people on this job, busting a gut and racing to get this stuff out there, trying to tailor their words to be the ones a computer chooses to nudge people towards. A couple of people, maybe! This many and under ever changing computer appeasing constraints? Not in the slightest. It’s absurd.

It’s an industrial level waste of people’s lives and efforts, ostensibly just to help someone get unstuck on a videogame for five minutes. An enormous amount of graft for something so cosmically insignificant and unnecessary at this sort of scale.

And yet, here we are and people’s livelihoods depend on it.


Still. At least people get to see more adverts so it could be worse.

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Read This: The Law Is Whatever Nintendo Says It Is (Brendan Sinclair)

So. Dolphin, then.

From PC Gamer’s absolutely careless recent coverage around Nintendo and emulation to The Verge suggesting that it’s Valve “poking the bear” earlier today (conveniently forgetting that Valve are a huge business who not only have a working relationship with Nintendo but will -always- prioritise the sanctity of Steam above any developer by default), there’s been so many infuriating words around what’s been happening that I’ve been cussing a lot more lately.

Being old and coming up through channels where negotiating around cease and desists and limiting coverage was part of the territory does leave me extra sensitive to this stuff I’ll admit but still, I have spent so much time wondering what on Earth people are even doing at the moment. It’s been like so many people are forgetting what these companies are, never mind how they will always work. Having been told a few times now that emulation is absolutely legal and there’s precedent for that despite no such precedent existing, gnyah! Frustrating.

The Friday round ups over on gi dot biz are always pretty incisive and thoughtful, this week’s knocks it out the park with an interview that gets to the heart of the issues facing anyone existing in the legal grey area that is a portion of the emulation and retro scenes.

As well as providing a well sourced overview and commentary on the whole kerfuffle, there’s an interview with Jon Hangartner, the lawyer who represented Bleem when they found themselves on the recieving end of Sony’s legal wrath.

The most important points in the article and interview are that there is a difference between what is considered legal and what is just untested in court (emulation exists largely in the latter), that this grey area is preferred by companies in general as it puts them in a position of strength and – crucially – that this strength comes from simply having the capital at hand to keep going, keep making legal threats with a near unlimited war chest, thus meaning the other party will find their time, energy and money exhausted long before the company raising the legal threats ever will. Whilst the grey area remains, they’re free to continue! And they will! And they do!

While the lawsuit itself was a dud, Sony’s legal team did successfully make an example out of Bleem, serving notice that being in the emulator business carries with it the very real risk of being sued into oblivion by a massive company that won’t hesitate to spend a reported $10 million to accomplish nothing more than making your life miserable.

The law is whatever Nintendo says it is, Brendan Sinclair

Up until these past few weeks or so I had (wrongly, natch) assumed that people were generally aware of this and acted accordingly around these things. Whoopsy me! Mr Wrong Rob, esq. Just the PC Gamer coverage alone should have tipped me off on that one.

To be fair, most people doing the work in emulation and retro are aware of this and do see the value in keeping the work ticking along over some numbers but the intensity of recent weeks is enough to make me doubt which way is up, never mind the rest of it.

I am fundamentally not equipped for when the internet gets on one, I guess.

The law is whatever Nintendo says it is | This Week in Business | GamesIndustry.biz
This Week in Business is our weekly recap column, a collection of stats and quotes from recent stories presented with a…

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Ori And It Gets Results

“Was the feedback given in constructive ways? No. Was the feedback ultimately constructive? Yes,” said one developer, who felt the behavior of the leaders was atrocious but felt mixed in his opinion of the founders because they got results.

from this article on the studio behind the Ori games.

This is the most ass backwards way of looking at what happens when bosses and toxic workplaces damage the people that work there.

I’m not willing to concede that traumatising, upsetting and otherwise abusing workers is worth it if you get a decent videogame at the end of the process because there hasn’t been a videogame yet worth all that. There will never be a videogame worth all that, sorry.

Aside from that…

It is unnecessary. Nobody needs to treat people badly – nobody needs to be cruel – to make a videogame happen. Nobody needs to be broken to make something wonderful. If something wonderful is made, it is made in spite of the cruelty not because of it.

The repercussions, the results, go beyond the one game.

Every time we burn one person out, that’s one person less able to contribute their best to games. Every talented person who leaves games is a loss to videogames future, every person we break or traumatise we leave them less able to bring their “results” to future videogames. We take from videogames more than we gain when we burn through people. For the sake of one game, we jeopardise an unfathomable amount more.

The results are stolen from the future. They’re stolen from somebody’s future. The results are stolen from someone’s health, physical and/or mental. They’re stolen from the relationships, the families, the friends of the people we burn out.

“On balance”, the cruelty just breaks people. That’s never worth it.


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