With Your Host, Rob Remakes

Category: Journal Page 1 of 3

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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Exploratory Void Machine: Singularity

June 2023

Nearly but not quite finished with the current expedition in No Man’s Sky. It took me a few tries to get into the groove of expeditions given I generally don’t care much for the guided parts of No Man’s Sky, preferring to just tootle around of my own accord looking at pretty things. Initially, I treated expeditions as you would a battle pass – tasks to be cleared, numbers to go up, churn through for rewards – and I hated them, approaching them like that completely ruined the experience for me. Completely joyless.

Eventually, it dawned on me that the only thing making me approach expeditions in that manner was my own brain (well, and everyone who has built these absurd compulsion loops into games in recent years to train it into that but let’s not go there right now), sure there’s stuff to be done, shopping lists to tick off but plenty of tasks invariably don’t need to be tackled in order or with any great haste. They can be a ramble, a meander, and I can still spend plenty of time mucking around doing whatever I normally do without too much concern. So yeah, that’s buggering around taking a lot of pictures and doing something to appease the videogame shopping list gods whenever.

That’s much more like it! I don’t have the energy or the patience for a game pressuring me into stuff right now, I just want peace, lasers and pretty things. And to spend ten or so minutes at a time lining up screenshots, natch. Same as I ever was, really.

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Detective Cat Whiskers (20?? – 2023)

Absolutely gutted to say my big bundle of clown fluff, Whiskers aka Detective Cat, has solved his last case.

Whiskers. Not pictured: the switch I was playing on before he sat on it.

The dozy big sod managed to break out, get himself wedged between a neighbour’s fences necessitating a full visit from the fire brigade to extract him. Unfortunately, dude has done himself a mischief too far, two broken legs (one front, one back!) and the rest of it. Absolutely heartbroken.

update: thanks everyone, we’ve been able to get him a local appointment this afternoon which we couldn’t have afforded otherwise. Thanks so much.

And I’m so sorry to have to ask for help again so close to Xmas but getting the dude put to sleep is going to cost us somewhere between three to five hundred, depending on which vet has a vacancy today, then we’ve got travel on top. I have no idea how the fuck I’m supposed to do this.

whiskers, on one of his many chairs.

My PayPal and KoFi are here if anyone can help. Me and the kids would massively appreciate it.

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