Video game journalism sometimes feels like a snow globe. Everyone gets their gaming news from the same old sites and opinions are just regurgitated between the same old people, and even when things are shaken up, it turns out that the snow is all the same.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find some awesome sites that offer new value to the gaming blogosphere. Ever wondered why games are so addicting? Want to catch up on the indie gaming scene that most sites overlook? Or maybe you’re looking more for gaming-related humor?
All of that exists. You just need to know where to look. Here are some quality sites that you must check out.
Psychology of Games
In the 1970s, innocent Halloween trick-or-treaters were unknowingly subjected to a psychological experiment. At participating houses, bowls were set out with candy for the kids. When they came knocking, the homeowner strictly told the kids to take one candy and then left to another room, leaving the kids alone with the bowls.
Furthermore, prior to leaving, some homeowners asked the kids for their names and addresses. Other homeowners singled out a particular kid and held them responsible in case too much candy was taken. The remaining homeowners did neither.
Here are the results (courtesy of Psychology of Games):
One conclusion is that antisocial behavior increases in a person when their sense of individual identity is taken away. Anonymity is an extremely effective way for that to happen. As a result, it’s theorized that anonymous environments (like those found in most multiplayer games) are conducive to antisocial behavior.
And that’s why kids on Xbox Live will question your sexuality and insult your mother.
Psychology of Games is a beautiful blog that takes the findings of various psychological experiments and applies them to the world of video games. Ever wonder why Humble Bundles sell so well? Why free-to-play is so effective? Why we get so nostalgic over old games? Then this is the blog for you.
In addition, you may be interested in these human psychology TED Talks as well as these social relationship TED Talks.
There’s a world of difference between AAA games and indie games.
The games created by AAA companies tend to be backed by massive budgets and huge teams with packed development cycles, and that means publishers are less likely to take risks. Risk aversion leads to fewer innovations, resulting in modernized rehashes of the same old games. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you enjoy.
Indie games, on the other hand, have more freedom for experimentation. Fan favorite games like The Binding of Isaac and Papers, Please would never have seen the light of day at an AAA company. In fact, there are a lot of beloved games that you probably didn’t realize were indie.
What most people don’t know is that there’s a thriving indie scene with dozens of brilliant new releases every week. If you aren’t keeping up with them, you’re missing out. Head on over to the Indie Games blog and take it all in because you may find your next favorite game there.
If you love playing mobile games on your Android device, buckle up because you’re in for a wonderful surprise. SuperGameDroid is an excellent blog that covers Android gaming news, reviews, and hidden gems on the Play Store. Tired of the mainstream? Want to discover diamonds in the rough? Here’s the blog for you.
Right on the front page I see three reviews for games that I’ve never heard of. On closer inspection, these games are beautiful in art direction and unique in their gameplay. Truly deserving of attention, yet often lost in the haystack of otherwise mediocre offerings.
On top of the news and reviews, SuperGameDroid has a feature called “Kickstarter Spotlight” which sheds light on promising Android game projects that can be found on Kickstarter. If you’re into the crowdfunding craze of the last few years, you may find these posts particularly interesting.
If you love esports, you’re going to love Esports Express.
Think of it as The Onion meets competitive gaming. The writers on this site cover the three largest esports games of the last few years: League of Legends, Dota 2, and Starcraft 2. Fans of any of those games will find tons of laughs here. The satire is sharp, the jokes are numerous, and the topics are timely.
Here’s an excerpt to which many gamers might relate:
“I never get invited to parties anymore,” said the player we_need_wards, who first became suspicious when he noticed many of his friends appeared offline on Steam for days on end despite casually mentioning details of games they had played recently.
“They always say ‘maybe later’,” said the player, who has since changed his name to mid_only_plz. “When they are online, they say their party is full.”
“I think they might not want to play with me because my MMR is too high,” said can_u_call_missing??_ok, “or maybe they think low priority is too hard because I’m muted?” A widespread belief among party-less players is that the lack of parties may stem from jealousy or fear from friends who do not know “how to play correctly.”
If you don’t play any of the covered games (Dota 2 in the example above), you may not get the nuanced humor. If you don’t follow esports, you may not understand the context. But for the rest of you who love biting satire, Esports Express is a must read. Bookmark it right away.
New to the concept of competitive gaming? Check out these free esports documentaries to see what you’re missing.
These blogs are not meant to replace the big name sites like Giantbomb, Destructoid, and Polygon. Those sites are great at what they do and you should keep reading them if you like that type of content. However, when you need a detour for gaming content that you can’t find at the typical sites, these video game blogs will be there to fill the void.
What other lesser-known video game blogs do you know about? I’m sure there are plenty that still remain undiscovered, so why not share your favorites with us? Post them in the comments below!
Image Credits: String Head Via Shutterstock