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NekoJonez’s April 2018 Update

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April 2018 is almost over and there are a few things I would love to tell about the future of my blog. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes, making my life extremely hectic and busy. So, I hope you don’t mind I keep this article extremely short. So, ready, set, go! 

Personal life stuff

Like I said in the introduction, my personal life is quite hectic at the moment. Next week, I’ll have a week off from work. While you would think: “oh, then Jonez has more time for articles.”, that isn’t true at all.

I took a week off from work because the final week of rehearsals for the play I’m in starts up tomorrow. That means I’ll be out of the house each and every evening to perfect the play and have the premiere upcoming Friday.

That’s a lot of work for sure, but during the day, I’ll be a student. Where I’m studying for an upcoming exam in college for my one to least subject. For those who are curious, it’s a SQL-exam.

Also, the past week was exhausting. Long hours at work, studying, acting and I started to play a bunch of new games to review in the future on my blog. I think I better focused on one game. But, hey, I wanted to play some different games too.

In addition to that, I have been buying games left and right, mostly Dutch edutainment games to complete my collection of some series. While I’m glad my collection gets more and more complete, I don’t have the budget right now to buy a Switch. But, one thing is for sure, this year will be the year I’m going to buy a Switch!

Blog work

When April is over, I’ll start making some changes on my blog. At first, I’ll fix typos in older articles and make small changes to articles. Most of those changes will be rewriting sentences that don’t make sense in English. You might have noticed here and there that I use expressions that make sense in Dutch, but not in English. So, that sort of things.

Besides that, I’ll be changing the layout of my overview pages. I’ll be merging some of them and others will have a design change. In addition to that, I’ll be merging some of my categories too. Series I don’t write anymore will go to an archive and other series will become sub-categories… I hope to be able to finish all the work by the end of this year.

For progress on this, follow me on Twitter. I’ll be tweeting out when I updated something. If the update is bigger then usual, I’ll be writing a short post on my Tumblr who, which is set up to give an automatic tweet when posted.

Besides all the reworking of my blog, I’m still fighting against article theft. Recently, I found out that three blogs (!) were stealing content from me again. Thankfully, two of three are down already. This all started with the publication of my Monster Tale review. I, NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming blog, haven’t got any request for using my review on another site… and yet, I found it on three other websites.

Currently, I’m trying everything I can to take down the root of the problem. It’s a website that is advertised by the three theft bots. So, I hope the websites where the accounts are located take them down.

 

Now, to close this section with some other news and that is that I’m thinking about something along the lines of Patreon or a PayPal tip yar. So, anybody who wants to support me, can. Now, where would this money go too you might ask. Well, all the money I earn from my blog will go towards my gaming collection. I’ll only buy games I want to review on my blog.

Now, I’m only thinking about this and I’m curious if there is interest for this. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section down below.

Upcoming articles

So, I have a whole list of articles that will appear in the future. My list is a bit too long in my opinion so some articles might not appear soon but later.

First of all, I want to write a first impression – review article on Neon Valley Revenge. Now that the game has been released on Steam as an Early Access title, I want to write an article about it. But, because I didn’t have the time and I had other developer requests waiting for me, I had to delay it a bit. If I find the time, this article will arrive in early May.

So, what games will be getting an article in the future from me? Well, here is a peak on my list of games I want to talk about. Do keep in mind, that this is subject to change depending on how much time I have and what games grab my interest.

God of Thunder (PC), Popolocrios (PSP), Pokémon Diamon, Pearl & Platinium (DS), Star Stable Online (PC), Drawn To Life (DS), Rob (PC), Project Zero II – Crisom Butterfly (PS2), Rayman (PS1), Mario Strikers (Wii), Tomb Raider Underworld (PC)…

Besides that, I do have some things to talk about I promised on Twitter. I have been asked this question by Bradon Green.

Also, I want to write articles like I wrote last week about my nostalgic memories of a series I love. Other series I want to take a look at in this format are Mario, Zelda, Lego games, Freddi Fish and various others.

The final thing I want to mention is that it’s possible that next week might have no article. Because, like I said earlier, I’m quite busy and my focus is more on my acting group and college. If I do find the time, I’ll write an article. Otherwise, next week will have none. It’s a great idea to follow me on twitter @NekoJonez if you want to keep up to date with the latest things happening.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say and keep you up to date about. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

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PSA: How to deal with stolen content?

 It’s no secret that I recently had to deal with two websites stealing my content. While everything is almost taken down, I decided to write an article where I talk about my experiences, tips, and tricks on how to defend yourself and take down content that is stolen from you. Before I continue, I want to make one thing clear, I didn’t write this guide to take down content you don’t like or you are trying to steal yourself. I wrote this guide to talk about the various methods that are out there for content creators to help them if their content is stolen. In addition to that, this comes from my personal experiences and I’m not a lawyer. Ask legal advice where needed. 

Protect your blog!

First of all, make sure you have a page/post that your readers can easily find where you talk about what you allow and don’t allow with your content. For me, that’s my DMCA page.

On that page, mention what you allow and don’t allow with your content. If you are stuck or unsure how to write this page, Creative Commons can give examples and you can use it to create your own license. But do read the whole license before copy/pasting it on your blog.

Know that this page/post will be looked at by lawyers in case of theft. So, make sure you cover everything with this post or page. It also makes clear what a user can and can’t do with your work.

Some websites also offer badges and other similar things to scare off potential thieves. Like Creative Commons I mentioned before and DMCA.com. You can actually pay DMCA.com to take down a thieving website if needed. If you are interested, check out both sites, since they provide useful and interesting insight.

CaptureIf you are using WordPress, like myself, don’t disable pingbacks! You can find these in your admin panel under “Discussion”. The reason for why that is, I’ll explain a bit later in this article. But, pingbacks can really save your skin or help you in your research. So, DO link to your older articles if you talked about something else in the past.

You can also take measures to the extreme and host your WordPress blog yourself and install and install a plugin that stops people from right-clicking or copying your text. Now, personally, I hate when websites do this. I’m not a native English speaker, and sometimes I have to look up translations for words. In addition to that, I get the impression that the creator doesn’t trust me with their content.

Now, let me state this for the record, I’m not saying that this is a bad idea; I’m saying that I’m personally not fond of this practice. Also, I don’t believe in protecting your site 100% this way. If you have a bot setup that can copy from HTML and the developer console, well; then your protection is busted. And for pictures, if you only disable the right mouse button, you can easily bypass that with a screenshot tool. So, yeah. And people share methods online that easily bypass a system like disabling right click like here.

With this, I wanted to say that not all protection or preventive measures will make a 100% theft proof system. Create a system that works for you and is easy to manage without your users complaining about it. I honestly think it’s no good idea to go into overdrive and focus yourself more on protecting your work instead of actually creating content…. Before I ramble on and on about this, let’s continue to the actual point of this article.

Before I talk a bit more about how to take down content, here are a couple of articles that provide helpful insight on protecting your work from theft. From tips and tricks to advice other bloggers gave about protecting your blog. Do give them a read, they are great.

https://wptavern.com/content-protection-plugins-for-wordpress-do-more-harm-than-good

https://en.support.wordpress.com/prevent-content-theft/

https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/protect-images-from-theft/

https://www.dreamgrow.com/prevent-content-theft/

https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2009/09/09/5-free-copyright-steps-every-blogger-should-take-today/

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/make-work-copyrighted-blogger-33454.html

https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-protect-blog-content-from-copyright-infringement/

Before I continue, know that the DMCA law exists. Please, read up on that law as well if you want to know more.

Take down stolen content

Okay, now for the actual meat of this article. I had to deal with a WordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress blog stealing my content. So, I can talk about both issues here.

Before you do ANYTHING like a DMCA or further research, do try to get into contact with the owner of the website. Once in the past, I found another blog stealing my content without credit. They had a contact page, so I contacted them and they took it down. Do the following steps when the owner of the website doesn’t reply.

Let’s tackle the easiest to take down, blogs on platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, Weebly… Here is what you have to do. First of all, be prepared for playing a waiting game AND possibly long mail chains with abuse and or legal teams.

So, one of the blogs stealing my content had a Tumblr, WordPress, Evernote, Weebly, Pinterest and Diigo account posting links various stolen material. On Tumblr, Evernote, and WordPress my whole text was readable.

Before you continue, do know that this is only something the original creator of the article can do. If you haven’t created the work, do not make a DMCA Take Down request, since this can have serious consequences. If you want to help the creator out, please report it to them and ask them what you could do. Making fake DMCA claims can create an even bigger mess. Just ask big YouTubers like Alex from iHateEverything who got into a fight with Derek Savage a few years back.

Now, you need to find the procedure for each website how to make a DMCA Take Down claim or anything related to that. Here are a few links that found that can help you if you need it:

WordPress: https://en.support.wordpress.com/our-dmca-process/

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/dmca

Evernote: https://evernote.com/intl/nl/legal/ip-compliance

Instagram: https://help.instagram.com/454951664593304

Blogger: https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/208282075858952

Twitter: https://help.twitter.com/forms/dmca

Fill in the required forms and DO read what you fill in. This can be a very serious process but fill in everything to the best of your ability. Do realize that you have to prove that you are the owner and creator of the work and you will have to provide permalinks to the stolen content and the original work. This codex entry of WordPress explains a bit better what permalinks are: https://codex.wordpress.org/Settings_Permalinks_Screen

After you fill in the required forms, you have to play the waiting game. Some requests can be taken care off in a few hours, others can take up to a week! Be patient and if further theft occurs, make a new DMCA Take Down.

Also, speaking from experience here, be as complete as possible. If a blog copied 53 of your articles, to provide 53 links WITH proof (original source) to avoid having to make a secondary DMCA.

Add in the DMCA comment box if the account also breaks other rules posted in the terms of service. In one case, I was able to get the account suspended without a DMCA request but with proving the blog was spamming and using an automated bot to post content to their account. This was enough for a certain company to suspend the theft from their site and fully remove it.

Now, onto the second part of this article. What if your content is stolen by a hosted WordPress blog? Well, first of all, you need to know the basics of how IP addressing and web hosting work.

Here is some help to get you started: TCP/IP explained, IP explained, DNS explained, how website hosting works, and WHOIS explained.

I’m not saying here that you need to be an expert in computers or internet technology to deal with this. If you don’t know what you are doing, please ask help at people who know more about computers and know more about networking.

First of all, do a WHOIS search on the offending blog. If the website is hosted by a company, you will get an abuse address. Before you mail this address, do check out the website of the hoster. If the abuse mail you got from the WHOIS search is for example:

abuse@thisisanexample.com

Go to “thisisanexample.com” The part behind the “@” is usually the website of the hoster. If not, google that email or part of that email.

Look at the terms and conditions of the hoster and act accordingly. If they have a live helpdesk, talk to the helpdesk and ask them what to do. Also, they can confirm if the website is hosted on their servers or not.

Mostly these mail addresses are in the lines of “abuse@hostname.com” or “legal@hostname.com”.

When looking in their Terms of Service, look at what they require from you for a DMCA take-down request or a take-down request. Provide the needed information to company and hope for the best.

Now, I had the bad luck that addresses that WHOIS gave me for the self-hosted blog wasn’t the host of the website but the owner of the domain. Now, the trick here is, either look at the name servers of the domain (mostly ns.hostname.region) or open “CMD” on a Windows computer and launch the following command.

“tracert website.com”

Replace “website.com” with the offending website. More often than note, the last trace will spit out the IP of the website and the hoster.

If this is still not helping, abuse pingbacks. Yes, I’m finally going to talk about it. When you get a pingback from another website, you usually receive an email. Guess what, the IP address of the stealing website is at the bottom of the email.

Use the IP address you get from the email to further do WHOIS searches and this is how I found the actual host of the website which kept stealing from me. So, do link articles you wrote so you have some pingbacks. If the theft bot steals your content and forgets to either disable the option and/or forgets to remove those links, you have their IP. I call it “pingback trap”. And it worked twice on the theft bot.

So, I found out who was hosting this thieving website, I mailed the helpdesk of the hoster and they forwarded me to their legal team and voila, the website is now being taken care off.

Final pieces of advice

If your and other people their work is stolen from a website, do content the other bloggers and writers. In my battle to take down the stolen content, I had two blogs contact me back and we agreed to all put in a DMCA takedown notice. Not too long after, the website was gone.

Do realize that taking down stolen content can eat hours of your time. Keep a journal or notes of what you did and who you contacted for what. Otherwise, this can become a big mess. Don’t get demotivated from this.

Do warn other bloggers about the theft. The action I took was the PSA Drakulus and I wrote together. The support from other bloggers can be so uplifting. All the reblogs and people lending an ear to vent out your frustration can help quite a lot.

If you really want to protect yourself and your blog from theft, don’t let this be the last article you read about it. I read a lot of articles and watched hours of YouTube videos on this subject to learn from what others did. I also talked to other content creators what they did and how they took down the stolen content.

So, there. That’s all the advice I can give. Thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed and learned something from reading this article as much as I enjoyed and learned from writing this. I hope to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

This post has been written by NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog. This post is written to spread information about his experiences with content theft. NekoJonez isn’t a lawyer and please; if needed to seek legal advice. I’m not responsible if you don’t do your research or don’t read something for the consequences.

PS: if you need any help on content theft, feel free to contact me. I’ll try and do my best in helping you whereever I can.

Quick Update on January and more

Hello, there dear readers of NekoJonez Gaming Blog. Thank you so much for reading my blog in 2017 and all the support I got and getting in these times when two blogs seem to steal my content. So, after a crazy December with a lot of articles too, I wanted to write a quick update for you guys and girls! 

Small break

It’s quite possible that the following weeks won’t have any articles or just short ones. No, I’m not bitter or thinking about quitting since my articles got stolen. Don’t worry about that. In a matter of fact, here is the reason why.

There are actually three. The first reason is that the holiday break is over and that I have returned to my full-time job. So, that means I have less time to play games and work on articles. The 2nd reason is that my theater group started to practice again for the upcoming production in April. So, I’ll need some time to study my lines and practice the play to perform. And the 3rd and final reason is that I’m entering exam time. Next week, I’ll have a final test and the week after that, I’ll have the final examination of the subject I was following.

So, my apologies if I’m a bit absent on social media or on posting new content on my blog.

Content theft update

In December, I haven’t given anybody permission to use my full articles on their blog. In fact, I didn’t even know that another blog was doing it. The past few days, I have been mailing around and trying to get every trace removed.

In a matter of fact, I don’t give permission to copy this article to any other blog. If you copy this quick update to any other blog then my blog that is NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog, you admit taking content from other blogs without permission. Most likely you are a bot as well since no sane human being would forget to cut this part out when copying this part.

But, I give permission to share the article’s link over social media, if only it’s a direct link to this article without any changes to the link.

I’m so thankful for all the support and attention that the PSA got. Thank you for sharing it around and making people aware that this isn’t okay and it should be stopped! That’s why I’m announcing that Drakulus and I are working on another article to support other bloggers into fighting back content theft like this.

So far, we were able to take a few accounts of one theft bot down. Both the WordPress and Weebly pages have been taken down. Currently, I’m working on taking two other accounts down of that same bot.

Besides that, I’m working as well to get my content taken down from that other website that is stealing and copying content. While the theft isn’t too bad on that website, I still want it to be taken down to make a clear statement.

If you ever wonder what I allow and don’t allow on my blog, I would like to refer you to NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog new page! It’s called the DMCA page! In addition to that, you can also see a “DMCA protected” badge at the side of my blog. Yes, that means that my blog is protected by copyright.

If you feel that I misuse any content that doesn’t belong to me, please, do contact me over my contact page. I’m always open to working out things behind the scenes without any issues.

Closing off & TL;DR

In summary, articles might slow down or stop for a few weeks since events in my personal life (job, working on getting down the theft of my articles, theater group, and college) are taking so much of my time. This might be better in a few weeks.

Also, I’m still working on taking down the stolen content from my blog, so far I’m making progress bit by bit. Thank you for your support and I’m so glad for all the support. There will be an article with helpful information for bloggers in the near future.

Besides that, remember that my blog is protected by DMCA now, so I have the legal right to make a DMCA take-down if you steal or abuse content from me. If you feel I abuse content that is written/created by you, please contact me on my contact page and I’ll do my best to work things out behind the scenes.

So, thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

PSA: See stolen content from content creators? Content theft!

Today, I had an unpleasant surprise this morning on the train to work. I found out that two websites actually stole my content! This was such a let down since the amount of content that was stolen from me is more than just one article. It’s almost all my articles from December. While I was working on contacting other sites and blogs that got content stolen, a good blogging friend of mine Drakulus wrote this article. And it’s actually a great lesson to learn. 

What do you if you come across stolen content? Do you ignore it? Or do you do something about it? What if the stolen content you come across is yours? 

WordPress is a great place to publish content of all sorts. Some people like to use it as a diary. While others, like myself, us it to express their love for gaming by reviewing games, writing excellent opinion pieces, and being active within the WordPress community. Some people, however, don’t use WordPress for any of those things. They use WordPress to steal another people’s work and post it as their own. They use it to make money by leaving half links to the creator’s blog to avoid suspicion and they use it to attract followers that would have no idea that the content that they’re reading and enjoying belongs to someone else. That’s what we’re here to talk about today. 

A fellow blogger has had a good chunk of his content stolen by two different blogs. The blogger is NekoJonez and he and I decided to write a piece on how to prevent something like this from happening in the future. The blogs in question are wponlinetutorials and proxly. Now I know I can’t accuse someone of theft without proof. How’s this for proof? (original article, written by me)

That post was taken from NekoJonez without his permission and posted on that site. He wasn’t asked by the owner of the blog if it was okay. They just took it and posted it as their own piece of work. That’s not cool and something needs to be done about it and that brings me to the point of this post today. 

NekoJonez note, if you want more proof, just look at the dates of my article about Nintendo Pocket Soccer Club. I published mine on the 10th of December and this ripoff blog published it on the 17th December. Yeah. 

If you want to do something about this to prevent this from happening again we need to look out for each other. We need to report these people that are doing this crap so they’ll know we’re serious about defending our hard work. I don’t know about you, but it takes me a few hours to write a single article sometimes. And if I knew someone was profiting from my work I would be pissed too and that’s why I’m doing this. I went through both blogs and noticed a lot of stolen content. Most of it is from NekoJonez, but other blogs were stolen from too. 

We’re bringing this issue to light and you can too by opposing this. Stealing is bad and shouldn’t be tolerated. Help us take these guys down by reporting them to WordPress. Click here to file a complaint. If enough people come forward and do this WordPress is going to have to force this person to remove all their stolen content or remove their blog completely. 

Let’s stand together and defend our work from thieves that are looking to profit from it.

NekoJonez here again. So if you notice other blogs or websites just copy and pasting somebody else’s content without using it in a good context, notify the content creator as quickly as you can. Personally, I wouldn’t mind people quoting me or using excerpts from my article to talk about their points, but if you copy the whole article, that’s another story. The content creator always needs to give permission before you use it, it’s just etiquette. 

I really want to thank everybody who already helped me file complaints about this so we can resolve this issue as soon as we can. I’m really thankful to all other bloggers who actually reported the stolen content as well so this will be resolved.

If you notice my content ever being stolen from another blog, use my contact page/DM me on Twitter or any other social media platform.

If you notice other bloggers content that gets stolen, like I said before, contact the blogger in question before you take action. If the content owner wants you to report it as well, he or she will ask.

Also, try to not make a big fuss about it at first. Why am I saying this? The reasons are simple, don’t wake sleeping dogs AND don’t give a website unneeded traffic. Who knows, they might have a system with links setup, that every time they get clicked they earn money.

I think I can speak for all of us content creators here, we are always thankful that our audience reports stolen content to us. This way we can avoid people abusing our content and avoiding creators giving up on following their passion!

It’s never fun to see your content stolen since you put your time and effort into it. Having to deal with researching, contacting hosts and WordPress and other blogs who got content stolen is so time-consuming and you lose time spent elsewhere in your life. On the other hand, you could argue that we shouldn’t care, but what’s the point then of writing content again?

Thank you for reading this PSA written by me and Drakulus. Thanks for all the support and help! Feel free to tweet this article out, share it on Facebook or on any social media platform so we can raise awareness to this issue and start fighting it.

(PS: How ironic would it be if this article gets stolen from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog and posted on one of those bot/stealing websites)

Creative Christmas #8: Nomnomnom

OrnamentsTrim_treetoppers99792-171002_1506972985225So, now that we had the Christmas party and the gifts, I think it’s time for food. Oh, I am not allowed to go on the dinner table when I don’t come up with a theme for these articles? Man, that’s unfair. I’m writing in a creative matter here while you would be able to enjoy the delicious foods served. I’m trying my best to come with a good idea for this LaterLevels collab you know. So, please let me eat while I think of a theme and answer today’s question.

It’s now time to head out to the kitchen to put on your oven gloves and start preparing Christmas dinner. It consists solely of video game food; what’s on the menu?

Besides pre-heated stuff and a few extremely basic things, I haven’t cooked on a day in my life. I haven’t played a lot of games that talk about food either. So, I had to look through my game collection for an answer.

One thing is for sure, most of the things I remember in terms of food are the strange food things happening. Like in Stella Glow, how Lisette’s cooking always turns purple or how Chloe only wants to eat meat in Etrian Odyssey Untold 2.

One game that involves cooking in a way is Minecraft, but that would be a bit cheap to put the food items of that game on the list. Since most of the food items in that game are food items you can eat in real life. Besides the purple fruits, but do you want to teleport to another location each time you take a bite out of your meal.

So, instead of giving a long explanation of which types of food I would like, I think it would be a great idea to make any of the foods in Breath of the Wild. Actually, if you want to make them in real life, don’t worry. I know an excellent blog you can use for that! It’s called Sheikah Plate.

As an appetizer, I could take some glazed veggies, as a main dish I could take some salt-grilled gourmet meat and some apple pie as a desert.

That could be one possibility. Since I’m playing Etrian Odyssey Untold 2 lately, it would be fun to give foods I would love to try in the real world. Here you find an overview of everything in the game. Beware of possible spoilers though when you click that link.

Here are a few screenshots of the pieces of food I would love to try:

Of course, there is a lot more I would love to try from the menu, but eating it all would be impossible I think.

The food in Monster Tale also sounds quite interesting, to be honest. But, you feed it to your monster pet to let it grow. So, I think I better not eat that, since I think there are some special growth hormones in it.

(Talking about food, dear Glados, you still owe me a cake!)

Before I end this, the food I wouldn’t put on my menu are the following:

  • Any meat from the Castlevania series. You never know it came from a wall or a monster drop.
  • Anything from FallOut, the radiation would be off the charts. No thanks.
  • A bottle of Pepsi from the Pepsi Man, that will be shaken up as all heck. So, I don’t want soda in my face.

I think you get the idea. In any case, I think I’ll leave it here. To be honest, I don’t know enough about food to make a decent and long article so, I think this is the best answer that I can come up with. Besides, in almost all the games I play, the food is somewhat realistic so far as I can remember.

So yeah. Forgive me for a shorter article. In any case, I thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

Gamer’s Thoughts: Giving out Blogging Advice

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So, a few days ago, I got asked on Twitter how I was able to write an article each and every week. In that same tweet, I got asked how I found the time and energy to even write two articles a day for two weeks. That kept me thinking, maybe I should write an article where I talk about some blogging advice I would give to people who want to start blogging and want some pointers or some stories from experienced bloggers. If you look in previous articles of my “gamer’s thoughts” series, you will find various other articles where I talk about the life of a game blogger. I even talked about my whole process how I work an idea for an article. Yet, here are some more pieces of advice I can give you as somebody who has been blogging for 7, 5 years about games and isn’t sick of it in the slightest. Also, don’t take this advice as gospel. These are the things I would say to new bloggers, but take these more as things that could help you blogging instead of things you have to do to have a good or great blog. In addition to that, any questions or other suggestions, that’s where the comments are for!

Side note: Since I have been a gaming blogger all my life, I will mostly talk as a game blogger.

Work out a theme

A great thing to start with is a theme for your articles. The theme of my blog is my journey as a gamer through life. I write articles about the games I played or subjects I want to talk about. In addition to that, I’m a retro game collector and I enjoy playing games that not too many other gamers play. If you are worried that your personality might not be interesting enough for people to start reading your blog, don’t worry. Think first about what you want to write about and then start blogging.

Also, make the theme on your blog clear enough. Blogs without a general theme don’t have any selling points for other people to start reading your blog. For example, I enjoy it when people say to me that they discovered a new game because I talked about it.

A great example of a theme is blog run by the Well Red Mage. He has a whole blog setup where everything is themed where each writer is a mage in a sort of fantasy RPG called the life of a gamer. It’s really enjoyable to read in the right mindset and I think it’s a great example for a theme.

 

If you are thinking of a theme, and this will sound quite logical, but take a theme that fits you and isn’t something you will regret about later. I enjoy talking about the games I add to my collection and I can still do some little tweaks here and there to my theme, but I feel comfortable with the theme I have on my blog.

While I’m talking about a theme, branding is everything. Look for a name and something that can stick. Make a logo and banner for your blog and social media where people can easily recognize you and what you are about. For real, branding and a right theme can help you quite a lot to write.

Do NOT overdo social media

So, do you need a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Reddit, DevaintArt, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat…. for your blog? Well, while it can be quite useful to have some presence in the social space; it can also hurt your blog in the long run. If you have too many dead social media accounts or accounts only used to spread your articles, people won’t be interested in it. There is a reason why I only have a Twitter & Tumblr for my blog.

I use Twitter to quickly post updates on my blog for when I’m unable to write an article or when I want to share a quick thought. I use Tumblr to share things that are too long to put into a tweet, like when I want to share a list of games I’m thinking about reviewing or some blog updates I did. But, every post I do on Tumblr is shared on Twitter. So, there is one account people have to follow and can get all their information from. Otherwise you might create the illusion that information can be spread over various accounts that are mostly inactive.

So setup only the social media accounts you are planning to manage. Don’t set up social media accounts just to spread your articles or your online presence. You will divide your audience even more and it has the potential to cause an even bigger headache.

Something that is extremely handy for a blog is a contact page. Make your contact page inviting but also state rules of contact. For example, take a look at mine, I clearly state that if game studios want me to review their game, I have to be interested in it. I don’t promote things that I don’t feel comfortable with. Why should I promote things I don’t even believe in myself?

Worrying about numbers

In my honest opinion, I don’t worry about the numbers of my articles too much. The main reason why I blog is to have fun and have the ability to write about my thoughts and opinions. I think that you only should worry about the numbers if you are making money from your blog. If you are doing it as a hobby and you don’t want to make it a job, do not worry too much about the numbers.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay any attention to the numbers of your blog. I find it very flattering when people enjoy my content and write comments, like and share my articles. Personally, I aim to have at least one like on my article. Even when I don’t get any likes on my article on WordPress, if somebody favorited the tweet of the article, I’m happy. That way I know that the article was good enough to be enjoyed by somebody. And that is my main goal, entertaining people.

Use the analytics to draw conclusions. Look at the articles that pull in a lot of views and analyses them why they work. What did people like about it? For example, I wrote an article in the past about one of my favorite Dutch edutainment games, but it didn’t pull in too many views. This means that if I want to talk about other games like that, I could write about those games when I have some other big articles in the works people are excited for. As a “filler article” you know?

In my experience, I find that thinking about if an article will bring enough readers limits my creative freedom. Since I love talking about games that I play and in most cases, they aren’t the mainstream games.

All I’m saying here is, as long as your blog is a hobby, don’t lose sleep over the fact that sometimes your numbers will be low.

Write how you want

There are literally millions of tutorials out there on how you can start creative writing. While they are interesting to read, I highly advise you to not follow them to the T. Just like drawing, writing is an art form you learn by practicing. While I realize that some people have the natural talent to write stories and articles like it’s nothing. Take it from me, a guy who has written stories all his life since childhood, natural talent can take you only so far as you allow it to go.

I taught a lot of my writing skills by analyzing other writers their work and not only written works. I looked at the story in games, movies, comics amongst other things. Why did they first reveal this before they revealed the other thing? Learn from other creators and use this as a base for the way how you want to write. It took me quite a few attempts to find out how I want to write. I usually first lay out how I want the article to be, then I look for good screenshots and then I start to write the actual article. I always listen to music while I’m writing.

Something I can’t stand while writing is a podcast or watching a video. For some reason, that distracts me too much from what I’m writing and I tend to write about what I’m hearing instead of what I wanted to write about. Also, I tend to try out different programs to write in. Some articles are written directly in the editor of WordPress, some articles are written in WordPad on one of my retro gaming computers and others are written in Notepad++. I enjoy changing things up once in a while, to have a different mindset while writing.

Personally, something I find dangerous to look at is the word count. I know so many articles that could have been so much better if I didn’t limit myself to my usual 1000-1500 words limit. Sometimes you need more or fewer words to get your point across. If you want to write walls upon walls of text, go ahead. But beware, the longer you make an article, the smaller the chance is that it will be fully read.

Also, whenever you are writing and you feel that something doesn’t work, rewrite it until you feel happy with it. Know that the first version of most articles will most likely be the worst version of it. Even I had to always make edits after I finished the first version to make the article flow a bit better.

Avoid burning out

Don’t ever force yourself into writing an article. It’s a golden rule that you can take from me. When you don’t feel like writing, just don’t write. I can personally read an article when I forced myself to write about something. Rarely do they come out good and I rather delete it then continue to write it. There are so many articles that I started to write but halfway deleted.

But how am I able to write an article each week and sometimes even two articles a day? Well, ever heard about writing articles in advance and storing them for later? Or, in one of the past weekends, I had a writing session where I wrote around 10 articles in two days. Know that the actual writing process takes around an hour and a half for me. Yeah, I had a writing marathon. I enjoy writing so much that I write to relax.

If you want to start a gaming blog like myself, start writing the article in your head while you are still playing the game or doing research. Have a notebook or a tablet nearby where you can put quick thoughts and notes in. Even start writing paragraphs in it.

Also, look to your day and how much time you lose by doing literally nothing. If you have the downtime, use it to think about your writing. Not all the time of course, since that will possibly cause a burnout. If there is anything you should avoid that is burning out in writing. Like I said earlier if you have to force yourself into writing, don’t write. I have been there. It’s better to take a break from writing and try again later.

Conclusion

So, that is all the advice I have to give for now. My biggest advice is, write how you want and about what you want. If you keep enjoying writing, you will put soul into your work and you will automatically attract readers. Together with a theme and an active social media presence, you will get far. Also, remember that is an extremely fun but time-consuming hobby. While most of this advice is catered towards the people who wanted to start blogging for fun, I think this article has also some advice for more professional people.

If I explained anything unclear or you have some questions for me or other bloggers, go down to the comments and start a conversation. I’ll do my best to helping you where I can.

In any case, I thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you had as much fun as I had writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

NekoJonez’s May 2017 Update

SpartaSleepingHello there, it’s time for another update blog. The summer season is almost here and I think it’s time to tell you my schedule for the summer of 2017. Also, there are a few things I want to update you guys and girls about what’s going on behind the scenes in my life and my blog. While I’m introducing this update blog, you can enjoy a picture of my lovely cat Sparta napping. She turned 9 years old last month, so yeah. In any case, it’s time to get the updates rolling! 

My favorite gaming music #20 article progress

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At the moment of writing this update article, I have to still write 20% of the article. After that, I’ll have to proofread the article, finish the layout and then put in all the tags and then do the final touches before I can publish it.

But, I can’t publish the article right away. I’ll tell you guys this, I first want to talk about a few games before I can publish the article. So, in the upcoming weeks, I’ll talk about those games. That’s all I’m going to spoil about that.

Writing this article is one of the biggest writing projects I have ever done for this blog. I can’t wait until it’s finished to show it to you. It’s going to be a very long article so, be prepared when you are going to read it.

If everything goes according to plan, I think I’ll be able to publish the article in either July or August. Remember, if you followed me on Twitter, you might have already known this.

Future content during the summer

While I try to plan everything out, sometimes I get a mail about an interesting game and I reschedule everything. But, I do have to say that I have the next 10 articles planned.

At this moment in time, my schedule has cleared up quite a bit. I finished my evening classes for this school year and the play ended last month. So, that means I have a bit more time for my personal life and this blog.

When I have the time, I might publish more than one post a week in this summer. But, because it’s summer time, I’m planning a few trips to meet up with friends and family so, it’s possible that I won’t publish articles in the weekend but during the workweek.  Pay attention, this will only be during the summer period. Because in September, my evening classes resume and not much later I’ll start to be in the rehearsals for the play in 2018.

I think it’s a great idea to follow me on Twitter since it’s so easy to publish quick updates. Also, feel afraid to tweet at me. I only bite in my food, so it’s all good.

Guest articles

Behind the scenes, I’m working with a few bloggers on a big project. I’m actually thinking about doing some collaborations with other bloggers. I won’t announce them in this article since they are still in the planning phases.

Speaking about guest articles, did you know I was a part of the Question of the Month articles in April and May? If you are interested in me answering the question of the month over at LaterLevels, well give it a look. I won’t spoil the question for June, but I have already submitted my reply for that!

Oh, if you are a blogger yourself and you want to do a collab with me, just send me a mail, tweet me or use my contact page. I’m open to collabs! I find them so much fun to do!

Misc updates

Here are some quick and smaller updates that I wanted to share.

Garage sale season is restarting. I can’t wait to go out on the hunt in the near future. I have a few ones already planned. Loot pictures will be on my Twitter when I find new games.

I have bought a 2nd 32GB SD card for my 3DS. Yeah, I was able to get a 32GB SD card full with games on my 3DS, I have since the 3DS released.

I was able to fix my gaming desktop finally. About time! It has been running excellent since Easter without any hiccups. So, the issue was that my 450W power brick was unable to get enough power to my hardware when it was under high load. I replaced the power brick with a 550W one, and it runs all the games I had problems with without any issue. I’m so glad I have my desktop back.

Also, if you follow me on Twitter, you might know that I tried to fix a computer I got from my grandfather in late April. It was a Packard Bell that I was unable to find drivers for anywhere on the internet. So, after replacing a faulty RAM stick and a new hard drive, I got the machine up and running again.

So, now I have two retro game PCs and a gaming desktop. My first retro PC is a Windows 98 SE machine with 512MB of RAM, 900MHz CPU, and 120GB HDD. The graphics are integrated on the motherboard. The new retro game PC is a Pentium 4 2,7 GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 180 GB hard disk and the graphics are also integrated.

If you are wondering, my main gaming desktop is one that my uncle and I put together. It has a 3,7 GHz CPU, GeForce GTX 660, 120GB SSD, 2TB HDD and 16GB of RAM. It’s a powerful machine. While it doesn’t have the best graphics card on the market, I mainly use this computer for my evening classes. And in my evening classes, I have to use a lot of virtual machines and this computer is very good for that.

In any case, that’s everything I wanted to talk about in this update. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

Gamer’s Thoughts: Questions of a gaming blogger

Arpegi BackFrom time to time, I look at my list of articles I want to write about. At the bottom, underneath all the games I want to write about is a section with questions. Today I’m going to talk about a few of them. I have chosen a theme for this article as well. How I think when creating these articles and all things related to that. If you ever have a question for me that you want to answer, put it in the comments of a relatable article, mail me or tweet me. Who knows, you might inspire me for a future article. 

Should I review the game on the best specs?

 Yylf2y5This is an issue I have mostly when I’m reviewing PC games. Should I play all my games on the highest settings and review or write with the highest settings in mind?

This is a tricky one to answer. How I honestly see it, I don’t think that’s a great idea. When I’m reviewing newer games that demand a very beefy PC, I try to play it on the highest settings that my PC will allow. While I have rather decent specs, I don’t have THE best specs for playing the newest games on the highest setting. I have a 3.8 GHz CPU, 16 GB RAM and a Nvidia GTX 660. It can run most of the newer games on medium to high settings.

You could argue that a reviewer always should play the game on the highest settings. I honestly believe otherwise. Why play the game on the highest setting? Like I said, I try to play it on the best settings for my PC. In the end, I’m reviewing a game; and there is more to it than high or low-quality graphics.

Besides, not every who reads reviews has a beefy PC to play on the highest settings. So, I think it’s best to play on medium settings. That’s the in-between zone for everybody.

Can a blogger review a game twice?

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Can a blogger review a game twice? Well, I do that with some games. For some games, I first write a first impression and when I have beaten it, I write a full review with my final opinion.

When I write my articles, I try to write them in a way how I experienced the game on that playthrough. It’s how I feel about that game at that moment after I have beaten it and did my research.

When a blogger changes his/her opinion after playing the game a second time or years later… Well, you have two options. Either you edit your original review or you write a new review. If I would change my mind on a game, I would write a new article in reference to the original article. Since then you can talk about how your opinion changed.

But I try to only review a game once. While I replay games from time to time, also the ones I have written about, I think it’ll only create confusion for your readers. Or it would look like you have an article that praises and bashes the game. And that’s not a good idea.

 Does a blogger need to stick to a certain generation?

Game Boys Advance

What I mean by this question is that a blogger or a review needs to stick with a certain platform or genre of games?

Well, in my opinion, the answer to that question is yes… But to a certain extent.

The games I write about are the games I have played or I’m playing at the moment. It’s a sort of gaming diary of my gaming life. So, I write about the games I buy.

When you write a blog or have a YouTube channel, it’s always a good idea to have a theme. For example, you review PlayStation games or talk about everything XBOX. But, talking or review about something else wouldn’t hurt.

The reason why I write these gamer’s thoughts is to be able to talk about something else. Since writing about the same or similar subjects can feel restrictive sometimes. I admit, it’s fun to write this kind of articles, but they are a lot more work to prepare.

In any case, there is one big argument that I haven’t addressed and that’s the audience. People who read my blog are either looking for a review of a certain game or want to read what I’m up too or what I’m playing. When I would change that, I would loose readers. But then again, I would create a new audience.

So in short, it’s a matter of finding a right balance between what your blog or channel is about and where you want to go with it.

Closing off

While some questions I have talked about in this article might have an easy or obvious answer… I think it’s fun to think about them from time to time.

It helps me to think outside the box and write some interesting articles. Besides, they make for interesting conversation topics between creators.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions or ideas for future content… Feel free to leave a comment.

I hope to welcome you at another article but until then, have a great rest of your day!

Follow-up: NekoJonez’s Blogging Future

Alright, NekoJonez here. And I’m the only writer again on my blog. Now, like MrLiamMills said in his announcement, he stops blogging to move to other projects. That means a few changes on my blog and such. So, let’s talk about them.

MrLiamMills & I

 It’s true, we are still good friends. The thing with doing something creative like blogging, making video’s or something of that nature is that it can be very demanding. I respect him quite a lot and I want to pat him on the back for being honest.

I heard about his new project and he sounds every excited. I’m very curious what he is going to do. I wish him the best of luck in his new project(s).

, talks between us didn’t happen as often as they should have.

Allow me to explain this a little bit more. This is because we have a busy life. I’m studying to become a server manager and he to be an driving instructor. I am working full time and I’m also practicing for my play mid next year. … The point that I’m trying to get at, is that we are both quite busy and rarely have time to talk. So, nobody is to blame here but the way how life goes.

Changes to my blog

The other blog with security thingies and such… Well, I kinda dropped the idea. Blogging is my creative outlet. A way for me to unwind. I tried to write some articles about security and movies and they… well, were not so good in my opinion.

The big issue is that I’m still pretty new in the field of security and I don’t know a lot about movies. Because I know more about games and the video game market, it’s easier for me to write about the video game market.

Also, most of my ideas I have is for this blog. And the final reason is that the idea of having 2 split groups of people reading my content does sit well with me. I mean here, it wouldn’t be easy to please everyone then.

The other changes to my blog are that only I write articles. But that’s logic, no?

In any case, because I have a quite busy weekend, I think I might not write a game article this week.

Oh, and if MrLiamMills wants to write & publish an article in the future, he is always welcome to do so!

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you understand the changes I made to my blog. In any case, I hope to welcome you another time and in another article. Until then, take care~

First Impression: Europa Universalis IV (PC ~ Steam) – Thank you Mizari.

EuropaUniversalisIV_Packshot_editedLink to the official website

For the people who read my blog often, they might know that one of my best friends is Mizari. I often call him MiseryLC or anything among those lines. One of his favorite games is Europe Universalis IV. Recently I decided to give it a try with him myself. The gameplay and the genre looked interesting to me, so I bought it while it was on sale. After playing almost 40 hours in about a week or so, I think it’s safe to say that I’m having quite a lot of fun! So, shall we take a look at this game and what first impressions it left on me? The issue is, in order to write a review for a game, I have to beat it. While you can “beat” this game, you can restart it with and play it in another way. So, I think I’ll write a review after I played around 150+ hours of this game. So, that said, it’s time to start talking about this game, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment on the game and or the content of this article. 

Age of Empires?

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When it comes to games where you need to build your own empire(s), I prefer the gameplay of Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. So, when I first started to play this game, I was quite confused. I might have looked over the tutorial but I haven’t seen one. Thankfully, Mizari is showing me the ropes. It’s quite handy to have a friend to play this game with.

When you start to get the hang of the game, it gets quite interesting. There isn’t any story in the game as far as I have noticed, since it’s one that you can make yourself. In our multiplayer sessions I play as Russia and he plays as the Ottomans. I don’t think that the Russians and the Ottomans ever formed a friendship.

 Numbers game.

2015-03-08_00001At first, I thought that most of this game would be a number game where higher stats would mean a better country. Let me tell you that it isn’t the case. Your goal is not only to manage a country but also you need to manage the relationships with other countries and such. When you don’t improve it at frequent intervals, you could get into trouble.

In my early multiplayer sessions, I regularly got attacked by other countries. I wasn’t that careful in managing my military points so I got attacked. But when countries that were afraid of MiseryLC’s empire also started attacking me, all I had to do was improve the relationship with his country and the attacks stopped. This makes it more then just a numbers game. It gives a realistic vibe to the game where time is just indicated by numbers.

The big issue is, that when you are just a beginning player there is way too much to play with. I found the tutorial when I wrote this part of the article, and only seeing three lessons, made me facepalm. The depth of this game, you can’t really explain that in three sessions. Well, you could but you might risk that you overflow the new player with too much information at once.

If you want to start playing this game, I highly recommend that you first play the game with a sort of guide. Don’t play in IronMan mode, since you can’t “roll back” choices. Speaking about that, there is one thing that is disappointing to me. You can only unlock achievements in IronMan mode. I think it would be better otherwise. I might be looking over a logical reason for why it’s ‘Ironman only’… but I hope that isn’t the case.

Nitpicking

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This game updates a lot, which can be annoying sometimes. During my play sessions I had a few nitpicks. Recently, MiseryLC and I started a new game where we would play content from the quite recently released DLC “El Diablo”. It’s kind of neat that somebody who doesn’t own the DLC is able to play the game and it’s content then as well. But you play with a very unstable game then. My game crashed 3-4 times in 20-ish minutes.

I was able to fix it by buying the DLC myself and then play with him. While there is a lot of DLC for this game, various ones are simply cosmetic. Now that I think of it, a handful are just music packs.

Talking about that, the music for this game is outstanding. In my previous (music) article I actually talked about a track that I really liked. But often, I had moments where my country was in war and relaxing music was playing. This actually took me out of the experience. But a neat kind of hidden feature is that when you hover over the date, the title of the song actually is shown.

So, this game is amazingly polished and I already lost various hours to it. I plan to play it for even more and probably write a more in-depth review of game. But there is so much to cover, the length of my usual “first impression” articles don’t quite cut it.

Apart from some irritating bugs, that sometimes get patched a few hours after they have been found, and some odd things here and there… The game is quite fun. Also, the search option to look for provinces is such a god send. Without it, I would had more rebels in my country then there are M&M’s in a M&M bag.

Anyways, I think I have said most of the things I wanted to talk about this game. I hope you enjoyed my first look at this game and if you are interested in the game, I advise you to not buy it with the DLC included. Since those can add some new gameplay layers that might make the already quite overwhelming game even more overwhelming. But once you get used to how the game plays, the hours can fly by really quickly. Just giving you that warning.

Birthday Special – Gaming Nostalgia: My loot crate

7small_logo_tinted_1413251026__91038th February is my 22nd birthday. So, I saved a special article for today. A week or two ago, a company called ManCrates mailed me with the question to write an article about what I would put in a crate when the theme is “gaming nostalgia”. They asked to talk about my personal memories. They found the right guy, since the fact is that the series of gaming nostalgia is exactly these kind of articles. So, here we go, let’s talk about what I would put in a crate about nostalgic video games to me and why. Before I continue, I invite you to take a look on their “gifts for men” page. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment on the content of this article.

Other articles

I wasn’t the only person they asked to write an article. They asked a few other bloggers to write about it. If you want to read more about them, I’m so free to link their articles.

http://mmofallout.com/column-retro-gamer-stories/

http://frostwolves.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-i-would-put-in-world-of-warcraft.html

http://gamerssphere.com/2015/01/23/gaming-nostalgia-become-gamers

Also, this isn’t a sponsored article. Somebody of the company mailed me to suggest this article and I liked the idea. But if you are interested in the company, feel free to browse their site.

Before I put the crate together.

So, I took a look at what crate they offered for us gamers, and I looked at the biggest package of them all. Honestly, I think the create has great content but I wouldn’t put sweets in it, since if you would start shipping them overseas… You might run into people not liking candy from other countries and/or cultures. But hey, it might be a surprising nice experience.

Anyways, I’m not reviewing the create, I’m making one myself. Please forgive me if I also think a bit business-wise. The reason for that is that I did a business education. It’s a sort of reflex to me.

So, in short, my gaming life from child till now. I played mostly gameboy games. I rarely played on other devices. I also played on the computer but I didn’t had many DOS-games or things like that. I grew up on Gameboy games and the underdog PC-games.

My first console was the Nintendo Wii. Now-a-days, I own a SNES, PS1 and 2. I own a PSP. I kept up with the Nintendo handhelds and I also got them all. So, that would make my crate that more unique and special.

Here we go…

#1: A pack of AA and AAA batteries + charger

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If you played on the Gameboy, we all have been there. The moment that the LED starts to fade and you realize, that the batteries are dying. Then a pack of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries would come in so handy!

At first I would put the adapters on this list, but that would be too much actually. Since all gameboy’s use a different cable. I think that would be kinda tricky actually. So, this is a great alternative actually. Man, and it has to be a big charger. Not one for two batteries since that’s not for MEN.

#2: A gameboy cushion

il_fullxfull.272503665A gamer wants to sit comfy. What could be better then a cushion. Also, most fans of retro gamers like myself turn into collectors and an item like this would be a nice decoration to their gaming room.

I have several bed sheets of Mario and Pokémon so go I to sleep and wake up with games. Maybe it would be amazing to have a pillow then that goes with it too. You could argue that you get things to pull over your pillow with the sheets, but as a gamer it doesn’t feel the same. It feels cheap and easy. Like they just put a name on something to sell it.

Now that I think about it, I would take great care of this cushion. I don’t want it to get damaged. It would ruin the look.

#3: The gameboy watch

Nintendo-Game-Boy-Watch-Boy

So, what if you could tell the time and remember the amazing memories of playing on the gameboy at the same time? Wouldn’t that be cool? Sign me up for it. Most “gameboy watches” I found on the internet were just prints with the gameboy printed on a cheap plastic watch.

The actual clockworld should be in the shape of a gameboy. While writing this segment I actually start to have memories about a watch I used to have that could store messages and it was a calculator. But I don’t think that this watch should be able to do that, since I remember it was a pain to push those extremely tiny buttons to get something done.

Greatest memories

Well, putting my own box together isn’t as easy as I thought. Honestly, I stopped myself since in the end I went a generic route. I mean that this are just everyday items in the theme of my love for gaming.

But what are my greatest memories about my childhood if it comes to games? Well, that’s something you can’t put in a box in the first place. I was so happy that I finally got something which I could use to interact with other kids. I was a very shy kid and I didn’t connect with a lot of people. But if I did, man, the feeling was glorious.

That’s partly why writing blogs is so addicting to me. The community I feel that I’m part of. People who read my articles and people who give me feedback. Anyways, sometimes I feel rather jealous of other people when they talk about their memories with video games. They can talk about playing with parents or family. That’s where my family differs. Apart from my uncle, I’m the only one who plays games.

I think I’m going to wrap-up this article here. I could ramble on about this subject and maybe I will on another day. But I want to thank ManCrates for this interesting idea. It actually gave me a few new ideas to write about in the future. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. Take great care and until the next article!

Gaming Nostalgia #4: (3)DS month

ss (2012-10-24 at 11.45.23)Looking to my blog, you might have realized that I review in general handheld games. So, logically, Q didn’t realize that this month was a special month for my blog. I focused only on DS and 3DS games. I wished I could have written more articles about it. Sadly enough, I was able to predict that this month was going to be busy. In general, the amount of articles I write in one month dropped. But hey! Quality over quantity, am I right? Anyways, maybe next month I might write about games that aren’t on handhelds. That will be hard for me for sure. In the future, you might be sure that I’m going to release around 7-10 articles a month. When I do have the time though. I think the best idea is that you follow my twitter. Since I talk about my updates a lot there. Okay, that has been a quick blog update. Now that, that is out of the way, let’s write a new article in the game nostalgia series. A series I wanted to write a new entry for quite a while. I said multiple times on my scheduling Tumblr updates that I was going to write a new one. So, because this month is the special DS and 3DS month, let me tell you a story. A story about how I got the handhelds. Also, feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts on this article. 

My first DS.

Nintendo ds reparatie groningen

Me and my family were on a trip. It happened on that trip where I was a leader for the first time, remember that story? On that trip, a boy had a black Nintendo DS Lite with him. The game he had on it, was Pokémon Diamond. When I asked kindly if I would be allowed to play on it, he agreed. In exchange, I had to give my GBA to him, because he never played Pokémon Ruby.

It wasn’t until I saw a commercial on TV about the Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass, I wanted a Nintendo DS. This very commercial. Keep in mind that it’s a Dutch video. So, you won’t be able to understand anything if you aren’t English. The other commercials, I wasn’t able to find. It showed Link following the stylus on a white background.

Then I begged my parents to get me a Nintendo DS. It was around December of 2007. I still remember it quite well, how we went to the game store to buy me one. But, I wasn’t allowed to play on it until New Year’s Eve. A day or two before I was going to get it, I was at my aunt. She was charging it in advance so I could play on it. But I wasn’t allowed it touch it. Not even the box where it was in.

My family surprised me that day. They knew that I was a big Legend Of Zelda fan. When they went to a garage sale with me on our yearly trips to the sea side, I always said to them that they needed to look out for any stuff from the Legend Of Zelda. That day, I got two presents. I was quite confused, what could that second present be? Well, it was the Phantom Hourglass game. Yes, my family bought me Phantom Hourglass on the DS. I was so happy. My first game, a Zelda game. It couldn’t start any better.

On that moment, I was allowed to play on my DS. Apart from eating dinner with my family, I put myself in my grandfather’s office and played the whole night. I even missed the countdown to the new year. 2008 started with something I will never forget. Until this day, the Nintendo DS is the best handheld in my eyes. Without a single doubt in my mind.

Blast From The Past: The Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass

The_Legend_of_Zelda_Phantom_Hourglass_Game_Cover

Official site

I haven’t done this the two previous articles, but this part of the game nostalgia series will be a nice separation for the next part of the story. So, in “blast from the past” I take a look at one of the games that means a lot to me. A game that has a personal story behind it, more then “I simply bought it in a game store.”

You should have seen this one coming from paragraphs away. Get it? Since I mentioned it a few ones ago? Oh, it’s not funny? Ehrm, sorry. I guess.

Anyways, joking aside, this game was the game that gave me the feeling that my family accepted my gaming hobby and my love for the Legend of Zelda. It’s a shame that I haven’t reviewed this game or talked about it. In my review of the follow up, Spirit Tracks, I asked the question which my favorite game of the two would be.

After some careful thought, I think my answer is going to change a little bit. In terms of nostalgia, my favorite game is Phantom Hourglass. But the better game is Spirit Tracks. Since the improvements over Phantom Hourglass makes it a better game.

But this game is on my list to review for such a long time, I might just start writing a review after I finished all the articles I have planned for this month! So, keep an eye out for that.

Getting my 3DS.

royal_purple_nintendo_3ds_open_comparisonI can’t believe that the 3DS is 3 years old this year. The time flies even faster then I thought before. For me, the 3DS has still that “new” feeling. It isn’t old and mostly of all, my library and knowledge isn’t that big about the system.

When I look at the shelf of 3DS games, I think I own around 25 games for it. It’s actually not that strange. Since I got the 3DS, I started to expand my library of other systems as well. So, I’m not focused only on the 3DS.

Anyways, I’m missing the point of this article here. I wanted to talk about the time before I got my 3DS. Since that has a story as well. Back in 2009 – 2010, I saw a trailer of a man holding what looked to be a DSi in front of her. She showed it from side to side. On the screen, there was a 3D game playing. I looked around for this trailer like a mad man, but I wasn’t able to find it. Until now, I found this video back!  Thanks to me looking it up on another search engine.

I was extremely hyped. Since I first thought it was going to be a game. It looked so interesting! But I was afraid that it was going to be a Japanese exclusive. Remember, at that time the video leaked, there wasn’t anything known about the 3DS in my country. And since I only read Dutch news sources, I didn’t know about the 3DS until a year after.

Then the 3DS was announced. I was so jealous of all the journalists that were at E3 of that year. They could have their hands on the system before I was able to get my hands on it. While people started to say that the system had a bad line up for release games, I didn’t care that much actually. It was a new portable system by Nintendo and me being such a big Nintendo handheld fan, I had to get it.

So, I pre-ordered it. The system was going to be 250€. Quite expensive. It’s the most expensive thing I bought in my whole gaming life. When I saw Nintendo was having events at certain cities to be able to play on the device, I was planning to go to them. But in the end, I didn’t went to it. The simple reason is time. I didn’t had the time to go to one.

A few days before the system was released, I was at school. At the afternoon break, we were able to leave the school and go eating in the town. So, I went down to the town with my friends and we ate. When I looked at my mobile phone, I saw I got a text message. My local game store said: “Your pre-order of the Nintendo 3DS Cosmo Black is ready to be picked up at the store.” My mind was blown. I was going to be able to play the system a few days prior to it’s official release?

I called the store, asking when they close the store. After school, I even sprinted to the bus station so I would arrive earlier at the station to take an earlier train. My hype was growing even bigger. When I was home, I emptied my bad, took the money I saved up and jumped on my bike. I think I never rode faster on my bike. I was hyped.

NintendogsCatsBoxArt2When I arrived at the store, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The system was actually there. They gave me the box, I payed the money. I still remember giving it cash. Because I saved up all that money from jobs I had to do for my family.

I put the box in my bag and I walked out of the store. When I arrived home, I started playing on my 3DS. I still remember opening it in the living room and showing my mom.

I did forget one detail though, I didn’t had any 3DS games. Whoops, totally forgot about that. The same aunt who charged my DS for the first time, was actually so kind to me that when her daughter was going to get a new game, she picked me up and drove with me to another game store. At that game store, I was allowed to pick up my first 3DS game. Because there wasn’t any Zelda game released on the system, I bought myself Nintendogs + Cats.

I could have bought a ton of other games then, but I made up my mind. I wanted this game. Soon after, I bought the remake of the Legend Of Zelda – Ocarina Of Time. But why did I bought Nintendogs + Cats? Well, because there were cats in the game AND the Nintendogs series has a special place in my hart. Why is that? Well, you will have to wait until the finale of special month. I will talk about it in that article!

Closing thoughts

So, that has been a new article in the gaming nostalgia series. In this article I talked about how I got my two most favorite handhelds ever. I still both have my silver DS and my cosmo black 3DS. I play on them nearly every day. Sadly enough, my microphone of my DS recently stopped working. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but I’m talking to my friends over at Gamers’Hive to look for solutions.

Thanks for reading this article, hopefully you enjoyed reading it. What are your stories? Do you have any special story before you bought a certain console? Let me know, with a comment maybe?

Anyways, I think I’m going to end this article here. Until another time on my blog! Thanks for reading.

First Impression: Bravely Default (3DS) ~ Featuring GamersHive

bravely-default-europe-box-artGamersHive Facebook

Official Site

Thanks for tuning in you guys. Today, I’m going to try something different. In the last few years, I met a guy on a garage sale with the same first name then mine. A few months ago, I found met him again through Dutch website, similar to eBay. After a few mails back and forth, I joined his Facebook group. Now, if you are a reader from Belgium and you’re interested in games… Don’t wait! Go take a look on that page. This is a group to my heart. They are collectors like myself. I might ask them to get the forums to work together. As a sort of apology to you guys and to them (because I haven’t mentioned them while I promised it) I asked their opinion on this game. Keep in mind, this isn’t a review since I haven’t finished the game myself. Yet, there are guys on GamersHive that finished it. So, I’ll be using their words to talk more about this game. The only “altering” I did to the quotes is translating them. So yeah, before we start, feel free to leave a comment on the article and or the game. 

Unexpected. 

a544b637e7bdbabf2abb0e823e5a80d3Honestly, I wasn’t planning to play this game. I got this game thanks to my forum. When a few members where hyped about this game, I kept the title in mind. A week later, I was looking on the shelves of a local game store for any potential great sales in the 2nd hand section. When I saw this game on the shelves, I decided to pick it up. To check if the hype was really worth it. I rode my bike home and popped the game in my 3DS.

Bravely Default is what the new Final Fantasy should have been.

– Ringo G. (GamersHive)

Now, my friend. That’s quite a big statement. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I haven’t played too many Final Fantasy games. Actually I have never beaten one. Yet, I do love the formula of the game. While I heard mixed reviews on the latest releases, I do think that there is some truth in the statement.

First of all, let’s talk about the story. I’ll be using now a lot of a mini-review Sam Stevens placed as a comment to my post in the group.

The story is really beautifully created. It gives you the feeling to continue playing to see the ending.

– Sam Stevens (GamersHive)

 I’m sorry Sam, but I have to disagree. The opening was truly unexpected. The introduction is done by using the AR features of the 3DS. It gives you a personal feel through the story. I haven’t beaten the game yet, so I don’t know how it ends but from what I have played… I don’t think the story is that good. You won’t hear me saying that the story is bad. That is totally not the case. Let me explain myself.

The main story is generic. It’s a basic story of “save the world with crystals”. But here the saying of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is very, very true. The execution of the story is what makes the story good. The dialogue, interaction with the characters and their backstories are all very well written. Sadly enough, some characters suffer from “tropes”. What I mean here is that they are your standard characters. To say it very crude, the characters don’t have a soul. I don’t see any change in their personalities. They stay way to close to what their what their trope is supposed to be.

Here the story looses a lot of it’s charm. Sadly enough, to experienced story tellers, the story becomes predictable. In summary, the story is good but not great. It has it’s moments here and there but there are so many missed opportunities.

Generic RPG or more?

brave6Let’s move on to the gameplay. And to save me some trouble, I will quote some very true things from Sam Stevens.

Norende Village and the StreetPass support really aid you in your quest.

– Sam Stevens (GamersHive)

Now this is very true. On the surface, the game looks to have a basic RPG-style gameplay. With turn based moves and random encounters. That’s only the surface. The game is deeper then that. Sam gave two examples how the gameplay is more then your standard RPG game. What they exactly are, well… that I leave as a surprise to you guys.

The feature of being able to set the amount of random encounters is just amazing.

– Sam Stevens (GamersHive)

Oh yes! Sam, you are totally right. This is one of the big selling points in my opinion. It’s really hidden but it’s so handy. This way you can explore early dungeons again without having to be interrupted by weak enemies. It’s just great. Also, the game warns you if you disable the random encounters! The game might become too difficult if you try to play this without them. Yeah, great move.

Now, the title of the game is pretty much the gameplay of this game. You can either “Brave” or “Default”. The “Default” is your basic “Blocking” / “Defending”  but with a twist. You earn a point when you “Default”. These points can be used to “Brave”. This way you can release multiple attacks at once. This adds a whole layer of strategy. Since if you “Brave” without saving points first, you will end up loosing turns with that character.

Negatives

gfs_373321_2_3Now, usually I would be about to wrap up my article. But since I mentioned some guys, I think I will continue this article for just a little bit. In this part, I will talk a bit about the negatives of the game. What didn’t I enjoy? I realize that I leave out a whole bunch of things that I haven’t talked about, but I save these for my review when I beat the game.

So, the first flaw I want to talk about is something that is a big shame. Minor spoiler here but at one point, you get an airship. It’s actually really early on. Now, you can go to every place on the map. And that’s amazing. The open world feeling is such a fun thing to play around in. Until you get a slap to the face.

When you try to enter a dungeon before you’re actually supposed to, the characters say that they shouldn’t go inside, since they haven’t business there yet. What? Like ProJared said in his “1 minute review”:

Let me experience my own mistakes.

– ProJared

This is very true.

Another mistake is how the game has micro-transactions. I don’t think I have to explain myself here. It’s just silly. I might talk more in-depth about it in the review. Although, I have already talked about it in my last rant. So yeah.

Another thing I dislike about this game is how grinding is such a thing. I actually stopped playing this game because of a part in the game where it’s a boss rush. And you will need to grind, a lot, in order to beat them. Either that, or I fail at understanding this game. It might be a combination of both. But I don’t the grinding in this game fun. Sorry.

Anyways, thanks for reading. I’ll talk more about the graphics, difficulty, music, controls and design in my review. I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks to GamersHive for the amazing quotes. It was really fun to try out something different. Now, I have a game to beat to fully review it. Hopefully until then!

NekoJonez Update Blog April 2014: Let’s look at the future

1gXjAIt has been quite some time that I spoke to my readers directly. It has been since the 10th of February when I announced I wanted to go on a hiatus. While I have some exciting news, I have some sad news as well. I would love to do these more often. I’m even planning to do an update blog each 2 weeks. Who knows. Anyways, in this blog I’ll talk about what happened and what’s going on for my blog and my website. In that way you don’t have to scroll through a ton of tweets to be up-to-date. (While it stays the best way to have the latest news from me.) So, yeah, let’s start.

To hiatus or to not hiatus.

Alright, through some magic I was able to write more articles then I thought I could. While I have written way less then before, I think I did a great job to maintain my blog. And thanks to my buddies over at ButtonSmashers, I don’t think my blog will be dead when I’m too busy to write an article.

My main goal is one article each week. While I’m still on a hiatus, I try to win time with different stuff. Like for example, my streams will be way less frequent. With that time, I write more articles. Also, I start writing articles in advance to make sure I have content ready for the upcoming week(s).

Some people may call me crazy but almost 100% of my free time goes to my website and blog now. In study breaks I make notes of what I could write an article about. But don’t worry, I relax as well by watching some TV. Sadly enough, it’s hard trying to keep up writing creative articles each week while having an extremely busy life. But writing and working on my website is what actually relaxes me.

So, from now on, take this hiatus with a grain of salt. What I mean with this is that it’s quite possible that nothing changes. That I have a new article for you guys each week and that I stream here and there. But if there is no content of me or when there is content from other people, don’t panic. It just means then that I didn’t had the time for writing that week.

What’s making this cat so busy?

So, why am I so busy? Let me explain that to you. First of all, college asks a lot from me. I have to write various assignments, study 14 exams AND create a lot of things. For those who don’t know yet, I’m studying to become a teacher in elementary schools. In my country, that means for children from the age of 5 till 12. I have done a lot of work in my Easter break already, which ends on the 22th of April,  I don’t not quite done with everything. But I’m close.

Secondly, I’m planning a move of my blog. Yes, I’m planning to possible move my blog to the server of my forum. This will have a huge advantage for me. That way it’s easier to link my articles to my forum and I have more features to play with. But I’m not quite sure.

The third thing that is keeping me so busy is my forum. I have done some big updates to it recently but there are some plans to update it even more. Most of the plans are mainly behind the screens. This will make the forum run faster and more efficiently. But there will be some updates for you guys as well. So, come on by. Make an account and start posting without problems. Since some time now, there is no admin approval anymore.

Also, I have some things in my personal life to take care of. They are private so I won’t go sharing them on the internet. But they are nearly all family related.

Changes in my life

In the course of the few months I haven’t posted an update blog like this, there has been quite a lot of changes. I honestly don’t remember everything I should mention in this update article.

One of my previous articles already mentioned it, I think it was my Alan Wake American Nightmare review, I had to fix my numbering of my reviews. I stupidly made some mistakes so that my numbering was off by 2. Now it’s all correct. So, no more issues there. For the people who linked to my articles, don’t worry, the URL’s didn’t change.

Another update is that I got a big chance. I was allowed to write for a company about gaming violence. I was first a bit unsure if it was actually real. So, I researched the company and the game. And as it turns out, it’s actually quite real. I’m thrilled when a company asks me to write for them but to avoid scams and such, I do research. I want to know for sure that I’m telling the truth and not lying to you guys.

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I have a new phone. I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace 3. While some people who recommend me a different one or say that it’s not a good one… Well, I honestly disagree. I find that this smartphone fits my needs perfectly. I’m quite glad that I got it.

And to wrap up here, I did quite a lot of work behind the screen of my blog and my forum. I’m trying to update all old information to the latest information and I try to make sure everything gets the content correctly. Yeah, tons of works have been done.

Before I go to the next, and last, part of this article, thanks for all the support you guys gave me. It truly motivated me to continue with this blog and with my studies. So, thanks to you guys, I’m finally able to close some unpleasant chapters in my life and live quite happily. Thanks for that!

Future plans

What is planned for my blog? Well, if it hasn’t been published already, an article about video game violence. Check it out, it’s quite surprising.

While I have deleted one draft of a creepypasta that I wrote, I’m actually planning to write a few new ones. Oh yes, I have quite some idea’s to write some creepypasta’s and some might be not game related.

I’m planning to revive a dead series of mine. I wrote some time ago about Android games you should try out. Since I’m playing a lot on my new mobile phone (to get used to it), I have found some games that I want to cover here.

Soon, I’m planning to write a new game quicky where I return to the first game that a developer asked me to review. Has it been updated and so, for the better or for the worse? In that same article I might also talk about the other game that SkyJoy asked me to review. Super Kid Cannon has been released worldwide, so it’s time to take another look at the final version.

I’m also in a podcast or two with the ButtonSmashers. As soon as they are posted, I’ll post or reblog the link here. So you guys can listen to it.

Last but not least, I have some games that deserve an article. I’m making a list of games that I want to review. But honestly, I want to write about something different as well. I mean here, articles about gaming in general.

So, I think that’s all. Thanks for reading this quite long update. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this. So, see you guys next time!

Update blog #1: I’m back!

MasterReboot02

Screenshot of Master Reboot, a game I have been playin’.

Oh hi there. It’s true that in November I took a bit of a break from writing. Sometimes it’s better to rest and concentrate on things. So, I’m going to try to keep this update article short. To tell you guys what’ll be going on, planned articles and various other things. So, let’s avoid long introductions and let’s get to the meat and bones of this article. 

Reason of break

To be quite honest, I didn’t plan this break into my life. I adore writing and I wanted to write a new article daily. Yet, I felt like my creativity wasn’t up the normal level I have at writing articles. So, I didn’t finish them.

College has been “harsh” on me. Many things have been coming on to me. From a load of assignments to lots of things that we need to study. And the time I got from stopping YouTube, I used to do some college work.

Also, I have been addicted to Minecraft, since I play on a server from a friend. I met him through my guest appearance on his stream. Yet feel free to check out his YouTube channel. So, I’m on a server called the “FireServer”. A private whitelisted server. This’ll be extremely exciting since I’ll do a lot of guest appearances in video’s. (For helping redstone stuff).

In addition to that, I have been finishing games. To write articles about and since some I started, those take up a bit more time to finish and then to make up my mind for the article.

So in short, I have been busy with college and preparing myself for a new bunch of articles. And before you ask me, what’s coming… Well, let’s just take a look at that.

Oh, and these articles will be listed underneath personal. Just because I’m kinda tired lately when I come home and making a new category for this is a bit too overwhelming to maintain.

The future

So, a few podcasts with me’ll arrive shortly. Together with Q I talk about a lot of things that annoyed me in the gaming community and other places. And also about my personal life. I’m pretty excited how it will turn out. Yet, you will have to excuse him for being so busy. And I might do a give-away soon, on one of these podcasts.

I’m nearly done with Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies. So, prepare to see later tonight or this week-end an extra long article about it. Why extra long? Since I feel this game deserves it and to apologize to take such a long break.

Also, I’m working on a new Android games article. Where I’ll present some awesome new games I’m playing lately on my tablet during college breaks.

Game Diary’s will soon return with a new article on ButtonSmashers as well. I’m ready to create a new one. In addition, I feel like I’m ready to write a new creepypasta article too!

And some games deserve a first impression article! Some on 3DS, some on PSP and some on PC. So, that will be interesting.

Anyways, I think I covered it all. Thanks for reading and hopefully until the next blog! Take care.