Still Waters

The seven-year anniversary of Gold-Plated Games fell about a week ago, and it’s taken me some time to decide what I actually want to say about that. 2022 was a tumultuous year, and has brought a lot of changes in perspective and priority for me. I can’t bring myself to dispense with the recap entirely, but we’ll glide through that quick so I can explain what’s going on with reviews and what you can expect in 2023

The Recap

At the start of 2022, I had just returned to reviews after a long hiatus that took up the majority of 2021. I was reinvigorated to share my thoughts on games, particularly by the initiative of The Serious Samathon, a return to my classic review series structure. In the wake of that success, I had big plans to finally finish my remaster of the original Spooky Games series, and then perhaps launch into a new series based around shmups. In the background of all this, streaming on Twitch was going better than ever. I did, in fact, decide to specialize in more obscure retro games, with some big hit series like X-COM Apocalypse and The Power Hours. The continued growth of our Twitch channel, along with the new specialization, led me to change how I played games in my personal time, which led to the dry spell of reviews you may have noticed over the past few months.

Moving On

I won’t beat around the bush or pretend this is something other than it is: I believe I’m done writing reviews, at least for now. There’s a pretty simple reason for this, and it goes back to the very origins of why I started reviewing games in the first place. I had a massive, sprawling library of Steam games, and I needed a reason to dive into the depths of it and try the games I wouldn’t normally try. That was great when it was the only direction I had for gaming in my life, but where I am in 2023 is very different from that humble start. Most of my free time goes to streaming now, which is focused on older, often unknown titles. That means that, when I have time to play something for myself, or need to put together a schedule for an indie variety night, I have a much, much clearer idea of what I want to try out than I ever did before.

Over the last few months, I’ve returned to games I reviewed like No Man’s Sky and Sunless Skies, and found a new love and appreciation for them. This is something I couldn’t do under the pressures of producing reviews, because once I had enough gameplay to form an impression, I wrote up my thoughts and moved on. I’ve also tried out a wealth of new games, from FAITH to Potion Craft to Neon Abyss, using the time I would have spent writing to spread my attentions further. This interest in returning to previous games and soaking up new ones has replaced the old drive I had to consume games one at a time to produce reviews on them. The truth is simply that I don’t need reviews as a creative outlet like I used to.

A Saving Grace

I have no doubt that this will be a disappointment to some, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle a bit with making this declaration myself, even knowing full well how necessary it was. I’ll never say I’m never writing another review again, and the website isn’t going anywhere (as long as the costs don’t get absurd), but I have no plans to get back to it anytime soon. However, there is one thing I can still offer, as a sort of compromise to everyone, myself included. My Steam Curator page is the perfect format for making recommendations with short summaries of my thoughts, which is pretty much what I’m left with after experiencing new games these days. I’ve updated it today with my first reviewless curation of Potion Craft, and I plan on continuing to do so as I get impressions of any new titles I dig into.

So that’s that. After seven years and nearly a thousand reviews, it may be time to close this chapter of my creative endeavors. This is in no way goodbye, of course. Our Twitch channel is more vibrant than ever, and has been a big part of this overall shift. And there are things beyond games that I’ve been wanting to pursue in my own time that I finally can embark upon, now that I’ve let go of the responsibilities I put on myself to review games. It’s impossible to know what 2023 will hold and how things will change further, especially after the previous year offered up such a dramatic shift. But whatever it is that I’ll be doing, know that I will always be grateful for the time you’ve spent here, and for the time that we may yet spend together in new pursuits.

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