Gaming Hell - About the Site
Another video game title screen parody, another part of this website that's not necessarily about video games. Sigh.
Q: WHAT ARE YOU?
A: I'm Batman.
Q:You're not Batman, so don't lie, you fiend. Lay out your credentials!
Pffft, credentials, OK, let's go with that. So, hello there, I'm Ant Cooke! I'm known in some parts of the internet as tepidsnake and I write lots of words about video games on the internet for reasons that remain unclear. This section used to have a little bit where I'd post all the places I've been on the internet and contributed to but most of those websites have died or my contributions have scattered to the four winds, including Way of the Rodent, RetroCollect and Unseen64. I have left nothing but a trail of destruction behind me. Some of the surviving things are that one time I wrote for Socks Make People Sexy, an appearance on Retronauts and this Anime News Network thing on Touhou. So that's nice.
Q: I don't want your life story, David Copperfield, so just a brief bit about yourself. Inquiring minds, etc.
You'll have to follow me on Twitter for that. There is one thing I'll tell you- despite the focus on weird and obscure things here, I do like normal video games. It's just they're not as entertaining to write about. I'm mostly here to have fun, and entertain and inform people!
Q: So what's the story with this site anyway? How did it all happen?!
A: Back in February of 2008, I was at university and naturally I started to get up to nonsense in my spare time. So I started transcribing the script from the story mode of Bloody Roar 2: Bringer of the New Age on the Playstation, because it's so so bad. As I got near the end of this endeavour (some time around April / May) I realised that I needed somewhere to put this thing so I started working on a website devoted to this horrible script in order to share it with the world. As May drew to a close, I decided to make a bona fide 'website' to keep things other than the Bloody Roar 2 script, and so uploaded a completely barren site on the 20th of May, 2008... But what other content could I add?
Well, one of my favourite gaming websites at the time was BBH's Waste of Bandwidth, which saw Neo-Geo.com member Lord BBH playing through some obscure (and hilarious) games- his Riot and Crime City articles are excellent reads in particular. He used a pseudo-Let's Play format, taking the reader through the entire game with play-by-play commentary and sarky picture captions. Most importantly, BBH was- and is- an extremely skilled player (he can 1CC The Super Spy!) so from his articles you got the sense that he actually knew what he was talking about, unlike every other vid-con site ever. Sadly, he stopped updating his site shortly before I started work on my site, so I took his basic format and expanded on it a touch (and added a bit more silly humour). In essence, BBH's article style formed the basis of Wretch! Video Games!!, which started with Hard Head 2 (uploaded on the 2nd of June) and since then, things have just gotten worse.
BBH's articles are considerably better than mine, of course- more concise, for a start- but I'll keep trying, folks.
(Amusingly, I'll probably never upload the Bloody Roar 2 script, even though it's to blame for this shit-pile being here in the first place.)
Q: OK, that's the lengthy origin story, but why do you keep up this sick charade? Why crappy old video games, you nerd?!
A: To tell the truth, this site started pretty pathetically, with the sole intent being 'herp derp let's make fun of vidygam'. Look at some of the earlier articles and you can see I was pretty directionless, with my only ace in the hole being my article on The Outfoxies. From a certain review onwards though, the site morphed from one entirely dedicated to making fun of shitty to what I suppose is an archive of video game 'things' that pique my interest, be it because they're hysterically awful or actually fun, covered in plenty of detail whether they're full run-throughs or single-age articles.
Such is the mission of this website- to look at and review interesting video games in as much detail as possible, and to entertain and inform! If it's a video game and it meets the site's fairly specific criteria (detailed below) then I'll have a go at covering it, just as long as I'm able to get passionate and aggressive about it. Can't write without a bit of oomph behind it! Unlike the rest of the internet, though, I don't give a toss about quantity. Although my site will never have as much content as other websites (there's generally about 14 to 15 new articles a year) I believe strongly in quality above everything else. I try, you know? Each article gets rigorously researched, but this comes at the cost of more frequent updates. Better to have an excellent article on one game than mid-grade coverage on eight games, know what I mean? Hopefully you, the reader, can get behind me on this, and forgive the lack of a billion articles here.
That's why Gaming Hell exists, and shall continue to exist until I get sick of it- to try and deliver articles that DON'T SUCK.
And to be the strongest, most aggressive vid-con site on the internet!
Q: How do you pick the games to cover? Is there some sort of system, or do you just pull it out of your ass?
A: Back when I had no idea what I was doing, the criteria was pretty simple:
#1: Is this game historically noteworthy- is it really good, really bad, or is there anything interesting about it?
#2: How well-known is the game- has everyone on the internet talked about it, or is it a little obscure?
#3: Does it have a funny title?
Rule #3 was obviously the most important. Since then, things have changed a little- Rule #2 is less important now (mostly because I don't want there to be any sense that 'you, reader, have not played these games, what are you doing?' which I felt the site has approached in the past) and there's a fourth rule, 'Am I qualified to review this game?'. What that means is that unless I have a fairly good grasp on the genre of the game in question, I will do my best to avoid it. Better to write something useful than an opinion piece built on ignorance. There are obviously esceptions to this rule, but with those I do my best to research the genre as much as possible and try to make something worthy, plus some genres even get upgraded- originally I didn't cover fighting games very often as I felt I wasn't good at writing about the genre, but now I have a much better grasp on it so they're some of the most fun things to write about. I'll never go back to shmups though, you can't make me! It's a shame this means there are some games I can't review, but we have standards, man.
Q: So what's the deal with the ratings?
A: It's a pretty simple 5-star rating system. You'd think it was obvious what they all mean, and yet over the years, the ratings have sorta settled into slightly-more-specific than you'd imagine pigeonholes. So, to explain it thus, the ratings in full:
5 Stars -> If these games have flaws, they're pretty insignificant. They're the kinds of game I tend to get really hyped up about, and so I can basically talk about them until the cows come home. Highly, highly recommended.
Examples: The Outfoxies, Bubble Symphony
4 Stars -> These games are pretty great, and come recommended. Just a few things keeping them away from absolute greatness. Generally this goes to games I really like, but lack just that little extra 'oomph' to put them into the category where I can just gush about them forever.
Examples: Charlie Ninja, Gruef Syndrome
3 Stars -> Stuck in the middle, 3 Star Games are just average. Nothing terrible, nothing exceptional. Good enough, like. More often than not, the reason they come cross as average is because there are other games that do what these games do, but a hell of a lot better. They are usually worth a try, though, where possible.
Examples:Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, Castlevania 64
2 Stars -> The hardest rating to give out. Games that get 2 Stars are usually games with interesting premises or gameplay mechanics, but are also very flawed in many other ways. It's the kind of thing where you might enjoy them if you take notice of the many, many caveats that come with them. Games for Mostly Dangerous People, then.
Examples: King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing, htoL#NiQ -Hotaru no Nikki-
1 Star -> Borderline unplayable. 1 Star games are The Most Dangerous and should only be played by experts who know what they're getting themselves into.
Examples: Hard Head 2, Crime Fighters
Confused Sowertty -> Actually unreviewable. We've only ever had to use this once, fortunately.
Examples: LoveLive! School idol festival
Q: So is it just you, or do you employ a team of monkeys to write this tripe?
A: There is no team of monkeys. Just me. Obviously, this means I can never compete with some of the big boys of the internet, but then again no-one tells Gaming Hell what to do! I do everything myself- write the articles, grab the screenshots, rip the sound effects and music, create the extra content... Well, OK, I can't take all the credit. I get a little assistance from the enigmatic and long-suffering editor, affectionately called Ed, who occasionally writes the Editor's Notes. He's usually to be found behind his desk, sobbing into his safety blanket.
[That'd be me. I actually do a lot more than just writing the Editor's Notes, you know. Sure, the writer here does a fair amount of work but when all the relevant material's ready, it ends up on my desk, and I have to deal with it. I'm the poor bastard who has to proof-read this claptrap, make the images the right size, do some of the trickier HTML coding, and even maintain the hilariously inept YouTube channel and what thanks do I get? Fuck all, that's what. In fact, the sole perk of the job is getting to boss around my writer subordinate. Sometimes I interject in this tiny font, though. One day, I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you so better watch the fuck out. Oh, and I'm not real. My existence is just a running joke. If you think otherwise you are a dope, sorry.
Of course, there are also many articles that have contributions from other people. Generally, these are pointed out in the articles themselves and in the Editor's Notes when necessary, although I would like to mention Cauterize from RetroCollect for helping move the site many years ago. But if you've ever contributed to this little pile, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Q: This site looks like shit!
A: That's not a question, but an astute observation nonetheless. I'll admit it- every page in this website is done in Notepad++. There are no style sheets, no bells, no whistles, and a grand total of three Java scripts (locate them all and win a prize!) and that's as far as it goes. I sometimes try my hand at fancy-looking tables, but only after lots of testing and swearing. If I really wanted to bullshit you, I'd say that I like to think that this site is a bit of a throwback to the days of Web 1.0 in the early 2000s, when everyone had an Angelfire account and didn't give a shit about 'content' and 'aesthetics' or any other worthless Web 2.0 crap. Simplicity is the key, and it's worked for me so far... Or to put it more succinctly, I'm shit at HTML and keep things simple solely for my own convenience.
Q: Who's that weirdo with the pigtails?
A: Hey, don't be rude, that's the site's mascot! All my old sites had a mascot of some description, you see- the first had Mr. Saturn (Earthbound), the second had a bad self-caricature, and the third had Awesome Possum. After briefly considering using the dude from Hard Head 2 as this site's mascot, I eventually decided to create my own mascot- something silly but recognisable- and that's how we ended up with that strange-looking girl. Her name is Sarah S. Sowertty, and she's got absolutely nothing to do with video games, but she looks silly and has a daft name (which, like all good things in life, is taken from somewhere else- her name comes from a song title from Irem's Undercover Cops) so, you know, we might as well go with it. She also has a friend, Sniper Honey, who shows up a little less often.
Q: Wasn't this page a lot grumpier last time I looked?
A: Probably. I think all this time making this site's softened me up, so I kinda cleaned this page up to be less... Aggressive. Aww <3
Q: You know, I don't think there's a reason for this page to exist. You're just answering questions no-one asked to boost your ego.
A: Well, Sparky, if that's true, then you don't exist.
Q: Huh? What are you... Oh shi-
A: This interview is over.
Well, that was a waste of my time. Back to the main page!