Proudly presents…

Six Months with Kratzen

with ♥ from Froge


Hahaha, spooked you real good, didn’t ya? Yes, it’s the Froge Halloween Special, here to give you furries and fleshloves a taste of the delusions that I feel every day of my life, and welcome you into my twisted mind. Like most holiday specials, such as every Die Hard movie after the first, it’s not particularly festive and is actually a bit disappointing. Yes, you be disappointed, as I do nothing to make up for the past three weeks of absence. I’d be fired if this was my real job, but you pussies ain’t paying me for this. The real spook is the idea someone would spend money on this crap.

Alright, now that I’m recycling jokes worse than I’m recycling bad opinions (a line recycled from the footer of all my e – mails, not because it’s true, but because it’s gut – bustingly hilarious you see), I think I should put myself out of my misery and examine the Corpse of Froge and see why the heck he hasn’t bothered to update his damn blog, barring the obvious notion that he just couldn’t be arsed. Of course I’m speaking in the third person because one cannot imagine their own non – existence, which would be a useful skill for those with clinical depression. Have you seen the other side? Nothing there. Boring place, all sad and stuff, wouldn’t recommend.

Now gazing into the void, at which point the void gives a seductive wink at me and I’m forced to hold onto my plushies out of primal instinct, I see that I have spent my time well, having worked on this blog for… SIX MONTHS? Holy shit, the last project I did only lasted three! That’s double for persons who aren’t mathematically aware. The idea that I spent half a year on this joint and only have sixty – three articles to show for it is a sad one, because it shows I’m a very sad man who doesn’t know how to sit down and write something every damn day to make his willing subjects appreciate his existence. Also, since it’s been six months and none of you have sent me any fan mail, where the fuck ya’ll at? Internal validation is for suckers. You gotta go The Beginner’s Guide and be an empty human being who feeds off good boy points.

Look, it’s been a while, and my writing chops were exclusive to myself alone. If anything I say seems a little bit amateur to you… too bad. This is my blog, and I will post as many bad opinions as I like. You cannot pay me to post good things. I will not be a professional! I will keep living the NEET life! Nobody shall be my financial sponsor! NOBODY!

Also, thank you to the kind patron who recently bought the Tao of Mario for a generous sum. Your donation will continue to support my comfy lifestyle and complete lack of personal responsibility.

What is the haps, my guy?

Let me be clear: I’ve been a dumbass. I mean, more than usual. After I did that last review about the art game which made me think very poorly of art games and the sad showing that many such indie games have to offer, even in the face of such lovely titles as my four – star ones and some of the three – star ones, I just felt drained. I got into this review site because I thought gaming was something I’d never grow tired of. And in a lot of respects, I still appreciate all it can do. But I’m at the point in my life where I feel like I’ve seen it all, experienced so much that art and technology has to offer, and as a result I feel myself become less and less engaged with the vast majority of works, waiting for something of exceptional quality to come by and blow me away.

But it never comes by; it just doesn’t. Although I’m not as prolific as a lot of reviewing dudes, you can’t deny I’ve dug some serious trenches in my brain — not just on Kratzen, but on my old dig Froghand, which advertisers are still asking to pimp their VPN blogs on. I’ve said a heck of a lot about games in the general sense, and to continue to say things about them feels like I’d be re – iterating what I already know and what I’ve already learned, just in a different and more charming format. To keep on going on, I think, would have me dig even deeper and get into academic jargon much like you’d see on Gamasutra or an industry rag. And when I start to model my writings off Gamasutra? I think that’s the time to retire.

I’ve set myself up as a man who prides himself on only having the highest quality of everything he ever comes in contact with, but by its nature, quality is an elusive concept, as the difference between a good piece of art and a great piece of art is the difference between a good human being and a great human being — and though you may know many good men, I will bet you’ve only ever met a handful of great ones. To set yourself up for such high standards in such a non – exclusive environment as the Internet, and especially, is to continually be disappointed by the number of insignificant, inoffensive, and unartistic pieces of prolefeed that you are forced wade through in order to find the one or two really worthy titles that show up among the dozens. And in a medium as complex and sophisticated as video games, which requires a deft hand in every conceivable skillset, the quality – to – quantity ratio just plummets into the abyss that I now find myself in.

Being in these circumstances, having a pile of games that I have yet to play, a pile of games I cannot write anything interesting about, and a pile of games that I was forced to abandon because of technical issues, and being forced to constantly go through these piles checking my options of what I can possibly teach somebody about in regards to, makes one want to give up any prospect of becoming a games writer and accept that the truly good games, in an industry that seems so content in being mediocre and against challenging either the mental or technical prowress of its audience, will always be the exceptions rather than the rule. This same principle applies to almost every fact of life, where 99% of everything is crap, and the rest are crabs in a bucket — but when one is forced to document the exceptions on a daily basis, one fails to do so. So why not quit now?

Well, I’ll save you the suspense: I’m not retiring, and I’m not giving up games. And to answer my question: it ain’t fair to give up because you’re too damn lazy to fix something yourself. Art is broken, fundamentally, because there are too many artists and so few great ones. There are so many artists content to ride on their technical accomplishments without actually saying anything. The classically – taught pianist, the artist who has a master’s degree, and the AAA development team all has one thing in common: they are competent at their jobs, but never go beyond being able to be technically proficient at something. The only great artists are those who express themselves in ways so unexpected that one is forced to admire their work and appropriate it for their own. In sum, a great artist leaves a debt you can never truly repay.

Where are the great artists in the games industry? What are games saying? What do they offer that isn’t just a distraction from the black burning wick that is our lives? In 99% of cases, nothing. Not even in the most generous definition of “saying”, including brilliance of mechanics and brilliance of art direction, can the vast majority of games make a claim to earning your time, your attention, and especially your praise of them as pieces of art. If I do not send a message, I cannot consider myself an artist, for art that does not speak is not art at all, but instead a scar on the side of our cultural candle, an ember’s slight burn, pretty though vapid and vain as it wanes.

And here a wager is made

I have decided then, in some silly science experiment, to continue on with Kratzen and see, in the course of thirty days, if I may find anything in games that will continue to justify my writing about them, when what I should be doing is creating them instead. I will decide, in just thirty days, if I will be more suited continuing this small corner of games journalism, or if I am better suited trying my hand at teaching these whippersnappers a lesson or two in how to make a medium that’s worth it’s fucking salt. Because, to be frank, writing is now a tool to me instead of a privilege, and having made great prose, if not perfect prose, is a great enough goal for me to consider myself as somebody who’s writing is worth reading.

The Kratzen headline, “Honest reviews that save you time — every day.” has been transformed from a serious statement into am ironic joke through the magic of me not caring. I have decided, through the dark magic of getting up off my ass, to stop making excuses about one of the great things I have to offer the world. For the month of November, I will keep this headline honest: I will post a review every day, and an article every tenth day. I owe a debt to the publications that made me who I am today, and though I am still not a made man, I feel more complete for having made them at all. What better way to repay that debt than to give them the privilege to host my writings? How do I repay my humble fans, beyond writing my humble works? There is no better way.

It’s easy to talk big game and not back it up, and society does not punish those who lie. So I will be honest in the most objective way I can: through the medium of cold, hard, cash. I have relegated three hundred dollars to a floor safe, a modest amount, though the most I can afford to lose. For every day I have made a post, I will transfer ten dollars to my wallet. If I miss a post, I will donate the remainder of that money to the independent artists who have so inspired me. It is in this way that, should I fail or succeed, the victor is the arts, and it is this that I owe so much of myself to.

These are vicious terms; the type of terms one makes if they are the only ones they expect to work. But I have betrayed myself too many times to rely solely on internal incentives. The grim fact of life is that, when money is on the line, you do what you can to preserve it. Having the freedom to be undisciplined has resulted in the deserted mess you see before you… restriction of liberties, rather than unlimited privileges, is what separates those who do, and those who say they do.

You will tell that many of my ideas are disorganised in this post. I accept these mistakes. But I will not waste your time with any more prattle, as it is late, and the early hours of the morning, and not the finality of the evening, will be my allies on this endeavour. Should the games prove negative and I am forced to rescue them, then that is a plus. And if the games are positive and I need simply to document them, then even better! And, should I continue to contribute to culture through the proud, pithy medium of poetry – in – prose, then that will be the greatest contribution. For then I will be contributing to myself, and to contribute to one’s self is to contribute to all of existence.