Last year I went to the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston, MA and it was singlehandedly the most epic, captivating, and incredible gaming experience I’ve ever had, even cooler than my guild-first Ragnaros kill back in 2005, using the super-powered gravity gun to demolish the Citadel in City 17, or the first time I fought the Emerald Weapon without Knights of the Round. I went to a Pokemon-themed bar crawl, listened to a great keynote speech by Wil Wheaton, met one of the creators of Penny Arcade, saw the Protomen, Metroid Metal, Anamanaguchi, MC Frontalot, and Jonathan Coulton, spoke to the boss behind Rock Band, and played tons of new video games. The entire time, I was surrounded by thousands of people who all felt similarly about the whole experience, so it was easily the most supportive gaming environment I’ve ever seen.

When I left, I was inspired.

That week, I started Aletheia’s Herald on WordPress, a blog where I intended to talk about anything and everything geek or gaming related that came to my attention. I would talk about new or recent movies, games, books, tv shows, comics, or anything related that came across my plate. I would create a place where I could express my thoughts about all of these things and convey news to anyone who would listen. It would be great.

It didn’t take me long to realize that blogging is actually hard work. Not only do you actually have to find things to talk about, but you have to write in a way that’s interesting to other people, create posts that are visually pleasing, and do all of the background work that makes posts useful and entertaining, like creating hotlinks, embedding pictures, and digging up the information that you need. On average, writing a detailed post like my various guides to iOS games and useful applications takes me anywhere from 3-5 hours. My guide series on catching, training, and battling Pokemon, which I’ll update for Black and White in late March or early-mid April, was written over the course of about a week in installments of several hours at a time.

I also write articles for DigitalReviews.net, a technology site where we’re trying to expand into gaming. Articles for that site take significantly longer. To start one, I have to vigilantly watch the various news websites, company RSS feeds, Twitter, and anywhere else I can glean information to learn about what’s coming out. Then, I have to send out emails to the companies responsible for what we’re interested in asking if they’d like to include us on their review list. Maybe 1/4 of these emails actually get a response, with about 3/5 of those responses being a rejection of some sort. For the remainder, we coordinate a few times to get a review copy shipped out which usually involves another 2-4 emails. Once I actually get what I’m reviewing, it takes about 15-25 hours to get the experience I need with it to be an informed user and find out what I need to write about. At that point, assuming nothing goes wrong on our website, a review takes another few hours, but something technical and server-side usually goes wrong for me so it’s often another few days to resolve website issues.

I don’t get paid to do either one. I moved my blog to Blogger on September 23rd, but I realized today in transposing some posts that without my attention, my WordPress blog has routinely gotten more hits than my ad-supported Blogger blog. I say ad-supported, but I haven’t gotten a single check, so it’s really just ad-cluttered.

On top of that, many of the links I post to Reddit.com get down-voted and accrue horrible comments from the users there. Here are a few examples:

  • It’s also like two years old. Goodbye! enjoy downvote hell.” In reference to Castle Crashers on the PS3, which was released three weeks prior.
  • actually, scott pilgrim was balls.” In response to my review of Scott Pilgrim.
  • “You’re being to polite, call it like it is: blogspam.” In response to my recent article on iOS games from November-December.
  • ..is there actually a way you can block all blogspot.com links from your own reddit?”
  • Pathetic exegesis.” In response to my post on Blade Kitten and Enslaved.

The best I got was,Blogspam, but for once half decent blogspam and an interesting read, so upvoted.”

Wow, thanks guys. You’re too kind.

So why do I do it? It’s incredibly time-consuming, very few people ever read what I have to say, I make no money from it, and I endure harsh criticism and accusations of blogspam for every article I’ve written and received any comments on. I have tons of other activities to spend my time on or with, from the mountains of work with my PhD program to my massive backlog of books, games, and movies to my wonderful girlfriend. There are plenty of other ways I could spend my time and since blogging isn’t exactly conventionally rewarding, why bother?

Well, I love what I wrote about, first of all. From Castle Crashers to Scott Pilgrim, inductees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame to what iOS apps to get for your iPhone or iPad, I write about things I care about and have an opinion on. If something isn’t interesting to me, I don’t assume that it would be interesting to you.

Secondly, I write these articles for you. Yes, you (if you’re reading this, you count). When I get asked about something often, it almost invariably turns into a post so that you can read it, access it whenever you want, and share it with your friends. When people asked me about various aspects of Pokemon and how to catch or train things more effectively, I wrote a comprehensive guide for it. When people were asking me what games to get for their iDevice, I wrote posts about the dozens of games that I played and I picked the best of the best for your entertainment. When people with new iPhones or iPads were asking me what apps to get, I wrote an iOS essentials guide so they wouldn’t have to sift through the mountains of garbage to find what’s really useful and worth having. I don’t just pick these topics out of nowhere; I pick them because they’re what you want.

Beyond that, it’s nice to be building a writing portfolio with all of this because maybe someday I can actually get paid for the massive amount of time, effort, and passion I put into posting here.┬áThat would be wonderful, but I’m not holding my breath.

So really, I write because I care. I care about how awesome Castle Crashers is. I care about helping you find cool applications for your iPhone and iPad, whether they’re games, programs that help you with school, or easier ways to find movie showings. I care about helping you train your Pokemon, as silly as that might sound.

I care about all of this and that sounds incredibly sappy, but it’s the truth.

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