Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Have You Played This Week?

Not too much played this week. There generally was a lot of news to deal with meaning I only played a little here and there. Also we had the plumber in to fix radiators which took up Monday-Tuesday. Wednesday was very busy catching up on the week.

Football Manager 10 – PC – Still playing through with FC Bayern. Also i'm now manager of Ireland. Only through the second season so far.

Okami – Wii – only played a little which is a shame, wish I had more time to play it.

Uncharted 2 – PS3 – Only played a little of the game, not really progressed much further.

Fl0w – PS3 – decided to play to get a couple more trophies. I also spent time just relaxing to the game.

Half Minute Hero – Demo – PSP – a lot of people have been talking good things about this game so I was eager to have a go. The demo is very short, even though it offers 2 stages, but this is more a result from the game itself. It took a little while to get used to the very different style of gameplay, but it's quick, exciting, and fun. The graphics are charming and so is the music in their retro styles. I recommend people try the demo as it may surprise them.

What have you been playing this week? feel free to add your weeks gaming selection in the comments, or comment on my selection for this week

Tips For Future Videogame Bloggers

After doing this for a year, I feel I could offer some advice for people who are thinking of starting their own videogame blog.

1.Don't be afraid to have a grand vision. It is something to aim for. But start small, slowly introduce sections and the amount of work you do. Don't worry if it takes a few months for your site to grow into your grand vision, or even if you don't reach your vision. Try to get the main parts in, see what your audience reads and make sure they are catered for.

2.Try to be different from the other sites. Its easy to copy what others do, but it's harder to make your site unique. Have a good look around the web and see if you can find a niche that's not being catered for. If you want to do something that's similar/same as other sites, spend some time getting posts down on your site, then try contacting those sites either offering news tips, or show them your work.

3.It would be handy to have some money put aside to spend on your site. Its ok to use Blogger/Wordpress, but there comes a point where owning your own domain name would make your site look more professional.

4.Don't be afraid to experiment with new technology, many websites were slow to use Twitter, and try to keep on top of social trends. All this will give you a leg up on the big sites and will help build a audience.

5.When talking to PR, understand that you may not get a response. Remain calm and polite and ask again. Some companies will refuse to talk to you because of the size of your site. Understand and move on to others who will.

6.Have a go at doing a podcast, either solo or with mates. Try experimenting with other things like video's on youtube. If your looking at moving to a bigger site, understand that they use audio/video reporting heavily and any experience is essential.

7.Don't expect to get a job at a big site because you have a small site. Having your own site is a good way to earn experience in writing and the videogame industry, but it doesn't mean your guaranteed a job a major site. It will be a let down, but you should be enjoying working on your site, if you haven't been enjoying it...perhaps working in the industry isn't for you.

8.Always check your work. Read what you have written and check for mistakes. It may sound simple but all the sites suffer from this time to time.

What A Year Its Been – QTE Gamers And PR

One of the biggest experiences I've had is dealing with PR. For the most part, I've had good experiences in dealing with PR. But I went in knowing that I wouldn't get a reply to every email I sent, and knowing that I was a small blog and I wouldn't be given a lot of attention from the big sites.

In the beginning, I talked a lot to PR from various different companies. I was trying to get access to press sites to increase the amount of news I was reporting on myself, and not news from other sites. But it took time to get access to many of these press sites, so instead I would send of email questions to various companies to create some news. More often than not I wouldn't get a reply, but companies like Zen Studios were great and answered questions I posed them. Unfortunately, as I got access to more press sites, I didn't have the time to ask other companies questions like I did In the beginning. For me that is a disappointment, I would like to ask lots of questions, but now i've signed up to many press sites, I rarely get the free time.

Out of the main 3 console makers, I have to say that Sony have been by far the most helpful because neither Microsoft or Nintendo have gotten back to me when i've asked questions. As I said before, not every question I ask gets a response, but Sony have been great in providing answers. Some times I ask questions that they don't have answers for or can't provide a answer for, for example i've asked many questions about the Motion Controller but as its still in development, Sony can't answer my questions.

Out Of The Big Publishers/Developers, i'd say that EA, Majesco, And THQ have been very helpful. Unfortunately companies like Capcom won't work with small sites, and others like Codemasters use a press site i've not been granted access to.

Press releases can be very frustrating. Rarely provided, when a new game is announced for example, is a screenshot or the games logo. I always try to have a picture of the game/company mentioned in the news, but some companies make that difficult. Other issues are that most press releases are full of filler. Sometimes the news is only 1 paragraph, yet the press release will have an additional 4+ paragraphs of filler/fluff. Some of the better Press Releases come from smaller companies, they tend to me more to the point, come with a screenshots/video/game logo, which all together makes my job easier and makes it easier to get the news across.

I have tired to get review copies of games before but as i'm a small new site, i've always been denied. There has been the rare couple of times when a PR contact has said they will send me review code, but they have never come through with it. My main issue is time. I would like to do some reviews, but some days I spend soo many hours working that I don't get a chance to play games whether they are review or for fun.

What A Year Its Been – The Evolution Of The Site

When I started QTE Gamers, I had no idea that I would be where I am now. As i've mentioned before in other posts today, I had no experience in reporting videogame news and no experience in dealing with PR, so I really didn't know what to expect. Looking back on the year its fun to see how things have changed.

One of the main changed is what happened to the QTE Gamers Blog. In the beginning it was never to be used to report news. The main idea was to use it to discuss my experience in the videogame industry. What eventually happened was I found that I was being given screenshots, artwork, videos, and various press releases. I had only expected to be given press releases, not the rest, and I soon came to the conclusion that I could do something with them. After hunting round the net and experimenting with ways of displaying the additional material, I decided that I should adapt the blog for news.

As the blog was never really designed to be used for news, it is a bit clear that it's not the best designed blog for reporting on screenshots and stuff. But that doesn't mean I haven't made changes to the site. One of the biggest changes was making it so I could have a Read More/Comment section. Before, when I had press releases, they would go below the article I had just written, but they would take up a lot of space on the front page of the site. Some people had made comments and suggested that I should look into it. I, myself, had thought about doing something to make this situation better. After a long hunt and trying a few things, I ended up with the solution I have now. Now the front page of the site is focused on the news, with press releases/fact sheets accessible by clicking on the Read More/Comment.

Other changes to the site have come mostly from me. I've tried to always make the news accessible. The QTE Quick Links came about as I wanted it to become easier to search for news stories for a specific console. I was personally having issues with using the search box that Blogger supplies, so set about looking at ways I could make changes to the blog to make searching easier. The tags under each post are useful, but the Blogger search doesn't search for them specifically. The quick links search specifically for the tags and have become a welcome addition, not only for me but the readers.

There have been small changes over the year, like widening columns and changing colours, which I have done to make the site more presentable. There have been some changes suggested by readers. On the big ones was for iPhone users. As the phone doesn't have flash, people were unable to view the screenshots. So I simply added a link to the album and now iPhone users can click the link and view all the screenshots in that particular album.

There is a lot more I want to do to the site. Unfortunately, I have no training in HTML which means I have to look up solutions on the internet that other people have come up with and use trial and error to make any change to the site. This does mean that some things I have tried haven't become a part of the site because I couldn't get them to work right. It is annoying as I have many ideas that i'm just not able to bring to the site.

Who knows how the site will evolve. I'm open to suggestions from the readers and i'm always on the lookout for ways to make the site better

Why I Decided To Create QTE Gamers

As a fan of videogames, I regularly checked the web for all the news I could find. But, I was beginning to get annoyed with sites who focused more on jokes than the stories. It was becoming common to find a short news story being filled with jokes and opinions, making it hard to get to the story. It got to a point where I was reading stories and not knowing what game they were referring to. There were also stories where the jokes and comments were very American centred and I just didn't understand it, being a Brit an all.

I had been exposed to twitter in late 2008 and could see its potential and how big it could become. At the start of 2009 I was laid off from WoolWorths when the company went under. I decided that I should do something to keep me busy whilst I look job. I decided to use this new Twitter thing for reporting videogame news.

To report on Videogames news, to become different from the rest of the site, I knew I had to come up with something new so I decided to focus on Twitter. Also, after becoming frustrated with other news sites, I decided that I should focus on brining just the news, keep the jokes out of it. And that's how QTE Gamers was born, it all started with the desire to keep myself busy whilst I was unemployed, and the want to bring news back to being reported as news and not personal comment/joke.

About QTE Gamers

My Name is Simon Revell and I run everything. There is only me working here so everything you see on the site has come from me. I'm also the person who posts the twitter messages and live blogs events. Prior to QTE Gamers, I had no experience reporting on videogame news beyond forum posts. I have been doing this for over a year now and have had some stories mentioned on the big sites, like Joystiq, and become important news on the internet.
If you have any questions for me, get in touch via email at

QTE Gamers is a news site designed to get the news to people quickly and simply. By incorporating Twitter, QTE Gamers is able to report on news from across the web in such a way that subscribers to the Twitter feed, or readers on the website, are able to read about the story and decide if they want to read more indepth about it from the site the story is from.

The same is true with posts on QTE Gamers. Every post on the site goes through our twitter feed, so the title for every post is written like a Twitter news story. The game, what the post is about, the company, and Console are all mentioned in the post title so people know what the post is about and can make a decision whether they want to read it or now.

The text in a news post is designed to be concise, simple and short. There's no faffing around with jokes, I report the news as it is. When I get a press release, I avoid the filler that many press releases have and simply write the news story. If people want to read the press release themselves, I make sure every press release is included in every post at the bottom of the section.

Screenshots, Concept Art, And videos are all accessible from the front page of the site, in their news post, to make it easier for people to quickly get the news, saving them having to click and find the screens. For people accessing the site via a Mobile device, or console, the screenshots are not usually accessible so a link is provided so people can go straight to the album and view them that way.

Having a re-cap of yesterdays news provides people with a quick way of looking at what happened the day before without having to go through web pages. The audio re-cap is again there so people can hear about the news without having to go through many pages to read it all.

If you have any questions about the site, or want to make some suggestions let us know at

Our 1 Year (+5 Days) Anniversary!!!

Yep its true, the QTE Gamers website has been live for a year, and 5 days. The twitter aspect of the site has been live longer, but I was unable to find out what exact day the QTE Gamers twitter account started so I decided to celebrate the day the website went live.

To celebrate the anniversary I will be writing some posts about my experience in videogame industry. I will also be revealing more about the site, why I've designed it like I have, my goals, and aims. I will also discuss the future of the site, where I would like to take it. I will finish with a little piece offering advice for budding videogame bloggers.

It maybe a humble celebration, if I could do something more grand I would, but for now I hope this insight will be sufficient.