State of the Site: Looking Back, Shooting Forward
Hello my friends, and welcome to the fifth anniversary of Space Game Junkie. When I began this site back in August of 2011 — after some positive encouragement, thanks guys! — I was an unemployed fella looking to fill up my days with something akin to what the CRPG Addict is doing, namely playing through old games. Since barely anything new was coming out in the space game…er…space, I figured this’d be a natural fit for my time and skills. I’d tried to run gaming blogs/sites before, but they also got too overwhelming, and I thought keeping it to one genre would be a great way to stay focused. Little did I know that not only after the launch of this site that I’d become fully employed mere weeks later, but that the space game genre would have a striking and amazing resurgence that none of us could have predicted.
Over the years, the site has evolved quite a bit. It began as a purely textual endeavour, and has morphed into a mostly video-based enterprise (which has both positives and negatives that I’ll talk about in a second), yet despite the change in medium, the primary goal has been the same: to take a journey through the entirety of space gaming, from its humble beginnings to its finest offerings. Since there are more new games to choose from now, I’ve also added the goal of helping developers find fans for their games, and fans find space games they can fall in love with. I’d like to think I’ve been successful at both (with help of course, thanks to our fun podcast).
However, now that the site is turning five years old — which is my longest running endeavour yet — I’ve been thinking back to what I’ve done well, what I could be doing better, and what I hope to add in the future to make this site, its community, and its content even better.
What I’m Proud of:
- Consistent Content – For the most part, I’m insanely happy that I’ve been able to put, at minimum, one video up each workday. The focus of these have changed of course (I’m really liking the weekly format), but for the most part, I’m glad I’ve been putting up regular content for you all to hopefully enjoy. While I’ve not always succeeded at this — because life happens, of course — I’m happy that the content has been mostly coming in a steady stream, and I hope for that to continue to the best of my ability.
- The Podcast – A few years ago, Jim came to me on Steam and said “Hey, you have a microphone, let’s do a podcast.” I’d been thinking of doing one for a spell, but wasn’t sure about doing it on my own, so it seemed like kismet that Jim would offer his time to this now-weekly endeavour. As we have now over 160 episodes under our belt, I’m happy of the work Jim, Hunter and I have done to keep the show improving, make it entertaining and keep it topical.
- Support of Developers and Games Large and Small – When I began the site, I had no idea there would be new games to talk about. If the previous decade had been any indication, most of my time would be focused on revisiting classics, rather than looking to new titles. Heck, how times have changed. Now we seem nearly deluged with space games from small teams to larger houses, and I’d like to think we’ve done a decent job supporting them all as best we can.
What I Could Do Better:
- Building a Community – I’ll admit, I’ve had a hard time at this one. I mean we have a forum that is rarely used and a Facebook group that barely gets any traffic, and honestly, this is all on me. I need to make these places much more engaging and active, so I’m going to be doing a lot, especially with the forum, to work on making it more of the hub of our community. While having the Facebook group and so on is great, not everyone has Facebook, so I want to give us all a place where we can chat and collaborate easily.
- Planning out Content – As much as I love space games, I’m honestly terrible at coming up with ideas for content, and this is something I sorely need to work on. I’ve talked about this before, I know, but I keep letting it slip through the cracks because I’m, truth be told, a bit lazy. Well, it’s time to get off my metaphorical ass and get to work coming up with ideas for articles, listicles (I hate them, but people love them, so you’ll get them), events and so on to keep the site content flowing. One thing I need to do is not only write down article ideas, but start them and not worry if I don’t get them done in one shot. This has been a major mental block that I need to deal with.
- More Written Content – As stated earlier, this site began as a written endeavour, and I’ve lost sight of that in the ease of making video content. While making videos has been a boon for me and my fairly busy life, it’s also allowed me to fall into a rut wherein I made some videos and think I’m done for the week. This site deserves more, as do you, so I’m going to work on more written content. Op-eds, Q&As, textual reviews of things other than games (manuals, hardware, etc) and so on are in the plan, so hopefully those of you who can’t enjoy the blog’s videos or our podcast won’t feel left out.
What’s To Come:
- More Patreon Goals – While Patreon has been great in helping make this site self-sufficient, I know the campaign can help bring me ever closer towards doing this full-time (that is the dream, anyway). To that end, I’m adding new goals to the campaign, such as getting equipment to allow me to be in front of the camera, Patron-specific events and so on. If you’ve not chipped into the campaign, now is a great time.
- A Merch Shop – Another thing I plan to add to the site is a mercandise shop which will allow you to purchase things like shirts, mousepads and the like to further help cover the costs of the site. The shop will be through Zazzle, and should have everything you’d need to show your Space Game Junkie love. ;)
- More Scheduled Events – Finally, I plan to mix Thursdays (and other days as they happen) even more with more event-types, such as in-game multiplayer events, contests and more, so stay tuned for that stuff! :)
Space Game Junkie is not only a labor of love, but a lot of hard work, and while I’m proud of the work done here, I know I can do even more. I know I’ve said stuff like this before, but after five years, one really starts to take things a bit more seriously. ;) Thank you all so much for helping make Space Game Junkie the fantastic endeavour it’s become. This site has been a consistent and constant source of joy for me, and much of that is because of you. :) I hope the next five years are even better than the last, and with your help, I’m sure they will be, :)