The modern commercial games press kinda sucks, with its over-reliance on an ad-supported clickbait business model and sponsored posts ultimately dragging the quality of its content down into the gutter and, in some awful cases, even insulting the audience it's supposed to be catering to.
MoeGamer is my attempt to produce something better... something a bit different.
Omega Quintet (Idea Factory/Compile Heart)
The Elevator Pitch
MoeGamer is not a daily gaming news site. Nor is it a review site. And nor is it a site that attempts to be all things to all people. It is, quite simply, a site about enjoying, appreciating and celebrating games.
It is a site designed based on my philosophy that gaming sites serve their audience a whole lot better if they specialise and focus on a particular subject area rather than attempting to take a scattershot approach to covering what has become a sprawling, unimaginably broad business since its birth.
You don't get opera specialists writing about the latest pop albums; you don't have cricket experts commenting on basketball. So why should people who don't know their stuff about -- or worse, have no interest in -- Japanese games and visual novels write about the distinctive work our friends in the East produce for us to enjoy?
Japanese games are under-explored and misrepresented by much of the commercial, mainstream press. Which provides an ideal opportunity for someone like me to explore them in depth and potentially introduce a whole new audience to them who may not have otherwise considered them.
Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto (Kuro Irodoru Yomiji/Sekai Project/Denpasoft)
"Someone like you?"
I've immersed myself in modern Japanese popular culture and interactive entertainment since I first discovered a strong passion for it nearly ten years ago. I've taken the effort to research the culture that underpins many of these works, the social context in which they exist and the rich, fascinating history of gaming that has brought us many of today's titles. I know my stuff, in other words, and with each new article I research and write I am learning more and more new things, too!
MoeGamer is the next step in a journey I began with my weekly JPgamer column on USgamer. Since I launched the site three years ago it has developed from an occasional blog into a site with a tight, monthly focus on a specific game or series, and beyond into a continually expanding database and historical record of underappreciated, overlooked games both from Japan and inspired by Japanese work.
Nights of Azure (Gust/Koei Tecmo)
What doe MoeGamer offer that other sites don't?
Rather than an attempt to rush out coverage in time to meet an embargo, the core concept around which MoeGamer is designed is the idea of the "Cover Game". This is a game or series that I explore in great depth over the course of at least four articles in a month, covering all aspects of the experience. In the case of visual novels, I'll explore and analyse the various narrative paths and characters. In the case of more conventional games, I'll explore the historical context, mechanics, narrative and aesthetics of the game.
Perhaps most importantly, a "Cover Game" isn't necessarily a current, high-profile game that has just been released. It might be a noteworthy game or visual novel from ten years ago. It might be a game that has received little to no press attention whatsoever. Or, uh, it might be Final Fantasy XV(4).
Alongside this in-depth coverage, I also offer shorter "one-shot" and "essentials" articles that provide a briefer look at games from various genres and platforms, as well as commentary on gaming and Japanese popular culture at large.
So why Patreon?
I firmly believe that content creators should be paid for their work, but that pay should not be tied to a meaningless and easy to manipulate metric like "number of clicks". As such, MoeGamer is not designed with a clickbait model in mind, nor is it in any way ad-supported(5).
I want people to be able to show their support for quality, in-depth writing about gaming -- particularly games that don't get explored in depth elsewhere -- and to show that there is a better way to do things than the rut mainstream commercial sites have got stuck in.
As for why I need the money for this at all... well, as most of you reading this probably know, gaming can be an expensive hobby, particularly when you're dealing with niche-interest or rare titles. There's a limit to how much I can fund out of my own pocket, so any help you can offer will allow me to broaden my remit to a wider variety of games and hardware as well as improve the functionality of the website as a whole.
Dungeon Travelers 2 (Aquaplus/Sting/Atlus)
Are you offering rewards?
I don't want to gate any of MoeGamer's content behind a paywall, and since I'm working on the site as a side project alongside a day job, there's only so much time I can devote to rewards above and beyond what I'm already doing each week. I'd rather people support MoeGamer because they want to support my work rather than in order to get their hands on some sort of cool reward.
That said, I do want to offer at least a token something to say thank you to those who have shown their support. As such, anyone who donates at least $1 will get access to my Patron-only feed on here, which I'll update two or three times a week with more immediate, personal thoughts about what I'm playing and the current state of gaming culture. And anyone who donates at least $5 will score themselves a monthly wallpaper featuring site mascots Midori, Yumi and Penelope.
There are other rewards I'd like to consider offering such as hardcopy magazines/books of each month's Cover Game articles, but those take time, effort and money to produce so I'm not promising anything in that vein for now. If there's sufficient interest I'll definitely consider it though.
VA-11 HALL-A (Sukeban Games/Ysbryd Games)
Anything to declare?
MoeGamer is funded almost entirely out of my own pocket and through generous donations here on Patreon or via Ko-Fi. Occasionally I will receive review copies of games from publishers, but this will be declared in any articles I write about said games. I also occasionally make use of affiliate links to storefronts such as MangaGamer, but again, these will be disclosed in any articles in which they appear.
Gal*Gun Double Peace (Inti Creates/PQube)
Show me your stuff!
Lewd! But all right then. Here are all the Cover Games since I started the format in April 2016. You can also find a full list of games I've covered since the site's inception on this page.
Shantae (June 2018)
Gal*Gun 2 (May 2018)
Blue Reflection (April 2018)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (March 2018)
Inti Creates (February 2018)
Cyberdimension Neptunia (January 2018)
The MoeGamer Awards 2017
Rance 5D and VI (November 2017)
Ridge Racer (October 2017)
Fate/stay night (September 2017)
Stormblood (August 2017)
Nekopara (July 2017)
Gravity Rush (June 2017)
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (May 2017)
Nier: Automata (April 2017)
Ne no Kami (March 2017)
Grisaia (February 2017)
Nights of Azure (January 2017)
Final Fantasy XV (December 2016)
Fairy Fencer F: ADF (November 2016)
Gal*Gun Double Peace (October 2016)
One Way Heroics (September 2016)
RPG Maker MV (August 2016)
Ys (July 2016)
Dungeon Travelers 2 (June 2016)
Megadimension Neptunia V-II (May 2016)
Senran Kagura Estival Versus (April 2016)
Thank you for your kind support!
(1) If my surname looks familiar but you don't know my work well, you may be familiar with my brother John's work on Glixel, Gamespot, 1up, EGM, OPM and numerous others from over the years.
(2) Far from being a disability, this particular condition has proven to be something of a boon when discovering something you have a passionate interest in. I just don't like going to parties.
(3) I try not to dwell on this particular part of my career too much, as the house style for said publication required that I refer to Mario as "Mazza" and replace all instances of the word "your" with "yer". You know, for the "yoof".
(4) Hey, I have needs.
(5) If you do see any ads on the site, those are WordPress' doing, not mine, and if I secure enough funding I'll be able to remove them completely.