This page is where you can learn more about the writers on TBGNP and the page as a whole

Simon Ashtear

What makes you a good reviewer?

I owned a Nintendo with Super Mario Bros back when it was still new. I grew up with the NES, SNES, Game Boy, and a Genesis console. But that’s about where my strongest expertise ends. I’ve had a DS since the DS Lite days. Though I’ve never owned them, I’ve played on various roommates’ N64s, Game Cubes, PS1s, PS2s, XBOXs, 360s, Wiis, PS3s, and PSPs. I’ve had a PC all my life and watched gaming on that platform evolve over time. I regularly visited the cybercafe in my neighborhood and met with other gamers in the local community. My experience with the earlier generation of games greatly outweighs my experiences with the newer generation. I’ve yet to experience any Kinect and PS Move titles.

How did you decide on this particular subject?

My mind needed stimulation and I needed to do something. After some introspection, I made a list of my strengths and thought about how to exploit them. I’d always been a good teacher and instructor. My original idea involved a web cooking show and follow-up cookbook, which you may yet get to see if there’s enough demand for it.

I was a fan of other review sites such as the Angry Video Game Nerd on Cinemassacre, the Nostalgia Critic on That Guy With The Glasses, Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News, and some of the series of videos on GameTrailers. They all seemed to have major networks that grew and expanded from their original platforms. Whatever I did, I wanted to form a network for myself and others to showcase their areas of expertise, like Scam School hosted by Brian Brushwood on Revision 3.

After reading a fateful issue of Game Informer, I realized how much I disliked most modern games, how similar they are, how bland, or how unimaginative. It seemed most review sites universally praised games I didn’t like, and panned ones I did.

I had to hear how great and amazing some titles were from the mouths of younger players that had such a narrow view of gaming as a whole. They didn’t know and had no appreciation of the history of their own subculture. They didn’t know the innovations of games that came before. It was one of the first times I saw a rift in gaming culture. I didn’t like what I was seeing. I had to do something about it.

Part of it was out of spite, showing those young whippersnappers what real games were like. Back in the day, we had only two buttons, A & B, and we were happy! Part of it was to celebrate what makes a good game. Hopefully with enough visibility, we can create influence and shape the games to come.

What reviews DO you trust?

I’ve expressed my dislike of most major review sites before. I tend to agree most frequently with the Penny Arcade crew and Tycho’s appreciation and analysis of games, as well as identifying with his frustration at trying to educate Gabe. I also appreciate GameTrailers reviews. GT tends not to be as negative or hostile as other reviews when it comes to acknowledging faults.

Can I write for your site?

I welcome passionate analysis. I know that sounds contradictory. Analysis should be impartial and all about listing out the facts. Passion is about emotions and feelings. Games are about fun and enjoyment. And I’ve never found it possible to debate in the “traditional” way and quantify fun, without taking all the fun out of it. Fun is just fun. As far as analysis, I want to hear good solid reasons why what you like is important to you. If a game has great music, tell me about it in a clear and mature way.

Moreso, this site is about celebrating great things. If you are passionate about something and very knowledgeable, then I welcome you to spill and share all you can about it. Even though I’m a gamer and love geek culture as a whole, if your hobby or passion is something else that doesn’t naturally fit into geek culture, I will welcome it, like that web cooking show I mentioned earlier.

Submit something to Sterling5583@gmail.com

How did you get started?

After deciding I wanted to review great older and bargain games, I started writing. I started writing before I had anywhere to publish. I just wrote like mad. I tossed the idea around and showed some examples of my work to my friends. They were mostly supportive. It’s important that I showed it around to a variety of people since some were more supportive than others. They told me about the free weblog service called Word Press and then I started to craft the pages you see here.

What is it with you and the hot coco?

It’s awesome! It’s one of my favorite drinks, but not too hot. I love it mostly on a chilly winter day. It’s just too bad I haven’t been anywhere that had a strong enough winter to warrant it. I also love a good lemonade, root beer, or milkshake. All this talk of food makes me want to work on that cooking show now.

What do you do besides reviews?

I write. There’s a few books I’m working on, one of them a cookbook, the other two being science-fiction and detective noir. I also enjoy stained glass and 3d modeling.

  1. >Followed the curator
    >Seen Skyrim and new shitty Xcom in recommended.

    • Thank you for your consideration Fr33zerg. I’m glad you took the time to find my curator page and took the extra time to look through what all I recommended. I’d like to hear more about your thoughts, in detail, why you disliked the new XCOM, and Skyrim.

      Personally, I’ve had many negative experiences with the Elder Scrolls 3 and 4, that I prejudged 5. Through the heavy insistence of friends, I finally did try Skyrim and had some even MORE bad experiences. I promised my friend, I’d give it some more time. Honestly, if I was going to hate something, I ought to do my homework on it instead of prejudging it like I did. Eventually, it just clicked, I fell in love with Skyrim, I understood the appeal. I went on to explore more of the Bethesda catalog, Fallout New Vegas, the other Elder Scrolls and saw them in a new light. I like to think I’ve grown as a player, but the internet doesn’t need more articles praising Skyrim. It’s already popular, well-known, and renowned enough. It doesn’t exactly meet the criteria as one of the “best games never played” but it’s one of the few modern major games that does deserve most of the hype it’s received.

      I’ve tried to get friends to play the original X-COM, but one of the toughest barriers to get through is it’s interface. If you don’t have a manual, there’s no tool tips, no in-game help, it takes a lot of effort to learn. You have to WANT to learn it. The modern incarnation of X-COM seems like an evolution of the interface, more than anything. I liked seeing exactly how much movement I could squeeze out and still reserve points for turning and kneeling and retaliating. The remake gets rid of the interface being a barrier to entry and leaves much of the strategic element intact. Once you researched heavy plasma rifles in the original, money was no longer an issue. I don’t know about you, but in the remake, money was always a problem, adding that much more to worry about, keeping the suspense.

      But that’s enough from me. Please, elaborate on your experiences.

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