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A New Gaming Web Site Approaches!

No High Scores

You might be visiting No High Scores and thinking to yourself, “why in the fucking world do we need another gaming blog?” I’m Michael Barnes, one of the founding writers and I’m also right there with you. When I signed on for this gig with a couple of my Gameshark.com colleagues, I found myself asking whether or not we could collectively offer something fresh, new, or different to a gaming public already saturated with gaming Web sites. In conversation with my friends and co-writers here during the planning stages, I became convinced that we could.

No High Scores is about games first and foremost. Not cosplay pictures, Mega Man fan art, demagogic blogging, or controversy-seeking reviews. We’re people that are fans of fun, and in addition to that we tend to be older fans of fun. We’re all kids at heart, but I think that readers will find what we’re going to be doing here is more mature, focused, and accessible to folks who may not be in the 18-25 male demographic. I’m 35 years old and I’ve been playing games my entire life and I quite frankly don’t have the patience for the idiotic discourse or in-jokey content I’ve seen at some of the other sites. I think they make gaming look immature, silly, and trite.

I think gaming is better than that. It’s something I deeply love and have a real passion for. I love talking about games, writing about games, and of course playing them. I hope that we here at No High Scores can share that passion with our readers. I’d like to think that this place will grow to become the first site on anyone’s mind when they’re looking for a no-bullshit gaming site with a mature outlook and insightful, talented writers.

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Another differentiator that you’ll find here is that we’re not just going to be covering console, mobile and PC games. We’re also planning on full coverage of tabletop games. Yes, old fashioned board games. They still exist, and some of us still play them. I’ve been writing a weekly gaming column at Gameshark.com for nearly four years and I also co-founded FortressAT.com, one of the more successful boardgaming blogs on the Web. I hope that our tabletop games coverage will inspire you to consider gaming as a single, unified pursuit whether it’s on an Xbox 360 or on an Ikea kitchen table.

I’m excited about what we can accomplish with No High Scores. I hope that readers come to this place ready to debate, discuss, and have fun with our articles. I think you’ll find that these people writing this stuff alongside me have some unique viewpoints and some interesting opinions about games and gaming.

So welcome to our place. Not on the leaderboard? Don’t sweat it. If you’re a fan of fun you don’t need to have a high score.

Michael Barnes

Games writer Michael Barnes is a co-founder of Nohighscores.com as well as FortressAT.com. His trolling has been published on the Web and in print in at least two languages and in three countries. His special ability is to cheese off nerds using the power of the Internet and his deep, dark secret is that he's actually terrible at games. Before you ask, no, the avatar is not him. It's Mark E. Smith of The Fall.

8 thoughts to “A New Gaming Web Site Approaches!”

  1. While I was in college I knew a young lady who had “Catan” in her email address. I’d never heard of it, of course. But when my roommate got a copy and insisted we play it, my entire gaming world turned upside down.

    I think most people associate boardgames with Monopoly and (older edition) Risk. Much like nuclear war, these are terrible games where the only way to win is not to play. The question, then, is how to introduce people to new games without the associating with the crappy ones they played as children.

  2. Well, I strongly believe people either are inclined to play board games or they’re not…I’m not sure there’s a way to really convince grown folks otherwise. Either you have the gene or you don’t.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with associating board games with Monopoly and Risk (even the old one). Those are classic, influential, and culturally resonant games. They’re iconic and universal in ways that even Catan isn’t quite yet.

    If you approach somebody and say “hey, those old games you know about suck” and then propose that whatever hobby games or modern examples are somehow better, you’re getting off on the wrong foot.

    I don’t really introduce people to games. If they come to me with interest, then I’ll certainly offer some advice or guidance toward some of the great modern work that’s going on in tabletop gaming. But I realized a long time ago that this “board game evangelism” thing was both fruitless and insinuating.

    But hey, who knows, maybe some NHS readers will get turned on to some board games by our content here. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  3. I have never really had anyone to play boardgames with, but I am going back to uni this summer, so I will try to find these people there. The older I am the nerdier I get …

    Anyway, you’ve got yourself a reader with me. Looking forward to whatever comes from this.

    “No High Scores is about games first and foremost. Not cosplay pictures, Mega Man fan art, demagogic blogging, or controversy-seeking reviews. We’re people that are fans of fun […]” Yeah, that’s totally not a distinguishing feature 😛

  4. Michael, I am very excited about NHS and your vision statement of it. I really feel that from what I have read, it does have the potential to offer something unique. I am 33, have been gaming since I was 6, and I have a hard time finding what I would consider my niche for an online gaming community. I heard about NHS from Penny Arcade, and have enjoyed reading the content here. I find with many of the blog or board post style game sites like 1up, PA, or Joystiq, that while I can stay informed about upcoming games, that I still feel like an outsider. I can’t relate to most of the comments or posts; I am not interested in fraggin noobs, how many trophies/achievements someone has, gamer tags, or the pissing contests between whose console is better. I read a paragraph for info and leave. Most comments leave me shaking my head, not so much because I disagree with their viewpoint, but because I can’t relate to the mentality. The only time that I feel at home talking about games with people are when I find fellow gamers around my age, who can relate to the evolution and culture of what we love. If I talk to someone in their 20′s about River City Ransom, or The Guardian Legend, and all they can do is complain about the graphics, well, I feel my point is lost. So I am hopefully optimistic that you and your colleagues have the ability to create an environment that inspires a more meaningful relationship with the medium, and those that love it. I look forward to reading and contributing to the conversation. Best of luck to you.

  5. Thank you for your comments- I think you’re in the right place. The NHS key differentiator, if you will, is a more mature outlook on gaming mediums. Speaking for myself, I’ve had the same problem figuring out where exactly I fit in with online gaming discussion considering that the overwhelming majority of games discussion that goes on is quite frankly embarassing and much too juvenile for me to wade through. Like you, I could never relate to the typical Destructoid/Kotaku/Joystiq poster. I think games deserve better conversations than that.

    I hate to use the word “sophisticated” because I think that should be reserved for Audrey Hepburn, The Great Gatsby, or wine tastings, but I think you’ll find the conversations here closer to that adjective than childish, puerile, or inane. At least I hope, we’re only a week into this!

    Glad to have you on board, it’s gonna be fun.

  6. Got here via Penny Arcade. I just found myself a new gaming news site to frequent.

    As a matter of point, I own an actual, similarly beat up version of that very book. Bought it at a used bookstore for a nice gag in between my library of books that were actually good ideas. About a month ago I found a second copy for a friend who saw it and loved it, but had bought it on Amazon in the meanwhile. So I got an extra copy booting around, you know if you want one to mark the occasion so to speak, not to mention the quality Video Game exercises it offers, fun for you and a friend! HAH

    It’s a funny read, must be one of the earliest video game guides ever.

  7. This is exactly the kind of site I want, just great writing and no fanboys arguing over which monolithic corporation (Who wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire) has bigger numbers than the other.

    A certain other site used to almost help me out but some of the regular commentators (Not writers) were so arrogant and thought their opinions were fact were beginning to drive me away. Then the upper management decided that they wanted to tell people how to surf the web and throw us an unusable mess of a website.

    Congratulations on the new site guys! Good luck with it all.

  8. Like many others, I found out about you guys thanks to Jerry Holkins. However, you came along at a perfect time when the site I have visited multiple times daily for the past 15 years, Shacknews, is at a historic low point.

    I’m not looking to start wars with them, as I just hit 10,000 posts in the Latest Chatty threads, and will surely keep playing with Shackers. When I need game news and interesting links, I will absolutely be coming to NHS rather than visiting the Shack’s front page.

    Just in the past 3 days, I’ve read more interesting articles here than I can recall from the past 3 months of Shacknews.

    Keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing the site continue to grow!

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