I'm Back and Starting a Union

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I've been away from TESFU for a while now, as i'm no longer interested in TES, or anything of the videogame nature. But I've decided to come back to gamespot. Thus, if anyone still reads this, I'm actually starting a new union, and it's on baseball. I hope to develop my skills as a journalist somewhat and write articles for this union which covers all facets of professional baseball.

So how is everyone back here doing? Always good to catch up on you guys!

Off-Gamespot Update

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So guys, if anyone even checks out the blog anymore, just wanted to say things are going well where I am. I'm rather excited for the super bowl more than anything else. I can't wait to see what my giants actually do there, perhaps they put up some kind of game against those wretched Patriots. In other news, I'm listening to a lot of new music, from the likes of old-c-lassic rock in Traffic, new hip-hop with Lupe Fiasco, and new indie rock with the New Pornographers. What are you guys listening to?

Off-site TESFU is doing wonderfully. Our forums have 200+ members, and 10000+ posts, and the union birthday is coming up very soon. The beta version of the site is nearly up, with our downloads section being made so we'll even have downloadable mods. Speaking of which, I've made a book mod myself, which you can download here.

That's all the news you'll get out of me that's off-gamespot. The one thing I'd like to mention that's on site is my idea to redeem the Game Designers Universe, which I may go into further on a future blog post. Meanwhile, check out the thread here.

Forums Update

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For any of those who think I'm dead or something, I'm still here, just very much once in a while. Anyway, for anyone who cared, life as well as the new forums have gone pretty well. Pretty soon, I'll be starting up the new site for TESFU, which has progressed rather nicely in its "re-birth". So, for all my friends from GS, what have you guys been doing?

My forum

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Not asking you guys to come and join it, but I just wanted to let all who didn't know that TESFU official forum is now up off-site. I feel like it's a pretty nice accomplishment for a free forum, and I'd like to thank mewantcookie, lettuceman, and sfgiantsfan for helping start it up. Here's the homepage: http://z15.invisionfree.com/TESFU_Forums/index.php?act=idx

This is TESFU's first step in going to a new site, and already we have nearly 500 posts, so I'm pretty dang excited about it. If you're hoping to join, simply register there.

I am Waco. A bit of a small confession.

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Alright, well I suppose I should stay this, because I will be leaving the site in a few months. Does anyone remember the GameSpot user Waco219, who claimed to be leaving the site due to family problems? Well, I'm him. Yes, that's me who made that good old, dead Game Designers Universe, that's me who brought myself back for a bit of a comeback, then left again. I was that guy, basically because I desperately wanted to create another union around March, and made one with Waco. The Game Designers Universe was an idea I had had for years, and if I was smart enough, it would have been the first union I had made.

That union could have been the top union on GameSpot, had I dedicated enough time to it, but I was too caught up with all things TESFU back then. Note, that TESFU is still my union, and the one that I continue to plan on updating, but had GDU been my first union, everything would have turned out differently. Oh, also with Waco I made the Informational Gaming Union, sort of for kicks, but that failed, Shinida took over, and I don't know how well it's doing. So, um yup, I'm sorry just4yoshi, kay-est, and everyone else if I "tricked" them. Please tell me if you actually didn't know I was him, I'm interested.

Seriously considering moving my union off-site

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Alright, well right now, the only way I can process this whole Jeff Gersthman firing thing is that GameSpot has already gone to hell. Ever since Greg left, which is the reason I came to GameSpot in the first place, reviews have gone down the toilet, and now publishers actually are having an effect on what the game's score is. Besides this major problem, the fact that unions version two isn't coming anytime soon, if at all makes me very worried.

Convince me otherwise, I'd truly like you to, but I am seriously considering moving myself, and my union off-site, with only dedicated members remaining. Not only would this website likely be better than the union itself in the first place, but the fact is, it would be away from the one place that is simply getting ridiculous in the first place. Yes, I know I have a lot of friends here, and I do like you guys, but at some point you simply have to draw the line. I don't really have much of a reason to go to this site anymore, besides unions, and if my union is moved, basically I'm outta here.

The only question I have left is if I can make and maintain a website for free that can handle downloads, because I will need downloadable content to keep my site running, as that's a huge part of the Elder Scrolls world. If anyone can help me with this, I'll be entirely grateful. And I know, I will likely not be back here very often, but I'm not officially leaving yet, so don't worry, this isn't my last hurrah, just a warning of things to come.

My Hand-Picked Best Unions of 2007

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The class of 2007 is here, meaning any union made this year could have a chance to win my best unions award. Of course, it's only that top unions that do however, and I'd like to give those unions their recognition that they deserve for being among the best made this year. I am not giving any union a certain award, just the top unions is the order in which they were made. So, the most recent unions are last on the list.

1) Portable System Wars

Date Created: Jan. 13th

# of Members: 1392

# of Views: 128289

link to union

Description: The first union to grace this list is a popular one. Portable System Wars boomed to huge activity, and popularity in its first four months, with plenty of contests, discussions and such to make it still popular (though not nearly as active) today. Looking to discuss or debate portable systems, this is the place to go.

2) The Elder Scrolls Fan Union

Date Created: Jan. 31st

# of Members: 1992

# of Views: 244923

link to union

Description: It helps that I lead this union, but anyway, TESFU is second in views among unions made this year, slightly behind the next entry on the list, the Consoles Debate Union. It also holds the highest amount of members for any union this year. Also, it boasts weekly features such as Weekly Dungeons, Mods of the Week, and Elder Scrolls Literature among much more for the ultimate archive experience. It has been nominated for union that should be gamespot endorsed at the union awards.

3) Consoles Debate Union

Date Created: Feb. 10th

# of Members: 498

# of Views: 251671

link to union

Description: The most viewed union made this year, the Consoles Debate Union has an excellent core of posters throughout. Not a system wars or fanboy union, CDU imposes strict rules on its members to prevent fanboyism. They contain debate and discussion threads, officer roles and more.

4) Graphic Studio

Date Created: Mar. 4th

# of Members: 332

# of Views: 151050

link to union

Description: Perhaps the prettiest union made this year, Graphic Studio is a designers universe, sharing sigs of the week. They also hold a colosseum, tutorials, and requests. It has been nominated for best presentation at the union awards.

5) Club Whatever

Date Created: Jun. 12th

# of Members: 1255

# of Views: 143605

link to union

Description: Already the top all-topic union on GameSpot, Club Whatever boasts tons and tons of posting, as well as a deep community of members. There are plenty of competitions, member profiles, and more. Both leaders, now and previous ones have been extremely helpful with the union's growth. It has been nominated for best off-topic/discussion union.

6) Union Leader Council

Date Created: Jun. 23rd

# of Members: 153

# of Views: 30284

link to union

Description: A bit more of an exclusive union, only for union leaders, the ULC had a period of growth, decline, and is now in a renaissance under lazdude. It boasts assistance applicants that will help you with your union, elections, and union reviews. It's been nominated for best off-topic/discussion union at the GameSpot union awards.

7) Nintendo Revolution

Date Created: Jul. 12th

# of Members: 366

# of Views: 138119

link to union

Description: A very active new Nintendo Union, with in-game tournaments, a hall of fame, a hurt'n'heal and much more. One of the most active and informative console unions this year.

8 ) Thinking Outside the Box Union

Date Created: Oct. 6th

# of Members: 602

# of Views: 30757

link to union

Description: Perhaps the most helpful union out there for writers, the very new TOTB has some excellent features. It's editorial central here, with even a tutorial video for new members, a magazine, and feature of the week. Already at 600 members in under two months, TOB has a lot of growing to still do.

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I will include honorable mentions very soon, I know I might be missing some, so clue me in on those. Otherwise, what did you guys think about this feature?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Well, I'm sitting here at home, few hours I'll be watching football, and eating my brains out. What about you guys, what are you doing for Thanksgiving? Did you go anywhere (if you're reading this after Turkey Day), or what exactly did you do?

How Unions can make a profit, and should stay on-site

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I made this editorial over at the Union Leader Council, because I think that's the place where it can make the most difference. I plan on sending this sooner or later to a gamespot staffer, but I wanted to see what you guys thought first.

How Unions can make a profit, and should stay on-site

by Hendrix29

I'm writing this on account of all the rumours that gamespot doesn't care about unions, and how they aren't making money for gamespot in the first place, which is why gamespot doesn't really see the need in maintaining them. It's true, unions in general are simply dying out, not getting the posting they need, and desperately in-need of these union enhancements that have recently been put on hold, but I think there's a way of convincing gamespot to continue with the enhancements, due to the fact that they can actually give gamespot an edge. One thing especially of note here is that much of the GameSpot community is drawn to unions and user-created boards, and they draw activity toward the site, it's just the fact that now there are so many of them, that not enough members are posting on each union. So, not only do they increase activity, they can also help do the work for GameSpot, which I will note later in the post. Anyway, here are some ways the issues can be resolved:

1) Unions can contain advertisements

There are many ways that unions can hold advertisements beneficial to gamespot. Besides that unions are almost a walking-advertisement for a gaming series, I'm sure that as long as you don't overflow a union with advertisements, sprinkled honda, coke, and whatever else sponsors gamespot would surely be welcome across the union. If a union gets the exposure it needs, game developers, other websites, etc. can help out and advertise the union itself, and all proceeds could go towards GameSpot, which could help the site make money. I'm sure this is a beneficial way, but there are more important reasons why unions can be beneficial to GameSpot.

2) Unions need Exposure

Before I get more into why unions can be profitable, I must mentioned that unions will need more exposure to be fully capitalized on. Not only does this unions version two project need to happen, but throughout the site, union news can be quite helpful, at least from an assured source such as an endorsed union. In fact, for key games, endorsed unions can do much of the work for GameSpot, providing their own impressions on games, offering extra reviews, downloads, and more. A good example of this was with the Headcrab Union, and their organization with the Team Fortress tournament. It's events like these that can help out the whole of GameSpot and why unions need some true exposure around the site.

3) Developers can take heed

I'm sure this is what you're going for with officially sanctioned unions, but with updated unions with the enhancements, developers might certainly take heed at what's going on GameSpot with the chance of setting up basically a site for free, and dragging their fan-base with them. It could work great with indie developers, and even some major developers, who could add videos, talk about how a game is progressing, and every member of the union would be a part of the GameSpot community, which is another added bonus. This is also somewhat like what SentinelRV mentioned when thinking up the union enhancements, and how unions could get nearly as big as gamespy's planet sites, which are legitimate forces of their own. There are definitley some opportunities to be found in this regard.

4) The GameSpot Community wants Unions, and Enhancements

I will leave this point very, very simply. A two-thousand post thread on union enhancements does not lie, neither does a union made up of leaders, and neither does the thousand member unions still existing today, as well as the union award ceremonies coming along. When the community abandons unions, you guys should abandon unions.

My list of wanted games, 2008

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Although 08 does not seem to be as gamer-friendly a year as last, it will likely bring about some of the best in the gaming industry. As for ever getting that PS3, 2008 does not look to be the year, due to my family and my spending over the past year. Anyways, I won't regret the still many purchases I'll make next year... and this is what they will be, at least in my mind now, and remember these aren't in any order besides system:

Xbox 360

No matter how much anyone overhyped the original Fable, it was still a good action-RPG at heart. Fable 2 seems like it has plenty of potential. While not as hyped, it still looks to deliver the goods, adding interesting elements such as love, a one-button combat system, along with a more realized game-world. I'm very much awaiting the release, although it is very much hit or miss with Fable.

Lost Odyssey is the one 360 japanese RPG that does entice me. Perhaps it's because of the development studio (they didn't do so well on Blue Dragon though), or perhaps because of the increasingly interesting storyline, but Lost Oddysey could very much be a sleeper-hit next year, and an excellent game to play. However, like Fable 2, this one is very much hit or miss.

Even though this has been delayed, the realism portrayed in this entry to the GTA series draws me in much more than the previous entries within that colossal hitmaking series. I imagine playing a brutal thriller in this one, with many of the still-fun GTA elements still-intact. I'm not SO excited for it, but you've got to include it on any list just because.

With no news of an Elder Scrolls game in site, at least made by Bethesda, I suppose it's time to turn my head to the company's actual game in development, Fallout 3. Although it doesn't excite me as say, TES V, this game will surely have thrills within it.

From what I've seen lately of Too Human, the game could very likely be one of Microsoft's marquee games within 2008. After the E3- 2006 demo being thoroughly dissapointing, Too Human could finally let the bad tastes get out of our mouths. Any action game, with a strong underlying story, along with RPG elements has me counted in anyway..

Not sure whether this will even be out next year, and even though it's very experimental, I'm eager to play an RTS on a console, and since it's made by a great studio (Ensemble) coupled with the Halo license, I can't see how this can't at least be a AA game.

PC Games

Hell, if Spore ever comes out, in any year, I'll be tremendously happy. Reason being, this game has the potential to have it all. But, has the genius mind of Will Wright gone too far on this one? I know it's been confirmed for 2008, but it was also confirmed for 2006..and 2007.

Empire: Total War

There hasn't really been much at all on this game, besides the Leipzig preview, but this is a giant step forward in the wonderful total war series. Creative Assembly will hopeful outdo themselves once more in this next installment.

Wii

I've always overly loved the Smash Brothers games, but arguably, my sister loves them more. However, the promised online modes for Brawl could send me over-the-top with happiness. Anyone want to play once it comes out? :P