Hi everyone! Editor Pete here, though not for much longer! Yes, that’s right, after today I’m stepping down as editor for Rice Digital and leaving the site in the capable hands of Molly, who you may have seen starting to post a few bits and pieces on the site recently.
Where am I off to? Unlike a lot of folks in this situation, who keep their next gigs super top-secret for at least a few weeks, I can actually tell you immediately: I’m moving over to Blaze Entertainment, makers of the Evercade retro gaming consoles, and taking on full-time responsibilities for writing manuals, articles on their website and other digital/social/video media.
Those of you who know me personally may well be aware that I’ve already been doing some work for them for a while now — but the time has come to make that completely 100% official and full-time, since the company is working on some immensely exciting and ambitious projects right now.
It’s with a heavy heart that I leave my role as Rice’s editor behind, as I’ve had great fun running the show here, but practically speaking I simply don’t have the bandwidth to be able to juggle two very different roles at the same time any more. So rather than letting either of those things suffer by me spreading myself too thin, I’m going full-time on one while, as previously mentioned, Molly will be taking over the running of things here. I may still poke my head in from time to time to contribute something, but as of the end of today, I am no longer “Editor Pete”!
My decision to head over to Blaze has another reason, too, and that is that I am a passionate believer in what those fine folks are doing with the Evercade platform, and have been ever since well before I joined them in an official capacity. A brand new range of handheld and TV-connected consoles that puts out officially licensed rereleases of classic retro games — including a variety of titles that don’t get the time of day in retro compilations on modern platforms — is exactly what we need for game preservation.
Retro game prices are absurd right now, putting anyone who takes an interest in classic gaming hardware and software at a serious disadvantage if they decide they want to start exploring. Of course, there are other options available such as emulation, but, legal issues of ROM distribution aside, there’s still something magical about playing on a dedicated piece of hardware rather than just double-clicking a file on your PC.
Evercade strikes a good balance: the physical releases are highly collectible, but much more affordable and accessible than their original counterparts, and the dedicated hardware has the look and feel of classic platforms. It’s the gaming equivalent of being able to buy, say, a modern Blu-Ray release of a movie that came out in the 1940s. Or, as IGN put it, “the vinyl equivalent of gaming handhelds”.
But enough with the sales pitch. I also wanted to take a moment to talk about a few things that are going on in the games press in general of late.
Here at Rice, you’ll have doubtless noticed that we don’t churn out nearly as many articles some similar sites online. This is partly down to the fact that we’ve always had a relatively limited staff, but there’s another key reason, too: we don’t want to be part of the endless “content churn”. Instead, we want to publish stuff that people might want to read — not just now, but at some point in the future. Marketing types call that “evergreen content”; I tend to just think of it as the modern equivalent of what you used to get in magazines.
In my personal collection I have some gaming magazines that are 30-40 years old, and I still like reading them on the toilet, because the stuff in them is still interesting — perhaps for different reasons to when it was originally published, but those articles still have value nonetheless.
Today, meanwhile, there’s a push towards simply shitting out as many articles as possible a day to try and capture those all-important search engine clicks. You can’t have failed to notice that any time you search for something on Google, certain sites will inevitably come up first — often with headlines that mirror the thing you were asking about, but article content that doesn’t actually provide any meaningful answers.
(Seriously. To give just one example, in the run up to the release of Final Fantasy XVI’s demo, there were multiple articles online promising full information on the release date of the demo in the headline, only to reveal that they actually didn’t know — and, in fact, no-one did — in the body of the article.)
To make matters worse, it seems that multiple big publishing companies are in the process of “experimenting” with AI-generated content. This has, quite rightly, been met with a considerable amount of resistance from talented writers who would much prefer eyes to be on their work than 250 AI-generated articles a week about what the fucking Wordle answer of the day is. And you, as readers, should be resistant to this, too; what we need in the games press is not more mindless garbage being churned out on a daily basis, but less.
We need fewer articles in total, but those articles should be of a higher quality. That’s what we’ve always been aiming for here on Rice — it’s why The Rice Digital Feature Library was set up — and it’s what I’m sure Molly will be continuing with after my departure. No pressure, Molly!
Anyway, I’ll get off my high horse for now, and simply say that it’s been a pleasure serving you as editor of this here website — so thank you for the good times! I may well see you around here on occasion in the near future as a humble writer… but in the meantime, play what you want, always take pride in what you enjoy — and when you find something you really love, be sure to shout it from the rooftops. The world certainly needs more positivity these days, and, among other things, colourful anime games are a great source of said positivity.
Editor Pete out!
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