January has been a great month for this blog – there has been a lot of really positive feedback. This includes nominations for awards that I’ve kindly been nominated for.

I’ve been quite surprised to have been nominated for anything never mind the three awards I’ve covered…so I’m shocked to have been nominated for a fourth. Thanks to Pete over at Moegamer, I’ve been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award.

Let’s look at the rules for this award;

  1. Say thanks to who nominated you and leave a link back to that person’s blog.
  2. Give the story or history of your blog.
  3. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers.
  5. Leave a comment on the nominated blogs so they know they’ve been nominated.

Well, 1) is no problem at all – I’d recommend a trip to Moegamer, especially if you’re a fan of Japanese gaming. I liked this article about Outrun 2006, there is some great insight into a game that I hope doesn’t get forgotten.

So…2). Well, I’d never really written before, bar some pro wrestling dynasties (stories). I’d always been interested in video games though and wanted to write about them, since I was growing up. It was Dylan Cornelius and Sega Does that finally got me involved in writing about games. I’d discovered Questicle, Dylan’s NES site, during a spell falling in love with retro games again in 2013. So when I saw Dylan was writing about Sega games, I started viewing the site religiously. Then I got brave…I started commenting….I wanted to express my opinion too. I was a big fan of the Sega Does podcast and was thrilled when my comments were read out on the podcast.

Truthfully, I was jealous. I wish I had though of Sega Does first, a site reviewing every Sega game ever. I thought it was an amazing idea, to review every game in a console’s library…a one-stop shop for every piece of software for an entire era. The next best thing I could think of was offering to help. I’ve played far too many Sega wrestling and football games, so I thought “why not?” I offered to help thinking nothing would come of it but Dylan surprised me by offering me a chance to write for Sega Does. The result was a review of Cutie Suzuki’s No Ringside Angel, a review I enjoyed writing greatly. That was when I realised that maybe I could write about video games. I’d offered to help Dylan further,but ultimately Sega Does was his…as kind as Dylan had been, I needed to do this for myself…however, I’ve never forgotten Dylan’s support. If he had brushed me off, then there would be no Retro Redress and I’d wouldn’t of have had the adventures I’ve had over the past ten months.

See, at the time, my personal life was changing too. I’d been working in pension administration for nine years at the time and things were changing. Changes that I wasn’t happy with. However, I didn’t deal with them well, isolating myself and losing my way. Without going into too much detail (it’s all been a bit of a rush and it’s still a bit raw truthfully), I started to struggle and left the role last April. Looking back now, things had been going south for a year before I left, but I couldn’t see how bad things were getting until it was too late. It was a wake up call to me though and it made me reassess things. One of the things I reassessed was my hobbies. I wanted to do something for me, something I could invest some energy in.

That’s how Retro Redress came to be. I’d always shied away from writing about games because I thought I wasn’t good enough at games, that I lacked the experience to write about games. Then I realised that was my selling point. I love games, love talking about them, loved collecting them….but had so much to see and do. With a blog, I would be accountable for playing the games I had missed out on and the games I needed to return to. So I knocked up a site (two weeks of checking things over and over…I reckon I’m responsible for all of Retro Redress’ original views) and started writing…and here we are.

3)….advice for other bloggers? I’m the last person you should take advice from, but there are two things I believe in;

i) Just write!

This is the mantra of Retro Redress. I try not to over analyse what I’m writing at first…I just write it on the page. See, to be a writer, you have to write things. Anyone can have great ideas or drafts, but to be a writer, you have to put it out there. If an idea is on the page and you don’t like it, you can always improve it. You can get someone else to read it, to offer a second opinion. You can delete it and start again. If an idea is in your head, then you can’t do anything with it. Basically, you can’t be a writer if you don’t write anything!

There are posts I’ve written that I think turned out well that started badly and were eventually fleshed out, altered, amended and re-written. By writing down some bad ideas, I realised they needed improving and set about doing that.

There are some things I’ve written that I don’t like and were rushed/poor quality (looking at you, Super Mario World 3D) but even though they didn’t turn out as I planned, I learned a lot from completing the post. As long as you’re learning something from your failures, you’re making progress.

ii) write as much as you can, wherever you can.

I know I came into this with very little experience, so I’ve set out to get as much experience as possible. I’ve written as much as I can – like any skill, practice is crucial with writing. For example, I wrote about Wrestle Kingdom 12 a few weeks ago and struggled – I had no experience with writing about wrestling. However, I’ve learned from that post and feel more confident for this weekend’s NXT/Royal Rumble posts.

I’ve been very fortunate to be involved with other great blogs and would recommend getting involved with other blogs to new bloggers too. Writing on other blogs has taught me a lot, in terms of presentation and writing style. You’ve hopefully seen The Well-Red Mage – a great site that I’m lucky to write for. Well-Red Mage has been great in terms of advice and support, but also making me put much more effort and research into my writing. It’s also made me disciplined too – I’ve become more organised in balancing my own stuff and my writing for The Well-Red Mage. That organisation has improved my writing, stopping me wasting time and giving me more focus.

Let’s put it to the test. Here is Dynamite Dux, the first Retro Redress post. Here is Game Gear Sonic The Hedgehog for The Well Red Mage…I personally think the gulf in writing quality is pretty high – I’m touching ‘acceptable’ with that Sonic post….

4) and 5) can be combined, thanks to the magic of pingbacks. I’m going to list my ten nominees and why, via a recommended post. No worries if you’re too busy or don’t care. I’ll just cry myself to sleep every night for a thousand years. Nothing too dramatic…

Sega Does – I’ve mentioned it already, but Dylan and this site was a big inspiration. Here is his Altered Beast review, the post that lead to me getting involved in blogging.

The Well-Red Mage – Again, I’ve already mentioned this blog, but it’s worth mentioning again. A big inspiration for me and a place that has really helped me improve my writing. I think this Magic Sword review was the first thing I read on this blog, it’s a good read either way….

iplayedthegame – I’ve enjoyed reading Rob’s posts and chatting games with him over the past few month. This post of developer tricks was one that had me thinking back to all the games I’ve played in the past, where things didn’t quite make sense…

Adventure Rules – Another Rob(ert), another cool person to writes about games. I liked a blog post written in response to my question of whether there had ever been a game that got away from him. I find it interesting to see if others struggle with a certain game (like I do!) and this was a great read.

Power Bomb Attack – Imtiaz is someone else I’ve enjoyed chatting to over the past year. He also nominated me to write about the ten things that make me happy, off the back of his own excellent post on the same subject. Plus his blog reminds me of wrestling…probably not the intention, but I appreciate it!

Defythemajority – A blog I always enjoy reading and the blog that introduced me to the 30 Day Video Game Challenge. Here is Day 1 of Defythemajority’s challenge, hopefully you have time to read the rest!

The Dragon’s Tea Party – Despite the recent controversy (peanut butter with celery?) I enjoy reading this blog. This post about struggling with platformers is a fine read and something I can really relate to….

Launches Joypad – Colin is probably sick of me nominating him for awards, but I’ve really enjoyed his blog – the idea of trying to find a game that doesn’t irritate you is something I can relate to! It was this post of how easy it is to score on the original FIFA that made me notice this blog and I’ve faithfully looked out for it since.

Rebekah Lang – I’ve enjoyed reading Rebekah’s blog – not just for the gaming posts, but the personal ones as well. This post about her adopting her dog Cloud had me enthralled…and I’m not a dog person. I’m a ‘cats who eat wires’ person.

Doug M – A recent blog I’ve discovered. A column discussing the difficulty of Super Hang On (damn you Mega Drive career mode, damn you!) is a recommended read.

So thank you again Pete for the nomination and thank you everyone who reads my ramblings….