The Ninja Blues Thoughts for Games Giveaway

Justin here, and yep, we’re doing a GIVEAWAY! For FREE GAMES! Let me explain the circumstances first.

Readers, Jarenth and I have a problem, and said problem came to a head earlier this week. You may have seen that I tried to plan a Morbus gaming session. I’ve had the idea of Ninja Blues gaming sessions for awhile, and it took until now to give it a shot. But as you may know if you follow me on Twitter, nobody showed up. My friends and I hopped on, the Steam group event commenced, and I got a message from a friend saying “wtf is Morbus?”

I’m not particularly upset by the fact that nobody showed up. I was half-expecting it, to be honest. What I find frustrating is that my friend’s message that night was the very first time anybody had actually responded to the session invite. I posted about it four days in advance, and I posted again on the date as a reminder, and not one person commented, tweeted me about it, messaged me on Steam, or attempted any other form of communication.

And that wouldn’t bother me so much either if the answer was simply that nobody actually reads this site. Well, I suppose that would bother me, in a different sort of way. If you follow me on Twitter you probably saw me spiral downward into a pit of self-loathing a few nights ago when I talked about how I’ve accomplished nothing in the past several years and nobody cares about anything I write. But then I logged into our site’s admin page and looked at the traffic stats, and I realized that (while not wishing to share particular numbers) our average views per day easily triples what my old blog used to get. Jarenth says it dwarfs his old site’s views as well. And my old blog had readers — not many, but some. This means that we probably have readers, and those readers are lurkers, as the Internet calls them — people that read/listen to/watch content online and don’t ever comment.

When Jarenth and I posted our first podcast there were some technical issues, and commenters were quick to let us know. We were glad about that! We got no less than four comments from people letting us know that they were unable to listen to the whole thing. It was helpful. Once we uploaded the podcast to Youtube so everyone could listen to it, though, the comments ceased. We never got a single comment about the podcast again, and our second podcast has received no responses so far.

Radio silence.

Now, I must clarify that I’m not trying to shame any lurkers. As a practicing ninja, I totally understand the appeal of lurking, of consuming media without being bogged down by contributing to the discussion. But we don’t have market researchers — we’re just two video game enthusiasts who want to share our arguably insightful perspectives. This is a hobby for us, yes — but part of the joy of our hobby is in satisfying our viewers, and right now we have no idea what our viewers think.

That’s why we need input from YOU! Yes, YOU, reader at home. I am talking to YOU specifically. And we’ve come up with a little reward for you.

Humble Bundle 12 just recently launched. It has seven very noteworthy games, five of which I already own. I usually skip the bundles when I already own most of the games, but this time there’s a $65 tier that comes with some really neat physical merch. I bought it partially because I like neat merch, partially because I’m interested in SteamWorld Dig and LUFTRAUSERS, but mostly because, dude, it’s Humble. I’ve been a fan of Humble ever since their very first bundle, way back in 2010. I love those guys, and I’m glad to show an absurd amount of support.

But what am I going to do with those five games I already own? Well, normally I’d give them to some friends, but this time I’m giving them to YOU, viewers, as long as you are willing to do one simple thing: Comment on this post, telling us something you would like to see on this site. It can be as vague, as specific, as silly, or as in-depth as you want. Just be forewarned that if you suggest something stupid, you run the risk of us totally listening to it.

The deadline is September 26th. That’s two weeks from now. I’ll choose the winners and their games through random number generation. Only one comment per person counts toward the drawing, of course. And I won’t count any comments that are blatantly inflammatory or insulting. Don’t think you can get a free game by saying, “I’d like to see you write something GOOD for once!!” We’re looking for constructive feedback.

Post a comment by the 26th saying what you’d like to see from our site and you’ll be eligible to win Hammerwatch, Gunpoint, Papers Please, Gone Home, or Prison Architect. I can attest the following: Gunpoint is a wonderfully inventive stealth game with some seriously sharp writing; Prison Architect is a brutal and somber take on the “sim” genre; Hammerwatch is a fun co-op dungeon crawling twin-stick horde murder affair; Papers, Please is a hauntingly dark experience in a post-war sovereign state; and Gone Home warmed my heart and made me desperately want to hug my girlfriend. Next Tuesday they’ll add more games to the bundle and if I already own those I’ll add them to the freebie pile. If you already own the game you get, you can hand it off to a friend, or try to sell it on 99gamers.

Feedback in exchange for free games. Does that sound like a deal?

Header image found here.

22 comments

  1. So, I think one thing you actually do need to do is promote more. I tend to read things when they’re linked and – and this bit is important – when I have time. Like, I missed your post about Morbus because I was working at the time and haven’t been going through my twitter backlog as much, so it wasn’t until I happened to catch the tweet about the hangout (just before I was headed put the door again) that I even knew something was here to read (and then I only just got home when it started).

    I know it feels a bit like spamming, but if you’d tweet out links a couple times a day, instead of just once, that might attract more attention (and feedback.)

    This goes for pretty much all the things you guys do; like, Indie Wonderland is pretty regular but it updates when I don’t have time for it immediately and then I forget about it after a long day. And with Justin’s stuff, which is less scheduled, it can be easy to miss since I don’t visit the site daily.

    Also, I totally forgot you did the second podcast already, so I’ll see if I can squeeze that in soon. If I don’t forget, which I do because I’m old and dumb.

    Oh, also, Discourse Dojo needs a category up top!

    1. Discourse Dojo does need a menu item, you’re entirely right! Can’t believe I forgot to make one.

      As for your advice: thanks! I try to get better at link-spreading for Indie Wonderland, to account for different sleep schedules and the like. I’m just… bad at it. I’ll tag this as a growth opportunity.

    2. Yeah, I’m bad about promoting. Linking my stuff more than once makes me feel like some slimy self-promoting narcissist. I know that’s not the case, though. Twitter buries individual tweets really quickly.

      Good call on the Discourse Dojo category.

  2. i am a serious lurker on this site, mainly cause i get a chance to talk to yall pretty regularly, i used to make it a point to leave a comment on your blogs but since i started playing steam games with you several times a week i found i preferred to just have a disscussion with you instead of leaving a comment. I would not like to be in the running for a free game i just wanted to say i REALLY enjoy reading what you and Jarenth post and i still would even if we weren’t buddies. For my suggestion im gonna pass along some advice that The Game Grumps gave to me when i met them for five minutes at RTX this year (paraphrased):

    Keep doing what you love, do it on a regular schedule, work with others who love what you love, and post stuff as often as you can, it takes a while before even the coolest things get big and the more great content you have, better your chances of getting discovered

    Keep up the awesome work guys!

  3. I don’t want to be entered for a game, I have my hands full playing the games I have, I just wanted to comment so you know I read your post. ;) If you would share your posts to facebook more (which is how I saw this one and how I usually find your stuff), I would read and share more often. Other than that I got nuthin’, your stuff is always awesome. :)

  4. I already have the games in question, but do want to chime in that say that I totally understand the frustration with feeling like you are just kind of talking into the void. I am pretty bad at commenting on things, really tend not to unless I feel like I have something useful to say. With the podcasts specifically didn’t help that I hadn’t played either games at the time of the posts.

    You guys are in my RSS feed reader, but I am chronically behind with them by 2 – 3 weeks, which makes it pretty unlikely that non-tweeted articles will be read in any timely fashion.

  5. Lurking here, lurking there, lurking everywhere.

    That’s what I’m doing. I tend to follow so many blogs, podcasts, youtube channels, etc at once, that commenting on all of them would lead to some sort of mental disorder.

    The Indie Wonderland posts are generally on less than mainstream games so I imagine not too many people would have their own opinions to respond with. I find that I’m generally not interested in the games being reviewed I just enjoy the way that the articles here are written.

    In regards to the Morbus session I suspect it’s the format that makes it harder for people. I tend to read blogs or watch youtube in pieces to break up some other work that I’m doing. Not to mention that internet folks who do this sort of thing tend to do it at an inappropriate hour for Australia.

    I think that’s all the words I had. I thoroughly enjoy everything on Ninja Blues, I just don’t always have the time or opinion for a comment. Thanks for providing the entertainment that you do.

    Also, I already have everything in the current Humble Bundle, so no need to put me in the draw.

  6. First, I would like to say that I do not wish to be included in the giveaway list because I already have a healthy dose of backlog (and I still need to find better route for Identity). I just want to comment to show appreciation to what you guys write. I checked this site’s rss feed regularly and read every article at least twice (my ocd won’t let me have blue link on favourite rss feeds on both my regular and work laptop). But I never leave any comment because I rarely have anything that I really want to say. And I don’t like commenting just for the sake of it (not to mention my love for parenthesis that can sometimes go out of hand).

    Like now, I don’t have anything constructive to say other than a request for Jarenth to reupload the images on his LP somewhere because the original is gone (I need to see dem killer cars). I hope you understand why I never leaves any comment (even though I really like your stuffs).

    1. Jarenth does need to reupload those! Also, thanks for the feedback. I totally understand why you don’t leave comments.

      1. I do have the images backed up. It just takes a lot of time to re-upload them. But yeah, it’s on my to-do list.

        (I love parentheses)

      2. Y’know, after watching Destiny hangout recording on twentysided there’s one thing that’ve been stuck in my mind. Why is there so few stealth game? (I don’t mean games like Dishonored where the designer just tacked on stealth as alternative moral route. I mean games like MotN or Monaco where it is designed with stealth in mind.) I’ve been into gaming for half a year already and there’s only 3 games in stealth category of my steam library (Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I have over 500 hours in Monaco and there’s no doubt I’ll get another 500. I just feel sad that my favourite category has the least number of games).

  7. I like how the general reaction is ‘sure, I’ll give you my opinion, but I don’t actually need any free games for it, I’ll give it out of the kindness of my heart’. I’m pretty sure that means we have the best possible audience?

  8. I’m sorry that I don’t post much. I’m just more comfortable responding to a discussion that someone else has already started, but by the time I’ve thought and re-thought and over-thought my post, someone has already responded in a more succinct or erudite way.

    My backlog is longer than a very long thing, so I wouldn’t want to be included in a game draw, but I do have one suggestion for what I would like more of. Jarenth! Your text-based LPs are delicious and low-fat, and I could gobble them up all day. This isn’t meant to exclude you of course, Justin – should you write an LP, I would be just as eager to read it.

    I’d be curious to find out how different people discovered you guys in the first place. For me, it was noticing that this ‘Jarenth’ guy would regularly post interesting stuff in the comments on Twenty Sided. One day I hovered over his name, and saw that it was linking me to a website, and lo! I discovered BSOA.

    1. Yah, I haven’t seen you in a while! Glad to see you’re still around. ;)

      I’m ‘working on’ a certain text LP project right now. For some reason, it’s not coming along as smoothly as I’d like: it’s a different format from Warlock and XCOM, and I guess that’s slowing me down? I appreciate the kind words, though, so I’ll try to re-start writing on that soon.

  9. Another lurker here. No games for me either, between the various bundles and Steam sales I’ve ended up with far too big a backlog. I just wanted to say that I’m here for the articles, I tend not to watch videos or listen to podcasts. You wouldn’t get any response from me towards Morbus because I have absolutely no interest in multiplayer games.

  10. Aww I was considerable less kind hearted and generous than the people above and was hoping to win a game (although only Prison Architect because I have Gone Home/Gunpoint), but people already fed back my feedback.

    I too would love a text LP sometime, written by either one of you. I enjoy Indie Wonderland, although sometimes for the very abstract looking ones I may skip them and all the Talk of the Ninja’s are cool (although there should be more of them! Sometimes there’s only one in a month and those are always hard months to get through =D).

    I don’t really listen to the podcast personally but that’s because audio is more time intensive .

    So what would I like to see that hasn’t been suggested above? Maybe some ‘Wot I thinks’ about whatever you guys have been coming into contact with this week (although I guess the podcast probably covers that a lot) or just a silly article every now and then of ridiculous screenshots you collected from a game.

    Hmm I’m not really very good at knowing what I want to see, sorry!

    1. No guilt in hopping on the giveaway! I’m really surprised so many people are turning it down.

      Hmm… Screenshots… I’ve gotten into a habit of taking screenshots of all the games I play lately. It could make for fun side posts to share them here. Thanks for the suggestion!

  11. As unhelpful as I’m sure this advice is, I’d just love to see more content. Ninja Blues is in a category I might call ‘Sites I check at least once a day, probably more than is necessary’, and it always improves my mood to find an update. I followed Jarenth here from BSOA (and before then from Twenty Sided), so I’m quite familiar with your style, but Justin is still something of a mystery to me (as a ninja should be, I suspect). So… more Talk of the Ninja? Or whatever. More words for our minds.

    Not to leave out Jarenth, I love me some text LPs. I’ve almost finished your rollicking adventure through XCOM, so I’ll need some more of that kinda thing ASAP.

    I haven’t started with Discourse Dojo yet, but that’s queued for a suitably long journey. I can’t imagine I won’t enjoy it.

    … I think that probably covers it for now? More of the stuffs; feel free to surprise us though. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go lurk at Twenty Sided…

  12. Another lurker since BSoA, no need to consider me for the draw either. I think your radio silence problem might be the problem of having too many lurkers if this comment section is anything to go by.

    I completely missed the Mobius event mainly because I don’t use twitter. Perhaps you might want to take a leaf out of Shamus’ book and make the post a few days in advance with a timer for us internationals (conversion can be a pain). Even then, the time differences makes it unlikely for me to attend so perhaps uploading the video to youtube afterwards would be handy.

    To be quite honest, I’m mostly here for the indie game coverage and in that I’d prefer breadth over depth if that makes sense. Rather than watching a two hour stream or listening to an hour long podcast solely on one game, I’d prefer a more stream of thought approach, sort of like how the diecast ask ‘what have you been playing’ each episode before moving on to a main topic. I realise they have the benefit of at least twice as many people, so they can pick up the slack if someone falls behind, but maybe consider it. I like hearing five minute synopses as well as long form deconstructions I guess is what I’m saying.

    My last thought is going to be probably too difficult to execute and that’s relevance of the topics. I liked reading Justin’s article on the whole AC debacle (possibly the first thing of his I read actually) partially because it was topical. Doing this with reviews and podcasts is much more difficult but, for example, I imagine you’ve both played Gunpoint by now and with the humble bundle it’s very topical, I’d like to see reviews about games in the bundle (especially games in the beat the average tier) or even just vague ramblings about them.

    Hope some of that is useful as food for thought.

  13. A lot of these comments already cover some of the things I was thinking about suggesting. I’m really excited to see what suggestions get taken up, and I’m interested to see how this blog changes and grows, regardless of this post. I’m a *very* new reader here, and I’m already in love.

    So, in an effort to get on the giveaway list (because I’m horribly greedy and really want Gunpoint and Gone Home), here’s my idea… have you guys ever considered inviting guest writers? It might be interesting to bring in different views, from different people. These guest writers wouldn’t even really need to be anyone *famous*, just someone *different.* [[BLATANT AND PREMATURE SELF PROMOTION AHEAD]] For example, I’m looking to start a blog myself, though I really haven’t put a lot of effort towards that goal just yet. I love talking about music and it’s different components, meanings, and backgrounds, as Justin has had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing first hand, having been held captive while I rant once or twice before. I would be absolutely honored to do a piece for Ninja Blues about, say, the Portal 2 soundtrack, and how the interactivity of the player and the various tracks created a more immersive experience, as well as how the Aperature Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory team used various recording techniques (such as wet vs. dry reverb) and broadly varied and creative synths (like goa and the sine wave) to produce one of the most memorable OST’s in recent videogame history.

    Anyway, that’s my idea, and shameless self-plug. Now, off to word press to actually do something with my thoughts! :D

    1. Wow, thanks! And welcome! I hope we’ll manage to live up to your expectations.

      As far as guest writers are concerned — and I’ll probably reproduce this information in a separate post sometime — my personal policy has always been this:

      “Hey! You!, Yeah, you, the individual person reading this! Do you feel like you’d want to contribute something to Ninja Blues? If you do, feel free to send an email about your idea to awesomeninjablues@gmail.com. If we think it’s a cool idea, and/or an idea that fits our site really well, we’ll definitely talk to you about it.

      DISCLAIMER: Ninja Blues is a hobby site run by two major dorks. As such, we can’t actually compensate anyone for writing for us. We don’t even pay ourselves, apart from our several-cents-per-year ad income. I would love for us to get to the point where we can treat all writers involved — both ourselves and any guest stars — the monetary way they deserve, but that’s just not possible for us right now.

      That said, if you’re still interested in Ninja Blues as a place for your Online Words, hit us up! Here’s that email address again: awesomeninjablues@gmail.com.”

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