When we founded Polygon, it was based on the idea that there are games writers who are out there who are really bright and really good at what they do. We wanted it to be a little bit more personality based, not entirely about us but I think there is some value to, “I have writers that I adore, I’m going to value them higher.” There’s not a lot of demand for that.
I used to follow IGN incessantly. At times I felt like an addict, continually refreshing their page for the more news. I began contributing blog posts in the hopes of offering more content, one of which was featured.
Then I stumbled upon Polygon. At first glance, there was promise; however, based on prior viewing habits, I was disappointed by the content. While I was initially attracted to their modern design, I looked at the abundance of larger features and opinions as pretentious… Until I decided focus on their writers.
Polygon is now my go-to games site. I constantly find myself scrolling through their feed, scanning for new pieces from Chris Plante, The Brothers McElroy, or Grumpa Kuchera. My Twitter feed is littered with the likes of Danielle Riendeau and Phil Kollar. On occasion, a piece from Brian Crecente will spark curiosity. Last year I deemed Tracey Lien “Journalist of the Year.” I will go as far as to say that the work of the Polygon team inspired me to read… inspired me to write.
That’s not to say I dislike IGN’s features. Justin Davis continually pulls at my nostalgic heartstrings, and I don’t think I ever read a piece by Keza MacDonald (now of Kotaku UK) I didn’t agree with. The problem is that most of the content feels like the voice of IGN, not the voice of the writer.
Baseball diehards can tell you the subtleties in team dynamics. There can be diversity under the same umbrella. Many more sites need to embrace the privilege of instant educated opinion. If the games community cannot foster intelligent conversation on its own, someone must lead the way.
Generally, if I dislike a highly anticipated album upon first listen, it ends up becoming one of my favorites. I hated Cursive’s “The Ugly Organ,” anything by Mark Kozelek, and The Beatles; now I can’t stop listening. I felt the same about Polygon; now I can’t stop reading.