Plotting the Course: A Shift in Content Focus

Plotting the Course: A Shift in Content Focus


Hey, everyone! I hope all is well in your respective necks of the woods. I know it’s been a while since you’ve last heard from me but fret not, I’m still alive. If you haven’t noticed already, there’s been some content category changes on the main page and it’s that very topic I’d like to talk to you today. In the two months it’s been (wow, time flies) since I last wrote, I was explaining how my new job has taken up quite a bit of my time, though I didn’t want to give up on Start 2 Continue. And while that remains true, the site’s content focus — that is, just talking about indie games and development, lore and storytelling, etc. — wasn’t necessarily doing much for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy writing about those things. But from a creative standpoint (and an economic one, as far as SEO and driving more traffic goes without running myself ragged trying to compete with the literal thousands of other gaming sites), I felt that the site was stuck in an identity rut. Admittedly, that’s something we’ve always struggled with, trying to define the site as a unique entity that people would seek out specifically rather than “just another” gaming site. Moreover, when I was trying to find ways to make Start 2 Continue stand out, nothing readily came to mind. “Why would someone watch my streams if I had any,” I’d ask myself. “Why would someone read my posts instead of PC Gamer or Polygon?” I couldn’t come up with a decent answer.

For those who know me beyond just this site, you’ll also know that I’ve been working on plenty of other writing projects. Aside from my day job, I’ve been working on a book since March 2014 and have been crowdsourcing money for a “Big Book of Adulting” that’d talk about a bunch of life topics that a lot of my generation haven’t been taught in school or in our households as children. As I did research and read other blogs and websites, whether on life topics or gaming, I found that a lot of people have managed to cultivate success on their own, forming a brand around themselves and their lifestyles. Since I’m the only writer left and the only co-founder still standing, I’ve decided to hop on that lifestyle train, though tie everything back to gaming.

When Start 2 Continue first began, I had worked on a relatively successful column entitled “A Life of Gaming” where I’d explain how gaming affected my life in different facets. The first article introduced how I got into gaming (I blame my father Steve Magestro was a game designer in the 80s and 90s, most notably on The Pure Wargame in ’95; my mother Carrie also helped work on graphics for the game and both of them got me into my first game: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) and how I met my other co-founder and best friend Anthony Jamass through Medal of Honor: Allied Assault when we were only nine.

Each article, I talked about another chapter of my life, the main game that took up my attention, and how it affected me. Sometimes I talked about how games helped with my anxiety and depression, other times I talked about how it helped me build a circle of friends outside of those I knew from school. I talked about how I learned much about history and developed interest in a variety of different topics from libertarianism and the grayness of morality (BioShock‘s Andrew Ryan and The Witcher‘s Geralt of Rivia come readily to mind) to freelancing (Shadowrun, which I actually write about in detail in an earlier article) and logistics (Sierra city-builders like ZeusPharaohCaesar, and Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom). All too often, I’ve been told by others how gaming rots the mind or steals one’s ambition or is merely another dangerous addiction.

And while those might be true with some who lack self-control (as can really any other substance in existence can tear away at a person’s health), for me, gaming has always been a boon and a blessing, shaping me to be who I am today. In fact, if not for the well-written manuals and strategy guides of yesteryear, I never would have gotten into writing as a passion, started this site, or built my credentials enough to even have my job right now, having proven capable in content creation and management. Well… at least my boss thinks so. What you guys think, I never know.

STILL! With that, I am shifting Start 2 Continue to be a lifestyle website based on my own experiences. I’ll be talking about a lot more things outside of just gaming: politics and ethics, productivity, cooking (and/or eating and drinking), and music. The catch is that everything I talk about will be brought back to gaming, either directly to a game that prompts the discussion or likened to concepts I’ve, in turn, learned in my adventures across hundreds of worlds.

So What?

Ahh, yes. The question that followed me around throughout my college years, written in the margins of many a paper by my German professor. The reason for this shift is threefold. First, it’ll give me more flexibility to write about things I want to without seeming out of place. With the new format and layout, everything will have a home and I don’t feel constrained to regurgitating reviews and news alongside the rest of the journalists in the industry. I’ll still write my reactions to games, but you’ll get a more honest interpretation that talks about the game as an experience, not as a product to be sold and shoved down your throat. It’ll be a more personable environment with a friendlier, familiar (if not, more dry, sarcastic) voice. It’s not just a post on a website, it’s me — an actual person — prompting a discussion. That brings me to my second point.

The name “Start 2 Continue” was the idea that stuck the most, though now by myself, it was a reminder of the old group, one I didn’t feel comfortable taking complete ownership. However, now given the shift to a lifestyle-esque blog, the name has a lot more meaning than just the nod to classic games that, at the intro loading screen, you’d press Start to continue. They apparently don’t even have Start buttons anymore so… things needed to change. The name now, in the same vein as my old column, echoes not only a nod to gaming (especially if one begun their hobby in the 90s and early 2000s as I did), but how games are what kept me going through years of anxiety, depression, and other hardships. Even when I was down and out, at the edge of life’s Game Over screen, I kept continuing. Now that is a brand that can differentiate itself meaningfully in a market.

Last, but not least, without that flexibility and brand meaning outlined in the prior two points, I couldn’t hope to build a community that felt invested or that it belonged here. Sure, I have posts that I really enjoy writing that seem to be popular such as my quote lists, but nothing else has really stuck out or helped define a culture. While I might be terribly indecisive now as I try to figure out how I’ll carve out a unique niche, I might as well just write and talk about what I enjoy and hopefully the stats will follow. Even PewDiePie — as much as I’m not a fan myself — garnered great success by just doing what he liked and inviting others to watch him play games. Though I don’t intend on being anywhere remotely close to a YouTube celebrity, I’ll see if I can apply those same fundamentals, just doing what I like and seeing who wants to stick around for the ride. But that last part is the trickiest; how do I simultaneously just do what makes me happy and ensure it has value to those other than me? I suppose time will tell.

As I said before, a lot of my own life’s success comes from my understanding of game mechanics — I write daily to-do lists similar to quest journals, I batch tasks similar to how games would logically run code, I make mistakes in digital worlds so that I might not repeat them in the real one. But selling that to an audience, to be able to reach out and help and talk and grow meaningful connections with others. This site has failed to do that and I think a lot of it had to do with our lack of solid identity. Hopefully now, using my own life’s experiences as a lightning rod, others who see the world as I do or are attracted to gaming (and anything else I talk about) for similar reasons have motivation to reach out.

If this new change in content focus excites you, w00t! I’m glad. If not, let me know why since it’s through ideas from multiple perspectives that can help spur innovation and finding a common ground that’s mutually beneficial. Then again, maybe my perspective and content isn’t your cup of tea. That’s fine too. Still, I’ll be taking this one day at a time as we’ll be in uncharted new territory.

As always, I appreciate the patience and support you’ve given me, whether it’s just today or since the beginning. It’s been a long time since I was excited to write for this site again and feel free to just speak and interact. Hopefully this spells the beginning of great new things.

In the meantime, keep being awesome.

About author

Anthony Magestro

Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.