Look everyone, site of the week is back! And this week we've got a hell of a gaming website to bring to your attention.
It's called Hookshot Inc. and it's a site focused on downloadable games that cost $15 or less. That means you'll find news, previews, reviews, features and much more on everything from iPhone games and Xbox Live Arcade titles to bitesized 3DS and Steam games. It even covers Facebook games *gasp*.
HookShot Inc. is written by Christian Donlan, Simon Parkin, Will Porter and Keith Stuart, all who are veteran games industry writers. They're basically the Illuminati of the game journalism world.
Christian Donlan has written for Edge, Eurogamer and CVG, Simon Parkin has given words to Gamasutra and Boing Boing, Will Porter is the former editor of PC Zone and regularly writes stuff for this very website, and Keith Stuart has lent his talents to PC Gamer, Official PlayStation Magazine, Games Master and many other magazines.
We had a quick chat with Christian to discuss how Hookshot Inc. came to be, its specialties and what it has in store for the future.
How did HookShot Inc come into existence?
Worryingly, it's actually been about two years in the making. Simon Parkin and I have coffee once a week in Brighton - everyone's welcome to join us, BTW - and, since we're both freelancers who work from home a lot, we end up getting very excited and shouting at each other about games for an hour.
Over the last few years, the games we've been shouting about the most have been weird browser oddities, or XBLA titles, or iOS or Android games. We realised our tastes were changing a little, and suspected other peoples' might be as well. I'm not saying we don't love triple-A games anymore, but there are loads of great places to read about those. We wanted that kind of writing, but about these downloadable titles.
Things really started moving along when we talked to Keith Stuart and Will Porter about the idea. That's when we realised it was something we'd all like to work on together.
What sets HookShot Inc apart from other sites?
At the moment, the fact that we haven't got much content. Long term, hopefully, we want to be like the sweetshop window: info and analysis on loads of wonderful games that you can download quickly and that won't wipe you out financially. We also want to cover stuff that's already out there: it's hopefully about creating a sense of what people are playing and what they think about what they're playing.
Why did you decide to focus on games under $15?
This has been a bit controversial, and, in truth, we're well aware that we haven't elegantly managed to capture all the games we're after. The '$15' is because in a few years, every game may well be downloadable: we wanted to focus on the more immediate stuff, and the impulse stuff. They're not small games, necessarily - there's nothing small about Drop7 or Infinity Blade - but they do tend to cost less. $15 is the rough translation of 1200 MSP (I think), so that seemed a good way to cut things. Obviously, now the price of Minecraft has gone up and broken our barrier, so that's great. Thanks, Notch.
What I'm saying, I hope, is that it's not a fixed barrier: it's more about capturing a sense of that impulse purchase type of game.
How and why did you pick your writers?
I love everything Parkin, Stuart, and Porter do, so that was really, really easy.
What do you have planned for the future?
We're going to use the first six months to see whether there's really an audience for this sort of thing. At the same time, we're going to try and work out exactly what sort of coverage people want.
At the moment, our stats are actually quite nice, and they suggest people really want to come to the site and see a new game they can go and download and have a good time with. We're a small team, and providing that kind of service sounds like a good thing to aim for.
Man, I can't believe I just said that. I feel so dirty.