Playing the Canon began as my justification for playing video games during a rather trying period of unemployment in the summer of 2012. It was originally a way to trick myself into thinking I was doing something productive, when really I was devoting time to the most quintessentially unproductive hobby on the face of the Earth. If I’m going to play some of the great games I’ve missed over the years, might as well get some writing done, too, right?

However, through forcing myself to write about the games I played, I found out something I always suspected about myself but didn’t know for sure: I fucking love video games. While I always enjoyed them growing up, I didn’t realize how sheltered I was from the potential and breadth of the medium until I sat down that summer and actually experienced just how far it had progressed since my childhood. And I don’t just mean graphics or immersion; I’m talking about how there are now some legitimately smart, thoughtful people talking about games, what makes them unique, and how they could be better. I hope, in its own small way, this blog contributes to the meaningful conversation currently taking place about the potential of games and what they do well as an artform. While I’ll largely be looking back at older titles (hence the name of the blog; I still have a lot of catching up to do), I think that discussing why certain games survive the years and become iconic or influential can help us parse out what makes a game resonate.

I feel like the best way to use this blog is to play a game I’ve discussed, then check out my review. (With rare exception, I complete the games I write about.) Since there is no proper video game “canon” in place yet (and because the name is at least a little tongue-in-cheek), I’m going to interpret this blog’s premise pretty broadly. I want to talk about big games, small games, games from all genres and countries and points-of-view. I’ll cover the big-budget, stone-cold classics, yes, but the medium is expanding in all sorts of wild, innovative directions, and I don’t want to limit myself. Barring drastic life changes, I plan to keep doing this for awhile, so hopefully I’ll have time to get to everything.

This blog updates whenever I have something to say. Sorry for the irregularity, but I’d rather take my time, absorb what I’m playing, and write the essays I want to write. If I’m playing an eighty-hour RPG and focusing all my gaming time on that, it might take a moment to finish it and get my thoughts in order.

In any case, thank you so much for checking out this site. I greatly value the input of my readers, so please feel free to comment on my posts or email me at playingthecanon@gmail.com. Also, like me on Facebook, because that’s a thing to do!


Professional poetaster and human-shaped object Joel Newman grew up loving Mario and Zelda, but stupidly never bothered to play many games outside of the sheltered world of Nintendo consoles. He now devotes much of his energy to waxing poetic about video games of all sorts, even when there’s no one around who particularly cares. He’s a big hit at parties!

Joel lives in Los Angeles, California, and works at a movie studio in order to put food on his family. He wants to write about and experience a lot of things not related to video games, too; maybe if you buy him a beer, he’ll tell you about them!

Again, Joel’s email is playingthecanon@gmail.com. His Twitter handle is @JoelPooman, which isn’t as funny as he thinks it is.


Lee Landey has been kind enough to grace this blog with reviews of current titles. You can read more of his writing at his own blog, Last Boss.

14 thoughts on “About

  1. cary says:

    Thanks for the follow! Your blog has a great premise and I’m looking forward to reading through your experiences so far.

  2. maddmoni says:

    Thanks for the follow and good luck on your gaming blog.

  3. Quality writing coupled with nostalgia – I’m gonna enjoy this blog.

  4. duckofindeed says:

    I love video games, too, and I also need to catch up on some classics. It wasn’t until a year ago that I even played “FFVII”. There are still so much more I must play.

  5. Donald Lockwood says:

    Looking forward to exploring your blog. I have been longing to play video games again..it’s been a while. I was completely absorbed into gaming for a very long time, I stopped completely years ago, but it’s so deeply meshed into my subconscious that all my dreams are within video game realms I know like the back of my hand. In my dreams I generally either lose or win and then it’s over very cinematicly, sometimes with a “GAME OVER” screen, and I wake up.

    • Joel Newman says:

      Hope you like it! And yeah, I quit for years, too, but something about the experience really stuck with me. I don’t think I ever had any intense dreams like that, but I always felt like someday I’d come back into the fold.

      • Donald Lockwood says:

        I’ve been playing a little bit of Starcraf Brood War lately, ha. I’d love to be playing Starcraft II instead but I have a lot of other things to focus on and I’m worried I’ll be distracted with the urge to play all the time.

  6. Sam Leung says:

    I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award, because you’re awesome! Check out the details here: http://cheeesetoastieandvideogames.com/2013/05/24/sunshine-blogger-award-and-10-facts-about-cheeesetoastie/

  7. Hayden says:

    Great job! And good Blog hope you go far, do you have any ideas for my blog @ yourcheatz.com/ ? Thanks Hayden….

Leave a Reply to Joel Newman Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: