Here at Eurogamer we're all about bringing people together. For example, me and Keeley Hawes. That one's not going very well, but fortunately for you we also have Eurogamers - our new social networking interstravaganza.
Eurogamers allows you to keep in touch with friends, games and the communities you're part of all from one memorable address: gamers.eurogamer.net
You can customise your homepage and the way you appear to your fellow Eurogamers, create your own Groups and join others, keep track of things that interest you, like activity on forum threads you're contributing to, and drag and drop new information feeds to fit your browsing habits.
You can also show off your game collection, and the games you're most looking forward to - information that others will be able to track through your public profile page. If you're a big fan of a particular game, you can see at a glance which Eurogamers already own it, and get in touch with them through the messaging system.
We'll be adding more features to Eurogamers on an ongoing basis, too, including blogs, and the ability to reskin the page yourself, so keep an eye open for updates.
The launch of Eurogamers is good news for those of you who continue to rely on Eurogamer.net for the latest news, reviews and features, too. We've introduced a new search engine, which allows you to track down specific content, as well as games, while our gamepages have received a significant revamp, allowing you to find the information you want easily. And colourfully.
Obviously, we've designed Eurogamers so that even a monkey could use it. And not just the really clever ones in Super Monkey Ball either, but the daft ones from Ape Escape. In fact, we rather like gaming monkeys - perhaps we'll set up a Group. In the meantime, consider this page your one-stop guide to all things Eurogamers, and read on to find out how everything works.
Your Eurogamers homepage
Setting up a Eurogamers account is easier than you think. If you've already registered with Eurogamer, then you already have one waiting for you. If not, pop along to the registration page and you can have it up and running in seconds. Once you're in, you'll find yourself at gamers.eurogamer.net, where the magic begins.
The main Eurogamers page is made up of various panels that list things like Groups, Messages and Active Users, and keep you up to date with Eurogamer content. Each box can be moved about simply by dragging and dropping it, like you would a window on your PC or Mac desktop. The top-right of each panel contains options to hide it (reducing it to a title bar until you expand it again), remove it, and in some cases edit the contents (allowing you to change the number of items, among other things).
The panels you see aren't your only choices, though. By clicking Add Stuff at the top of the page, you can add all sorts of other elements. Let's say you want a Eurogamer Reviews feed: simply find the panel called "Eurogamer Reviews", click "Add Panel", and it will appear in the top left of your Eurogamers homepage, flashing for attention. Cheeky devil. Perhaps you don't care about PS2 reviews but really want to see when a new DS review is posted: just click on the edit icon in the top-right of the panel to be presented with a list of check-boxes for various gaming formats. You can also change the number of reviews that make up your panel.
Most of the panels you can add are self-explanatory. RSS feeds allow you to keep in touch with news on other sites (traitor), and everyone knows what bookmarks are. But what are the other ones? "Your Interesting Threads", for example? Easy. Your Interesting Threads lists conversations in our forum that you've made it clear you want to follow by clicking "Mark Interesting". It's a way of keeping watch over things you care about, a bit like the GPS tag you slipped into the barmaid's purse.
So you've laid out the Eurogamers page the way you like it - and you've done a very good job, I must say - but perhaps you're not fond of the colour scheme. In which case, why not click on "Page Style" up top, which allows you to change into a different skin? We'll be adding the option to create your own skin soon, and publishers like Ubisoft are already preparing alternatives that match up to your favourite games.
Your Eurogamers profile
So that's your Eurogamers homepage, but what about your Eurogamers profile? That's the one that everyone else gets to look at when you meet in a dark comment thread and swap numbers. It lists your name and email address (if you like), where you're from, and a little blurb, which can be about anything you like. Maybe you have a witty one-liner you'd like people to see. We didn't, because we're not very funny. It's amazing we've held down this job for so long.
That's not enough though, is it? After all, if you leave things as they are, we're in charge of your face. Hardly appropriate. Best upload a picture, then. Click Edit Profile at the top of the page and you can change your details (or even hide them if you're a scaredy-cat), but you're more concerned with the option to upload a picture, which is found on the left. Click Browse, locate a .gif or .jpg image file on your hard drive, and click "Update Picture". Simple as that. The Edit Profile page also allows you to keep track of any users you're ignoring or blocking (like him), and any Reader Reviews you've contributed.
But of course, you don't just want to talk to people about games, you want to play them, and we are - as the Keeley Hawes thing up top explains - keen to bring people together in more ways than one. That's why we've got an Aliases page, where you can add your Xbox Live Gamertag, your PlayStation 3 Network tag and your Wii friends code, and tell people how to contact you in massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft and using instant messaging programs. Do it, and that information will be visible on your profile page. By specifying your Gamertag, you'll also be showing off your GamerCard - and you can add a GamerCard panel to the Eurogamers homepage, too.
So there you go, your profile looks much nicer now. There's still something missing though...
(Who are these jerks?)
The games you care about
That'll be it. Because if you're reading this page, and you're interested in Eurogamers, the chances are you own some games, or at least want to (either that or our demographics are very wrong). So what better way to present yourself to others than by making it clear what you love, and what you're courting?
Showing people which games you own is very easy. Just pop along to your Game Collection page, which ought to be linked all over the place, and type the name of the game you want to list into the box at the top. Clicking Search will list any that match what you've written, and clicking through again will show you a spangly gamepage, full of review links, scores provided by other Eurogamers, news items, videos, screenshots and other exciting things. Don't get distracted though - click on the "Add to game collection" button. Head back to your Game Collection page and you'll be able to add your own score out of ten (8, obviously), say which version you've got (perhaps it's Japanese - you've always been a bit of a traveller), and whether you own it or you've played it.
But you don't just read gaming websites to talk about the games you're playing; you read them to find out what's coming up, and you've probably already got your eye on a few. Now you can keep track of them on the Most Wanted page. It works the same way as the Game Collection: type a name, search for it, and click "Add most wanted". You can even say how much you want it. Lots and lots? A little bit? Eurogamers will then show other people what you care about, and how much.
Keeping in touch with other Eurogamers
Telling people what you're into is only so useful if they have to find you first, though, which is why we've made it easy to see who owns the games you like. Search for a game on Eurogamer, visit its gamepage, and a quick glance at the Game Owners list will clue you in to who else cares. For example, we have a list of people who own Viva Piņata. Heroes all.
Visit their profiles - or the profiles of Eurogamers you've met elsewhere - and you might find you want to get in touch with them directly. That's why we've built in a full-on messaging system, allowing you to send people little notes. It works just like an email application - you can compose messages, read your incoming ones, mark them as read, or delete them to free up some room. Whenever you're on the Eurogamers homepage, you'll find a bit of notification text in the top-right telling you if you've got any new messages. Click there to view them.
Let's say you hit it off with someone. Why not add them to your Friends list? Simply pop over to their profile and click "Add as Friend". Or, if you already know who you'd like to add, head to the Friends page, search for them, and request the pleasure of their face-on-your-Internet. You can remove people too, but that's not very friendly.
Two's company, three's a Group
What is very friendly is joining or setting up a Group, where you can gather with like-minded individuals, enjoy the luxury of a specific discussion area and even a private one, and give people an easy way to keep up with your hobbies, clans or guilds.
There are pages for browsing existing Groups or searching for Groups that interest you. You can see at a glance which Groups you're involved in, as well as Groups that have proven popular (in terms of usage, obviously - we're not HELLO or anything). Find one, and if it's public you can join straight away. If not, send an application to join, and the person who looks after that Group will get back to you as soon as they see your message. Unless they're lazy, obviously. Perhaps it's not the Group for you.
Oh, so you want to set up your own instead? Control freak, eh? Not a problem. Click Create Group, pick a name, and write in a little description. It can be a completely public group, a public group that lets you keep track of who joins, or a private group for maximum control. Once the Group's up and running, you can customise it however you like. You can add a fancy banner image to go along the top of the Group's page. You can change the description, and there's a handy Newsflash box for posting up important new information, like what colours cabbages are meant to be.
Below those options you're given a choice of skins, and allowed to customise the colours of headers, links and descriptive text. Most excitingly, you can upload an image to act as a thumbnail, which everyone will see when they first stumble upon your Group. You might want to pick something that reflects the Group's affiliation or mantra. Perhaps you're setting up a clan or guild page, and have a logo. Or perhaps you'll go for a shot of The Hoff.
With your Group up and running, you can easily invite users, manage the Group's settings, or even disband it if things get a bit rough. Beware though - disbanding a Group gets rid of all the evidence. On the plus side, it gets rid of all the evidence.
A few Groups we like the look of:
All of which should give you a pretty good idea of what Eurogamers offers, and how to take advantage of it. If you like it, perhaps you'll opt to introduce a friend. Or maybe you'll want to keep it secret, so you can be like you were about Arcade Fire, and then when everyone else discovers it you can go, "Eurogamers? Been using that for years mate. Get it together. COMMITMENT."
However you choose to use Eurogamers, be sure to let us know what you think of it, and look forward to more features being introduced in future, as our Top Men take on board your feedback, and fail to convincingly argue against whatever nonsense we're demanding, like a panel with a windmill in it, or the option to change the mouse cursor into a cutlass. Real features coming soon include alerts when content is published relating to a game you like, and full integration with a few massively-multiplayer games and online networks.
Since launching, we've already received a ton of feedback, with a range of tweaks and fixes going live today - probably by the time you've read this. We're always thinking, or something that rhymes with that, and we hope you enjoy playing around with the new site and helping us improve it. Your round, Eurogamers. Hugs.