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Hobbyist reviewer looking for feedback


Adam Tyner
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I've written a few video game reviews for a small, apparently stillborn site over the past few months. It's just something I do in my spare time for fun...fun in a kind of tedious, depraved way, sure, but still something approximating fun. At first, it didn't seem like something I'd be interested in doing on any sort of moderately regular basis, but as I've written more and more reviews, I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of writing a review or two every couple of months. I haven't gotten much feedback -- any at all, actually -- about my reviews, and I was hoping you knowledgable fellas could give them a look and critique. Any comments you have at all would be greatly appreciated. I've noticed I have a tendency to reuse some of the same words and phrases incessantly ("incessantly" being among them, actually), and I'm not completely comfortable using those sorts of numeric ratings that have been imposed upon me, just to rattle off a couple of notes of my own.

 

Links to a few reviews:

 

Brute Force

Midtown Madness 3

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Kung Fu Chaos

Blinx - The Timesweeper

 

Feel free to be brutal and eviscerate every sentence, if you'd like.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Hey, Adam, I've actually read a few of your reviews when I somehow ended up at that website. You kept me from getting The Clone Wars, thanks. The best writing advice is always to keep at it. Your reviews pass the first test of Internet professionalism: they're more than three paragraphs long. And I don't see the phrase "So, is Game X worth buying? Read on!", which crops up all too often at IGN. I'm not sure of Romier's review policy, but as you already know, the Internet has many outlets for videogame reviewers. Keep writing and you will automatically get better.

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I, too, had seen your reviews, and thought, "I know that name from somewhere." They're very thorough and professional. It's a big clich? to end a review with a recommendation (or non-recommendation), but I realize that's a site mandate.

 

Something that bothers me about video game reviews in general is that they tend to be saddled with the responsibility to detail all the rules, technical features, and options of the game in question. While I am as interested in knowing every menu option as much as anyone, it makes it difficult to read multiple reviews without falling asleep. I like a review to be more about opinion than fact, so my preference would be to cram as much as possible of that stuff into a separate area or sidebar.

 

But again, your reviews easily compete with any others I've read.

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I, too, had seen your reviews, and thought, "I know that name from somewhere." They're very thorough and professional. It's a big clich? to end a review with a recommendation (or non-recommendation), but I realize that's a site mandate.

 

Something that bothers me about video game reviews in general is that they tend to be saddled with the responsibility to detail all the rules, technical features, and options of the game in question. While I am as interested in knowing every menu option as much as anyone, it makes it difficult to read multiple reviews without falling asleep. I like a review to be more about opinion than fact, so my preference would be to cram as much as possible of that stuff into a separate area or sidebar.

 

But again, your reviews easily compete with any others I've read.

 

Steve, I submit that this tendency of providing too much filler happens across all forms of journalism. You see it everywhere - car mags, bike mags, everywhere.

 

Instead of listing all technical specifications, I think the key is listing only relevant info. For example, instead of dedicating an entire paragraph to just menu/ options/ specs, mention it throughout the review where appropriate. I.e., "Game X's visuals are stunning - framerates never drop below 60FPS, textures are detailed and vivid, and character animations are first rate. In addition, you are provided with 480p support."

 

This would be much better than mentioning the 480p support in one dedicated paragraph.

 

Just IMHO.

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Thanks for the comments, everyone.

 

Something that bothers me about video game reviews in general is that they tend to be saddled with the responsibility to detail all the rules, technical features, and options of the game in question.

 

This was one of my concerns about my reviews as well...I haven't really figured out that balance yet. It's not meant to be filler so much as an (apparently not entirely successful) attempt to be fairly comprehensive, but I think I probably am saying more than is necessary. Hopefully I'll get a better feel for what is essential to list and what isn't as I write more.

 

This would be much better than mentioning the 480p support in one dedicated paragraph.

 

I did that just to break the 'home theater' snippets apart from the rest. When I'm trying to get across the point that a game is 480p but doesn't have a widescreen mode, I've had trouble cramming that into a sentence with the rest of the graphical notes and still maintain some sort of steady flow.

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