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Monday, 17 January 2011

Games Wriiiiiiiiiting

The different forms of games writing is pretty vast as I have discovered. It has changed and developed over the years, and yet still remains the same. I remember reading Playstation magazine and a couple other ones when I was younger, in my PS1 days. But now, while game magazines, and the reviews and previews that they do, has not died out at all, I do think that the internet is or has taken over their role. Or maybe not taken over, maybe continued would be a better word.

Searching the net for game reviews is quick and easy. But depending on the kind of review you are looking for, you may have to search a bit to find the right place. It can depend on if you are looking for a review that is serious, because you need to decide whether to buy a game or not, or you could be looking for a review that’s light hearted and funny, either for entertainment, or maybe because you feel that sort of review is a lot better.

Personally, I think that some humour in the review of a game is better, while also having the good points mentioned about the game.

Some reviews have the writer ranting on about the flaws in the game, where they go into great detail describing what they do not like about the game. But this is still an opinion, and there will be others that think differently. You may be turned off of a game just because it received some bad words, and you may not realise that the game is probably really enjoyable to you.

IGN do some pretty good reviews in my opinion. They do written reviews, based on a scoring system, on the points of Presentation, Graphics, Sound, Gameplay and Lasting Appeal. Scores are out of 10 for each point, and an overall score out of 10 is used from these. They also do game review videos, which they upload through their youtube channel. I prefer to watch these mostly than to their written ones. It is fundamentally the same scoring system, but the difference is that the video is classed as gameplay/commentary. You will see different levels and parts of the game being played as the reviewer talks about the games points. They discuss the presentations, the gameplay, and then they have the verdict at the end. They usually pick 4 plus or minus points of the game, and then give it a score out of ten overall. For example, a review on a game for the DS called Ghost Trick, the gameplay was discussed, and the verdict showed that its plus points were “clever gameplay, variety and animations” One negative point was “very wordy”. The overall score was 8.5 “Great”.

One odd example of a form of review would be Zero-Punctuation. This is a video series on The Escapist magazine site with Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw commentating. These videos do not show any gameplay, and only a few pictures. It is mainly a comic style video, with funny characters acting out what Ben is saying. He talks very quickly, hence the name of the series. He will go into detail of the politics of the game, while also mocking the company or the designers for what ever reason he finds. They are really amusing reviews to watch, and you will be surprised many times over of the truth in what he says! He cuts right to the point, and will bring in all kinds of examples to go with the points he makes. His review on Black Ops was particularly funny to me!

New games journalism is an interesting form a games writing, coined by Kieron Gillen. This form of writing focuses on the players experience and feelings while playing a game, using references to other media, and also recounting events that happened to them in the game. I think a good quality of this is that the reader gets a sort of personal view from the reviewer. I think this means that they have a more truthful view on the game.

Objectivity or subjectivity, that is the question. For me personally, I would prefer a blend of both, if possible. I think I do appreciate objective reviews because they give the points without personal views or emotions, but I also do like subjective ones, because they DO have personal views and emotions in them. Confusing I know, yes. But I think that just one of the other isn’t very beneficial. I guess it depends again on what I am looking for. If I was to review a game, and if I happened to really enjoy it, I would probably show those emotions in my writing. But also, I would not just say that “this game is awesome because I really loved it and you should buy it”, I would instead say that yes I enjoyed it, and give reasons, but then also give other points of the game, more technical and objective, since I think that is also as informative as the writer’s views.