Saturday, 8 January 2011

Reviewing Reviewers

Firstly I apologise for the lateness of this blog entry and I will try not be so late again. Myself personally never read reviews because usually I have a completely different opinion. I do “lol” at the links you provide Mike sometimes. The amateur game review is as amateur as they get. I'm not saying my game review will be any better but the comments on the article we're correct. To be honest is a game ever 100%, well no but as Keiron Gillian said;

A modern British videogames magazine is put together in 19 working days. In that time, they have to research and write at least sixty-thousand words of copy to fill just shy of 150 pages.”

Reviews will only review what they can in that period of time and usually they will only play part of the game. Obviously if the game is well known and marketed and they are going to write a 6 pages review then they are almost obliged to complete it, but even at this it's just the main story and as quick as possible. First impressions are a lot in reviewing games, there are certain things reviewers mark the game on i.e. gameplay elements, narrative, level design...etc. I know there are games out there that have got 10/10 and all that jazz but naw...just naw.

We’re not perfect, because we haven’t time to be perfect. Just like developers.”

Every game has it's glitches may it be a minor texture flaw or getting stuck in a rock, all due to restrictions or just human error. Even with testing you can't test every possible outcome a player might do, it would takes years in itself. With reviewers bad press is still press, if you want your game to get out there to the masses chuck a few copies to the magazines or internet reviewers. If the game is a continuing franchise not much can make fans not buy the game.

Another reason I don't read reviews is because they are just so bloody boring. This is where new games journalism has come into fruition. Basically NGJ writes to teenagers like it was written by one (probably because they are). NGJ writes to and about the player not the game. The internet has provided tonnes of websites dedicated for gaming and why buy a magazine when you can all the reviews you need online?

Mag’s offline abilities and toilet-based browsability are one thing, clearly. The second traditional reason is that they’re mostly – and there’s exceptions, clearly – hugely better written.”

Very good point, I also agree when doing a number two I could be reading MCV or develop to get the low down. But yes magazines are better written, not like my blogs with thousands of mistakes and only makes sense to people who have the same brain.

There are obviously more than just writing funny things these days, video reviews are getting ever more popular, everyone has heard of zero punctuation. This high speed reviewer uses the power of super speech and intelligence to entertain the audience and provide comical 2D stick men animation. This guy started off on youtube and now is paid to do these videos, but his reviewing is more about slagging the game rather than actually deconstructing it.

Some of the issues facing game reviews are as follows. I have mentioned one before in the amount of time it takes to complete a game, RPG's are a good example of long gameplay.
The Final Fantasy franchise is a good example, hours and hours of gameplay compared to other games like beyond good and evil which is about 7 hour for completion. I personally like a game that is 50 hours + because I feel I got my moneys worth, then again I don't want to be there for 2000 hours just trying to get past one boss or get the ultimate mega awesome weapon of death. There’s a balance in games, not just in the length of game but in everything from story and cutscenes and gameplay. Below is a link to some of the industries views towards the length of games.

The other issue facing reviewers is that with official magazines like Xbox magazine have a direct tie to the company and they can find themselves in the predicament of resources or money being withheld. Why do this? Simple to ensure positive reviews. Sucky right.

Okay to conclude gaming magazines sales are going down because the internet already is more than adequate and cheaper. NGJ is a good idea and they should run with it other wise I think they should all just swim to Canada, I'm sure their gaming magazines are selling by the ton.

P.S. Just a little quote I found about Sega's Sammy division but it pretty much sums up my gaming history.

I find it hard to imagine Sammy providing any real guidance themselves since their video gaming track record pretty much sucks barring a couple of rare exceptions.”

Friday, 7 January 2011

Past Achievements

In my introduction blog entry I mentioned that I had been on a games course before and it was just excellent. I loved my time in tech, it was the most enjoyable time of my learning career so far. Basically I’m writing this blog because I got an award for getting the grades I got at tech, the speech they made is below.

Best Media Student – Samuel Henry

This single-minded and enthusiastic learner has achieved the highest final award possible from his BTEC National programme – Samuel has earned three Distinction grades overall, and has gained entry to the prestigious Gamer Art course at DeMontfort University. As a student of NRC Samuel developed a highly focused approach to his studies and faced study challenges with positive mental attitude and a diligent attention to product outcome; his mature attitude permitted him to succeed par excellence in his unit scores and overall grades.

Samuel's consistent diligent study has allowed him to make the most of his opportunities while studying at Northern Regional College, and he receives this award today for his committed hard work culminating in a triple D award in BTEC National Diploma in Media Production (Games Design). Samuel's achievement is the highest possible in the National Diploma scheme and the quality of his work has been acknowledged by his University in their award of his Scholarship in recognition of his high BTEC award. In addition to his college work, Samuel single-mindedly pursued his groundwork for the Game Artist career by independently preparing an effective art portfolio to impress his university admission tutors.

This exceptional student is regarded by his lectures as their consistently best achieving student ever and they take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and recognise his quality of hard work, diligent effort and willingness to support others, and to pass to him their personal best wishes for the future.”

As I remember the interview for university was just me talking constantly and not giving Mike any time to ask questions (sorry Mike, I might have been a little hyper that day).

My parents accepted the award for me as I was still in uni but I thought I'd make a blog for you Mike just to see, the Irish aren't all drunk and stupid all the time. I 'm not trying to boast or anything which I'd like to clarify, that was a whole different level of work. I really want to try my hardest to provide high standard work for this course. To make my parents proud but also myself. I come from a family who has always had financial troubles and we were raised to appreciate what we have in life. I want to have a life with riches to spoil the ones I love like they deserve, and I’ll do that by doing something I love. This seems all very cliché and soapy but this is what you get from a guy who has pink hair. 

BTW, the hobbits in the middle are my mother and father =)