Thursday, 4 December 2008

Dougal Reviews Reviews! Yay!

Aaand it seems I neglected this once again. Honestly! No wonder I always struggled to keep a regular diary as a kid. ^^;

Well on reading the topic for this I got all excited thinking: YAY! It's about writing for games. Plots! Stories! AWSUM! FUN! *reads a bit more of the brief* ...Aww man!

So yeah, after I got over my initial disappointment and helped myself to a nice cup of tea, (<3) I sat down and thought... Have I ever actually read a game review?
Conclusion: No.


Then Dougal finally gets to the task at hand; a.k.a reading through 'How To Use And Abuse The Gaming Press And How The Gaming Press Wants To Use And Abuse You' on Kieron Gillen's Workblog. A rather long and wordy title if you ask me... and I'll admit it gave me an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach - as did the size of the scrollbar.

Nevertheless, I sat down and I read. ..and I re-read.... and I read once more just to be certain of the fact that I barely had a clue what the heck the guy was talking about. Maybe it's the lack of sleep, maybe the fact that I'm in the middle of a mad eczema flare-up *scratchscratch*... or perhaps the article was just badly-worded. Either way, I could not make heads nor tails of the thing!


So t'old Kieron claims that a typical gaming magazine is put together in just nineteen days, then work begins on the next issue. Seems like pretty steep deadlines to me, considering they have one hundred and fifty pages to fill in that time! (And I thought my deadlines were worrying.) The poor overworked journalist has to find time to play the game, think about how it played out, write the review and then get it to the office before his boss goes crazy. Sounds like quite a task. And it only gets harder as each year budgets are cut and staff sacked.

Final Fantasy XXVI comes out and all the gaming magazines race to write their reviews. But wait! They only have nineteen days to play said 'Final' Fantasy... Oh noes!
What does the smart, time-efficient journalist do?

“Okay, okay, 'tis Square Enix, characters by Nomura, music by Uematsu.. a million and one fans all hung up on the franchise... Let's give it... er... 8.5/10. Scribble a few random notes about the controls. Spin a few tales about the plot. And hey presto! C'est fini!”

In the next few weeks everyone reads these 'reviews', goes out and buys the game, (because let's face it; it is FF after all).


Personally, I think a good review needs to be unbiased though it is obvious that this can prove difficult. You play the game. (I lost T.T) and you either enjoy it or you don't. It's hard to see past your opinions and write a good, solid review on the game as a whole. Let me think of an extreme example to try and elaborate...

Say you give 'Barbie's Magical Adventures in Pretty Pink Land' to a seventeen-year-old boy, ask him to play it and then write a review. If he actually agrees to play it - and doesn't forcibly remove your spleen with a spatula - you'll find that the finished review would most-likely be quite scathing, (I'd be concerned if he managed to write a positive review). …Or how about you give GTA to your dear old great-aunt Mildred? How do you think her review would pan out?
To the other extreme. Go to a gaming convention, single out a guy cosplaying as Solid Snake and ask him to write a review for Metal Gear Solid...

You see where I'm going, right?


Some magazines and websites will give a game a ranking. Be this a percentage or marks out of ten. To be honest, I don't see how this could work. I mean, how are you supposed to 'mark' a game. It's not as if it has questions to get right or wrong. Let's see: Woman with large chest: Check! Big guns: Check! More than five explosions in the opening sequence: err.. no check. Sorry this game only gets 7/10.

If GTA gets 10/10, 100%, FIVE GOLDEN STARS! Where as Barbie's Magical Adventures only gets a meagre 4/10.
…And I'm going to buy my six-year-old niece a game for Christmas?

Have I lost anyone yet?
Still with me Luke?
(You promised you'd read this ^-^)


So back to the point.
I must say, New Games Journalism (NGJ) is an interesting way to pass the time. Such reviews as light, funny and very personal... more about the writer's thoughts and feelings than the game itself. They can be useful to a certain extent… but not everyone feels the same about things.

And I'm rambling. Yay.
*stabs the blog entry with a blunt toadstool*


Dougal shall try to make her blog weekly and not monthly from now on! *nods* ...well actually bi-weekly so I can catch up. ^^;

-The dougalBUG


Luke said...

Hehe, i read every word! Just don't expect me to remember anything, i'm crap at that!

Del "D-Y-D" said...

Final Fantasy XXVI