Saturday, December 11, 2010

Writing about Games, Previews, reviews, commentary and lies

New games are developed all the time, and with them come reviews, preview trailers, and many other statistics. Before they even appear on the market, the games have been analyzed and criticized by various people. However, these reviews are something I really don’t care much about. There are two kinds of people that usually review these new games: the people who are attempting to show the game’s positive qualities and raise the maximum amount of money in sales, and the people who want to see the game crumble, and tear it apart with criticism, all before it is released. You hardly ever find a reviewer that looks at a game from an unbiased perspective. Most reviews depend on whether the writer is an honest person, who actually played the game before giving their opinion, or if they’re merely someone who was paid off by the company to write about the positive aspects only. In many cases, the reviewers are paid directly by the company they represent

Like many other things, computer games are a vast market. As such, there are people who have to develop the game, publish it, place it on the market – and those that have to make it successful enough to sell. To help them achieve this goal are the reviewers that give their comments and opinions about the game to the public. Of course, there are so many that have never played the game, but still give reviews about it in either a very positive or very negative way. But of course there are also the honest people that actually give a good opinion, based on facts, for the game they are reviewing. Subjective reviews usually work to increase game sales, as they can up-sell the product, whereas objective reviews only give the facts about the game. Because of an objective review, the company can lose money if they’ve made several mistakes. For the buyer, of course, an objective review would be the best kind, since they would know exactly what they’re buying, without the sugar coating.

Every new game on the market is like a pop star, it may succeed quickly, or crash and burn. As every celebrity they get a lot of interest, and sometimes a lot of fans. The first look we ever get at a game is from its reveal trailer which hasn’t yet been reviewed, and just gives you an idea of what to expect. I enjoy this part of it, since I can make my own opinion based on the trailer. After this, though, the comments and previews follow, and then the reviews, which is the usual cycle of the NGJ. At the preview point, critics start tearing apart the reveal trailer, judging the graphics quality, and many other aspects. They usually go way too far with their opinions, since they don’t even have access to the game at this point. Personally I don’t pay much attention to that, I may read a preview or 2 and that’s all I need, the judge of the game will be myself. I do follow one noteworthy site that is mostly for upcoming trailers of games,, and sometimes they give a review of a game which usually is close to my own opinion on the product.

Other types of games writing are previews on games made by so called ‘Fan boys’, who give only high marks on their favorite games, no matter how bad the product actually is. There are also people who do the opposite: if they hate the game or just the developer, they give low marks. But that’s mostly commentary from people who don’t work in any area of game design or reviews.

There are plenty of people who review games as a profession. I find it somewhat weird, playing a game and then writing about it. It sounds too easy, but it can be great for future sales. From the review, a future buyer can decide if they’ll buy it or not

Personally I’m the subjective type of reviewer. If somebody asks my opinion for a game, movie, or something else, I give my personal point of view. Because it’s my opinion, and if somebody doesn’t agree with that, then he shouldn’t have asked, and he just simply doesn’t have to agree with it.