The great GameFAQs review competition and my memories, pt 1
April 08, 2009

The forum boards reminded me of this, and I think I'll be able to write something interesting about them.

Maybe some other time I'll (re-)tell the story of how my love for Deathlord and Ultima IV brought me to GameFAQs in the first place. But for now, there is the review competition.

Around July of 1999, I, in some forgotten order,

1) found Ultima IV as freeware
2) found GameFAQs with a walkthrough for Ultima IV
3) said "Hey, maybe they have something for Deathlord"
4) contacted Wilson Lau, whose homepage contained a map or two of Deathlord, that I really liked the game and wanted to see how I could help him with it. His 2000 and 1999 update logs have been instrumental in reminding me of the fun times I forgot to log.
5) started listing other old Apple games I loved and maybe one day would write for.

Then the review contest struck. 31 days for who knows how many reviews. It's too bad KasketDarkfyre didn't know about GameFAQs in those days, or maybe he just hadn't revved up.

I remember feeling like a donkey between two haystacks, with all these games to write for, worrying about a game being rejected for being too obscure and so forth. And of course I wasn't really comfortable with emulators yet.

But looking at the numbers for my reviews, I wrote for 12 of the 13 following titles:

2400 AD
Archon II
Centauri Alliance
Championship Lode Runner
Deathlord
Decathlon
Dragon Wars
Jawbreaker
Magic Candle
Type Attack
Wasteland
Wizard's Crown
Fool's Errand

Well, I got points for writing for a new game. I wish I'd remembered more, but there was also a lot I really couldn't fake. Looking back, of course, I think a lot of people did.

I don't think I wrote for Deathlord until later. I originally wanted to complete it before writing it--though I got close enough a month later, I thought I might as well. In fact, I remember completing Deathlord several days before Y2k--if the bug struck, I wanted to say I at least solved Deathlord before the WWW went to smash.

I didn't complete other games, like Centauri Alliance, but I bet many other gamers didn't either, and given how annoying the end-bit was, my review was adequate...til later when I solved the game.

I believe the database containing review dates crashed on November 1st, and that is why some reviews are "before 11/1/1999." The numbers cannot be in numerical order since Deathlord is in the middle, but I sort of wish I'd kept a log myself, but there is enough.

My reviews for the contest were nowhere near as long as they are now. I had a lot to say at the time, but maybe I can pack it down now. These are the reviews I hesitate to send to HG, because they probably can be pared. But on the other hand, at the time, I was feeling great that I had a lot to write, and I needed to do that, and I wanted to move on quickly--too often I'd blocked myself. The hell with detailed proofreading or "killing my babies."

...well, they're grown up now and less cute, so it's probably time to.

So I want to write parts 2 and 3 later. Tentatively, that is all that is planned. One story a day is about all I can handle without overload.

Part 2: the other contestants, and thoughts on them, and who survived, and who didn't.
Part 3: "where are they now" of my contest entries and about how these main games led to other things.
Part 4: a look forward to other tournaments at GameFAQs
Part 5: A look at how HGWars has helped me look at things differently. (Possibly AFTER it's all wrapped up. I don't want to share too much information too soon.)

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sashanan sashanan - April 08, 2009 (09:24 AM)
I've been around on GameFAQs for a very long time, but the review competition is one thing I missed. For that matter, although my account dates back to 1999, my first contributions were a full year later. I think September 2000 that I sent in my first review, probably for Shining in the Darkness.
aschultz aschultz - April 08, 2009 (09:38 AM)
Too bad you missed it. But you did win that reviewer-off we had with the 64-reviewer brackets and all that. I think you knocked me off in the final four as a 5-seed! That was a lot of fun.

I'd love to have someone write an entry about that. Even just a list of results and brackets. I remember runinruder absolutely blowing everyone away one time. Then it devolved into just a popularity contest, like those cool leagues on the social boards.

Also, you can find out the precise order of how you wrote the reviews if you want--the dates are up there. (Or were you just speaking off the cuff?)

I have a perl script which can extract review text as well, if you want to archive things that way.
sashanan sashanan - April 12, 2009 (12:28 AM)
Yeah, I gave an estimate without checking. I know my first pieces were submitted during my first internship as a programmer, which started Sept 2000. That was the time I first had a presence worth mentioning on GF. However, since my account creation date says 1999 and we all got free karma based on our account age when karma was introduced (2001, no?), everybody thinks I'm much more old school than I really am.

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