The great GameFAQs review competition and my memories of it, pt 2
April 09, 2009

So here are specific winners and what I remember of them. First, here's a link to the original tourney results. It's the one, the only, probably because CJayC had to check all the reviews back then, and some of the rushed efforts must've given him a real headache.

The three random winners are lost in the sands of time.

GlucoseJoe just churned stuff out--almost as many reviews per day as I had all tourney. What I remember of his reviews was a bit incoherent, but hey, the guy wrote 10 a day! I believe there may have been some copying from one system to another(reprise Insert Quarter in Master System joke about one of Kasket's more infamous reviews here) and the Long Bonus was for >4k I think, maybe 5. GJ had some good sensible reviews after that, though his record eventually fell to someone down the list a bit. Then he took his reviews down after some of his iffier ones got holes poked in them. I think there was a flame war over Ys too. He has a few up still, and while I remember in particular his Pengo and Super Pac-Man arcade reviews as being a bit short on substance, I pulled a lot from the reviews of his I did read.

DJellybean aka Dingo Jellybean was also a big name on the FAQ board, and he sacrificed volume for clarity, as I remember. I forget when he formally surrendered, but for a while, the contest was in doubt.

Hiryuu faded from GameFAQs after this contest. Only one of his reviews got pulled since then. But you can see his stuff is very short. He had one less review than Blackjack4x, but he found odder titles, and that got him a guaranteed prize.

Blackjack4x and fduboo are two reviewers I remember coming back a lot later, and saying "Boy, ASchultz is really up there in reviews"--it'd been a long time since the review contest, definitely. Slow and steady overtook them, and I think at the start, Blackjack's review count motivated me to do more. Again, what a review was wasn't clearly defined back then, so he was really ahead of the curve.

SMcFadden aka Psycho Penguin aka DaLadiesMan aka Tank Abbott aka ...: infamous on GameFAQs. Amusing that he was squashed between two weighted winners and also that he had such a high penalty total--this was for clear bending of the rules, illegibility, filler, etc. If he'd done a bit more or less, perhaps he'd have been the random winner. I am assuming CJayC gave Blackjack4x the numbers from 0/10355.75 to 526.25, SMcFadden from 526.25/10355.75 to (526.25+413.5)/10355.75, etc.

For some reason I was shocked to see how young he was even after he acted out a bit on the boards. But he did start the reviewing community going and noted my Wizard's Crown review too as something to look at from an up and coming reviewer one. He jumped in the lead for reviews but I eventually overtook him, then Kasket overtook me. He improved a lot, too, since his review-off days, rewriting a lot but unfortunately with the habit of putting in filler once KB wars heated up. But it was on the FAQ board where he had really stormy relations. That's a whole several posts, of which I don't have the full details. There's a lot to say about McFadden, and I wasn't in enough inner circles to know it all. All I saw were the flame wars.

Emptyeye, the creator of BORO, also could write well when he got a head of steam up. If he'd been a little more unscrupulous, he'd have had a better chance of pulling off a prize.

Gruel had a long and fun career on GameFAQs, and while some bash his writing, there's no denying he got a lot better.

Lethargy, whom I'd never thought of, is amusing to see that high up there. Nothing lethargic about over a review a day!

Bobo of course became Bobo the Clown and then SGreenwell. He went in for the odd games then and does now.

JHarring was a recommended writer for learning how to write a FAQ early on.

LordZero and Dallas, both prolific FAQers, got negative scores.

EdTheMoogle and Vegita, two reviewers panned for some sloppy efforts, also went negative. Vegita came back and managed to fight through self-pity to put out some decent efforts. Ed took his stuff down.

...and who is this, sneaking in at #35 of 362, just scraping into the top tenth percentile? Why, it is your gentle, humble narrator. I'm not sure what I got the long-points bonus for, as I had nothing over 4K, but my base-points ratio was a perfect 5.0 for games not written about yet. A few other competitors had this distinction, but I had the most. Tamahome and GSephiroth above just missed out on this perfection. Although I'd have traded it for a few more reviews.

I think it took time to work on me that I could write about whatever, whenever. I suppose that annoying example that motivational books give about the 4-minute mile(once one person breaks it, everyone does) is more pertinent in the electronic age. We've seen it with processing speed. And it's surprising to see it even with writing. Though I think those who expended all their energy were burnt out, they paved the way for other people--including a horde of up and coming reviewers who saw their quantity and said, we can do BOTH, dammit.

As a last point, note that the odds GameFAQs gives of winning are, essentially, incorrect. The total positive points, minus the three winners, was not x. That'd be the value for any one specific prize of the three. The odds are in fact (1-x)^3, close to 3x for practical purposes. So Blackjack4x really had a 14.96% chance of winning the weighted random prize. I had about a 2% chance. Everyone had a .9% chance of winning the random drawing. There were 349 positive score entrants and a total score of 10355.75 from them.

If anyone knows the story of Casey, I'd love to hear it. I think -10000000 was for acts of deliberate sabotage, -1000000 for plain old plagiarism.

Looking back, I was probably too worried of rejection to write more. I mean, the review contest was for more reviews of games, but mine didn't seem too useful--or like what was on the site. And some games were legitimately jumbled in my head and I wished I'd remembered more. And I was scared I wouldn't proofread later.

Which also turned out wrong. Yes, my reviews were inaccurate, but so what? They were at least less horrendous than a lot that got through, and I fulfilled my goal of at least one revision on each of them.

Tomorrow: a "where are they now" rundown of my first thirteen reviews.

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JANUS2 JANUS2 - April 09, 2009 (12:42 PM)
Interesting stuff. I joined the community in 2001, but I have vague memories of some of these names.

I remember when GlucoseJoe showed up on the RC Board a few years after the Review Contest to defend his output. I think Masters stood up for him. To be fair to Joe, he was obviously writing for a contest that didn't demand any quality control whatsoever. It was all about the numbers. I wouldn't say he was an awful writer, either. It's just his format was HORRIBLE. This might just be the biggest paragraph I've ever seen: http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/saturn/review/R3523.html

I remember Vegita, Ed The Moogle and Steve McFadden for the controversy and drama they generated. Didn't Ed The Moogle threaten to commit suicide??? Or am I imagining that? I recall Vegita responding to abuse from Dark Fact by bugging him incessantly in almost every topic. And I've always wondered whether GameFAQs Psycho Penguin is the same Psycho Penguin that submits here. I guess they must be, but the picture I have in my head (someone who gave Doodleheimer ROTD, plagiarized FAQs, and generally caused a lot of RC Board drama) doesn't really fit with the HG Psycho Penguin, who stays quiet and writes good reviews. Oh well.

I'm facebook friends with Gruel! We used to play Perfect Dark Zero over Xbox Live quite a lot.

And I never knew Emptyeye was behind BORO.
aschultz aschultz - April 09, 2009 (02:18 PM)
It was fun to write. And I wanted to have it written down somewhere.

Cool to know Gruel still has fun gaming. He seemed nice when I talked to him.

Don't remember anything about EdTheMoogle beyond that he got really mad, and he had a sort of blog with lots of rants about life sucking. Then again he was a teen.

Psycho Penguin has improved writing, definitely, though he does like to troll the GameFAQs FAQ boards. The guide writing community is (still) competitive enough and he's made enough enemies there, he can make a splash on the FAQ board topics. Here, people aren't so easily baited. BTW, they gotta be one and the same person--both Maryland fans.

I remember formatting being a problem for me, too. Then I wrote a computer program to track paragraph breaking. That actually took five minutes. Then I just cranked it through--no paragraphs longer than X letters. Sounds cheesy, but it worked.

Forgot who told me Emptyeye was behind BORO but I felt silly when I learned it--Emptyeye was big into leetspeak and obnoxious irony, from his blog.
bloomer bloomer - April 13, 2009 (08:00 AM)
Yeah, I started at RC around 2001 like Janus, but remember the tailends of lots of these people.
sashanan sashanan - April 15, 2009 (03:13 AM)
I don't remember reading anything of GlucoseJoe's, though I was around for the batch of flame wars which resulted in him and several other reviews pulling all their material and CJayC, apparently miffed by the review crowd scaring away contributors significant in volume (if not necessarily in quality) wiping the reviewer board clean. That is unless I am confusing two different events and the wipe was instead related to a couple of bannings involving inappropriate posts about his wife. It's all a bit of a haze now. I don't remember the reviewer board ever having been one of the friendliest places on the site, but at least it wasn't dead like it is today.

One reviewer that comes to mind for me when it comes to "just churning stuff out" was Kasket Darkfyre - pleasant enough chap and he had access to a truckload of games, but between the standardized layout for his reviews and their brevity, his review submissions gave off the impression of an assembly line rather than a creative process. Precisely the trap I feared stepping into when I was writing my Commodore reviews at a rapid pace.

EDIT: Psycho Penguin is an interesting guy who I've recently been talking to more, and get along well with. But especially the FAQ board is particularly tempting for him to rile up. :)
aschultz aschultz - April 15, 2009 (10:56 AM)
Kasket really did churn stuff out. I think we all have that fear of falling into that trap, and while it is less obvious for most of us, it's still there, and we need to recognize it.

I think sometimes I do that, but I rationalize it as follows--I'm smart enough to find a way to work around it, or even if I get sick of churning out reviews, I switch to FAQs, which, while they can be churned out, almost have to be--the individual game details will be different enough that the guides will be legitimately informative.

Then I get sick of the relative lack of creativity afforded by FAQs and bounce back again.

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