Title: Reviewing without playing
Posted: May 23, 2010 (10:17 PM)
So how does one review a game when one can't play games? I will explain my situation re: the just passed horror competition.
With the other work I have to do at the moment, consisting of programming, writing and musicking, in that order of priority, and including a lot of related online activities for each of the above, I can't play video games for any real length of time. Gaming is particularly bad for RSI. The last game I really played was BloodRayne 2, late in 2008.
For this horror tournament, I initially had two ideas about what to do. Either review a game I know very well from memory, or play something very small and short, and review that. Concerning the latter idea, a few years ago I was trying to work out how to play Friday the 13th on the Commodore 64, because there was no FAQ for it, and some people on a horror game forum were trying to work it out. I succeeded, and discovered the game was pretty tiny. So I briefly considered revisiting Friday the 13th for this comp, but I felt that an unremarkable game would make for a competent but unremarkable review. This isn't the kind of review that wins points in a competition.
Next, I decided I would revisit my ancient Resident Evil 2 review. This is one of my favourite games of all time, and I have been meaning to do a proper job with it for years now (!). I have completed the game many times, but wanted to refresh my memory of the whole thing in one hit. So I went to Youtube and found a good-looking video play through of Claire's scenario in 18 parts. I dutifully downloaded all of them and sat down to watch this approximately 3 hour-long play through.
I admire the guy who put this together. He recorded it off his TV screen with a camcorder. He had turned all the lights off in his room, and showed great discipline in making almost no human sound (beyond the tapping of buttons) for three hours. There was a clock ticking in his room, which was driving me crazy at first, but eventually I forgot about it.
Watching the video brought back good memories. Then I thought, "Time to write this review!"
But it seemed to remain the un-writable review. Looking at the work I did, last saved on May 4, it's better than I remember, and my best attempt yet at reviewing RE2. The things that make RE2 something of an island in a series that has since become sprawling are now hard to describe in their own right. Yet it seems to me that is how they should be described, because RE2 was immediately people's favourite upon release, then maintained that position even as it was continually reinterpreted in the light of all the games that came after it.
The task defeated me again, and I cast my mind about for a safer bet to review from memory. I came up with BloodRayne, and spent about a week on the review. I only had to watch a couple of little video excerpts online to remember the whole game, as I have played through it about three times, and many segments more than that.
Posted: May 24, 2010 (09:14 AM)
Solution: Write reviews for IGN.
Posted: May 24, 2010 (09:45 AM)
Ah, I get it. For a second there was the sound of a stone bouncing around in my skull.
Posted: May 25, 2010 (05:29 AM)
Why watch said Youtube video? Those three hours you watched the guy play the game, you could have easily finished RE 2 on your own again, for a much better experience.
Posted: May 25, 2010 (05:41 AM)
You dummy! Did you read the post? I have RSI! I can't play games! I haven't played a game since 2008!
Posted: May 25, 2010 (02:08 PM)
Jumped over that really. and I must say I never head of it until I wiki'd it. Then again, it's called something completely different in my language.
Posted: May 25, 2010 (09:23 PM)
Heh, I shorthand the description of my circumstances now as most people know. For more explanation of the complicated story, you can trawl back through my older blog entries. But the really short version is - me hurt, no games for now.