Title: Reviewing my reviewing.
Posted: February 07, 2006 (05:08 AM)
I'm not sure how to react to this one. My Meteos review is basically the most disciplined and 'professional' review I ever wrote. Professional in this instance meaning that I tailored it to what I thought the site wanted. After all, if one is ever to make a living at this sort of thing, then one must be prepared to succumb to editorial changes. It was with this in mind that I reeled in my instincts to litter the review with gags and flowery superlatives, and instead make sure I covered the game as completely as possible.
The result is that for possibly the first time since I have known it existed, I am not only not in the top three for Review of the week, but not even honourably mentioned! (This may have happened before, but I didn't know about it at the time. Ergo, that time doesn't count. If it indeed exists.)
Whilst it is not exactly negative criticism, it is a lack of positive reinforcement. Do I just need to be told "Good boy" every time I do anything? I have read the top 3 reviews, and I have to say that the winner is justified. 2nd and 3rd place aren't bad, either. Maybe last week I would have placed higher. But then, why do I NEED to place? I don't get paid for this, I shouldn't care about the lack of reward. It has always been about seeing something of mine up there, never about anything else.
The irony comes when I recall my one review that did win ROTW, for N2O, the old Playstation shmup. In this one, I just let fly with my own style. I shot for ROTW, and hit it on my own terms. (I was being featured with every review I posted about this time.) Personally, I preferred my Outrun 2 review, which I thought was the best I had ever done. Having re-read them both today, I think Venter was right.
Maybe I'm just not cut out to review professionally and objectively. My best reviews are of games that I fall in love with, and that are written for myself. Nearly all the reviews I have written for any reason other than spreading the word have been lacking in something. And if this means that the site is top-heavy, then that is not really my problem. I am not staff, I have avoided becoming staff so that I can retain this free spirit. I first started contributing to this site in the form of articles/editorials, which is the kind of thing I feel I excel at. (Actually, Venter first made me contribute by stealing my Dreamcast Quake 3 guide, which is still online here, but that's another story!) Yes, perhaps that's it. Write for ME, and me alone.
Right, time to go write that Snake Eater slam, then!
(I have only chosen the mood I have done in order to highlight the spelling mistake therein, incidentally. NARCISSISTIC!)
Title: Some thoughts
Posted: February 07, 2006 (07:24 PM)
Your review that you wrote professionally was very good, Lee, and don't think otherwise just because you didn't get a special mention in a week full of great reviews. I agree that your most enjoyable reviews are those where you don't feign complete objectivity, but I'd be happy to see more reviews like the one you wrote that didn't place. I just think you're capable of (and have provided) better. That's not to say your latest contribution was bad, though. It fell just shy of the honorable mentions, which I don't even typically give. You're still writing well, and I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I do.
Posted: February 08, 2006 (02:50 AM)
Don't get me wrong, Jason. I'm not asking for any kind of special dispensation. Please don't feel pressured to mention me every time I do anything. I was just wondering aloud why I seem to need positive reinforcement all the time, it's been a theme in my life recently.
I do keep on attempting to write less personal reviews, because I think the site needs more of them. I just rarely seem to find the time. As a result, I tend to concentrate on favourite games. Which of course means that my reviews are weighted towards the top end of the rating scale. This is something I think should be avoided on any site, and particularly on a site I care about.
I honestly can't make any commitment to volume of professional reviews, or even heavily-biased ones. What I CAN do is continue to produce stuff from time to time, and post it all here for you. Lately I have been trying to busy up the boards a little, but it seems that the best way to get a response on this site is to post in the boards that the reviewing clique (for want of a better word) inhabit. My aim is to change that.