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Forums > Contributor Zone > TT: WEEK 1 - RESULTS!

Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

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Author: jerec
Posted: June 28, 2009 (05:27 PM)
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Felix at Suskie
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Suskie vs Zig

JEREC: There's a certain type of review that will always do well in a tournament, and that's the sort of review where it's just made up of examples of really cool shit you can do in the game. Only a few lines into the review, and Suskie has already convinced me that this game would be an absolute blast to play, and the rest of the review just builds on that more and more. As far as game choices go, Suskie absolutely nailed it with this one. MadWorld is one of those games that sounds really awesome to talk about, which helps make it an incredibly interesting game to read about. To you tourney people out there, less artsy descriptions of explosions in Metal Slug, and more reviews like this, please! Then there's Zigfried. He's at his best when reviewing games has some sort of passion for. There's absolutely none of that here. I'm not exactly sure why he chose his "Torture Zigfried" review instead of something much more interesting. This is a fairly short review that only touches on the game for a short while, in between commenting on the practice of reviewing bad games, children gamers, and playing a game with your butt. There's also a whole paragraph on Sega CD's Popful Mail which seems to come out of absolutely nowhere. I'm not going to insult Suskie by saying Zigfried threw the match. I'm certain that's not the case, it's just that Zigfried gambled on a review that didn't work. And Suskie's review was brilliant enough that it would have held its own against a stronger piece from Zig, anyway. By using MadWorld against Zig, Suskie shows that he knows his opponent, and makes a good first impression for the rest of the tourney season.
WINNER: SUSKIE

LEWIS: Zig's is decent, but takes a bit long getting to the point. I like the commentary on developers' approach to children's games having the opportunity to deviate from the norm, and this one not doing that. Shame you're up against Suskie's MADWORLD, Zig, as it's one of the most passionate, detailed, illustrative reviews I've read on this site in ages. Absolutely superb stuff, from the first word to the last, and one that left me desperate to play the game despite mediocre write-ups elsewhere. Suskie wins.

SPORTSMAN: It sucks that I have to pick a loser between these two because they were my two favorite reviews of the round. Madworld is probably the best piece Iíve ever read from Suskie; Iím not a fan of these types of games or the Wii but this sounds totally awesome. Normally these super violent games are all about style and no substance but this one seems like one hell of a ride. Even though with all of the crap going on in the game the review practically writes itself, Suskie didnít just settle for mediocrity and actually convinced me that the game works. I donít know how many reviews Iíve read about Gears of War and Ninja Gaiden that emphasize the violence and how awesome that is that just donít work. Suskie was able to turn that into a convincing argument that made this sound like nothing before and how the Wii actually works in favor o the game. Very impressive review. Zigfried, on the other hand didnít disappoint, either. Normally middle of the road game reviews bore me but he couldnít have handled this one any better. His argument isnít as relevant today as it was in the past since I donít think developers are using childish themes to sell games anymore but it still works nevertheless. Only Zig can take such a simple argument Ė one pertaining to the gameís mediocrity Ė and turn it into something so much more and deeperÖ Wow, I really donít know which one to pick now. Iím going with Suskie because he really stepped up his game this round and went over and above but this is one that can go either way. Maybe in an hour from me typing this Iíll prefer Zigís, and then an hour later Iíll prefer Suskieís again. I hope both writers leave this match with the heads held high, since they are both winners here and this is more like a finals match than a first round match to me. Hopefully both of these teams do well so weíll see a rematch between these two sometime down the road.
WINNER: SUSKIE

True vs Felix

JEREC: Like Suskie, True also picks a game that sounds incredibly awesome, and through some very enthusiastic, very persuasive writing, I am convinced it is awesome. I actually want to go and look up this game to learn more, which says something these days - my apathy is a tough shell to crack. True managed it, though, with a series of examples of why this game is awesome, why the main character's story is compelling, and what sets the game apart from others in the genre. If I had one complaint about this review, it would be that it is a tad long, specifically the paragraph with the run down of moves (press this button, etc.) which seemed a bit instruction-manualish. But that's a minor complaint, and it doesn't take away from the impact of this review. Felix's review seems more experimental. Two things work against him here, one is the overuse of screenshots which overshadows and distracts from his writing, and the other is that the game doesn't seem that interesting, despite how much Felix tries to make it sound interesting. The writing was strong enough in its own right, though. Images should be used to enhance the text rather than overshadow it. Because if we're relying on images, why not just post up a YouTube video of this game in action and slap a score on it?
WINNER: TRUE

LEWIS: True's is very nice. It starts strong, grabs me, entertains me from the outset. It's also, again, totally illustrative, showing me the game rather than telling me about it. That's something I look for a lot in writing these days. I wonder if it might gloss over negatives of the game in favour of mindless enthusiasm, but that's not for me to decide. A splendid piece. Felix's... hmm, well that said, this might go further the other way. How strict are we being about these being reviews? This is a lovely piece of writing about a game that sounds genuinely entertaining. Does it read like a recommendation or in-depth analysis piece? No, not really. It's very good. But so is True's and, well, I'm going to do the bizarre thing and stick to format here. True wins.

SPORTSMAN: Wow, True wrote a real winner here. I wasnít expecting much since he usually starts off slow in these things and picks it up as the tourney progresses. This might be his finest work yet; it reads and flows smoothly and really made this game sound awesome. The descriptions of the powers and were great and it never even came close to getting bogged down with technical details like so many of these reviews tend to do. Very impressive review. Felix, on the other hand, also put on a good show with an unusual game. Iím glad he decided to focus on the wackiness of the game instead of the typical ďdodging bullets is intense and the bosses are awesomeĒ argument because at this point Iím really tired of hearing about shmups. This focus on the premise also kept me really interested, I mean who wouldnít want to read about a Satan-fighting rabbit? Unfortunately for Felix the review was still a shmup review with a neat twist and True really delivered something lights out this round and his passion and enthusiasm for Prototype gives him the win. Another good matchup.
WINNER: TRUE

ASchultz vs Randxian

JEREC: ASchultz paints a clear picture of Airball, illustrating the differences between this and the original PC version. After reading this, I have no trouble imagining what this game must be like to play. It sounds challenging as well as rewarding. I can always count on ASchultz to review something I've never even heard of, and because he's such a credible voice on games like this, it really makes it easy to get into his writing. Randxian reviews a game I've heard of, but never quite believed up until now. I'm a fan of the Wheel of Time books, and now I know the Wheel of Time game is actually quite a fun play. You don't need to be well versed in the books to read this review, either, as Rand "WoT reference?" xian explains the necessary aspects of the story and setting. For a WoT fan, it's quite interesting to learn what the game is about. It's a fairly close one, but Schultz's writing is more engaging, and Randxian's review had a "the gameplay is where this game really shines" type moment, which made me laugh and cringe at the same time.
WINNER: ASCHULTZ

LEWIS: Aschultz' reminds me of a Tom Francis review. Tom Francis won an award for his reviews last year. You are off to a good start, aschultz. I like how you scale the difficulty chart to describe the game. A special idea, that. Works really well. Reads beautifully. Rather nice work there. Randxian's review seems to assume all FPS games are the same except this one. Which is a bit inaccurate and reflects badly, I think. It's also a bit of a static piece, a bit formulaic, and has nothing that gripped me at any point. Adequately written; not great. Aschultz wins.

SPORTSMAN: Solid review by Schultz. Personally I wouldnít get too comfortable reviewing these puzzle games since itís tough to convey excitement over them through a review and they generally donít make the greatest reads. I didnít mind this one, though; not quite a memorable piece but more than serviceable. A solid effort from a vet. Unfortunately rookie Randxian is going against someone who has been around for probably ten or so years. The review had some good parts but contains quite a few rookie mistakes, the biggest one being the one I made for many years (and still make to some extent haha): bringing up a topic and not conveying what actually makes it so great. Iím really trying to bang these results out before I go away for the weekend so I wonít go into too much detail here but I can elaborate on this point once I get back and the results have been posted. Still this match was probably closer than I made it sound and basically came down to a solid effort from a vet versus a solid effort from a rookie.
WINNER: ASCHULTZ

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Will at EmP
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EmP vs Will

JEREC: I noticed EmP fixed up the typo of the game's title in the introduction, something I pointed out when I judged this review during the last alpha-comp. It was a pretty good review then, and it's still good now, but I still remember this one pretty vividly. The writing is tight, even restrained except for one or two overlong sentences. It's still a convincing review, but I'm no more likely to play this game than I was last time (though if I do go through my Genesis roms, perhaps...) Will's review is something I remember a bit of fuss about in the feedback topic, but I don't think I'd actually read the review. Space Quest seems like a fairly frustrating sort of game to play, and I'm not sold on the 10/10 and the recommendation to actually give it ago, since the only justification for that is the constant deaths. The writing itself is fast paced and enjoyable to read, even if I don't find it convincing. This is actually the first match I'm judging (as I'm jumping around the list), and it's already looking like a tough call. Do I go with Emp for a review that has overall better writing and is more persuasive? Or do I go for Will, whose review is enjoyable and energetic, not to mention enthusiastic? It's a close one. My synapse is firing at...
WINNER: EMP

LEWIS: EmP's review is solid, entertaining, flowing and generally nice. There's nothing that really stands out as being remarkable or memorable, for me, but it serves its purpose perfectly, and I can't see anything acutely wrong to complain about. Faint praise? Maybe, but sometimes that works fine. Will's review is very funny, but to me fails at its job. There's no consistency to it: the majority of the text goes on about how unfair the game is, then we're told it's great, and there's not a substantial enough link between the two. You've got to be careful with things like this - I'd say it's why my Invisible War review wasn't great. EmP wins.

SPORTSMAN: Interesting matchup, as both reviewers take a different approach but ultimately try to achieve the same result; bring you into the gameís worlds and try to make it sound like something special. EmPís is easily the more eloquent piece; great intro, fantastic writing outside of a few overly verbose and clunky sentences and at the end raped up the argument perfectly and made the premise sound like so much more than just another 16-bit action game. Will, on the other hand had a few rough spots (PLEASE no more emoticons in reviews) and didnít initially grab me but once he started talking about the janitor and wackiness of the game I was dying to know more. These are not easy games to review but Will seemed to capture it perfectly and really knows what makes them great (or not). While EmPís review is definitely the more ambitious piece of the two, Space Quest is the game that I ultimately want to play and will remember.
WINNER: WILL

DarkEternal vs Zipp

JEREC: Darketernal's first paragraph did not put me in a good mood. The idea was good - mixing games like colours, but the example was irrelevant, though it sounded much more interesting than the game he ultimately reviewed. I wanted to know if this Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones/MGS/Splinter Cell mix was any good. But he doesn't know that. He's here instead to talk about something else entirely. As far as reviewing goes, this is what I'd like to call a Wallbanger Intro. It makes me want to bash my head into a wall. The rest of the review picks up, and the game does sound somewhat interesting, I grudgingly admit. Had I not been judging this, I would have clicked back after the second paragraph. Zipp plays it safe with a review he knows I like, as I gave it a 95 back in the last Alpha comp. Honestly, there isn't much I can say about this one that I didn't say last time, so Zipp, if you want me to repost my original comments on this later, just ask. I'll put it up on my blog. It's still an awesome review, especially convincing for a 6/10 game. I can see why I'd like this game, and also why I wouldn't. Great writing.
WINNER: ZIPP

LEWIS: Darketernal's starts really well. I love the colour metaphor. I just wish you extended it a bit and stuck with that style. By the end it's rather generic, and not particularly enjoyable to read. Zipp's improved a lot since this review, though I remember liking it at the time. Now, it feels stilted, and a few of the constructions read rather awkwardly. But I do think it serves its purpose nicely, and is critical in all the right places. Sometimes, it's okay for the writing to be unremarkable if the content's spot on. Zipp wins.

SPORTSMAN: Good matchup here. DEís review isnít the best Iíve read from him but definitely not one of the worst. It was quite effective at convincing me that the game is something interesting and worth checking it out. Zippís, on the other hand, didnít read so smoothly. The review itself was sloppy, with some odd wordings and non-existent transitions, but once it got going it was fantastic. The analysis was brilliant and although it was longer and a middle of the road review it kept me glued to my seat and wanting to know more. This is something I can relate to as well and seems to answer my questions to why I thought the ME demo was lame. DE definitely wrote the more consistent review, but Zippís has more highs and more lows. In the long run Iíll remember Zippís great analysis and not his clunky transitions so he wins this round.
WINNER: ZIPP

DoI vs Sash

JEREC: I absolutely loved the story of DoI's hero who tried to do the right thing, but ended up going on a quest for revenge. This story of a personal experience in the game did more than descriptions ever could. I'm interested in this game now, despite some shortcomings mentioned towards the end, just to see what sort of experience I could find in this game. It seems kind of like Oblivion, with less emphasis on story, and more emphasis on what you want your character to be. Sashanan's review is also quite an interesting read, for a game that seemed to work at the time. The trial and error stuff puts me off completely, though. It's a nice look at the past, and the review certainly captures that mistique the game apparently has. I also need to apologise - while trying to read this I was interrupted no less than four times, making my read through a little disjointed. This was a tough match for Sashanan, as his review is excellent and probably would've beaten many other reviews this round, but DoI pulled off a review that really got my attention.
WINNER: DOI

LEWIS: Dol's piece falls into the same trap as True's. It's an entertaining story piece, but it's not really telling me anything about the quality of the game until right at the end. As such, I find it impossible to claim this is a great review. I'm still not sure whether I should be marking down for that. Which is tricky, as Sash's piece is one I'm really not taken with either. It could do with a big old prod-edit, this one. Characterless and a bit uninspiring? Am I being a right cock today? Maybe, as I'm stressed from trying to do this while moving house. Tough: Dol wins. Just.

SPORTSMAN: Both of these reviews were interesting reads. DoIís story was pretty interesting because itís something that I can relate to (I always wind up starting off as the good guy and sometimes fall to the bad side) and I think this approach worked perfectly for this type of game. Sashananís review is one of the best, if not the best that Iíve read by him. Normally reviews for these odd games get either bogged down in technicality or confuse the hell out of the reader. This review did neither; well Iím still not 100% sure of how the game works but neither was Sashanan when he initially played it. The bit about it being a novel concept but obsolete today was a convincing argument, and DoI never really convinced me that his game is any different from KOTOR, Mass Effect or any other choose your path RPGís. Everything seemed a bit too familiar to me here so the concept didnít intrigue me like Sashís did.
WINNER: SASHANAN

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Overdrive At Janus
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Radical Dreamer vs HonestGamer

JEREC: I'd been wanting to read a Radical Dreamer review, especially since this is the first new piece in a few years. I did read his blog entry prior to this, too, which might not have been a good idea. I think the review is still a bit too long, but I'm not sure how much should be cut. I've played this game, so I know all about the fairly unique battle system, the puzzle dungeons and the story. What I find odd about this review is that while it feels long, it doesn't really say that much. Dreamer does make many excellent points about the gameplay/story segregation in RPGs, the way history is used in Shadow Hearts, and one point that I found incredibly interesting, how simplistic towns were. I'd barely even noticed it until now, but I realise it is quite true. It's not a bad effort at all, and I look forward to seeing what Dreamer writes in the coming weeks. Venter's writing is tight, focused, and full of that typical easy-going voice on expects from him. Unfortunately, this review could be interchanged for another of the many, many reviews, and the comment would still read the same. I suppose that's not really a bad thing at all, Venter is usually a consistent reviewer, and he certainly approaches it like a natural. I did notice that this review seems to be fairly negative, pointing out all the various nitpicks, which is fine and all, and seems to in itself justify the 9/10 from a 10, but I'm having trouble believing the game is that good to start with. I'm unfamiliar with the earlier Punch Out games, so I'd be one of those people new to the franchise. But I find myself struggling to care. Perhaps Venter's tone is too casual, sometimes, because it lacks that persuasiveness that reviews tend to need. This is one of those matches where it's two people from completely opposite ends of the reviewing spectrum. Dreamer is long-winded, a little rusty, and had a very interesting game to talk about, making points that reminded me of how much I liked the game, while Venter's review is tighter, well practiced, but ultimately not that interesting or convincing. Close one.
WINNER: RADICAL DREAMER

LEWIS: Radical Dreamer writes a remarkably in-depth, thorough, fantastic review, really tapping into what's at the heart of the game. I don't really have any more to say about it other than that this is exactly the sort of write-up I love. Great work. Honest Gamer's exclamation mark in the opening paragraph makes me wince. I really hate them. Probably a personal point, but hey. This is a solid review, with plenty of detail, but it fails to leave much of a lasting impression. Sorry, boss. Radicaldreamer wins.

SPORTSMAN: Even though it started off slowly and is a longish review for a JRPG I liked this Bbobb review quite a bit. What I liked best about this one is how Bbobb made everything tie together as a whole (sorry for the lack of better wording!). Most JRPG reviews tend to get bogged down in sections such as story, battle system, characters, etc, but this one looked at the game as one big picture and how every aspect brought up either enhanced (in most cases) or worked against it. The approach really worked and made the game much more interesting to someone who wouldíve zoned out multiple times. Not a bad effort for Venter, either. Iíve played the NES game so I could relate to his review and it made it a much more interesting read. Itís no secret that Iím not a Wii fan but Venter made this sound like a novel concept that is a faithful follow up to an NES classic. A good matchup here but Bbobb took more risks and had the more ambitious project so he wins this round. Iím glad Venter didnít look too deep into his game (a philosophical look at Punchout wouldíve been a disaster) but Bbobb had the opportunity to take a risk, took his chances and succeeded.
WINNER: RADICAL DREAMER

Disco1960 vs Belisarios

JEREC: I have to admit, I was thinking many of the things Disco said people would probably think about this game. Except the last one: ďhe doesnít have superpowers, so itís fine if we shoot him in the mouth!Ē That doesn't even make sense to me. Anyway, this is a fairly standard, if smoothly written review for an old NES platformer. I wasn't quite expecting the 9 by the end of the review, as there did seem to be a few nitpicks about the game, but they must have been pretty minor. I didn't see what makes this a must play NES game, and even Disco asserts that any normal person would be able to find appeal in this game. I dunno, still seems like a platformer from an obselete era to me :P Belisaros offers up a fairly informal bash review on some crappy Genesis game. There's plenty of sarcasm, lots of opinion, and pointing out the stupid elements of the game. Short and sharp. I like this. The final line is perfectly worded, too. Disco's was the better written of the two, but Beli's was a lot more interesting to read, and a lot more convincing. I can believe this is a 3/10, while I have trouble thinking of Batman as a 9, though I've never played either of the two games.
WINNER: BELISARIOS

LEWIS: I think there's a bit too much filler in disco's review at times. Not much - most of it is to the point - but I still want to run my prod-edding finger over this one. It makes its points reasonably well, but I occasionally found my attention wandering. BELISARIOS' review is filled with character, and makes its points in a concise way that's still overflowing with personal touches and idiosynchratic style. I really enjoyed reading this. A lot. Lovely stuff. You win, BELISARIOS. You totally win.

SPORTSMAN: Two short but sweet reviews here. Disco writes a praise review for an old NES game and makes it sound surprisingly decent (I say surprisingly because I donít think I can stand playing an 8-bit game today). I dug the lighthearted approach in the beginning and end of the review and it really made this one catch my attention. It slowed down a bit in the middle but luckily it was short so there wasnít a PC-clocking problem or anything. On the other hand, Belisarious also writes a short but sweet piece for an old Genesis game. His trademark humor is there and he comes in and then leaves while providing enough information to make his opinion clear. Bel gets the win this round because overall it was the more entertaining piece of the two and I could see him becoming a force in this third spot.
WINNER: BELISARIOUS

Janus vs OD

JEREC: I almost bought the Mega Drive Collection the other day, but decided against it. I'd never really been much of a Sega fan, even though the price of this disc would equate to $1 per game... I'm not sure I'd play them. Janus doesn't really help me in this regard, as he grew up with Sega and has a lot of fun with the nostalgia side of it, but what I did find really interesting was his story of finding Alien Storm fun, since he'd overlooked it in the past. Perhaps for me, a Sega newbie, who's only played a couple of these games before, and not for very long, could find some enjoyment here. Janus doesn't bore me with rundowns of every game, just an overview of the package, which is probably the best way to approach something like this. Overdrive's review, going by the date, was posted not long before the deadline. It shows. There's more than a few badly worded sentences that would probably get fixed up when he re-reads it at some point, and these were fairly distracting. There was also a paragraph of "how I bought this game" which is remarkable in that this is a review for a XLA game. The essence of the review is good, if a little long, but it needs a polish.
WINNER: JANUS

LEWIS: Janus, like others before him, needs to be careful in throwing a load of negatives at the reader when the overwhelming message is a positive one. For the record, I think it just about works here, but it's a dangerous line to tread. It's well written and nicely flowing, though, which always counts for something. I don't really care what time OD got home from work, if I'm honest. Fortunately, the rest of the review works really well for the most part. A few lines grate and stick out a little bit ("The only flaws I've noticed are very minor" seems particularly convoluted to me), but on the whole it's nice work. Blimey, did I just say "on the whole"? Okay, I just waived the right to complain about anyone's writing ever again. Er, OD wins, I think.

SPORTSMAN: Good review from Overdrive here. He really knows what makes these games great (or not so great) and comes off as a very credible source. OD has written much better before, but in the end this piece isnít bad and is a solid first round entry. Unfortunately for him Janus really stepped it up this round and did much more than submit a first round review. Normally reviewing compilations isnít a good idea because they tend to be list oriented and become tedious reads but Janus avoided that. Instead of feeling obliged to talk about every game he focuses on the package as a whole. I also thought that the idea of mentioning the lesser known titles was a fantastic approach, because as Janus said everyone has played Sonic and would not want to read about those games again. Plus he had a great argument for Alien Storm, Golden Axe, etc. Iíve played those games and didnít care for them and this makes me want to give them another try and made their inclusion seem worthwhile. So while OD played it relatively safely and put forth a solid effort, Janus really took a chance and in the end wrote probably the best compilation review Iíve ever read, so he gets the win.
WINNER: JANUS

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Dagoss at Boo
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Bluberry vs Dagoss

JEREC: BioShock is one of those games where everyone has an opinion, and it is usually a very different opinion. I still haven't made up my mind whether I want to play it or not, and after reading Bluberry's review... I still haven't. But at least now I have a clearer picture of why: the premise and setting of the game is great, but the bulk of the gameplay is not. It's a fairly neutral review, and it doesn't have that usual obnoxious Bluberry voice behind it. And I did laugh at the dig at EmP, even if it is a little too in-joke for my liking. The writing was excellent, as I would expect. Dagoss reviews... Half-Life, a game fairly similar to BioShock, and probably more oversaturated with reviews, if only because it's older. A little too much time is spent explaining the definition of RPG, and why Half-Life has elements of it. Stuff like that isn't that important or interesting. When Dagoss mentioned how the story and gameplay work together so well, that is what I wanted to learn more about. I don't think there was actually any talk about the game's premise, now I look back. I hate to say this for a review of Half-Life, since I'm almost sick of reading about it, but a little more substance would be appreciated. Show me some more examples of the story and/or gameplay, rather than just telling me how well it works. This last point made rather more amusing to me by the fact that there's a "Show, not tell" reference in the review. Back to 9th grade, Mr. Dagoss!
WINNER: BLUBERRY

LEWIS: Er, hang on. Is this some weird alter-ego? The tournament page lists it as Bluberry's, but the review's credited to mardraum. Curious. We'll go with the latter for the purpose of this criticism. Difficult not to let my preconceptions get in the way with this one. For me, mardraum just totally misunderstands and misrepresents BioShock. It strikes me as an example of reviewing it based on what the writer wanted rather than what is there. How much am I allowed to criticise it for this? I think that's pretty key, really. You have to represent a game properly and understand why it's built the way it is. And I think this kind of fails to do so, even aside from the fact that BioShock is obviously the greatest game of the last two years. dagoss' review is brilliant. I love its approach. It's a daring path to take, but it succeeds entirely. Sure: why can't Half-Life exemplify how to make an RPG? It's totally role-playing. A fabulous piece of criticism, which is the only reasonable approach to take when reviewing an older game. Mr Goss wins.

SPORTSMAN: Ugh, lousy matchup here. Boo knows I love that Bioshock review but it just isnít very relevant today. It was fantastic in 2007 or 2008 when it was the first non-praise for the game but many bashes later it just isnít as appealing. Seriously, how many times has this game been discussed on this site? I appreciate Dagossí slightly different approach to Half Life but in the end it still says the same thing that everyone else has said over the past 11 years. Iím going with Boo here because I can relate more his argument since I donít play RPGís and would probably give the same argument if I was to ever review Bioshock, though neither review impressed me the slightest.
WINNER: BLUBERRY

Woodhouse vs Wolfqueen001

JEREC: Woodhouse presents a short review, which is a remarkably interesting review for a game that sounds really dull. What I get from this review is that Touch Detective is a poor man's Phoenix Wright. Woodhouse's tone of disappointment at the wasted potential helps give this review a good amount of personality. Which is what the characters in this game apparently lack. Good to see Woodhouse is not a hypocrite. I found myself a bit confused in Wolfqueen's review. I'm unfamiliar with previous games in this series, and the concept seems incredibly strange, though it's never really explained in any great detail. Some bits like the main character having to go through a tutorial again sound amusing, but most of the review is fairly unaccessible for me, and until I saw the score at the end, I wasn't even sure if Wolfqueen liked the game or not. There didn't seem to be a whole lot of opinion... just a lot of description.
WINNER: WOODHOUSE

LEWIS: Snappy and to-the-point, Woodhouse's review shows you don't have to vomit a million words on a page to write an in-depth, critical review of a game. After a slightly clumsy opening two sentences, it finds its rhythm and makes every word count. It's mature, sensible, critical and measured. Well done sir. I think Wolfie-Q's could start with a little more strength. It covers a lot of ground, and I like a lot of what's here. But I feel it could be trimmed, in order to make it flow a little better. Ultimately, it lacks some of the personality I'm accustomed to in WQ's writing. Not bad, by any means, but Woodhouse still wins.

SPORTSMAN: WQís review is a good look at .hack though a bit formulaic. It reads like most other JRPG reviews: intro, story, characters, battles/dungeons, depth, conclusion. I know what I was coming every turn and although the information and descriptions were great I got a sense of Dťjŗ vu while reading it. Add a graphics and sound paragraph and you have a very good gamespot review. Woodhouseís wasnít as detailed and definitely isnít his finest work but is the more interesting of the two, because I didnít know where it was going. It started a bit slow but the conclusion surprised me and some of the quirky situations were fun to read about. He gets the win here because it was more unpredictable and shorter in length (my mind drifted a few times in WQís piece). Both writers have written better and Iím hoping theyíre just playing it safe and step it up in future rounds.
WINNER: WOODHOUSE

Espiga vs Golden Vortex

JEREC: This must be one of the few Espiga reviews I haven't read before, which is nice, since I didn't really want a retread of previous Team Tournies. It's a short, elegantly written review of a PS3 game that actually sounds quite fun. I liked the observation on the dark and gritty style of PS3 games, too. Not much more to be said about this one, as it's a pretty clear winner. Vortex's review is short, and not really good at all. I'll gladly give feedback on more recent reviews. There's nothing wrong with using old reviews in a tournament, but they need to be pretty good ones. This one isn't anything remarkable, and I know Vortex is capable of better.
WINNER: ESPIGA

LEWIS: With the PSN's indie-burst, I'd disagree with Espiga that the majority of the PS3's titles are gritty and "mature" in that horrible not-at-all-mature sense. This is a reasonable review, though. The comment about the boss fights made me chuckle. This is pretty good stuff. I don't think Golden Vortex's review goes into anywhere near enough critical or analytical depth. Much of it is just description. I know what the game's about and a bit about how it plays. Is that enough? To some, maybe, but I tend to want more. Identify with what makes the game tick, and go from there. As it is, this barely scratches the surface. Sorry. Espiga wins.

SPORTSMAN: Pretty easy one to call here. I wouldnít say Folklore is Espigaís best work but it was certainly a good read. The intro grabbed my attention (not sure if the bolding helped or not but it got me interested nevertheless) and the rest of the review was short but sweet. Donít think I ever heard of the game but next time Iím tempted to say PS3ís library of games is complete crap Iíll think twice. A good effort. Unfortunately I canít say the same about Vortex. Iíve read enough of his work in the past to know that heís capable of much better than this. Itís a half-assed effort that was probably written in 30 minutes, which makes me wonder why he picked this when he has at least 50 better reviews written to his name. Hopefully he decides to start picking better reviews and/or writes something new or else this could be trouble for him and his team. I also read his review after EmPís much better effort for the same game, not that it wouldíve changed the outcome or anything.
WINNER: ESPIGA

RESULTS

Most of the team names are awful, long, or just plain irritating to type, so while they will be in the leaderboard images below, I'm not gonna bother adding them here.

---------------------------------

Team Suskie vs Team Felix 3-0

Suskie vs Zig 3-0
True vs Felix 3-0
ASchultz vs Randxian 3-0

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Team EmP vs Team Will 2-1

EmP vs Will 2-1
DarkEternal vs Zipp 0-3
DoI vs Sash 2-1

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Team Janus vs Team Overdrive 2-1

Radical Dreamer vs HonestGamer 3-0
Disco1960 vs Belisarios 0-3
Janus vs Overdrive 2-1

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Team Boo vs Team Dagoss 3-0

Bluberry vs Dagoss 2-1
Woodhouse vs Wolfqueen001 3-0
Espiga vs Golden Vortex 3-0

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LEADERBOARDS

Hurry for embedded images! If they do not work, please tell me. This took a bit of fiddling.

Team Leaderboard

Individual Leaderboard


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: June 28, 2009 (05:48 PM)
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right, then: Lewis, why is BioShock built the way it is? why is the hacking minigame stupid, why do the plot twists manage to miss the mark by changing nothing, why is the moral choice pointless, why...

you know what, last time we did this it went on for an embarrassingly long time, so let's not.

thanks to the judges and congrats to the winners!


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: June 28, 2009 (05:49 PM)
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it's just that Zigfried gambled on a review that didn't work

That's it right there. Oh well! Next round is another day =D

His argument isnít as relevant today as it was in the past since I donít think developers are using childish themes to sell games anymore but it still works nevertheless

Thanks for the feedback -- I was curious to see what people would say about the argument I make. I'd say that the Sonic games we see nowadays are a modern example of childrens' games, and as reviewers we shouldn't worry about whether it will make kids happy, since anything will make kids happy. That's not necessarily a problem here at HG, but I think people do lower their expectations for certain genres. I agree that I could have done a better job making the argument feel more relevant to today's world.

Now that I can edit the review, I'll probably also stress the reviewer's burden to be fair but demanding in general. Pickhut's review of Zendor is a great example. He loathes the developer, but he was fair and didn't bash the game. But he was also demanding; he didn't exaggerate the game's quality just because it happened to be the first "acceptable" game he's played from Micronet. He still gave it the mediocre score it deserved. People sometimes have a tendency to be overly generous when they're surprised, so I was really pleased to read Pickhut's review.

I guess the theme I want to stress when I edit the review is: "be fair but demanding".

NOW REGARDING MR SUSKIE
I had never read your Madworld review before, and it was excellent. I suggest you prepare something else for me... because when you and I meet again in the finals, I will have something specifically written for YOU!

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: randxian
Posted: June 28, 2009 (06:38 PM)
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Well, Suskie's team scared me the most prior to when I was chosen in Drella's stead, so it's no surprise they won. I know Aschultz is a really intelligent individual, so I knew this would be a tough one. Congratulations on a job well done, all three of you.

However, I'm a bit stunned we didn't even win a single vote. I honestly thought it would at least be close. I never dreamed of a shutout.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: radicaldreamer
Posted: June 28, 2009 (07:07 PM)
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Interesting turn of events. Some of my predictions went 3-0 in the other direction. I was surprised at some of the reactions to the Boo-Dagoss match. Those were my favorite reviews this round. I first read Boo's and thought, wow, this is a great review, Boo's got it in the bag. But then I read Dagoss' review, really liked that too, and couldn't easily call that match. Leroux was right when he said CREEPING DEATH would pull off a narrow victory though.

Team Suskie has way more going for it than I realized.


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: June 28, 2009 (07:22 PM)
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Thanks judges for the excellent verdicts. True, losing to your very good Prototype review is something I can live with. We'll get better as this event goes on.


I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.


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Author: aschultz
Posted: June 28, 2009 (07:28 PM)
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Thanks randxian. I wanted to be on my game for the opener, and the Airball review was one where I had bits and pieces floating around--and I was able to revise it a few times, with Zipp pointing out some last minute errors. Don't expect that'll happen every week. Your review also encouraged me to re-look up the Wheel of Time series. I think I bought the game for $2 then pitched it, and the book totally swamped me, though your review touched off some faint memories. People who have a good grasp on that impress me greatly. I think you did a good job exposing non-initiates to the series without dumping too much on.

I was also surprised by the scoreline, too, but the critiques seemed closer than that. This sort of 3-close-ones score will balance out over the tournament, and it's probably more important to apply some of each judge's critique. For instance, puzzle games have huge potential to backfire as a safety valve for me.

I also suspect Zigfried won't gamble on a review, either, come playoff time. It probably had the most thought provoking criticisms, + and -, of any review this round, and that will pay off down the stretch for trying new stuff. I have to admit I don't have the guts to try something like that in this tourney. And if I did, it probably wouldn't turn out as well.

Edit to add: Interesting scoreline in EmP vs Will--5-4 on total votes, 2-1 the other way in the team score. Anyone remember any time that's happened before?


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 28, 2009 (08:15 PM)
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Good lord. Well, we're certainly off to a good start. On a personal note, I can't think of a better way to begin TT than a 3-0 victory against Zig.

Thanks to the judges for their feedback, and I'll be saying that every week. I also want to extend gratitude to my two teammates, who really gave it their all this week. Here's to hoping the coming rounds will play out similarly well for us!

Schultz: I remember that awkward scoreline happened in the final round of TT '07, where Zig and I both won 2-1 but Espiga lost 0-3. So we won, but OD's team had more individual votes.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: June 28, 2009 (08:28 PM)
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Well, that's disappointing, but we were sort of just testing the waters this round anyway and wound up learning a few things. Thanks for the feedback. I can now rule out a few reviews that I might have used previously but won't now based on this.

Congrats to dagoss for being the only one on our team to win a vote this round. Haha.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: timrod
Posted: June 28, 2009 (10:45 PM)
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I'm sorry, but I feel the need to greentext.

>BioShock is obviously the greatest game of the last two years.
>Implying that Bioshock is somehow better than Team Fortress 2
>Implying that Bioshock went deeper than being "Club the Splicers: The Movie The Game"


Touching the untouchable.


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Author: Halon
Posted: June 28, 2009 (10:58 PM)
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Got back earlier than I thought I would.

Zig: I don't think the argument holds up today too well because I don't think developers are targeting kids at all. Most kids are playing games such as Halo and Call of Duty even though they're aimed at a more mature audience. That wasn't why you lost or anything, though; Suskie's passion and excitement for his game is ultimately what gave him the nod. Just a small point I thought I would address.

Schultz: I was thinking Bush/Gore 2000 (Gore winning popular vote Bush winning election)


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: June 28, 2009 (11:10 PM)
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Oh, I know, I was just discussing the point because I think it's interesting. I had interpreted your original comment differently, but now I understand -- and that actually brings up an interesting side-point. Maybe kids are playing games like Call of Duty now because the games that were marketed towards them sucked and, like any reasonable person, they were attracted to quality?

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: jerec
Posted: June 28, 2009 (11:22 PM)
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By the way, Captains, if you feel like changing your team names to things a bit shorter, please do. I'm looking at you Dagoss.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 28, 2009 (11:25 PM)
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You can just go with Team Suskie for us. We're three men here so there's no reason to associate us with vaginas.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: June 29, 2009 (12:33 AM)
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And how would changing your name to Team Suskie erase the association with vaginas?

As for Team Verbose, I am pleased the Mirror's Edge review still packs a punch. Honestly, it was a very calculated choice for this first round. I know it's a bit dated in style compared to my recent work, but I also figured it could beat anything DE would want to throw at me in this first round. Either way, I figured I'd be using up a review that was middle of the road and would give me a chance to study the judge's reactions. I'll be thinking extremely carefully about next round's picks. I am sad to see my team lose the overall match, but I am happy to have held my ground as MVP.

On another note, I think the version of MIrror's Edge I did for Lewis' mag, Resolution, is damn near perfect.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: True
Posted: June 29, 2009 (12:30 AM)
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Felix:

I feel almost as sorry for who you'll face next, as I do for the person facing Zig. And everyone after. Know that I appreciate the battle we had, and that I brought one of my very best just to beat you. I get the feeling that by the end of this tournament we will face each other again, and it will be remembered for many years to come.

Jerec, Lewis and Sportsman:

We're all going to say this week-in and week-out, but I hope you know how glad I am to have all three of you as judges. Your job is the most grueling of any of them. It requires an integrity and resolve that not everyone on this site has. It's fierce that you guys took on a such a role, and it shows an incredibly positive commitment to this site. There may be feuds and death-matches, wars and smack talking. Someone may rise up to go undefeated this year. He is most likely my captain, but you guys are the real stars of this Tournament.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: June 29, 2009 (12:40 AM)
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Maybe kids are playing games like Call of Duty now because the games that were marketed towards them sucked and, like any reasonable person, they were attracted to quality?

Call of Duty games are fun and generally high-quality, so there's bound to be some of that, but I would point to the fact that kids also are attracted to a lot of really bad games that also happen to be "catering toward adults." Kids don't necessarily seek out those games because they think there will be higher quality, but rather because they want to prove their maturity by playing games full of profanity, or violence or other adult themes, in much the same way that kids like to smoke cigarettes to look cool or tough or to be rebels.

So it's different for every kid, but I would wager overall that quality plays second fiddle to "Will this make me look more adult-like?"


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: sashanan
Posted: June 29, 2009 (12:58 AM)
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Mmm. A pity, but no shame in losing to an old hand. 'sides, the war has only begun.

On the topic of content, from what I remember from my own youth, being able to show off the adult content of what we played was definitely a primary factor - at least among the people that played in the first place because the hobby itself was only starting to become mainstream. I remember the cool kid among the geeks, who due to a wealthy father tended to have the best stuff years ahead of us, primarily wowed us with his early access to Mortal Kombat and Doom when we were at best 13. Of course in this case, the fact that he already had the games and the PC that could run them when no one else did was probably a bigger factor than the fact that there was a lot of blood.


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: Halon
Posted: June 29, 2009 (01:06 AM)
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Of course kids aren't only playing Halo and Call of Duty; I just used those as examples because they're popular games. Developers in general are marketing the vast majority of games towards the 18-30's demographic since I suppose they are the ones that buy most games and kids are jumping along. That's probably why mediocre "mature" games are selling more than mediocre kids games. for instance, Kane & Lynch (which I haven't played but has received average scores) sold over 1 million copies and I guarantee that's far more than what Mr. Nutz sold.

So it's different for every kid, but I would wager overall that quality plays second fiddle to "Will this make me look more adult-like?"

That's probably true, but why is every non-Nintendo blockbuster a game catered towards adults? Of course kids are going to want to get their hands on mature games but this time around they don't really have a choice. As much as I love a good Mario, Sonic or Zelda game, the average adult gamer wants something more mature and realistic than that so that's what people are going to create. Most developers probably got the picture that it just isn't worth investing in projects such as Mr. Nutz when you can create a game aimed at adults that will sell 1 million+ copies.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: True
Posted: June 29, 2009 (02:56 AM)
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And how would changing your name to Team Suskie erase the association with vaginas?

Does Zipp not know what Whispering Eye means, or was he trying to make some sly, silly attempt at insulting Suskie? Like a lot of his reviews, it wasn't clear what he was trying to convey.

:)


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: June 29, 2009 (03:57 AM)
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Bluberry: I guess it depends on how you look at it. The hacking mini-game is something I liked, actually - it was tense and hands-on - but you're irrefutably right about the game's lack of consequence.

Personally? I didn't care. And while I think the ending was a problem, it's an artful, wise and tremendously mature videogame, one that can only be thoroughly applauded for being so.

Besides, those aren't why I didn't gel with your review. It was your picking apart of the "weak gameplay" that grated. What weak gameplay? It's an absolutely exemplary shooter, yet you spend a large amount of time complaining that the RPG elements aren't in-depth enough. It ain't an RPG, and never intended to be.

I dunno. Re-reading your review now, in slightly less stressed-packing-argh mood, it didn't grate as much. But I'd still stand by my decision, even though you wrote a polished review.


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Author: darketernal
Posted: June 29, 2009 (04:25 AM)
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It was all a calculated maneuver to barely defeat our opposition. It would have been unfair and demoralising to utterly crush them.

Still, hard to know what to change and if change is needed when one judge hates the stuff the other one likes. Yes, people have varying tastes, but still, doesn't help me much in deciding what needs to be changed.


Idemo do dna....tugo ti i ja.


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: June 29, 2009 (05:52 AM)
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Regarding kids' games, I think we also need to be clear what we mean by kids: are we talking 6-12 range, or 13-16? I doubt that 8-year-olds are playing Call of Duty, so I'm assuming that we're discussing the latter range right now (for reference, I was thinking the former when writing my review).

Regarding why older kids are playing mature games, Honestgamer makes a good point -- it's the same reason kids want to see R rated films -- but I would also argue that time has shown a mediocre "mature" game to generally be better than a mediocre "kids" game.

But setting that aside for a bit, look at Mario. It sells buckets (to kids -- adult sales aren't relevant in this context) because they know it will be really fun. They know this from experience with what they played in the 6-12 range. Kids outgrow silly/bad/repetitive and begin to seek out "mature", but they will continue to recognize quality. If developers approached kids' games from that perspective, then 13-16 year olds would want the sequel to something they loved when they were 6-12. But, looking back, too many of the non-Nintendo games people play when they're little are embarrassments.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: June 29, 2009 (08:48 AM)
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Thanks to the judges for their hard work and to my teammates for their efforts this week. Facing Team Overdrive was a tricky first round challenge, so I'm glad that we have overcome it (just!).


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: June 29, 2009 (09:54 AM)
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Thanks to the judges. Hahas to William.


For us. For them. For you.


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