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Forums > Contributor Zone > Zipp ROTW: March 11th-March 17th

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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 18, 2012 (12:06 PM)
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This was a good week to sub because the quality of the reviews was excellent. No, really. I know everyone says that every week, but this week was particularly good, with some great games being released and also people coming in for the Alpha Tournament.

This week featured reviews about annoying rodents that live in holes alongside reviews about aliens conquering the earth. There were reviews from an impossibly wide range of genres. Having a racing review and a puzzle review in the same week is out of the ordinary, but throw in Pickhut's beat-em-up review and I think it's been a unique week.

Faced with such goodness, my old standards of running the ROTW just don't hold up. Basing it on how effective the review was would ensure that pretty much every review this week won the main honors. So instead I've had to take each writer's history into account, as well, and honor the reviews which showed significant growth or something new on the part of the writer.

Third Place: Aschultz's Mole Mania review
Aschultz's review list is almost entirely made up of games that I would consider near impossible to review. He focuses on older games- no, really, some of them lack recognizable graphics- that were aimed at such a different generation of gamers that often I have to read the review several times to even understand the angle that he's approaching it from. I've always been impressed by these reviews and Aschultz's ability to tackle such difficult material. I've often wondered how he would hold up with newer material.

His review for Mole Mania answers that question. Okay, so it's not the newest game but, jesus, it's on a handheld system, already placing it at least a decade ahead of most of his material. More importantly, it's a great review. Ashcultz loses none of his attention to detail, none of his personal connection to the game, and none of his keen analysis of the game's structure and achievement. I'd love to see what he could do with a Mass Effect or a Braid. Also, this review was written using a voice-to-text program and I love that, just from a transhumanist perspective. I can also appreciate that he probably had to go back in and do some major editing. The fact that I wouldn't have guessed this was voice-to-text is, I'm willing to bet, a testament more to Aschultz's editing skills than his software.

Second Place: Joe's Braid review
Braid is a tough game to tackle in a review. Braid is one of those games that has a distinct magical-surrealism feel about it, mixed with an almost bizarre anachronism that is simultaneously engaging and difficult to grasp. Above all, Braid has a quality not quite like a dream but more like the moment before you fall into a dream.

There is something different about Joe's voice in this review. It's subtle, but usually in Joe's reviews he comes on very strong with an opinion early on and then works to defend his position on that opinion. It's a great strategy, and I love Joe's reviews that do it, but with Braid he takes a gentler approach. He lays out the game's story and how it mystified him and then cleverly states that it isn't what makes the game great.

It's a neat little bit of writer's Judo that I haven't seen from Joe before. He steps carefully with Braid and in doing so preserves the game's fragile aesthetic. Whether this was intentional or just instinct on Joe's part, I don't know, but in any case it served him well and I think was a sign of just how deep his writing talent goes.

First Place: Wolfqueen's Ys II review
Wolfqueen is one of those people who serves as a solid representative of Honest Gamers, at least in my mind. She was active when I showed up a few years ago and has always remained active even during the busiest, most hectic, periods of her life. She's run tournaments, taken over the management of the ROTW when it was on the brink of dying out, and produced enough quality reviews to make anyone happy. Yet she always has tried to improve and push herself to a new level of writing.

With her YSII review I think she may have finally achieved that goal. This review contained more personality than any of Wolfqueen's others and for the first time I felt like I was really getting to know the gamer behind the writer. And what a perfect game to experience that with. This review almost feels like Wolfqueen is inviting the reader back into her own childhood. I love how a lot of the review hinges on her experience with the final boss and the recounting of that makes for a wonderful, nostalgic, conclusion. The images perfectly help augment that story without being overbearing and by the end of the whole thing I felt like I just had an afternoon playing NES games at Wolfqueen's house. Bravo.

Before I sign off, I did want to give a shout out to Suskie, simply for tackling Mass Effect 3. Just as it is not easy to make a game that concludes one of the decade's most acclaimed trilogies, it is not easy to give a honest review of that conclusion. The review's refusal to speak for anyone but the reviewer and not to try to be the voice of God where Mass Effect is concerned exemplifies what I like best about Honest Gamers as a site; it's refusal to bow to anyone's opinion but the reviewer's.

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

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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: March 18, 2012 (01:56 PM)
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Congrats to Leslie for the V!

Thanks, Zipp, for not only getting this thing out quickly, but the praise. I think the style was partially intentional. All I know is that previous attempts to write that review didn't sound proper, so I kept starting over until I got it right.

Congrats to Schultz, too, for placing.

The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.

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Author: Suskie
Posted: March 18, 2012 (02:52 PM)
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Thanks for the shout-out, Zipp, and congrats to the winners. I'll try and get around to reading all three of them when I get a minute.

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

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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: March 18, 2012 (06:44 PM)
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Thanks, Zipp! I knew you liked it, but I still didn't expect to win. I haven't won an RotW since I wrote that Legend of Dragoon review way back when.

I personally don't feel my activity has been quite as good as you say, though perhaps I'm just being modest. But I do know my review output has never really been where I'd like it to be aside from that one year when EmP launched the Alpha Marathon thing the first time, and that was back in '08. Since then I've only managed to write maybe 10 or less reviews a year, but I'm hoping to get back into things now. And, well, even with that I have tried to remain a presence in the community since I really enjoy it.

Anyway, thanks again for that. And congrats to the others for placing!

[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: aschultz
Posted: March 22, 2012 (06:12 PM)
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Thanks! I somehow managed to let this slide for a long time. I forgot when I actually posted the review, too. First, I liked the reviews ahead of me. I almost always do, but it's worth saying. So, congratulations to them.

Voice-to-text takes some practice, but once you're comfortable with it, it's a relief to be able to say stuff with your eyes closed, particularly when you're tired--and there's definite motivation to re-read it later.

I think there's a general rule with writing, though, that saying stuff often helps you determine if it's really what it should be, and if it sounds too dry, that's a clue to change up what I'm saying. I'm very sensitive to people repeating themselves speaking and that also applies to myself--I -think- I catch it in my speech better than my writing.

And no matter how fast you can type, speech is a lot quicker.

And yes, the game's about as cute as black and white/green can be.

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

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