Writing regular reviews - the struggle
May 13, 2017

I have to admit, I don't know how some of you guys can write a review each week for such a long time. I'm even more mystified at how some of you can write multiple reviews in a week.

2017 has been by most productive year for reviews ever. Well, In 2000/2001 I probably did about a hundred or so, but most of them were pretty bad rush jobs. I've done 11 reviews this year, and then it sort of just dropped off recently.

The problem is, I want to keep reviewing games. I just haven't been able to progress fast enough in those games to write reviews (and I'm not really wanting review things I played in 2015/2016 from memory without going back and refreshing myself - I put over 100 hours into Witcher 3, but it's already faded too much in my memory).

I generally have the attention span for one game at a time, maybe two, if the second game is more passive or casual.

I've been playing Lunar on PSP in fits and starts, through no fault of the game itself. I've been playing Xenoblade on the 3DS (after ditching my Wii copy when I realised how much it was going for on eBay). I've also started Zelda: Breath of the Wild (maybe about 10 hours?). I've put in a couple of hours into Mass Effect Andromeda (will probably wait for this to be patched properly and start over), and I'm currently 40 hours deep into Persona 5, a game I absolutely love, and I'll happily play it all day, but even after a month, I'm probably only about a third of the way through.

No games, no reviews.

Adulting is hard.

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Nightfire Nightfire - May 13, 2017 (02:31 PM)
I understand completely. I started a new full-time job and my output has basically ceased. I have been working on a single review over the past week and it's still not done; usually I can bang one out in two days. The fact is, playing games takes a lot of time, especially certain genres (open world, RPG, etc), and writing about them takes more time on top of that. Just take it at your own pace, man.
honestgamer honestgamer - May 14, 2017 (03:22 AM)
I often spend 2 or 3 hours writing a review, sometimes closer to 4. Add that to however long I spent playing the game and it can add up quickly. Even a 2-hour game could take 6 or 7 hours out of my life by the time I produce a review. But I do believe reviews are useful, and I still have fun writing them even after all these years. So that helps a lot.

Like Nightfire, I've recently taken on a new job. It's not full-time, but it's close, and besides that I am still pursuing an online degree in English education, plus keeping up the freelance work I had going before (and accepting new opportunities, when they come along). So I'm crazy busy but determined to retain the site as a priority.

Whenever I start to think there's not enough time to do everything, I remind myself that time management can help a lot. There are 168 hours in the week. I spend around 35 at work or getting to and from the job site, and around 56 sleeping. That's a combined 91 hours, which leaves me a whopping 77 hours to waste doing just about whatever like. Even after you take out time for eating and showering and such, it's a lot of time. With that in mind, I'm trying to spend a lot less time staring at the wall or arguing with people on social media... and more time playing and writing about games!
jerec jerec - May 14, 2017 (03:38 AM)
I work full time (something like 38 hours a week, plus 60-90 minutes each day driving), but I don't really spend my weekday evenings on games - I usually prefer something more passive like TV (I probably watch too much TV).

There's also chores. I need to do my washing, cooking, cleaning...
pickhut pickhut - May 14, 2017 (06:41 AM)
Yeah, with so many other things happening in one's life, it's always hard to determine how many reviews can be produced. For me, there's really no particular timeframe when starting and finishing a review, but I do start worrying if it takes nearly a whole week to finish one. Though, it also greatly depends on the game's length and how long it'll take me to finish it.

If I'm really determined to finish a game and review fast, though, I normally set aside other hobbies and activities, and I've noticed I tend to do this for newer releases. Considering I reviewed so many newer releases during the first few months of this year, I guess it wasn't a surprise I haven't made any lengthy blog entries in some time; it's kinda hard to talk about other activities if all I've been doing is writing for video games.

Also, after completing a review for a game that took me a long time to beat, I normally aim for reviewing one or two shorter games afterwards, just to avoid fatigued of doing another lengthy game. I also "try" jumping into different genres with each new review, just so I won't get stuck explaining the same things I talked about in a prior review.

Well, that all probably sounded like a bunch of incoherent babbling.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - May 14, 2017 (09:38 AM)
I feel ya'.

I don't have a whole lot of spare time these days. I only find time to get any gaming and writing done by sacrificing sleep occasionally. Unfortunately, my current work schedule consists of arriving for work at 5 PM and getting home at 2 AM. This is full time work, eight hours a day, five days a week. During the summer, I also work overtime because we have a lot people who take vacation and the OR schedules an elevated number of cases during that season.

I'm not able to fall asleep as soon as I get home and I need time to wind down, so I usually don't end up passing out until 3:30-4:30 if I'm lucky. This is basically my magic hour and the time I need to decompress, when everyone else is asleep. My wife understands this and leaves me to it, though she doesn't like it if I stay up way too late.

On top of all that, I have young kids with special needs. They attend multiple therapy sessions each week, plus they attend preschool. One goes to school twice a week, the other four times. Despite going to bed late, I still need to be up early some days. As you can imagine, my daily life and my hobby leave me exhausted. I tried doing away with gaming and other forms of entertainment, but then I had no outlet for the abundance of stress I build up over the week. The same goes for my wife, who also takes her own time to blow off steam by either reading or watching Netflix when she gets home.

I recently sunk all of my free time into finishing two RPGs back to back (The Bard's Tale and Arc Rise Fantasia), and now I feel like an alien on this site because of it. Now, I plan to go extra gonzo by playing through Horizon: Zero Dawn, restarting Dragon Age: Origins (I never finished it) and replaying the original Mass Effect.
overdrive overdrive - May 15, 2017 (07:01 PM)
Believe me, I can get what you're saying. Two years ago, I did a pretty good number (30-35) because I was determined to FINALLY hit one game for each letter of the alphabet during the course of the year, but other than that, I've fallen from my old (mid-late 00s) numbers to being happy to get 25 done in a year.

Part of that is simply due to having less gaming time, but part of it is based on what I play nowadays. In the early days, I was all about the emulation and cranking out review after review for retro shooters and other short games. Now, it seems I spend a lot more of my time with longer console games. A person just isn't going to play through and write a review for, say, Xenoblade Chronicles in the same amount of time it'll take them to do an R-Type or Gradius game. And with my gaming time going from "whenever I'm not at the office" to "usually a couple days a week for a few hours", that makes the progress even more slow.

Hell, if it wasn't for me attaching myself to Kemco's mobile stuff, I'd probably be around 15 reviews a year. Those 15-20 hour RPGs that I can play on the go are what I progress through the quickest nowadays, it seems.
jerec jerec - June 23, 2017 (10:06 PM)
time check

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