RotW: State of play.
November 11, 2005

I was hurt to find that after bearing my soul on the horrific events that have left me physically and mentally scared and led to my W&WX:FoF review that sympathy didn't pur from all angles. Thus far, the most commonly asked question was if it really didn't make it onto the RotW.

It didn't win. It didn't get a placement. It got a footnote at the end where Jason commented it was 'mostly' entertaining.

The fact that people show shock at this surprised me at first until I remembered what a sorry state the RotW was in nowadays. You see, back when I was still a regular user, I had to battle out for RotW placements with great writers such as Fix, Zig, Ruder, Sho and OD. Winning RotW meant something and when reviews I liked, reviews like W&WX:FoF, Everything or Nothing, Link's Awakening and Wild Arms didn't even place, I wasn't surprised.

But when I won one, when The Thing finally stood atop the pile, it meant something big. I had beaten off a slew of awesome writers to claim the top spot. The next week was just as big when Monsterseed hit the top spot. I took the next week off, then won my third RotW with Shining in the Darkness, and then Jason begged me to join staff.

[There's a secret 'mistake' which led to my hiring, but it is just that: top secret. Don't ask.]

I was never around when Gamefaq's RotD was in full flow. I showed up while it was in decay, taking over my own spot and doing a competent job of churning out a report every other Tuesday, but when the topic comes up with my elder brethren, they talk about these days with vigour and enthusiasm. They talk about the emergence of Masters, the never-say-die attitude of Zig, how Spork came out of nowhere to almost snatch himself a series of wins. It sounds like a great time to be a reviewer.

It's not captured here.

It saddens me, genuinely saddens me, to see users not want to challenge themselves as much as they can; that they want the RotW to continue to be a shadow of what it could and should be. Back when I started here on HG, I knew that I would have to pull out something special to grab myself a placement, let alone a win, but when I did, it felt like I had made it. RotW seems to go to whoever bothers to show up these weeks rather than who wrote a killer piece. And people want it to stay this way!

A lot of the wins that have taken place in the last few months strike me as shallow, and I would take no pride in these.

I got to where I was because I wanted to take on the people considered better than me. I had and have ideas above my station, and I wanted to take on reviewers that were considered top teir because I wanted to be up there too. It's because of this attitude that I have done so well on this site, and it is this attitude that I hoped to have impressed upon the people in my wake. You don't get any better if you let yourself stagnate in mediocrity.

The easier answer to the implied question on why W&WX:FoF didn't place would have simply been that the field was a lot less forgiving back when it was submitted. I miss those days.

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

lasthero lasthero - November 11, 2005 (11:43 AM)

I can still remember, not too long ago. I would come home on Sunday after a long day of church, turn on the computer, come to the site, and start hitting the reload button like a madman. Did I make it? Did my reveiw reach that holy grail?

Oftentimes I failed when I was cock-sure I would succeed. But you know, now that I think about RotW helped me out a lot. Because of my RotW defeats, I actually tried tweaking my style and making reviews under 8k. And, for the most part, it worked and put me into a style of writing that I quite like.

I never will forget the exhiliration of waking up on Monday, hitting the site, and seeing my review in that hallowed spot. Miss it, sometimes.
zigfried zigfried - November 11, 2005 (06:36 PM)

I love clicking on the featured review list and seeing my name on there thirty-seven times.

bluberry bluberry - November 11, 2005 (07:32 PM)

I love seeing mediocrity flourish.
Genj Genj - November 11, 2005 (07:42 PM)
I've never won RotW =(
overdrive overdrive - November 11, 2005 (08:35 PM)

It's a weird situation, now, where as far as quality reviewers, we're at a crossroads.

A lot of greats are either in retirement or semi-retirement, while others are staff. And one thing we really haven't been able to accomplish is to get excellent newcomers to join on a consistent basis. Kinda creates a situation where the competition for RotW isn't what it had been.

On a side note, I know what you mean, EmP. Hell, my SNK-competition-winning Athena review didn't even get placed in that week's RotW and only got a brief mention.

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