A lesson learned (at least for the immediate present)
August 18, 2007

One of those funny things I've learned throughout my time reviewing is that when you get to this marathon known as the Summer Team Tournament, there are various lessons that never should be forgotten.

Some of them are pretty obvious, although I have screwed up and forgotten them from time to time (like in my two losses last year). First, we had me reviewing Castlevania 3. Nothing wrong with that on the surface, except that those old-school 2-D Castlevania's have been done so many times and are so well-known to the judges that it's extraordinarily difficult to present them in an original way.

Then, we had me bringing out Athena. Not a bad call, in my mind, as that review was my first contest champ. Unfortunately, it's also an old review that comes off a bit clunky now (familiarity does breed contempt, sometimes, allowing little errors that were passed over originally to become more prominent) and pretty much anyone who's been around any real length of time is so familiar with it that it's lost its impact to really impress.

But there's another lesson — one which seems obvious when put into words, but one which eluded me this past week because I was so absorbed with crafting a new review with the capacity to impress. When it comes to a long-time tournament such as this, where judges are reading a lot of reviews every week for over two months, it REALLY helps if the game you pick to review has that special something that truly motivates your writing.

Overall, I was pleased with Gunman's Proof. It was definitely a step back in the right direction from Guardian Legend. It probably would have beaten a good number of people in this tournament and probably would have gotten beaten by a good number. I think the problem was that while I was motivated to write something good, I didn't have much help from the game. It's a Zelda clone with arcade elements. Nothing more, nothing less. It has some campy humor, but nothing that really tickled my fancy. It was, as Genj kinda described my Dragon View review, basically me reviewing another mediocre ROM I have.

The basic point is that you have to find those games that truly stir up emotions. Maybe it's the most horrendously put together piece of crap you've ever seen. Maybe it makes you wish that even a tiny percentage of other games could be remotely as good. Maybe it just has that one element to it that completely captivates your imagination (like Wild Arms 3's story did for me).

I think when it all comes down to it, that's the main difference between my review for Gunman's Proof and those for Dragon Quest VIII and Wild Arms 3 (or my late, lamented Athena). The latter ones were games that inspired me in their own ways and made me reach for the heavens to find the words that could perfectly convey my feelings for the game. Gunman's Proof — well, uhhh....I really wanted to write a good contest review for it.

So, well, my review for this coming week will be for a game that definitely is capable of bringing out some sort of true emotion for me. Tune in later to see what "obvious" lesson I needed to be reminded of after that's all said and done!

Most recent blog posts from Rob Hamilton...

zigfried zigfried - August 18, 2007 (04:16 PM)
Dammit. I was hoping no one would catch on.

carcinogen_crush carcinogen_crush - August 18, 2007 (04:22 PM)
I keep losing.

I think it's because I suck at writing, though. : )

But I'm glad you found out what could potentially be holding you back.
jerec jerec - August 18, 2007 (05:46 PM)
Overdrive, is it harder to find these games you speak of because you've probably reviewed all of them by now?
Halon Halon - August 18, 2007 (10:57 PM)
I'm inspired to write, but the problem I'm having is I'm not captivated by games like I used to be. I still love them as much as I always did, but see them in a much different way.
overdrive overdrive - August 19, 2007 (10:49 AM)
Jerec, I really don't think so. It's more of a hit-and-miss thing with me, since some games I think should motivate me really don't and some games I wasn't expecting much from (like Monster Party) had that certain something that inspired me to write a review that, for better or for worse, is unique in style as compared to my others. For example, when I started Gunman's Proof, I was thinking that its quirky nature and campy humor would really work to inspire me. Problem was, the game itself bored me, so I lost that inspiration.

I'm thinking my next review is for a game that will inspire me. And later, for either the final regular season week or first playoff week, I'm currently thinking Final Fantasy Legend. It's a game I'd never played before starting it a while back and it botches up concepts like balanced gameplay and creating a party so badly, I'm sure I'd have fun skewering it.

There are a decent number of games I've played before long before I started reviewing that I feel could have that effect of inspiration on me. And, thanks to emulation and people making translation patches for games never brought to America, I've gotten access to gazillions of retro games I'd never played (or heard of) in my youth. I think there are a ton of games out there that could potentially inspire me. It's just a matter of being smart and/or lucky enough to find those games instead of ending up reviewing ones that just don't end up having the desired effect on my creativity.
carcinogen_crush carcinogen_crush - August 19, 2007 (11:55 AM)
OD, try Trolls in Crazyland. That game is so fucked up, I swear.
pup pup - August 19, 2007 (03:46 PM)
I am currently having the opposite problem. I've tried to write a review for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance two weeks in a row, but it doesn't want to come out. I absolutely love the game and enjoy ranting about it with other people, but I can't seem to get the feeling into the proper words.
Genj Genj - August 19, 2007 (08:25 PM)
Review a Harry Potter game and just talk about how Hermione is cool =)

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