The past week has been an eye-opener. It seems Wii U has exposed a lot of people in the media who don’t play games, with a string of lazy reviews copied from a press release or previous version of the game. It’s a tough life playing games for a living, especially during a console launch when there’s just too many games to play! Just thinking about all those games makes me sick, so I’ve put together a quick guide to help struggling journalists get through this tough time.
Step 1 – Play It
This is the hardest part. Browse GameFAQS or NeoGAF forums and you’ll see threads with people asking what they should do with a game they just bought.
“Just bought Persona 4, now what?”
It’s a bit intimidating, but this guide is for you. Usually a game has a “console” or handheld it can be played on.
Whether it’s a cartridge or disc, every game system should have a place to insert the game. If you downloaded the game then it should be playable on the system you downloaded it on. It might help to take a note while downloading so you remember which system. Sometimes a publisher will send you multiple copies of a game, try and match the system printed on the game to the system you’re reviewing for. Once the game is in, press the power button and start playing! Each system should come with instructions on how to do this.
Step 2 – Write About Your Experience
This is the easy part, if you’re a game reviewer then you’re a writer. This is what you were born to do. Things will happen when you play the game and you can translate that to writing. If the computer is too far away, you can try and remember what you’re doing and write about it later. If that’s too hard then a notepad is a worthy substitute.
Here’s an example of what notes can look like. You can try it yourself, it doesn’t have to look good. Nobody is going to see it unless you decide to make your own guide (I don’t have a guide for that). So what do you write about? What happened in the game, was it what you expected? No? How did you feel about that? Feelings and reactions are a good starting point. If you don’t have any of those then focus on what’s happening on screen.
Step 3 – Put It All Together
Almost there! You’ve played the game, got your notes, now it’s time to share! Remember, a game review means you’re covering the content of a game and your experience. Nothing outside the game should influence this writing, what happens at a press event stays at a press event. This step involves putting the notes together in a coherent fashion so people can get a good idea what your experience was like. You might not need to change much, but a simple introduction and conclusion is necessary. The conclusion should still be about the game and not talk about something that happened 5 years ago. You can eat as many Doritos as you want, but stay focused on the subject.
Step 4 – Read It
You’ve finished your review, now you can relax and take it in! Sit back and pretend to be a reader, what do you want to know about the game? Is it there? Are you satisfied? If you sound like a complete assclown who talks about themselves and provides no information about the game, then scrap the whole page and go back to Step 1.
Step 5 – Submit!
Excellent job, you’ve read it over and you’re happy with it. There might be a few mistakes, but at least you were honest. If you run your own blog or website then you can hit submit instantly. If you work for a publisher or media organization then patiently wait for their approval and hope they don’t change anything!
Videogames are fun, never forget that.