Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reviewing and what it means to gamers at large

Nope, this isn't just about reviews, kiddies - Sign Far Beyond also delves into the nitty gritty of the gaming scene, its impact on society and how we interact with one another... well, we'd like to believe that if any of us would write some fucking essays on the matters, but nevertheless, it's essay time! Funny enough, it's about reviewing, or rather, what it means to review. Spending time painstakingly getting those details down that you need to get out in order to encourage people to buy a game or to poke them away with the metaphorical stick - nah, fuck that, reviews are about painting a picture in peoples' heads!

Or if you're an oversensitive fucking faggot, reviews are done by big fat biased meanies! Nyeh, we don't care about reviews, we judge for ourselves! Now excuse me while I throw my money at a JB Hi-Fi store to purchase the latest copy of a game I know I'll get buyer's remorse for and then frivolously justify my reason for playing this shitty game with empty words like fun and cool... because I'm totally happy with my purchase and not at all upset that I wasted $89-119 on this fucking shitty ass game! Fuck you dad, I love Resident Evil 6, it's so fucking fun xdd

With all that aside, it's both easy and hard to see why people hate reviews. It's easy because the so called "professional" critics are more focused on internal and external politics than simply giving their honest opinion on a game. Why be honest and call Dragon Age 2 a pile of shit when EA's paying you ad revenue out the ass? Don't you want to suck on EA's tender, supple penis just for a few extra bucks? Meanwhile, if Koei and/or Omega Force don't give you a hefty enough bribe, then why should you praise the latest entry in the Dynasty Warriors series? Why even play more than an hour of it? I may be making it sound like a conspiracy theory, but unless your ignorance is a result of you simply being too young to understand these concepts yet or you only casually play video games and thus don't really think about what actually makes a game good, it's common fucking knowledge, like how Super Mario Brothers 2 is actually Doki Doki Panic! It's hard, though, because those of us who legitimately care about video games to the point where we review them out of the fact that we not only care about the medium, but also the care of our fellow gamers (good gamers that is - Sign Far Beyond doesn't pander towards insecure shitheels who hate reviews because "omg Jeff Gerstmann hates my favorite game for legit reasons, what a fat biased cunt xd"). We want them to be aware of the qualities - good and bad - that games have and to consider their options before blowing money on something. Hating on reviews is really just asinine bullshit propogated by people who have suffered from buyer's remorse so much that they've gotten used to that feeling.

Having said that, reviews go beyond simple black and white recommendations - while games are becoming more about shallow fun than about actually giving a fuck, the ideology behind game reviewing is still one that's similar to reviewing a niche medium like metal music. The idea is to convey your thoughts in a way that paints a detailed picture. That doesn't mean copying and pasting a fucking Wikipedia article or just telling us what's in the game. No, it means having a fucking opinion on the game itself! Don't worry if you scare some people off by actually offering an opinion that'll conflict with theirs, because those people who whinge about people criticising their favorite games are better off blowing their life savings on uninspired dreck like Asura's Wrath and Resident Evil 6. Let natural selection do its thing... on their wallets.

However you slice it though, reviewing has its rules that must be followed. Show, tell, elaborate and check. You show us what it does. You tell us about it. You elaborate on it with your opinions. You elaborate on your opinions with words that let you paint the picture that you want to paint. You check the paint for spotty details - or in this case, check for factual accuracy and if your opinion actually makes any fucking sense (Lukas elaborates on that here) - and fix them up. Beyond that, go wild! Express yourself in a clear and concise, yet elaborate manner! There is no set structure - only basic rules, which amount to common sense anyway! People who write in a less structured manner get more out of reviewing than those who are essentially mad libbing their shit, forcing themselves to babble on about the same two or three things, and while my reviews have some structure, I find ways to have fun with it. I'm not about simply explaining shit - I also try to be over the top with it, full of swears with the occasional hyperbole, and give only the information I deem necessary whilst trying to convey it in the most entertaining way I can! That's part of the beauty of writing - you can go in many different directions!

"b-but what's the point, I can just torrent this shit onto my PC"

Oh right, almost forgot about those cool kids who steal shit online. Well, at least you get to know if it's even worth stealing! I mean, I wouldn't want to steal Asura's Wrath - why would I be willing to risk five to ten years of daily ass raping and shanks just because I stole a shit game? Gee, we're such good people, eh?

"b-but you guys often have conflicting opinions"

Holy shit, that's almost like *gasp* what I've been saying the whole fucking time!!! Given the mixed reception for Resident Evil 6 between critics, I've deduced that taste is... subjective, as are... reviews! Good fucking god, what a shocking turn of events! M Night Shyamalan, you've outdone yourself there, mate!

And there you have it. Well, I guess you could say I've scratched the surface, but that's kind of my style - I seemingly scratch the surface whilst giving you an entertaining piece of writing, unless a game warrants me making deep, deep analysis visible. I tell you what it does, how it does it, and lace it with hyperbole and humor to keep you reading! Aren't I a nice guy? Meanwhile, somebody like Gryzor prefers to really analyze something and show his more important findings whilst composing himself in a calm manner... unless something either excites or pisses him off. The point is that reviewing is about expressing your thoughts in a semi-cohesive manner, bogged down only by your choice of words and analytical freeze-ups, not by money. We don't earn shit from this fucking blog - we do this shit because we fucking love you guys, and I hope that we can continue to do our part for the gaming community for years to come... until real life makes us work some crap 9-5 job that robs us of our souls with people who are complete faggots that'll rot our brains with their useless garbage and stop us from analyzing games because work just tires us from how monotonous it gets.

*speaking of Asura's Wrath and Resident Evil 6, all four of us are constructing our end of year lists and we're releasing them on the first of January. Whether that's by Adelaide's time zone or fucking Dubline's time zone, who fucking knows because we're lazy shits that do shit at the last minute anyway.

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