If you have nothing to say, say nothing. However, If that's truly how you feel,
try a more constructive approach. What could Dave do to improve, and what
could the forum do?
It's easy to navigate, clutter free, fast and has a good retro vibe.
My only (personal) negative is the modern game reviews. Your reviews for older systems generally are more fun to read whereas your modern game reviews seem more 'serious' and comparatively long winded.
Also you should be proud of the fact that this is the go to site for 2nd generation game reviews. Lots of obscure games for systems that are getting more obscure. For this reason your often high on Google when searching for said game reviews.
My final big thumbs up is for the way you make people feel inclusive within your sites community and that you regulary listen and take feedback on board and never come across as arrogant.
I visit the site daily to see if any new reviews have cropped up and no other site gets that attention from me.
[QUOTE=scotland17]I think having a few sub contractors like the C64_Critic and the RPG Critic are welcome. Maybe a Gameboy_Critic or 8 bit computer critic or Speccy Critic would help you out. Even if they just did some special articles on Top 25 Spectrum games or something.[/QUOTE]
The man knows me
I really don't get a lot of feedback anymore. I used to get a lot more criticism. Sometimes I wonder if people are still paying attention to the reviews. Or maybe they just figure that after 15 years I actually might know what I'm talking about.
Sounds like you guys like the general layout, which I try to keep simple. I think that was the idea when I started the site - short, honest reviews without a bunch of extraneous garbage.
Yes, I could add a lot more advertisements to milk the site for money, but I never thought it was worth it to compromise the look of the site just to make a few extra bucks. So no, I have definitely not sold out - and you're welcome!
I'm kind of surprised to hear there are not more sites like mine out there. Frankly I rarely visit other game review sites.
As for review quality, it sounds like I'm pretty much on the mark except my modern game reviews lack the informal charm of the classic ones (and are too long). You can see why this might happen - the new games require a lot more time, so I have more to say which leaves little room for humor. Still, I'm like to find a happy medium.
As for the reviews being of varying quality - that is absolutely correct. When I go back and read some reviews, I laugh out loud. Others, I cringe. I've been in the process of cleaning up the substandard ones and you guys will often give me a heads up when one is deserving of a touch-up.
One thing I've learned over the years is humility. When you're young you think you know everything, and when you get older you realize you don't know much at all. That's called wisdom I guess. It's okay to be wrong now and then and I'd rather admit it that be an arrogant jerk. Also, I like the idea that a game I give an F could be loved by other gamers, and vice versa.
Somebody asked about game rotation. I keep 90% of my systems hooked up at all times via a series of switch boxes. I'm an organization freak so it doesn't look too bad. I try to focus on systems I haven't posted a review for in a while. I also try to keep a few new games in my review queue. Otherwise it's whatever I feel like playing.
As for the mobile site, the message board isn't really part of that. The message boards are a service I pay for. I plan to migrate to my own message boards, but that will be a long term effort.
Currently i am in the process of converting all the pages to HTML5, and also creating mobile versions of all my pages (including the articles). These changes should help improve my google rankings.
Hardcore Sadism- Obligatory "I don't know what the hell i'm talking about response"
One thing I would suggest to improve reviews is to mention when you're reviewing an unpatched version of the game like with Killzone 3, that's something that your readers should know, since the majority of people playing on modern consoles will be doing so online.
Could you give us an example of a review you don't think is well written and how you would improve it? Your recent post about the Aliens game shows you can write a long, thoughtful, helpful and thorough response, so I was hoping you could do that here too. Otherwise, very broad criticisms can be taken as mean spirited, when I hope you did not intend it to be taken that way. For instance, if I just said "Philadelphia is not as great a city as other cities" can be taken as mean spirited to people who like Philly, and offers no specifics to further a conversation.
Personally, I think reviews like Alien Invaders for the Channel F hit the spot. It takes a bit of a meta approach talking about Space Invaders games on various systems, and then goes into the specifics, and has some humor. By the end of the short review, I have a pretty good grasp of how it compares to other Space Invaders games I am familiar with.
For some I like less, Atari Video Olympics has already been discussed, but how about Atari 2600 Battlezone. It begins with 'looks and plays flawlessly, arguably more playable than its 3D arcade cousin'. Granted a review is just opinion, but this is a pretty strong opinion that is hard to get behind. The review later says it has no vector graphics or things to hide behind...correct, so how does this look and play arguably better than its arcade originator? Answer: It doesn't. It then talks about the different enemies, but only gives the point value for one type - is 5000 a lot or not? If you are going to say how much one enemy scores, then you have to give at least one other since scores only have relative meaning, not any absolute meaning.
Mobile Site Criticism - posting on the mobile site is always harder, but it also has less options. For instance, there are no options to insert a hyperlink, a photo, an emoticon, or a video if you are constructing your post on mobile.
Reviews: The reviews are very informative, concise, and many times humorous without going over the top. And I like the fact that cursing is barely used. We spoke about this in a previous forum post; I have no issues with swearing, but I like the fact that this site is clean. Doesn't need it. And I think it's so cool how one day I'll read new X-Box One reviews, and the next I'm reading new Odyssey reviews. Wicked!
Forums: This has really grown since they started 10 years ago, and I always enjoy reading what others have to say (Scotland, Atarifever, Sut, ptdebate, Rev, and many others). My only request is to consider temporarily unbanning one individual who has caused many uproars in the past. I know this person can be frustrating, but I've never seen a nasty post. Just very very opinionated. Also a shout-out to the moderators who keep things clean and relatively polite.
Mobile: Easy to navigate, and that's the most one could hope for on a mobile device with a site this size. No issues here.
I still want to buy a VGC shirt and mug
What do I mean by this?
Maybe it's because I've been coming to the site so long and I tend to know Dave's tendencies as a reviewer, but very rarely am I truly shocked at his reactions to a game anymore. When I see a game, I can usually guess the the grade within a letter or so...before even clicking on the review This isn't really a big deal...I've been frequenting the site for about a decade now. Maybe by reviewing some stuff outside his comfort zone (RPGs, adventure games) and posting more stuff besides reviews he can add some excitement to the site. I'll expand upon this further down in the post.
I just wish that Dave did some more stuff to generate more buzz about the site/forums. He released a top 25 multiplayer games which was awesome. I'd like to see more stuff like that. However, when he does the list I'd like to see new comments instead of just a cut and paste of the review. Maybe some quotes from his friends or something.
Another thing I'd like to see is maybe he could dive into a few more RPGs. I know they take time...but coming to an all encompassing site like this and not seeing a review of Final Fantasy VI is kinda of a bummer. These games are available on most portables and could be played in bed each night for a little bit...to try and make it through some of them. I dunno...I know there are quite a few RPG fans in the forums and it seems like a big gaping hole in the site. I'd love to see him try his hand at something like Demon's Souls or Bloodborne.
I like the fact that we can vote for games, but I miss the reader reviews. There were some really great info in those. Sure it wasn't the most popular forum, but I go back and dig through some of the old reader reviews from time to time.
Basically, I'd like to see more stuff besides reviews. I'm thrilled that since I've been coming to the site The VGC keeps pumping out reviews with no end in site. I realize this is no easy feat. However, some of my favorite stuff from him over the years has been his offshoot stuff. The review of the Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel. His Videogame Manias. The time he was challenged in Super Street Fighter II. All that stuff is great. I'm not saying the offshoot articles need to dominate the site, but I think there is room for more of them.
Anyways, keep up the great and hardwork you put into the site. I look forward to many more years of the VGC!