Paragraphs?

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VideoGameCritic
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Paragraphs?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 16th, 2018, 10:13 am

I have a guest review from a friend which is three short paragraphs, and I don't want smush them together.

It's always been my style to condense everything into a single paragraph, to keep things uniform and also to encourage shorter reviews. However, for longer reviews this can result in an unsightly "wall of text" that's hard to read.

This new review could be a test case. I think I might keep the paragraph breaks and see how it looks.

I'd like to hear your opinions on this!

ActRaiser
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby ActRaiser » June 16th, 2018, 11:59 am

Paragraph breaks please!

They will be much appreciated.

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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 17th, 2018, 8:39 pm

This thread isn't exactly setting the world on fire, but I asked the question on Facebook and readers seem to be leaning towards breaking up the paragraphs.

I think I might float a test case out this week and see how people feel about it.

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scotland
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby scotland » June 18th, 2018, 7:47 am

I prefer paragraph breaks also. Of course, I also like 2 spaces after periods.

newmodelarmy
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby newmodelarmy » June 18th, 2018, 8:23 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:This thread isn't exactly setting the world on fire, but I asked the question on Facebook and readers seem to be leaning towards breaking up the paragraphs.

I think I might float a test case out this week and see how people feel about it.


Didn't you try this a few years ago?

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 18th, 2018, 5:40 pm

I think I did try it, but that was before I added the "read me" links and improved the line spacing. I think those changes might prevent the reviews from looking disjointed with the breaks. Guess I'll just have to give it a try and see.

Luigi & Peach
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby Luigi & Peach » June 18th, 2018, 6:08 pm

scotland wrote:I prefer paragraph breaks also. Of course, I also like 2 spaces after periods.


I have to second both sentiments. Some things are just hard to unlearn.

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Matchstick
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby Matchstick » June 18th, 2018, 9:12 pm

There are two main reasons I keep coming back to this site, and why I actually wanted to join the community here on The Video Game Critic.

First off, I like that The Critic is not afraid to voice his opinion, as it gives the reviews on the site a certain charm, and makes me, as a reader, feel like I "get to know" the author a bit through his reviews. It's the same reason I like YouTube channels such as Classic Game Room. Mark, the creator and chief reviewer, is never shy about his opinions, and what types of games (or entire genres) he either loves or can't stand.

In that vein, I feel like most of the reviews on this site fall into a few categories:

"I had high hopes for this one, but it was a dud."
"I had zero expectation for this one, but it won me over."
"i heard this game was great (or terrible) - and they were right!"
"I knew nothing about this game going in, and now I see why!"

That leads me to my second reason. I like that the reviews here are quick, short, and to-the-point. Anybody on the Internet can spend page after page waxing on about why a game is great, or why it's a giant piece of poo. Heck, from what I gather, most readers on the major sites just look at the overall score or grade, and don't bother reading the reviews because they go on too long.

I know there has to be some amount of substance. It would be too easy to just say, "It's good," or, like a certain animated Critic from the 90's, "It's stinks!" My point is that The Critic has done a fantastic job over the years of keeping the reviews brief, hitting on the main aspects of the game that have shaped his overall opinion. Even the "longer" reviews, I feel, still get "to the point" quickly. Even the longest reviews on this site are a much, much shorter read that what you'd find elsewhere. It reminds me of the good old days (or just "old days") of GamePro, where a game review might only get a single column on a page. Let me know what I need to know, give it a score, and leave it at that!

As long as the overall format of the site stays the same, and the reviews stay refreshingly brief, I'll keep coming back for more. I don't think I'd mind the occasional guest review having more than a paragraph or two, but if The Critic, himself, decides to go that route... hmph. I hope I never see the day.

That being said, as far as guest reviewers, I think the overall "short format" of the site should come as a challenge to the reviewer. Sure, you may think the game is great (or terrible) but can you tell me why in 1000 words or less? Can you write a review that fits the format of all of the others? It's pretty standard practice in journalism. As a writer, your work is written for a specific purpose, to fit a certain format. You can't expect the publication to bend their rules to fit your piece.

I know it's a pretty relaxed environment around here (and I love it!) but, in my opinion, I just think all of the reviewers, whomever they may be, should play by the same rules. There's nothing wrong with an occasional long format review, but in my mind, if you want your work published on The Video Game Critic, you better find a way to keep it short!

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 19th, 2018, 11:13 pm

Wow, that is a great post! Thanks for taking the time to write it.

Some of the reasons you cited were the reasons I set up the site in the first place!
Thanks for reminding me.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Paragraphs?

Postby Retro STrife » June 22nd, 2018, 1:50 pm

Well said, Matchstick. I have no problem with the Indy 500 Legends review experimenting with paragraph breaks, but overall I think you should avoid making it a new practice.

Two main reasons. First, paragraphs make your reviews look longer. So, even if the paragraph breaks make things more readable and they're not technically longer, those benefits are still offset by them looking longer to readers. Second, I don't think your review style necessarily works with paragraphs. You tend to spend no more than a sentence or two on any particular point (which is a good thing), so I think you would have trouble actually deciding when to add a paragraph break. Your reviews just aren't easily dividable that way.


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