Time to change my review style?

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VideoGameCritic
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Time to change my review style?

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 7th, 2021, 9:16 am

I've been writing these reviews for a long time and I think they are pretty good. I try to keep them short and provide a decent description of the game. I insert bits of humor when I can.

But I do think my reviews had fallen into a familiar formula that some may find redundant or boring. Maybe it's time to change my style a bit? Maybe incorporate more of the emotions going through my mind as I'm playing or something like that?

I'd like to hear your thoughts, and am open to any suggestions.

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ActRaiser
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Joined: April 8th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby ActRaiser » March 7th, 2021, 10:07 am

Personally, I would encourage you to use paragraphs. All the changes you've been making has helped but reading a wall of text in my humble opinion is a huge turn off. I stop reading at that point.

I would encourage you to consider branching out into Youtube reviews of games. The skies the limit for what you could do with it.

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LuckyMan
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Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby LuckyMan » March 7th, 2021, 11:26 am

I really enjoy your review style. Short and to the point with a few personal tidbits and lots of humor. It has a relaxed conversational style that's very appealing. And although I've never met you, I feel your personality shines through in your writing. I'm sure that's the main reason why most of us keep coming back here. I wouldn't change a thing.

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DrLitch
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Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby DrLitch » March 7th, 2021, 12:15 pm

I like your review style and sense of humor. There are no lack of sites with boring, scripted, and generic reviews. You are under no obligation to cater for a wider audience (i.e. reviews that fall in line opinion-wise where personal feelings are tempered against other metrics). Keep things as is, you can mix things up if you play titles that have more content to work with. Your Retro reviews are a winning formula, for some contemporary behemoths that require a sabbatical in order to complete in a reasonable time frame, you could look at getting some onboard help to increase some of your coverage.

Nevermind
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Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby Nevermind » March 7th, 2021, 1:08 pm

I personally like the style of the reviews - that’s why I come back. As another responder notes, I feel I know you through the authorial voice present in your work. I’d say you were harsh but fair, like a good teacher. I’d be wary of consciously tinkering too much.

When, many moons ago, I was receiving instruction on the use of a police radio I was told to remember ABC - accuracy, brevity, clarity. Your writing already has this. The web is full of best 50 lists and retro reviews where I often doubt the author has played the game in question. Your work is infused with genuine enthusiasm and masses of critical experience.

Perhaps you want to shake things up and refresh your perspective? Change of routine is healthy. How about sitting down with a new group to play a few games - non-gamers, different generation, free play at a community day?

PS: I rather enjoy the reviews published around the start of April.

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ASalvaro
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Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby ASalvaro » March 7th, 2021, 1:17 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:I've been writing these reviews for a long time and I think they are pretty good. I try to keep them short and provide a decent description of the game. I insert bits of humor when I can.

But I do think my reviews had fallen into a familiar formula that some may find redundant or boring. Maybe it's time to change my style a bit? Maybe incorporate more of the emotions going through my mind as I'm playing or something like that?

I'd like to hear your thoughts, and am open to any suggestions.


when you look at a real old review do you ever think "did i really write that?" or do you notice how different you were when reading a review that's 20 years old? for instance i found some posts that i made in the mid 90s..and i just seemed so different..i was a more happy person it seemed lol

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Retro STrife
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Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby Retro STrife » March 7th, 2021, 2:02 pm

I'd echo the same sentiments as others here. I think your review style works and has improved naturally over the years. The reviews are conversational, have genuine humor, and seem to hit all the high points while somehow still being brief. And most importantly, they're consistent and trustworthy. No one will agree with you 100%, but I think your scores and analysis of games is consistently spot on. Enough so that I'm sure many of your readers base their collections around your recommendations.

I also disagree about the formula becoming redundant or boring. I think it's the opposite - I often find myself impressed that you've written over 5000 reviews and yet you don't have any trademark words or phrases that you overuse. I literally can't name any examples of thinking "there goes VGC saying ______ again". Instead, I'll often be reading a line, especially the ending summary of a review, and be surprised that you came up with a new way of describing a game that I don't recall you using before. (Recent examples are the "law of diminishing returns" line in the Gears 5 review, and the "road to nowhere" line at the end of the Al Unser Road to the Top review).

If you want to incorporate more details, emotions, anecdotes, etc. in your reviews, those are usually interesting - although I think part of the reason you've often cut those parts is to emphasize brevity. It's a trade-off and you've been doing it long enough to trust your instincts in each review. Tweaking the style is fine, but just keep in mind that you write how you write, and trying to create a new style is easier said than done (and comes with a high risk of backfiring).

If site visits are down over the years, and that has you wondering if your reviews are getting stale -- I don't agree. If that's the case, then I think the answer has more to do with reinventing how you reach people (like how and where you market the site and yourself). The reviews and other content aren't the issue IMO - which is good news, because that's a much harder fix.

RDReynolds
Posts: 15
Joined: January 12th, 2020, 3:00 pm

Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby RDReynolds » March 7th, 2021, 4:22 pm

I urge you NOT to change. We have enough sites that give reviews that read like War & Peace. Yours are funny, accurate, and to the point. I don't want to spend 25 minutes reading about Pengo on Atari XEGS. I want to spend 3 minutes doing it. Your site allows me to do that...then go into a rabbit hole of 27 more reviews I wasn't planning on reading!

DocHix
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Joined: July 18th, 2020, 9:29 am

Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby DocHix » March 7th, 2021, 4:49 pm

I can only echo the well written and meaningful comments above. Your writing style really suits the brief review format...to the point, humorous and laced with interesting asides which put the games in an often personal context (friend's perceptions, memories about the time and place of purchase, etc.) I think your writing is one of the features of your site that makes it stand out compared to a lot of others pages with similar content...you have a unique "voice!"

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ASalvaro
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Re: Time to change my review style?

Postby ASalvaro » March 7th, 2021, 4:54 pm

this is best site around for your reviews and also the best format of any site...like they say if it ain't broke don't fix it lol


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