The Art of Reviews

When you look at this blog, you will see that there hasn’t been much activity lately. There are many reasons for this, some more obvious than others, but first and foremost, I am posting to remind you that I am still here. Just my thoughts with the review process is something valuable to me, and just throwing words out on the screen isn’t easy like it used to be.

In recent activity, I have been focusing more on my health, physical and mental. With that, I have been falling asleep to Netflix, and have only had the energy to delve into games for maybe thirty minutes to an hour in the past couple of weeks (Skullgirls and Cook, Serve, Delicious).

Another hobby where I put most of my energy is Tabletop gaming. I will probably post up another AFUT in the next day or so. When it comes to writing a novel, the characters can be easy to feel out, because (when you are writing for yourself) it is your perception of the characters and yours alone. When you do this for a group, especially those of the “jerk” variants (it’s what we are), you often find your perceptions challenged, and you have to drastically change your story arc when people get bored. Okay, you don’t have to, but if your friends aren’t having a good time, why hold a game in the first place?

Anyways, getting back to the point of the title (let’s see if I can focus here)…for me, it isn’t enough to categorize my view of games into numbers or percentages, hence, none of that shows in my reviews. However, it also isn’t enough for me to separate graphics, story, audio, etc. For others, it may be more natural, especially from years of successful gaming magazines doing just that. For me, though, despite having so many years of that reading style at my back, it just doesn’t feel organic. It conflicts with my natural flow. Also, my limited art background isn’t conducive to graphics or art direction, even though I try to put it forth, the description isn’t always going to be colorful, or satisfying. It is important to me that I am able to paint a picture that stays away from spoilers. I think I have been successful in the past with my descriptions, but for some reason, that kind of writing has eluded me in recent events.

Audio is also hard to get around. It is either crisp or it isn’t. It has music that matches the genre, or it doesn’t. Maybe it is done with an effect that is comically ironic to the setting. Then there are times where it is truly worth writing about (see Dark Descent).  However, when it doesn’t stand out, there simply isn’t that much to put in writing when it is “just enough”.

Now “story”…here is why I dive in, but balancing the spoilers in an issue that puts me on edge. I love a good story. However, even if the story isn’t that good, it is too easy for me to make excuses and fill in the holes (with my head, not in my head). I honestly believe that there is reason why a story should be limited to one author, and that is because multiple viewpoints make for a very jagged flow, and in gaming, I have seen this too often, and because of that, it is easy to glaze over. Should I really be hard on a game that has too many people holding the same pair of binoculars? It seems that this is the definition of the gaming genre in a lot of cases. I am not going to deny that there have been many great movies and games with this in mind, but the production struggles when it can’t transfer a story to an interactive theme (the F.E.A.R. trilogy comes to mind, of course, that was more due to multiple companies having their hand in that pie…not just individuals). When it comes to “glazing” over, I do get annoyed at how some reviewers want everything explained in the story. Honestly, since when does any character know everything that’s going on in their world. If you are playing through the eyes of a character, then dammit, you should have limited perception as that character.  For the most part, omniscience (to me) is spoon feeding directed to younger readers.  When a character is introduced, I shouldn’t automatically know everything about that person.  That is up to the events of the story to unfold and naturally create a picture while lining every progression with intrigue.  Frankly, I like stories that leave just enough open in order to force people to dive into theories. I could spend so many more hours reading into theories on a game than playing the game itself.

So, this probably wasn’t the most well thought-out post.  All I am trying to say is…I may still attempt to categorize in my reviews, but ultimately, I am looking for a more natural approach.  This might speed things up and allow for more regular reviews to come out (once I start consistently playing games, again) I might be able to merge categorization with my thoughts, or it may be thrown away altogether.  I guess time will tell…

 

See you on the other side, folks.

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