Monday, October 18, 2004

Getting this party started
Posted by Shocker :: 11:13 PM

Welcome to Another Castle, the officially unofficial ITVR video game review blog. I am Shocker Dan and will be steering this rickety bucket of bolts as we hurtle through blogspace.

What is the purpose of this blog? Well, there are a lot of people on ITVR who are passionate about games and gaming. Many of us hold gaming as an art form. Even those who don't, and there is reasonable room for disagreement, can still agree that they are worth a serious and critical eye. As a person who has been through several rental services, both online and off, I have played so many games that would only be classified as "average" it's gone far beyond being a surprise anymore. The fact is that there are a lot of games out there that are just, well, "okay". Yet a glace at GamePro or GameFAQs or IGN or EGM would lead you to believe that even that average game deserves a 7.0/10 or a 4.0/5. There is a fundamental lack of integrity with the review process that I want to hopefully fix here, a lack created either by pressure from game companies, expectations from readers or poor reviewers.

This is our mission statement at AC, that our reviews will be fair not only to our own standards, but to the standards of all 5 of us and anyone else who wishes to comment. Every contributor to AC is allowed to post a review of whatever they want, but every other member's allowed to call that member on the carpet for that review, whether it be by comment, for a short disagreement, or by a separate counter-review that shows the game from a different light. Since we all know each other, and have a good idea for our gaming preferences, we can likely easily get to the heart of what an outside reader wants to know. For example, JayGo (Matt), really hates Mechassault. I really loved the game, and yes, we've argued about it ad nauseum. But the dividing issue, which, and JayGo will correct me if I'm wrong, was whether it was an effective arcade game or whether it had should have been more of a simulation. Each of us had valid points and an outsider looking in was better able to get a grasp for what the game was.

Rule number 2 is "No ditto reviews". Yes, Halo 2 is coming out soon. You know who gets to post the first review? The first person who posts the review. :) We don't need 5 reviews of the exact same game saying the exact same thing. It's an exercise at seeing a lot of the same number to the reader. However, any contributor or commentator is allowed to, of course, add to the review by pointing out things missed. Just don't retread old ground. (Also note that a counter-review generally can't give the same score, for obvious reasons.)

Rule number 3: 2.5 is average. No, really. It's really, honestly, truly average. I know there's been a lot of inflation going on, leading to ridiculous statements like "There's a lot of difference between 98 and 100 and 78 and 80", and that in general, even in places who say 5 or 2.5 is average, that 7 or 4 (respectively) is generally average. But seriously, here, 2.5 = average. If your review seems to hint the game is average, and you give it a higher score, you'll have to justify that. :)

While I'm at it, here are the scores:











Rule the 4th: Reviews will cover all aspects of the game, including graphics, controls, online play /multiplayer (if the reviewer is able), sounds, etc. But overshadowing all of this is of course gameplay. I can't force you to write your reviews in any specific way, but I still urge you to make the bulk of your review about the gameplay and what elements of it lead to your review.

Rule 5: Any post related to video games is permissible, including news, or informing us you've got a certain (perhaps rare?) game that you're planning on reviewing, etc.

Rule #6: You may send any contributions to... ;)

Anyway, that's enough rules. The overriding point of this is to have fun with this, because obviously the medium is for fun and enjoyment. I hope that you guys enjoy this blog and that it develops into something. Till then, game on.

- Dan

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