Reviewing & Not Reviewing Games

This is a new rule I came up with recently. Over the last year, maybe a little bit longer I have been receiving video game codes for review from different studios and publishers. I have a Google Sheet with all of the games I need to play, their release and embargo dates and other information I may need.

Many times, I have received multiple game codes with the same embargo or release date. It’s hard as a one person team to play all of these games and write or post about them. I sometimes get truly excited for a game and will start playing it right away. Other times I may realize that the embargo is up the next morning so I have to quickly play one game all night and write about it as I play it.

I enjoy playing all of these games. I especially get excited when I play a game I wouldn’t expect to like and I love it — games like Loop Hero, Boyfriend Dungeon and so many others. There are also games that I play and I don’t like. I wouldn’t say I’ve played any terrible or unplayable games for review — maybe one or two. I would say that most of these games are just “Not for Me,” and that’s ok.

When a game is “Not for me” that can mean a few things. First, I may not understand the game or care enough about what’s going on to understand it. If I have to watch a thirty minute YouTube video to learn how to play a game, I am usually out. I remember when my friends were playing Dota 2 every night on PC and one of them sent me an hour-long explainer video and I decided that I would not watch that to play a game I’m not even all that interested in.

Second, I may be loving and enjoying a new game up until I reach a certain point where I just get stuck. Now I have no idea what to do. I can’t beat this certain point or mission and I’m sick of trying. This happens a lot with JRPGs and turn-based combat games. They always start off simple, trying to teach you how to fight. Everything is going great. Then comes the first “real battle” and I keep dying, without even hurting the enemy. That’s when I decide to quit.

The third reason is that I get many PC gaming codes. This can be a problem because (1) I have an older PC with ancient parts. My PC is probably the equivalent of an Xbox 360 on the inside. Some games just don’t play right on there. I have to play on the lowest of settings and I’m not a super graphics geek like some gamers, but I do expect some quality. My PC can’t even play the new Halo: Infinite multiplayer or campaign. (2) I don’t really play games on my PC, because I’m not near it at night time. In order for me to play on PC, it has to be during the daytime, while I’m working.

Why am I telling you all of this? Why am I getting into the details of why I haven’t reviewed, previewed or written about every single game code I receive?

I wanted to let the world know (or the part of the world that actually reads my posts) that I won’t be reviewing every game code I receive, just the games that I feel I can either put enough time and effort into, or ones that I understand. So, if I come across a game and don’t really get it I don’t want to bad mouth it all over the internet. It may be a game for someone else, or millions of other people. I might not know what I’m talking about when it comes to this particular game.

However, if I come across a game I enjoy but don’t really know much about the genre or haven’t played anything like that before I do my best to give you my perspective on this game. Instead of saying play or don’t play this game in my reviews and previews, I try to say [This] is cool and [That] is not so cool, about this game. What do I enjoy, what’s different, what didn’t I like. Things like that.

It takes a lot of work to make a game. And I believe that most of these game developers want to make a good experience for us to play. Why would someone want to put the amount of time and power it takes to make a video game to make something bad on purpose?

I feel like this post is more for me than anyone else. This is like an inner dialogue for me to figure out how to review and write about games. I don’t know if I figured anything out here, but thanks for reading this if you did. And if you didn’t, then I hope you show up for some reviews, previews, and other stuff too.

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