Why don’t I do ‘proper’ game reviews?

I haven’t had any questions or comments on my blog yet, but if I were to get any, I think this would be one of them: why do I rarely write game reviews in the window immediately after a game has launched? ‘Real’ reviewers get the games early or on launch day, power through them and write reviews quickly to get them out around the same time as the game. Well, there are a number of reasons why I don’t do this…

One, I am doing a PhD and so I am busy; I rarely have time to sit and play games for more than a few hours a few days a week, which is not enough time to finish a game and get a review out immediately after launch. Two, I am doing a PhD and so I am broke! I can rarely afford to pay full price for video games and so I usually wait until they are in the pre-owned bins or the Steam sale! Three, I actually enjoy playing games and want to keep it that way. The idea of HAVING to play games like it was a full-time job to is not appealing. I would do it if I was getting paid, of course, but reviewing isn’t a well paid vocation and it’s ridiculously hard to break into.

So, why do I do it? Sometimes I want to defend a game that has been unfairly criticised (like Alpha Protocol) or draw attention to a game that has been overlooked. Sometimes I want to show how a popular game isn’t worth the 10/10 that others have given it (such as Gran Turismo 5). I like to talk rationally about what I liked and disliked about a game and how it could have been done better/differently. I also don’t want to rush through the game; I want to give the developers a chance to fix any bugs and I want to properly explore the game and play it for myself, not just for the review. I also prefer talk about particular themes or issues (i.e. ‘In Defence of Next-Gen Graphics‘) rather than reviewing individual games, as these are often things that I feel more passionate and which I feel should be talked about.

So, there you have it. If you want reviews of games the week they come out, you may be in the wrong place. But if you want honest, impartial, rational discussions of games and gaming issues, stay tuned!