When I started writing this site, one of my strongest visions was what it should not be – and that was a review site. There are already a mass of places you can get game reviews on the internet and I was much more interested in writing the kind of in-depth discussions about games that I really enjoy reading myself but I rarely find. However in the discussion that followed on from Navan’s detailed post about potential videogame classifications, I got quite interested in this avenue as a way of discussing the merits of a game and actually attempting to review games for the first time against a sensible criteria. In some ways I feel this is the evolution of a lot of the thoughts written here at Agoners over the past few years. As I pointed out in the comments on The Beautiful Game, and previously before that, the way all traditional game reviews work is a complete mess. Quite apart from the duplicitous nature of the games “journalism” industry, there’s the problem I hit upon there –
“It’s like asking the same person to comparatively review chess, soccer, F1 race driving, and monopoly all on the same scale. As well as at the same time also reviewing lego bricks, rubiks cubes, an office job (similar experience to many MMOs) and an action man toy against them also.”
User reviews and even really ‘hardcore’ websites & forums with fantastic reviews by real gaming critics still don’t make the distinction of what criteria they are reviewing against – and I’ve been guilty of this too in the past. So I’ve come to believe that a clearly defined way of reviewing I think will prove extremely valuable, and can actually help enable the kind of thinking and writing about games that I enjoy. Make no mistake though, even within my definitions every review is and can only be a personal viewpoint on a title, a large part of any critique is simply a question of taste, however I will always attempt to explain my personal opinions and bias as well, and explain the distinction between a title that’s fundamentally flawed in a particular category, or one that’s simply not to my taste. To understand why we review games the way we do, you’re almost certainly going to be an Agoner of some description. Also the closer you are in taste to me, you are likely to get even more value out of these reviews. If you have played a lot of entertainment software then one great way to compare your taste is with the Brainhex test and compare to my results, where I scored highly on Conqueror, Mastermind, and Socialiser.