I’d estimate that over the course of the last 11 years I’ve reviewed just short of 1000 games (thanks very much, ONM’s monthly Virtual Console and WiiWare section, for bumping that figure up).
Reviews are arguably the most important aspect of games journalism – at least in the traditional sense – because after the news announcing a game and the previews giving a taste of it, the review is the final verdict: “Now it’s finally with us, and here’s whether you should get it.”
Because of this, one of the questions I get asked most often (other than how to become a games journalist) is how to properly review a game. The answer is one you might not like, because it isn’t a catch-all solution: there’s no ‘proper’ way to review a game. Everyone does it differently and everyone has their own style.
What I can do, however, is try to help by telling you how I do it my way, and hope that by doing so you can maybe pick up some tips to use when developing your own style.
Or, rather, instead of telling you, I could show you.
On Saturday 1 April 2017 (I know, but it isn’t an April Fool’s joke: it would be a shit one if it was), I did my first ever Tired Old Hack live review.
I played through a game, wrote the review and published it on my site, all from scratch and all streamed live.
The idea was to give people (well, those who are interested at least) a look at my complete review process, from the second I see the title screen for the first time to the second I hit ‘publish’.
The game in question was Virginia, the Twin Peaks inspired adventure game on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam.
If you missed the stream, here’s the full four-hour replay split into two parts: the first shows me playing through the entire game for the first time as I took notes, and the second shows me writing the review and posting it online.
Part 1: Playing the game
Part 2: Writing the review
This idea was initially run past the lovely folks who contributed to the Insider tier on my Patreon account. If you’d like to discuss future article ideas with me before I go ahead with them, get yerself on there.
Alternatively, if you’re a UK reader and can’t afford to support me on Patreon, please do your normal Amazon UK shopping via this link: it won’t cost you any extra, and Amazon will pay me a percentage because I sent you there.