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.
It’s entirely anonymous (though you get the chance to put your name in at the end if you want me to know it was you), and there are loads of comedy GIFs in there in case the idea of surveys bores you to tears.
If you’ve been following me on social media you may know that I’ve been suffering problems with my wrist lately.
Long story short, for the past five weeks or so, my right wrist starts ‘clicking’ after about 15 minutes of computer use (be it keyboard or mouse), and if I continue to do it, it gets to the point where my hand locks up and can only ‘snap’ into an open or closed position. It’s not nice.
My doctor is treating it as a bad case of RSI for now and he’s instructed me to take the next few weeks off work and refrain from any typing (I’m writing this out on my phone with my left hand – bless you, Google Keyboard).
I really don’t want to stop doing Tired Old Hack stuff, but writing long articles is now out of the question and doing edited videos is too (because I’d be using the mouse for hours at a time).
It’s a milestone I’ve wanted to hit ever since I started back in May 2006, because it’s one thing to get your dream job but another to do it to a decent enough standard that you get to stick around for a long time.
At the end of my recent article, I said “here’s to another 10 years”. And I do have a long-term plan that will, all going well, mean I’m still writing about games in 2026.
That’s assuming video games still exist then, of course – for all I know we could just end up paying to have Steam achievements injected into the base of our spines.