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Old 29-05-2006, 06:48 PM   #1
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Kosta's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Ranelagh, Ireland
Posts: 1,577

Written & Compiled by The Fifth Horseman

The following are a general set of guidelines, if you need some hints on how to write. Not everyone has prior experience with writing reviews, while some others might still have some problems with English language.

If you need any extra help, feel free to ask for it in this thread.

1. You can review almost anything you want.
I mean it. Music, books, games and movies are quite obvious... but if you want to, for example, review a comic book or some Perfect Grade Gundam model kit, feel free to do that. If you are uncertain whether a certian given subject of the review would be appropriate, use common sense (think if that review would be interesting or useful for other members) - or just post a reply in this sticky, asking for clarification.
Just remember rule #6: no porn/hentai.
(Note: since the Community Reviews has only just started out, reviews on particular subjects may be forbidden in the future, if they are found to attract too much spam or flaming)

2. Warn of nudity/violence/sexually suggestive content.
Before the actual review, write a few lines (for example "WARNING: reviewed material contains numerous graphic descriptions of violence as well as sexually suggestive dialogue). You might also want to warn people if the material contains excessive swearing.

3. Negative opinion is nothing wrong... but give reasons for it.
Don't just say something like "This game suxxorz!!!! oneoneone111!!!". If you pour a bucket of sewage on the subject, make sure you explain WHY is that so, and in detail.
Otherwise, the readers will eat you raw and alive.

4. Try to write your reviews from an objective POV.
If you want to write a negative review on something just because you hate the given company/genre/fictional universe, prepare for being drowned in counter-opinions.
Similarily, just because you are a fan of something does not mean you should automatically praise the newest product of that line as the best thing since sliced bread.
If you feel your review might be higly subjective, please inform the readers of that. Giving the review to an impartial person to read and discuss might help a bit if you want to tone down the bias.
Of course, remember that a totally impartial review would simply be boring.

5. Be informative.
Consider that the reader might barely have any idea on subject of your review.
You don't have to write a detailed description of what and when is happening, but it is useful to give the reader a rough understanding of the subject beyond what the official promotional materials provide.
You might consider providing a link to an according Wikipedia page, to prevent people from asking too many basic questions.

6. Grammar and spelling should be double-checked... twice.
Nobody likes reviews that need a grade in cryptology to decipher. Your grammar and spelling don't have to be flawless, but please try and re-check it before posting so that it contains as little mistakes as possible.

7. Don't make three sentences your entire review.
... and of course, don't write a book of it, either. As a rough guideline, reviews under 500 words may be too short to be sufficiently informative, while those over 1500 may get boring for the reader.

8. Don't go over the top with screenshots.
Whether it's a game, movie or a comic book, don't post an inane number of screenshots or photographs to go with your review. One per 200-300 words (in average) should be more then enough. Don't post too large ones, either - posting a thumbnail to link to the actual image would be a wise idea. As to where to host them, you might try www.imageshack.us or www.photobucket.com.
On other hand, posting a few screenshots - especially to illustrate something you are writing about in the corresponding part of the review - is always a good idea.

9. A short summary never goes wrong.
Especially in the case of longer reviews, you might want to write a summary of the review at the end. A one to three sentence summary of what you think of the subject and listing of the positive and negative points can go a long way. Some people might read only the summaries and making yours interesting enough might convince them to read your whole review.

10. Rating can always help.
Whatever you are reviewing, putting a rating at the end will always be a good idea for a shortest expression of your opinion on the subject. There is no reason you cannot use several ratings for different aspects of the subject (like: Plot, Style, Characters), but if you do that, an overall rating should also be included.
There is no set scale you need to use for your ratings, but make sure you inform the reader of what is the maximum score possible on the scale. "Rating: 6" is not a good idea, while "Rating: 6/10" or "Rating: 60%" is much better.

11. References pack a punch.
Whether it is a link to the official site, Wikipedia entry, a demo version, trailer or anything similar, throwing in a couple links to reference materials of this sort will always find appreciation from the readers.

12. Deathly serious isn't the only way.
Try making your review actually fun to read. Throwing in a couple small word-plays, jokes or a dash of sarcasm can make it more attractive, but remember - too much spice can spoil something as well as too little of it.
Another way is writing the review "in-character", role-playing as a person in the fictional universe of the game/movie/book/whatever - this can be "weak" in-character (without completely playing the role) or "strong" (as in: the role becomes you).
Weaving in small chunks of a story can also add extra enjoyment for the readers (as well as writing some funny captions under the illustrations you use).
It all depends on just how much freakazoid you want your review to be. As the writer, you can use a chuckle yourself every now and then.

Start your keyboards, ladies and gentlemen! Time to write some reviews!

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