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Old 23-01-2005, 03:44 PM   #1
Allen
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Post Tips For Reviews

Ok, I dunno if this topic has been covered elsewhere, but here's a few tips on how to write a good review on Abandonia for newbies and oldies. I'm not the best reviewer in the world, but I do try to follow a few standards.

Grammar.
I know English isn't everyone's first language here, but the first way to know if a review is helpful to you is if people can read it. If they can't, then it's not very helpful, is it? Use a dictionary if you require it.

Review Content.
Start off by letting the reader know what the game is about. Remember, you're trying to tell people that it's a good game, and they should play it. Reflect this in your review. List good points about the game before talking about bad points, and try to keep the readers attention at all times. Avoid using slang and boring words, like "wicked cool", "bogus","interesting" or "nice". These words, when displayed too much in a review just put me to sleep. Broaden your vocabulary, use a thesaurus.

Length.
Try to keep your review at a moderate length. If the review's too small, like 3 lines, then it doesn't say enough about the game. Fair enough, you can't say a lot about Tetris, but make an attempt. Use lots of decription, list good things and bad things. Talk about the playability, freedom to do what you want, how long it takes to finish. Mention what input devices you can use in it, eg; mouse, keyboard, joystick, etc.
Also mention about the sound, whether it is good or bad, MIDI or internal speaker. That kind of thing. Also, don't make it too long. If it's over 5 paragraphs, sometimes I won't bother to read it.

Intrest.
Keep your review interesting. You can do this by, for example, being unique. Make people know who's writing the review before they see your name at the bottom. Have your own style. If it's a detective game, maybe you could write the review as if you're in a Noir movie. Or if it's like Monkey Island, you could use lots of piratey phrases, like "Yarr! Ye ate me fishlips!" or "Shiver me timbers, Guybrush Threepwood is a dumb name!".

Make it fun to read, and have fun writing the thing. After all, that's what it's all about!


WRITING CONVENTIONS BY TAIKARA:

I've decided to compile a reference for some of the conventions we decide upon as we go. That way, we will eventually have a streamlined standard to go by. What I have included here is a just a starting point, and we can discuss these until we agree. Eventually, I might copy this to the regular forum so that the reviewers will know our conventions and perhaps adopt them. (Well, one can hope, anyway :angel: )

---------------------------------

Formatting:

Game Titles

All game titles, whether the game being reviewed, or another game the review gives reference to should be formatted in italics.

The first reference to a game in the review should be written fully, while any reference thereafter may be abbreviated, or a recognized nickname may be used.

Book Titles:

If the reviewer references a book title, the book title should be italicized.

Movie Titles:

If the reviewer references a movie title, the movie title should be italicized.

Numbers:

If the reviewer uses a number in a review other than as a part of the game title, a date, or a referenced title of a published work, then the number should be written out verbally.

Ex:

Correct: There are twenty-four locations in 5 Days a Stranger.

Incorrect: There are 24 locations in 5 Days a Stranger.


Spelling:

American English vs. British English:

There is no need to change the spelling of a word as long as it is an actual word in English, and spelled correctly, regardless of the type of English.

Ex:

Correct:

Flavour
Flavor
Organize
Organise

Incorrect:

Flavore
Orginise

Capitalization:

Acronyms:

All acronyms should be capitalized, but if a word is only partially an acronym, only the acronym need be capitalized, unless it is a conventional name.

Ex: DOS and DOSBox are correct, while Dos and DOSBOX are not.

Internet Slang:

While internet slang is acceptable, as it reflects the style of the reviewer and this is an internet medium, internet slang words should be treated as acronyms.

Ex: BTW (by the way) is correct, while Btw and btw are not.

Punctuation:

Ellipses:

Ellipses are acceptable as an example of the reviewer's style, however, they must be used appropriately. A space must follow the previous sentence, and an ellipses contains three periods only. (...)

Ex:

Correct: The end is near ...
Incorrect: The end is near... , The end is near .....

Commas Separating Dependent Clauses:

If three or more dependent clauses are used in a sentence, then each clause must be separated by a comma, with the exception of the final clause (indicated by the use of a conjunction), which may either use a comma or not, according to the editor's preference.

Ex:

Correct:
We ate pizza, took a walk, and went home
We ate pizza, took a walk and went home.

Incorrect:
We ate pizza took a walk and went home.

Mixing Quotation Marks and Other Punctuation:

Quotation marks should always be placed after other punctuation, regardless of whether the quotation is a reference to a whole statement or an individual word or phrase.

Ex:

Correct:

He said, "You should go alone."
You should make use of "bird's-eye view," which a helpful menu option.

Incorrect:

He said, "You should go alone".
You should make use of "bird's-eye view", which is a helpful menu option.

Clarity:

Redundancy:

If there is an instance of redundancy in a review, either by over-usage of a particular word in one sentence, or by repetition of a thought or meaning using different words, the sentence should be modified to reflect the original reviewer's meaning as closely as possible.

Example:

Incorrect:
The pace was so fast, I couldn't think fast enough.
The water swiftly rushed into the room quickly.

Correct (modified):
The pace was so fast, I couldn't think quickly enough.
The water swiftly rushed into the room.

<span style=\'color:blue\'>Unknown Words/Meanings:

If a word is used that has an unidentifiable meaning that cannot be understood from the context of the sentence, then it would be best to contact the original reviewer to find out what was meant, and modify the statement accordingly.

-------------------------------

Again, please feel free to comment, dispute one of the above, I want to make sure that we all accept these conventions.

Also, if you have anything you think should be added, then please offer that as well, and I'll add it to the post.

Arigatou gozaima****a!

Last edited by Dave; 12-02-2009 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 23-01-2005, 04:05 PM   #2
einherjar
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Never write reviews in the first person.

Never judge a game by its title or graphics. Just because part of the title is Final Fantasy doesn't mean it is automatically one of the best games ever. Fanboy.

Never compare a game to the next game(s) in the series.

Never assume anything.

Never make stuff up.

Never spend a lot of time comparing the game to another game.

Never use poor grammar, no matter how many reviews are not filtered for poor grammar.

Never review the game until you have overcome the learning curve of the game.

Never review a game that you have played for less than two hours.
                       
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Old 23-01-2005, 04:18 PM   #3
mika
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It might also be benificial to write a conclusion paragraph at the end - for those who want to skip to it without reading the whole review. In the future it could also be used as an intro text for the game.
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Old 23-01-2005, 04:39 PM   #4
mika
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Quote:
Originally posted by einherjar@Jan 23 2005, 07:19 PM
What's the point in wasting all that typing if everyone just reads the conclusion?
Well a couple of reasons:

1. Some people don't like reading long reviews.
2. It could be used as a summary in a list of games for example. Image being able to list all games in a genre (like we can do currently) and for each game it shows like a small summary. I think that would be good. Check out gamespot.com - they do that.
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Old 23-01-2005, 04:44 PM   #5
Sebatianos
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A reivew is a personal opinion about the game. Otherwise you could just put up some technical data like:

VGA graphics 256 colours 640 X 480 resolution.
Soundblaster supported
Microsoft Windows mouse compatible
Fun to play
Over 300 puzzles
4 levels of difficoulty

That's not a review!

A review must be made in style. I know some of mine were and some were crapy, but I finaly imporved on my worse review yet - Asterix: Operation Getafix. I hope some of the people with the ability to change them will do that soon. So far I sent it to Kosta, but I'll send one to Tom and Picard as well.

1st person reviews are just fine - if you don't overdo it!
It's always you who played the game and loved it - that's why you review it! So why shouldn't I admit I had hours of fun at it? That I enjoyed it? And that I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did, because this game really takes me back in the good old days?
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Old 23-01-2005, 05:29 PM   #6
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Personally, I avoid first person reviews. It seems unprofessional. At the end, you're talking 'bout a game, not 'bout how you experience the game. Some personal remarks're fine, if it's only sporadic, but definitely not a whole report 'bout how you experienced the game, as that's different from person to person, independant of the game. If the reviewer doesn't like strategy games and he's reviewing Warcraft, it doesn't mean he should be rambling on 'bout how boring he found the game, but should be talking 'bout the game itself... how the gameplay works, what the graphics're like, the story-line, etc.
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Old 23-01-2005, 06:31 PM   #7
Allen
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More important tips :

dnt spk in srthnd coz pps cnt ndrstnd u.

DON'T TALK IN CAPITALS, IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING!

don't only have lower case. the shift key is right there, under caps lock.

Punctuation is your friend it helps keep sentences short and neat put commas and full stops in where they are needed it doesnt help when there are long sentences that can be broken down kind of like this one.
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Old 23-01-2005, 06:50 PM   #8
einherjar
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If you find yourself looking through a thesaurus more than three times per review, you had better re-think your work. Also, there are ways of expressing your opinions without referring to yourself in the first person.

You should also learn when new paragraphs are appropriate. Just because you have a big block of text just talking about the gameplay doesn't mean it has to be one big block of text. Paragraphs are appropriate when adding new ideas or discussing other tthings related to the topic at hand.

Another thing I have learned from being a member of the abandonia forum is to not use any figures of speech from your language. I can tell by talking to certain forum members that they either are completely lost, or they completely misinterpret what I say when I use a perfectly normal figure of speech.

Anyway, reviews should have a basic flow to them. A reasonable format, for example, would be:

Introduction. Write something to get the reader's attention.

Game info. Include the game's creators, the original system(s) it was made for, the year it was made, and the type of game it is.

Story. Explain to your readers what they would find by reading the story in the manual. Don't copy things word for word, cite quotes as neccessary, be brief, and don't reveal critical plot details. You should explain what leads up to the game, not what happens during the course of the game.

Gameplay. Elaborate more on the type of game it is, and explain the unique (or not unique) things that the game brings to the genre. Was there something you liked or didn't like about how the game is played? Mention it here.

Graphics and music. Did the graphics hurt your eyes? Was the music annoying?

Special notes. Is the game gory in any way? Is there a special way of running the game appropriately?
                       
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Old 23-02-2005, 02:45 PM   #9
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I'd also say it is good to include a final line with something to encourage people to get and try the game, like "The granddaddy of all Mech combat games is back. Do you have what it takes to face it" I wrote in the MechWarrior review.

Putting a few lines on the bottom about issues known to occur when ran via DosBox, or even better, tips on how to solve some, can also be helpful.
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