8.537 thumbs out of 5 stars

I was working with someone to create a review channel. As it turns out it’s a crap ton of work making reviews. While I was preparing to create the channel I started to ask questions like, “What is the use of a review” and “What purpose do they serve”. That shot me on a search for anything to do with reviews. I jumped around checking out highly entertaining reviewers like Zero Punctuation down to the less then perfect ones on /r/gamereviews. We all have to start somewhere.

Some of them broke games down by sections: story, gameplay, “graphics”. Most used a grading system, 8/10, five stars. That got me thinking of ways I should grade the games. I tried to come up with a way to take some of the subjectivity from a star rating system. It’s even possible to turn to a pass fail system, “buy or stay away”.

Spent some time with all that bouncing around my mind and was unable to clamp down on anything. What good is having a rating system? It bothered me that after a while I will end up with a list of games and a list of ratings. It then makes sense that it would be possible to use the ratings to compare the games.

One game gets a 5 out of 5 and that one gets a 4 out of 5. Why? Games are just so drastically different from one another, that comparison is impossible. Skyrim and Gone home have completely different goals, what would a comparison between them even mean?

Ok, so if we give limbo a 9 or 10 in aesthetics and we give BioShock infinite the same. Are they as good as another? Is it fair with one having a huge budget? Should the money even matter? How about the time to play through. Journey would also have to be given high marks for aesthetics but that can be beat in like 2 hours.

The system wouldn’t even work when looking at one game at a time. What could I give in story to something like League of legends? There is some lore to it, but a player would have to go out of their way to figure out what’s going on and it wouldn’t change the gameplay.

If the rating can’t be used to compare then it only serves one other purpose, as a summery of opinions, but that’s the whole review. If by the end of the review, the audience is unsure what the reviewer thinks, they are watching zero punctuation and are wondering if he actually liked the game or, the review is missing something significant.

Systems like this serve the reviewer more then anyone else. It simplifies formatting and attempts to remove some of the subjectivity from the review. Which is the conclusion I finally found my way to.

Reviews are more then their end rating. They are there to provide some ones personal tastes. There are a few reviewers of movies and games that I watch. Like Grace from Beyond the trailer. She does a crap ton of movie reviews. I can’t possibly watch as many movies as she does, cause that’s her job. No, I don’t trust her every opinion but I have seen enough of the movies she’s recommended or rejected. I now have an idea where her opinions and mine are relative to each other, which has a lot of value for me.

If you are a reviewer out there. Forget trying to be objective and share your true opinions. Don’t apologize for having a weakness for anything to do with dragons. Say it proudly. That honesty tells more then thousands of words trying to remove yourself from the reviewing equation.

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Is it so bad to wish for new, or at least, well thought out ideas?

I grew up watching TLC, The Discovery Channel and History Channel.  Back when they had programming that actually taught things. After a few years of watching pieces on Dinosaurs, I slowly found myself already reaching the cap of knowledge.  It wasn’t that there was no more about Dinosaurs to learn, just that this was the cap that the channel was not willing to go over.  I guess in the interest of maintaining an audience.

They can’t exactly give a college level Paleontology piece.  Later the internet became a real thing, or maybe I just got old enough for it to mean something to me, and I found much more information out there.

Now-a-days, when I get an informational itch. I can run to youtube and find out as much as I want on a subject.  Sometimes literally from a college class lecture posted on the university site.  Which is just amazing to me.  This may have made me spoiled.

Now when I see a show online, I have expectations.  If it’s a fairly new channel, I can accept bad production value for more in-depth information.  For a channel with some money in it, I expect a certain amount of safety, meaning they aren’t going to poo on their sponsors and want go all out raging.

These two channels ‘PBS Idea Channel‘ and ‘PBS Game/Show‘ both have a bit of money and about the same production value.  I am Fairly sure they aren’t done by just one person.  There is a world of difference between them though.

The Idea Channel does it’s best to try and expose it’s reader to a new Idea.  Usually with a title like ‘Google is Knowledge’ or ‘The Internet is Cats’.  From there they’ll expand that thought and come around to some sense.  Not everyone would agree if their conclusion is right or not, but everyone is thinking.

PBS Game/show doesn’t do this.  It possesses more provocative titles like ‘Are games Racist’ and ‘Do Video Games Need Feminism?’ or their newest video ‘Will Videogames Become a Controlled Substance’.


Having been an avid viewer of the ‘PBS Idea Channel’, I expected this channel to also make sense of their titles.  I might have also thought they would cover the topic with reasonable care.  The show could even, If I was lucky, give me something new to think about.  Maybe a new perspective?

Nope, they mostly amount to a superficial look at the topic with nothing more then maybe an hour of thought could bring.

Give “Will Videogames Become a controlled substance?”.  This topic, I would agree, is something that is worth talking about, but it’s serious enough that it requires some definitions.

Non-physical Addiction is when something takes precedents and starts to effect a persons life in a significant way.  Not to be confused with people just taking part in a hobby, which can take a bunch of time too.  People don’t lose jobs and relationships over a hobby, they do over an addiction. This definition isn’t all inclusive, but it’s enough to start talking about the subject.  It’s actually very important to distinguish Physical and Non-Physical addiction.  The video puts them together in one lump.

“The reality is that most people who drink don’t become alcoholics and most people that play games, won’t become addicts.  But we still recognize that alcohol and addictive substances are dangerous.”  This is just dirty.  These things can not be lump together with gaming, alcohol and addictive substances.  Well ok, drunk gaming can be fun…  but they are not at all in the same levels of danger, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Non-Physical Addiction is always part of a psychological problem.  Every business is trying to get you to play and spend as much money as they can get out of you.  It is not the game makers job to try and save you.

Legislation on the vain of controlling any kind of Non-physical addiction, should be shot down. Non-physical addiction is fought by having more readily available psychological help and removal of it’s stigma.

People are susceptible to addiction of any type, when they are emotionally and psychologically compromised.  It has nothing at all to do with the escapism or how immersive a game is.

“.. it’s about to get a whole lot more dangerous.”  Come on, there is no danger.  If most of these addicts didn’t fall for games, they’d have fallen into something else.

The level of polish in this show is just so opposite to the actual content.  I started off watching hoping they’d grow and start giving actual insight. It’s clear now that this is never going to happen.

I blame my expectations on Extra Credits, Vsause, Nova before them, and all the other great shows that try to give more then the basics.

Oops, bit off more then I can chew.

I just want to do everything.  I want to draw, paint,  make game, groundbreaking apps, YouTube tutorials and play every instrument.  Eventually it becomes clear that my time is just so limited.  Trying to pour myself to thin caught up with me again.

I don’t enjoy failing to fallow through but I also don’t like to be afraid to give an honest try.  So here is where I stand.

My plan to write a book is on the back burner now.  It take so very long and I have so much to catch up on, when it comes to writing.  I’ll have to try again another time.  It’s like I read somewhere, “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings”.  It’s time to start killing some of those darlings.

I’ll never be ready to write if I don’t practice at all. So, I want to start up on this and keep it going.  It doesn’t take me too much to type something up and there are things I want to share that fit better here then anywhere else.  I’d say it’s about 50% ego and the realization that getting what I want to say out, will only improve the more ways I do it. Daily is too much for me.  Everyday I missed just made me less likely to pick it back up.  So, this’ll have to be as often as I have something to say.

Trying to run 3 youtube channels was also way way too much.  I am dropping or super slowing 2 of them.  HelpMeNotSuck is still doing well enough to keep alive and I find it fun.  Looking back at my old work it’s nice to see that I am getting better.  That alone is enough to keep me going.  Most of my videos average(with no advertising) around 30 views.  If I post them, that turns in to about 200. I did have my first major success of over 57k views on a single video. Good god was that invigorating.

Awww man, I have turned in to one of those posters that has to give the, “I am sorry I stopped, but I am back”… but, I am sorry I stopped.  I am back now 🙂

Getting into an open and creative mode.

I just watched this lecture with John Cleese  and he formalized ideas I have been lightly touching at.

The lecture is about being creative.  How, do you get yourself to be creative?  Where does it come from?

If you’ve got the time, it would be great to watch the thole thing, if not here’s a short version.  No one knows how to be creative or how to make themselves be creative on a whim.  At best you can create a situation in which you are open to creativity.

Those ideas that spawn in opening a thought that you hadn’t had, are usually a product of a few conditions.  One, you have spent the time to lay a mental framework to an open mind around the situation.  Two, you allow yourself to be free to play and ponder, without bogging ideas down with pressure to be ‘right’ or ‘fast’.

He recommends setting a time, like an hour and a half, to practice getting and  holding this ‘Open mode’.  Then get used to moving to a ‘Closed mode’ when it comes to implementation.

This is extremely close to my view on training up those creative thought. Which isn’t an easy thing for me.

I would add a stipulation that it helps to first have a certain degree of understanding of a subject.  So, if you are trying to come up with a creative play in chess.  You’ll have to understand the game well enough to know that what you have come up with is something.

Fallowing the curve is not so obvious.

This is the Curve to the story of Star Wars “A New Hope”.  It could be used as a rough template for pacing just about anything.

“The Curve”

The thought of using  “The Curve” in as many aspects of a project as possible, down to it’s smallest part, is one I have always wanted to do. By god, it is much tougher then it sounds.

Right now I am writing up a review for one of the youtube channels I contribute too(http://www.youtube.com/user/fairgamereviews). My thoughts are all down and organized. Now, I am trying to find the curve.

The questions I am considering to try and find what is driving this reviews pacing: Is it an intensity curve? Maybe and excitement curve? How can a ratchet up the viewers interest/emotion?  What would be the peek?

At this point I am not actually sure I can do it.  The practice will make it easier for me to see it next time. If  just a bit of my intent is successful.  It’ll improve the piece immensely.

For a full explanation to “The Curve” check out this video “Pacing” by Extra Credits.

I know, I know.

My Plan was to start writing some story parts here. Time though, is so short.  I just can’t find it anywhere.

Not between my team and my plans for the 2 channels.  It just doesn’t end.  To be honest I do waste time too, but it’s a necessity.  I have to waste time for my own mental health.

I do spend time considering what the story is going to be like and I am writing it in my book, which I forgot today.  So maybe something will slowly come around.

I may have mentioned when ever I feel unsure about if I should continue making videos or even this blog I turn to Zefrank.

This is why I am just going to jump in.  Crappy Video and blog and all.  Then work to improve it all.