Death of the Review

A postulation cross-posted on RPGNet:

Once upon a time, I used to edit and write for a webzine, full of articles about how to have more fun gaming. Eventually, we packed it in mostly and I commented that I thought the internet was kind of killing the gaming article in general. Why? Because if you wanted to gain a new perspective on gaming you could read half a million blogs by Super Famous Game Designers themselves, and if you wanted advice about a specific thing, you’d just go to a forum and ask about that specific thing. (eg “Should I let my players eat pudding while attempting a backstab?”)

Seems to me the latter is true about reviews too (and the former; if Bob the Famous Designer twitters that he likes XYZ, there’s your review). Generally I see people coming to the RPGNet forums and asking questions which are clearly answered in my reviews. That ticks me off because it feels like I’m writing reviews for no god damn reason (except the free pdfs, of course, hi Cam!)

Now I’m sure some people read reviews, I’m sure the medium’s not dead. But the question is: do YOU read them?  And if so, why?

To put it another way: if you know you hate pudding and there’s a film out that might have pudding in it, do you a) read ten online reviews to see if pudding gets a mention or do your b) jump on Films-With-Pudding.net and ask “Does Space Goat Fights Back have extended pudding scenes?”

Obviously, sometimes you want a holistic view from non-crazy people, but on the internet, as somebody said, all opinions are equally worthless and holistic views are generalist ones. Forums give a personalised answer to YOUR specific needs. In that light, is the review dead?

Loot and Loss

Mr Ed Healy of Gamerati.com and GameCryer.com has now launched Loot –  a site which has a new deal on a game product EVERY DAMN DAY! Check it daily and buy buy buy!

In much sadder news, Jim Roslof died. Jim did a lot of the classic semi-cartoon art for early D&D modules, some of which are highlighted here. Cheers to Jim for his awesome contribution to the hobby!

Games With Hayden

I review games for a living, so I recognize the skills of others. Then sometimes you see someone who is just better than you’ll ever be, and you can only give thanks that you were born in an age to view such a maestro at work. And sometimes, it’s a kid who can’t be more than eight years old, kicking ass and taking names.

Salient quote, on Small World:

“This game has flying skeletons. NOTHING has flying skeletons, but this game does.”