10 Commandments for Game Writers.

11 Commandments for Game Writers.

For Writers:  

10. Thou Shalt Have An Open Mind. 

Every game is great until you play it. Disregarding titles based on studio history and genre saturation is unfair and presumptive.

9. Thou Shalt Say Whether or Not They Paid for Videogame being covered. 

Getting games for free is awesome, and allows folks to cover titles they may not be able to afford otherwise. 

But it does affect the approach - Getting a game I wouldn't buy otherwise, or paying for a full 60 dollar game, can affect how someone feels toward a title. For example for free "Trials Fusion" was awesome. Would I have paid for it otherwise? No.  

8. Thou Shalt Have Both Hardcore and Casual Players in Mind at all times. 

You know it's possible for people to enjoy "Gone Home" AND the Xbox One Kinect games? It's okay to love Clash of Clans AND be a level 60 Warlock in WoW? 

When tackling a title it's always good to have the target audience in mind, but considering the folks who may just pick up and play the game, has value too.

7. Thou Shalt Say Whether They Beat A Game or Not. 

A well-kept secret: Most Game Journalists don't finish the games they play. Games are long, and reviews are very often (sadly) time sensaitive. In a rush to beat the clock reviewers may make it a good chunk of the way through the game, and base their impressions on that. 

Which is fine - as long as its mentioned. If you're 65 percent of the way through a game and have a good idea of what its about and who would enjoy it, reviewing it at that point is fine - especially since MOST gamers don't even finish games they play. 

But if a game is finished - it's important to mention how the complete package compares to impressions. 

6. Thou Shalt Tell The Difference Between a Good Game and an Entertaining Game. 

A game can have many flaws and still be worthwhile, and a game can have fantastic mechanics and be really, really, boring. 

For many this includes games like Call of Duty which seem to do the same thing to the point of exhaustion. Similarly, a game like Saints Row 2 can be glitchy and weird, but be so wonderfully entertaining it doesn't matter.

5. Thou Shalt treat All Games, Regardless of Platform, With Respect. 

iOS is here to stay people, so is Android, so are Facebook games and web-based titles. Disregarding a title because of platform is the exact same thing old people do / did on the news. Just because a platform is unappealing to you, doesn't mean the content on that platform is objectively bad. 

4. Thou Shalt Assign A Rating Of: "This Rocks", "This Sucks", or "Has its Moments" To All Fully Reviewed Titles. 

3. Thou Shalt Highlight Dynamic touches - no matter how feeble. 

Lots of neat little details go unnoticed when it comes to games criticism as the focus tends to be on graphics, control, narrative, and atmosphere. Something as stupid as a character's dialog changing based on an in-game event, or a funny reference to another game, should be brought to the attention of a reader.

2. Thou Shalt Speak To A Game's Message - Intentional or Otherwise. 

All media communicates something whether its intentional or not. A game can TRY and have a message and fail, not just try to tell a decent story then end up having a subtextual vibe / theme that's worth exploring. 

Explaining that a story is good is fine, but explaining WHY a story is good, or bad, is better.

1. Thou Shalt Communicate When They First Wanted to Stop Playing.

How long did a game hold your attention? How long did you have the game rattling around in your brain when you couldn't play it? What made you decide 'Okay, that's enough for today'. The odds are these reasons are worth dicussing and bringing to the forefront of a review. 

This doesn't always mean when the reviewer stopped playing "For Good" just when they fell out of love for the game for the first time.

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