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Criticker is probably one of my favorite websites in the entire world. You rate a bunch of movies and then it calculates what rating you'd give to movies you haven't seen by finding people whose tastes are similar to yours and using their rankings to estimate your ranking. I've rated 1048 movies and by this point it's eerily accurate, and it has been for a while. You can customize the numbers that you use, but I use a 1-100 ranking system, and it's rarely more than about 5 points off from what I actually rank a film once I've seen it. It's super helpful in terms of finding new stuff to watch, deciding what to add to my Netflix queue, etc. That's really just the beginning, though. There's a bunch of other cool stuff it can do. So for instance I can search through the database, find all the movies from the 1950s that I haven't seen, rank them according to how much I'll probably enjoy them, filter them by genre, etc. I can see a list of every director who I've seen more than 3 movies by, or more than 4 movies by, or more than 5 movies by, or whatever, and see them all ranked according to how much I enjoyed their movies. I can search through my own rankings and find my favorite movies released in 1993 or my favorite romance movies or my favorite actin movies from the 80s or anything like that. It has lots of user created lists, too, so for instance here are all the lists I've made: Notice how I can see that I've seen 31 of the 91 films in the "They Shoot Pictures Neo-Noir" list, 4 of Rian Johnson's top 10 Criterion Collection films, ZERO of Steve Buscemi's top 10 Criterion Collection films, etc. All these lists are viewable by everyone, so in addition to all these lists there are plenty of lists by other users that I keep my eye on, like a list of every film by a female director or Martin Scorcese's 85 films you need to see to know anything about movies. You can show your profile to other people, so that they can for instance see all your rankings. Anyways, it's pretty cool. Ranking stuff is fairly easy, once you get a ranking system you like: the default is 1-100 I think, but you can change it to basically anything, like 1-5, by going to your profile, scrolling to near the bottom, and clicking "Manually control the colors & quips applied to your rankings with this tool."
TychoCelchuuu posted a topic in Video GamingOver in the (IGN.com) thread, we got into a discussion about objective game reviews. For whatever reason (an excuse to procrastinate plus a desire to try my hand at "the web," I think) I decided to just go ahead and register objectivegamereviews.com and throw up a website with, well, some objective game reviews, but with scores at the end. I wrote my first set of reviews and tweeted them at the game developers. January 1st, 2014, done. The next morning, Tom Francis, creator of Gunpoint, tweeted my Gunpoint review. That drove some hits to my site. I got an request from someone who wanted to be a writer for the site and two review codes. Then Luke Plunkett, who follows Tom or someone who retweeted Tom or who knows what, posted the site on Kotaku. That drove many hits to my site. My site crashed. I upgrade my hosting three times in a few hours, added a caching plugin, and stuck my site behind a thing called "CloudFlare" which works in a way still opaque to me. My site stopped crashing. The bandwidth usage began to climb. I received another request to write for the site and another few review codes. Lots of people started following the site on twitter, talking about it, and so on. About ~600 people were visiting it concurrently while it was all crashy, a number which dropped to about 200 by the end of the night. Throughout the day I wrote more reviews. Hotline Miami now featured a blurb from my review on their Steam store page. I went to bed. This morning, January 3rd, the concurrent visitors had dropped to about 100. I updated the FAQ, tweeted at people, tried to figure out Google+, and so on. I have received another couple of review copies for games and more offers to write for the site. There have been fun things that have happened. Just now, I managed to have a dry enough wit to confuse Chet Falizsek, which I heretofore had thought impossible. Evan Lahti follows me on twitter. 6 people are reading my review of Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha right now, and I'm glued to my Google Analytics real time tracker because it's hypnotizing to watch people visit the site. I got linked on On the Media which is a classy sort of NPR site. As of right now, three offers to write for the site have been earnest, or at least not "clued in" - they want to write objective game reviews because they like the website. The fourth is from someone who understands what is going on. I have six review codes and a seventh on the way for games that I don't have a lot of time to review. I'm still nailing down the style of the site but I think I've fallen into a rhythm and I've got a way of writing reviews that works, and now it's just up to me to do a good job writing reviews that fit the template. So far the most surprising thing for me has been discovering how much I actually like the reviews. I would've thought an objective review is about as useful as skimming a Wikipedia page, but I'm finding that restricting myself to basically objective statements forces me to think about what I want to say in different ways. Instead of saying how a game effects me and how I think it does it, I have to just mention the affecting thing the game does without mentioning why it is affecting. I also end up distilling games to their core when I try to just objectively summarize the game. I think, for instance, that my Stanley Parable review turned out fairly well in terms of addressing what makes that game good, without ever outright saying it. It's a roundabout way of doing things but that's what makes it interesting. I'm also struggling to fit humor into my reviews. I managed to get some jokes into the BF4 review, for instance, but it's a very fine line to walk because I want to keep the site's humor as dry as possible, so as not to ruin the objective editorial voice. The original goal for this site was to have something to link to whenever I saw someone ask for "objective game reviews" online. The goal was to shut them up, either by revealing what's wrong with that or just giving them what they want. At this point I feel like I'm more or less accomplishing that. And I owe it all to Idle Thumbs and the forums! Without that conversation in the IGN.com thread I probably wouldn't have bothered. What do you all think?