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TychoCelchuuu

ObjectiveGameReviews.com - A Subtle Journey of Discovery

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Over 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?

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I think you better remember us, the little people who helped you strike it rich, when you're cruising in your solid gold Lamborghini.

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My review of the site from the IGN.com thread.

 

Objective Review of Objectivegamereviews.com

 

Genre | Website
Developer | TychoCelchuuu
Platforms | The Internet

 

Objectivegamereviews.com is a website.  Visitors to the site can read objective reviews of video games.

 

Each review is an objective assessment of a video game.  The top of the review contains an image from the game.  The review lists the genre, developer, and platform the game is available for.  Reviews describe how the game is played.  Reviews contain descriptions of the story, graphics, and sound.  At the end of the review the game is objectively scored on a scale of 1 to 10.

 

Reviews can be sorted by genre, platform, and score.  The website contains About Our Mission, Contact Us, and FAQ pages.  The website is powered by Wordpress and hosted by Lithium Hosting.

 

10.png

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I think you better remember us, the little people who helped you strike it rich, when you're cruising in your solid gold Lamborghini.

Cars have rear view mirrors for a reason!

It looks like I might've made $10 yesterday off ads. That seems like a lot of money to make in a day for a website set up the previous evening. I'm not sure that sort of money is at all sustainable, though. I hope I can at least pay back the hosting costs.

One thing I left out of the OP: the response from the public. It has been, as you might expect, mixed. Lots of people get it and enjoy it:

https://twitter.com/Inevpatoria/status/419200756554543105

https://twitter.com/fiddlecub/status/419196031171977216

https://twitter.com/aeonofdiscord/status/419145032814170114

https://twitter.com/becklespinax/status/419132190937452545

https://twitter.com/BrockWager/status/419093435878871040

https://twitter.com/HeyHeyESJ/status/418951577869639681

Some people can't tell if it's a joke:

https://twitter.com/chetfaliszek/status/419190252339593216

https://twitter.com/frailgesture/status/419192038551085056

https://twitter.com/DevourerOfTime/status/418979492418187264

https://twitter.com/mikeschramm/status/419169518280114176

Some people think it's serious:

https://twitter.com/laurz/status/419197506535567360

https://twitter.com/aleksnotalex/status/419191213225304065

https://twitter.com/James_Batchelor/status/419189278808481792

https://twitter.com/James_Batchelor/status/419189278808481792

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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.

 

Interesting. How great a difference would it make to have "clued in" versus "earnest" review staff, do you think?

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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.

Didn't take long for that cabal-bias to seep in.

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Interesting. How great a difference would it make to have "clued in" versus "earnest" review staff, do you think?

I'm honestly not sure. The main issue is that if I ever bring people on board I'll want them to follow my style guide, and my style guide is very explicit about what I'm doing, which means it would give up the secret. I'd have to somehow make a separate style guide for them. Really though I'm not sure I would ever bring anyone on board who didn't know what was going on.

Didn't take long for that cabal-bias to seep in.

The cabal is objectively correct.

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Oh man, imagine the lulz if you get popular enough to be picked up by metacritic.

 

Why even bother though right? Metacritic attempts to create objective review scores by averaging across many subjective reviews. This site's reviews are already by definition subjective, making metacritic obsolete. This is the wave of the future right here.

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Shout out to Twig for posting Miller's Giant Bomb top 10 (starting the ball to which you referred).

And, sincerely, congrats Tycho. Do us a favour and beat IGN at their own game.

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I love everything about this.

I'm sure there's plenty of people around here who're obviously in on it who'd like to hop on board and help out. I know I would.

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I think I speak for a few of us when I say I'd enjoy writing some objective game reviews.

 

edit: I have access to Bravely Default which means I could probably write an objective review before the subjective ones come out. That would be a lot of fun.

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I'm a little conflicted about bringing other people on board. I don't like the idea of people writing for game sites for free, but at this point I have no idea what the ad revenue is going to be so I can't even figure out how much I can pay people, let alone how much I should pay people. On the other hand, more reviews are always better and it would be great to, for instance, have a review up for a game like Bravely Default - a timely review is always better, especially for a site looking to establish itself, because you can get in on lists of reviews and stuff that people pass around (and potentially even show up when people Google for reviews).

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If regulars from around here want to volunteer the occasional piece, I'd say let them.  Just make sure everyone is on the same page.  I've volunteer written a few pieces over the years for a couple of gaming sites, mostly for my own enjoyment.  It gave me a chance to write something that I wanted to write, and get it in front of a larger audience than my mostly neglected personal blog would ever attract.  Even writing for free, I viewed it as a mutually beneficial deal, so long as it didn't interfere with my other responsibilities.  But I've never had any desire to write about gaming professionally, and so wasn't settling any hopes on the pieces that were published.

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I don't have any interest in writing objective reviews, but I have a lot of interest in the objective game reviews podcast!

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I'm a little conflicted about bringing other people on board. I don't like the idea of people writing for game sites for free, but at this point I have no idea what the ad revenue is going to be so I can't even figure out how much I can pay people, let alone how much I should pay people. On the other hand, more reviews are always better and it would be great to, for instance, have a review up for a game like Bravely Default - a timely review is always better, especially for a site looking to establish itself, because you can get in on lists of reviews and stuff that people pass around (and potentially even show up when people Google for reviews).

 

Hesitant is a good idea for now I'd say. See how it goes, maybe it will go up. Sounds like you're off to a great start though, and getting people that share your point of view is going to be a key idea. Since you're just going for dry description at the moment well... I'd actually love to read previews like that! I'm not so sure I'm actually interested in the reviews as such personally, but previews of just what the game is without all the gushing bullshit is something I'd be interested in. And so long as others can write competently and stick to the ideal I don't see a necessary problem with other writers.

 

I can't say for the money thing one way or another. I've written slightly popular stuff for my own brief blog and Gamasutra, but did it all for free as I just enjoy writing things sometimes. But I don't know what to say about your site so far, as it would feel somewhat different from that.

 

Best of luck!

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I just want to say that i've derived a considerable amount of amusement from watching this thing blow up over the last few days, heh.

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I think it blew up and then down and now it's time for the long haul (unless another gaming news site decides to link to it). I'm glad to be past the frenzy of these first few days. The site is down right now because my host is doing MySQL maintenance that is taking a long time and is scheduled at an annoying hour but once it comes back up I'll write a few reviews to parcel out over the next few days while I think about this thing. I want it to be kind of a legitimate review site but on the other hand I don't know if I have that kind of free time, plus I need to get large enough to feel good bugging companies about review codes for brand new games. Right now the review codes I have are from indie devs and from games that have been out a little while - I'm not sure what level of prestige I'd need to get, for instance, a copy of Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta - Episode 1 - Gold Edition so I could review that and thus get something timely on the site (which would get more traffic and so on).

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