The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Reviewing the reviewers

Selecting video games in the early years of our adolescence was unapologetically simple. If the game case had a “cool” picture on the front, that’s all we needed to know. The risk of obtaining a bad game was overturned by our loyalty to the likes of Mario, Sonic, or Star Wars and we were forced to be happy with what we had. As we grew older and wiser in the ways of the internet, such archaic methods of hit and miss decision-making fell to the way side. Any number of journalistic web sites and their video reviews could provide us the insight we needed to avoid the trash and embrace the terrific. The most effective of these sites were and still are the ones containing video reviews that are not only informative but also convey the very essence of the games we want to play. The three best of these sites are the following:

Gametrailers.com – Among many other features and exclusives, this site goes out of their way to provide the most compact video game reviews on the web. Brimming with information, each video session quickly describes a game’s story, design, gameplay, and presentation with tightly woven video sequences that relay exactly what the reviewer is referring to at any given moment. The reviewer himself is also a huge highlight as his fluid voice allows for the smooth transition from one piece of information to another and is filled with a seemingly avid passion for the subject matter. By the time each review is done, this site gives the feeling that not only are they thoroughly knowledgeable about the game and surrounding industry, but that you can be too if you just lend them your ear.

Escapistmagizine.com – The silver-tongued British reviewer, nicknamed “Yahtzee,” of this web site provides a flavor for video game criticism that combines both biting wit and uncensored hilarity into an unforgiving aural bombardment rivaling that of a tornado. From the moment the review starts, his torrent of words fly out at almost deafening speeds, leaving the viewer to catch up as best they can. At his clearest, “Yahtzee” flourishes his rhetorical prowess with a surprisingly sharp analysis of the key components of what makes a given game succeed and/or fail. At his most congested his crude animation and devilishly crafted metaphors still surprisingly weave in and out of a viewer’s mind in an almost subliminal fashion that immediately provides the viewer with a distinct feel for the game.

1up.com – Definitely the most casual of the three sites presented here, these reviewers use this aspect of themselves to their advantage. Instead of one omnipotent reviewer conveying his enlightened understanding of a game’s creative pros and cons, we have a group of reviewers discussing the game in a forum. This not only provides the benefit of gaining multiple reviews within one sitting but also provides the opportunity for their info to be passed on in an easily digestible fashion – one where the reviewer is a passerby overhearing a friendly conversation between a couple of experienced critics.

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