The love/hate relationship of video game reviewing

So many characters, so little time...

So many characters, so little time…

I love video games.

If you didn’t know that then you need some glasses… and maybe we need to go out for a beer one night and discuss things. You’re buying. I also enjoy beer.

Video games are my zone, but I’ve learned that there are several different zones to explore- News writing, rumors, opinionated blurbs, and the monstrous task of intricately reviewing the top video game titles.

Reviewing is hard. Writing is hard enough; you can read all about that here, but adding the hours of play time plus the organization of a review and blending the piece with just enough factual information with informative opinions… it can get tedious. But there is also no better feeling than to finish that never-ending review of a game you didn’t really want to play in the first place. Video game reviewing isn’t like other forms of writing.

I was sent to a showing of Hangover III as a reviewer. Movie reviewing is fun even when you don’t really get into the film. Number one: I’m not a huge comedy fan. Number two: I’ve never really enjoyed the other Hangover films. And number three: … Well I had popcorn so I can’t complain too much. But movies, to me, are simple. Maybe that’s the intense story-lover in me or even the long-lost student that enjoyed film studies in high school way too much. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I don’t have to spend 10+ hours watching a movie in order to review it.

There’s a psychotic part of me that really wants to review a game like Mass Effect, piling hours upon hours of play time and note-taking. However if it was actually a Mass Effect game that I was reviewing, my final draft would look like this:

Mass Effect: Review


My brain would probably be mush after all of that. But to do this as a career, to become a “Roger Ebert” of video games, would be painfully amazing. Emphasis on painful. I think most people jump into this thinking, “Hey, I get free games and I just have to write about them!” And maybe that is actually how some people work through the… work of reviewing. But to me, it’s a challenge. Hey, I get free games to review and it’s hard! The competition is fierce. You have to learn to be one of the first to release a quality review that most people will simply skim through.

All of those hours and sleepless nights end up becoming about 30 seconds of someone else’s time. I hate it, and I love it, and damn it just give me more games! That’s what passion is, right? That world of convoluted feelings that sometimes make you look like a maniac, and makes people wonder why you even do what you do. I could write something else, sure. I could easily print off an article about the latest celebrity with a poodle or that one moment when the Biebs decided to spit on babies.

But video games rule. And this post has completely transformed into a wild rant. Other writers, interject your own thoughts!




6 thoughts on “The love/hate relationship of video game reviewing

  1. Well said!

    In the couple of years I’ve been at it, I’ve gotten plenty of free games to review. That’s always nice, but sometimes I absolutely hate having to write the review. Like you said, it’s hard.

    For me, I end up taking forever to actually get started. I’ll write something, and then delete it, and repeat that about five or six times. And that itself is a lengthy process. Once I get an introductory paragraph done that I’m happy with it, the rest of the review tends to flow pretty quickly. But I hate sitting down trying to start one.

    I also hate the scores. You said all the hours spent on it end up becoming someone’s 30 seconds, and I agree with that. I don’t think most folks read the reviews; instead they barely skim it while scrolling down to see what score it received. I’m sure at least most of us who write the reviews actually read what the others have written, but I certainly don’t think the average reader does.

    But yes, video games rule and so does writing about them (review or not).

    • I think I make scoring way more difficult than it needs to be… but that’s just because I think too deeply into it. I usually know after a few minutes if I’m going to truly enjoy a game or not, but making a suitable score for it is hard!

  2. I think its amazing how some gamers can jump around from video game to video game in a given week. I struggle playing just one title for the whole

    • I’m exactly the same way! Especially if I’m really into the game that I’m playing. I always feel like I miss something important when I rush through gameplay for the sake of a review.

      • well, just don’t let your video game review turn into work. There is no better way to take the fun out of video games than turning it into

  3. Being a reviewer of video games would be fun, but also hard when you have to not only play the game as a regular player just enjoying the ride, but also someone who has to view the entire game critically. Are the graphics high quality? Is the gameplay easy to navigate? Was the overall story engaging? There’s so many things to consider when you review a game. Still, at the end of the day it’s all about passion and doing something you love!

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