Monday, March 3, 2014

Video Reviews

When reviewing a video game, another dimension of depth is added by having a video review that incorporates the reviewer summarizing his or her sentiments with some key critiques, compliments and footage of the game itself alongside the written review. has a reputation for serving a wide audience of gamers with very reliable, consistent, agreeable, and largely non-controversial video game coverage. The same could be said for the site's video reviews as well.

On the other hand,, a comparatively modest website that owes its existence to the widely popular video game magazine, EGM, has a heritage for some especially personality-focused video game coverage. Not only is 1up indebted to its print predecessor and active, opiniated employees, but also to its experience conducting the 1up Show. For which, many of the video reviews we're now seeing have been clearly influenced.

So, this begs the question, which site does video reviews better and why?

Well to be fair, both websites clearly have different aims for their respective audiences. (Which admitedly, may not differ all that much considering at the end of the day, both websites are intended to appeal to gamers).

That aside, in terms of review organization, IGN's got 1up beat. With their simple headline cues, such as, "Presentation", "Gameplay", or "The Verdict", the flow of IGN's reviews is clear, as it is apparent what is being critiqued at what given time.

The Verdict: IGN

As for opinion presentation, both publications almost couldn't be on more opposite ends. IGN features a single reviewer performing a voice-over that discusses the successes and failures of the given game, with the aforementioned headline cues nicely organizing the overall critique, while corresponding footage plays in the background. 1up's video reviews, instead, consist of a more informal one-on-one , or in some rare instances, three-man discussion that usually takes place between two or three seasoned veterans of the series or genre. In this style of video review, gameplay footage is assorted intermittently during the breaks in the conversation -- which contributes to 1up's more leisurely pace.

The Verdict: All in all, I think I'd have to go again with IGN here for its efficient and clear-cut style. There rarely are moments when I found myself confused as to what aspect of the game is being analyzed.

Now, when it comes to reviewer expertise, it's fair to say both sources are evenly matched. IGN has their storied history that dips into the 90s, and while only a few reviewers are still around since them, many of the more contemporary IGN reviewers share similar tastes, and video game vocabularies as their 1up counterparts.

The Verdict: No winner, no loser; IGN and 1up are more or less equally credible video game reviewing resources.

Possibly the most difficult skill for a reviewer to master is his or her ability to persuade or disuade potential consumers. As an aside, I, personally am an incredibly conservative video game consumer -- I am a completionist at heart, and am rarely willing to embark on another adventure before I have completed previous ones.

The Verdict: 1up with their evangelizing style of endorsements do a better job not only convincing buyers on the edge, but also for games one may not ortherwise ever be interested. IGN usually follow the common of review scores -- it's funny how that happens with the possibly biggest video game press website. (One would think IGN has some corporate masters orchestrating their bizarre habit of having the most conventional review scores.)

The way one expresses him or herself may be the tipping point for some gamers -- and the way the IGN reviews are conducted couldn't possibly be more rote. Almost any given review contains one of the following words and phrases;

- "It's the same old ... you know and love"
- "This game is definitely for fans of the genre."
- "A Game of the Year contender"
- "Stunning"
- "Awesome"
- "Cool"
- "This game does everything right, from its ..., to its ..."

While it is typical for IGN reviewers to employ a liberal use of the various overused words and phrases that have come about from the gaming industry, there are a few select reviewers that have resisted the temptation that many of their coworkers have fallen pray to.

Maybe many of the IGN reviewers feel this hum-drum, run-of-the-mill, typical, and conventional language commonly used to express one's sentiments surrounding a given game is the language most identifiable, most relateable to gamers -- either as a result, or as their viewers not noticing, IGN saw no problem with it, and to this day, has not sought to alleviate this issue.

The contest for the superior video reviews has been a trying one -- two equally credible sites that each have  tremendously talented and seasoned editors, that have video reviews pertaining to varying degrees of quality with regards to the various aspects.

16. March 2010

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