A Gamer’s Rant

While browsing restaurant info on the omaha.com site (we’re planning on giving gift cards someplace new to Mike’s parents for Christmas), I stumbled across a link for hot holiday games. I didn’t really need to click on the link…I wasn’t buying games for anyone and I had a feeling I knew what games would be on that list, but my curiosity got the better of me and I clicked it.

What I saw made the journalism grad and gamer in me cringe. A lot.

The article was so poorly written. It reminded me of the writing exercises we did in my final journalism class where we got 10 minutes to write about a topic with little information. If I had handed it in to my professor, I would have been in major trouble. Another major flaw was how the article was formatted. The sections were a great idea and had a lot of potential, but whoever uploaded it and approved it should have double checked to make sure the sections and all the headers didn’t run together (ex: the info about Dishonored and that weird, lonely word at the end–zombies).

I am not a published journalist who has written for a major publication and I am not a hardcore gamer by any means. Sure I played a bit back in the day when I was a kid, but my buttony skills faded as time went on.

But, when you date and live with a gamer, you eventually become a gamer again. One who plays the same more serious games other gamers play (Gears of War and Halo versus Viva Pinata and Kinectimals–not that Viva Pinata and Kinectimals aren’t seriously awesome). Then you move into the big leagues and get invited to join LAN parties and actually play instead of watching for four or five hours and are actually able to be a helpful teammate. And if you don’t become a gamer, you know a ton about the world of gaming, whether it’s when games come out, where to look for reviews or who is offering the best pre-order bonuses.

I can kind of overlook the awkward writing, but I really couldn’t get over the reviews for the games. I can understand the writer might not have time or access to try any of the games out beforehand, but if all you’re going to do is basically copy and paste descriptions from sites dedicated to gaming, like IGN, at least use the good stuff. The majority of the reviews make the games sound very generic–and in some cases, downright dull. Who on earth wants to buy a dull game?

And for goodness’ sake, double check your facts (you’re not “getting” birds in Angry Birds Star Wars, you’re “getting” pigs). You would honestly learn more from the back of the box of the actual game and no gamer in their right mind would find the information useful. I was also surprised there wasn’t any mention of which platforms you could play them on or what they were rated–very important things for parents to know before buying one for their kids.

The “review” of Halo 4 is pulled directly from IGN, but it still failed on pointing out the biggest feature of the game: Master Chief is back. I mean, c’mon, Master Chief has been in a cryo-sleep for five looooong years and you can’t add a few words to pointing this out?!

The “review” that really set this whole rant in motion was for Borderlands 2. I have played countless hours of Borderlands 2. Heck, thanks to the sweet DLC (that’s extra content like new maps or challenges you can download) and various characters to play as, I’m still playing it.

The review reads as: “Borderlands 2 — The Borderlands are a crazy place for any adventurer, but you’ll make it through with the crazy amount of available weaponry.”

What a way to get your reader’s attention, then leave them hanging and probably pretty confused. Yes, The Borderlands is a crazy place for you to explore, but it doesn’t tell me anything about the game. Why is it such a crazy place? Why would I be wandering around the world, exploring? What kinds of weapons are there–like the ones I can find in other shooters? What do I need all these weapons for, anyway? Why is it called Borderlands 2–should I play the first one before this one?

So, what should a proper review of Borderlands 2 look like? Like these:
The Smoking Section
PC Gamer

This might be one of the few, if not only, ranting posts on my blog. I figured I’d forget all about the topic and carry on with life, but after a busy holiday season, it was still nagging me and I knew I better write about it. Mike deserves some credit for telling me I could and would have done a much better job reviewing the games.

I was also encouraged by another blogger, Ash Paulsen. His blog, The Optimistic Gamer chooses to focus on the positives of games, regardless if they’re developed by major studios or independently. He reminds you it’s totally acceptable to like a game just because you enjoy playing it. After all, that’s the reason people play. Sure, there’s flaws in every game and everyone has their own idea of what makes a game fun or good. Just because the critics hate it doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it.

Until I get my character to level 50 (that’s the maximum for now), or try out the two DLC packs that are out now, writing my own review would feel incomplete, so I will post one in the future. It will also give me more time to play with Mike and one of our friends, allowing me to give some insight to their characters and playing in a group.

Thanks for bearing with me and my rant. I promise my upcoming posts will be back to normal 🙂

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jon Ott (@theotter26)
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 14:27:04

    Damn girl, I hope you gave out a printed receipt for that ass whopping. Its tax deductible after all!

    good read though. I think you should write more about games or just reviews in general of shows and such. I really wish I would put more time into writing about wrestling and games!

    Maybe I should……


    • conversebear
      Jan 03, 2013 @ 15:10:17

      This is why I love you, Jon. I knew you and Mike would get it and that makes the post totally worth it.
      I’d love to review more things like programs, but that’s a bit tricky since there’s a delay. Or, like for Downton Abbey, I was months ahead of everyone else and I didn’t want to be the person who throws out spoilers. I hate those people. I’ll probably do more game reviews now that I actually play them instead of just watching. Not that reviewing from a non-gaming perspective would be bad…I tend to catch more things from the games than Mike.
      You totally should write about gaming and wrestling. Your insights and commentary when we go over to watch the Pay-Per-Views are great. You’re a fan, but you’re still realistic. I hear you on the time aspect though. I have lots of time and yet I still can’t find the right moment to sit down and say what I want to say. Maybe you could just do one write up a week? Ooh! Your first game review could be a whole thing on Star Wars X-Wing. I would, but I’m pretty sure I’ll just be excited to run around the house with the ships.


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