perjantai 27. tammikuuta 2012

Stand by for 4.0

Enough jabbering, the first real review(s) of the year will be published during this weekend, and all is finally going to slide back into the right track. It's been a while since I wrote one single review, so I've been studying my old reviews on the side. It's fun and encouraging to see how I've made progress as a writer during a couple of years, but there's always the next level. I've made a lot of mistakes and I'll probably go on making them, but that's part of this line of "work". I can still keep on trying to get better, though, and that is why VGMania is going 4.0.

Replaying it. Again. Why? Because it rules.
The general look of the blog will not change, for the time being. I personally like the logo and the colour scheme, and I've had positive feedback for the latter. I can't even imagine going back to black; hell, I can't even remember what the blog looked like when it was all black. I've made some subtle changes during the last couple of months which you might or might not have noticed: each screenshot has a white, shredded picture frame which kind of welds them to the background, it's a stylistic choice. Also, I've added a "Now Playing" gadget to the side, a short list of games that I'm actively playing. You can make your own assumptions of what's going to be reviewed next by checking it out each time there's a silent period. As I'm writing this, Trine 2 is the only game on the list that has not already been reviewed, and I can tell you this much when it comes to this weekend's subject: it's not it. The Now Playing list will be updated weekly, on Mondays or Tuesdays.

To go back to the mistakes I mentioned, a couple of choice games will be re-reviewed some time in the future - not because I'd like to re-evaluate them, that's lame because first impressions are what matter most. I must admit there are a couple of games which I have not experienced thoroughly enough to review them fairly; I've been in a hurry and it has showed in the reviews, perhaps not to you but to me. I don't think the ratings will change by a lot, but the content and tone of the written reviews might. If this gets done some day - I have a lot of more important business on my plate - the old reviews of those games will of course be deleted, forever.

Finally, to the most important subject and the actual purpose of going 4.0. After new year's, I toyed around with the idea of totally renovating the layout and style of my reviews. Thoroughly going through all those bits of ideas in my head is a part of the reason why it has taken me so long to start reviewing games again - imagining some single ideas becoming reality has practically rendered my old style garbage, however I've not come up with the perfect total layout. Tomorrow, the Ratings page will change, and starting tomorrow, I'll adapt a whole new rating system that I think is better than the one I've had thus far, and which I think will not have much of a hard effect on the existing Top/Bottom lists.

The cover of a fairly recent issue
of Pelit. So much is lost... but their
system's still good. Good enough
for me to take advantage of.
The very original rating system - never seen on the live blog, just bits of it - was influenced by a long-defunct Finnish video game magazine called Super Power. There was - and still is - another Finnish magazine called Pelit (Games). Just to stay alive, they took on console games in their later years, but back when I read the magazine, it solely focused on PC (and other home computer) games. Although I was never a PC gamer, the magazine was ultra-stylish, its old editors were true, passionate professionals and therefore the magazine was a fun read. They had a very neat rating system back in the day, and it has carried over to the new generation, however the reviews of the newer, younger editors are simply not interesting to read. Sometimes they're even downright ridiculous in their tone.

I'm not here to tell you about the magazine. Remember when I thought about adapting Game Revolution's +/- system? The idea has plagued my mind ever since, and while I've read some of my old reviews, I've thought to myself, many times, how great that system would work in game X... but I don't want to change the actual ratings! ...Now where did I get the idea that I'd have to do that? I stumbled on an old issue of Pelit and the perfect answer to my problems was right there. For years, they've used a +/- system, BUT given the game a numerical rating similar to mine (0-100). I don't have to pour all of my old reviews through some filter. The only thing I have to be prepared for, is perhaps some _small_ adjustment to the Top/Bottom lists, or perhaps making whole new lists, which is not a very hard or time-consuming project at all - I've been thinking of expanding them anyway.

I know this is all kind of confusing, but I think tomorrow's (or Sunday's) review will explain how the reviews will look from now on in itself. I also think the game franchise I've picked is perfect for demonstrating the new system. I hope you'll check the first review of the year out, and if you've got no comment on the game itself, I hope you'll smash a brick of feedback on my face about the new system.

3 kommenttia:

  1. I like the "currently playing" gadget a lot, even if it makes me feel woefully inadequate for only playing one game at a time.:p

    I did notice the new torn look on the photographs. I think it is very effective and works well with the spatter design at the top of your page.

    I like the new rating system as well. All around I give you two thumbs up.

  2. Lots of thanks and a silent bow. Just need a little work on the Top/Bottom lists which we discussed before, and I think this year's updates are done.