I’ve said before that we need a better word for what we’re doing here. We use the word “review” to describe bare-bones, short-and-to-the-point consumer advice: Graphics are great. Story is okay. Four out of five stars. Those are aimed at people who haven’t experienced the work yet and are considering whether they should make a purchase or not.
This is fundamentally different from the kind of “review” we get from Errant Signal, BunnyHop, MrBtongue and (on extremely rare occasions) myself, which is a look at a game with the expectation that the audience has played it and wants to discuss it further. These post-consumption reviews are more like the conversation you’d have with a friend on the way home from the movie.
Consuming the media is just the first step of the process, after which we discuss, analyze, and reflect on what we’ve experienced. We look at it through the eyes of our friends and see if we find anything new. And even once that process is over, we’re still not done. After the reflection comes the remixing, when we take our shared experience and make something new from it. Maybe it’s a song, or a skit, derivative fan works, or derivative derivative fan works, or even some sort of cross-media hybrid. And if none of that works for you, you can always just watch other people as they consume media for you. The internet has focused and amplified all of these activities, turning them into a secondary wave of entertainment.
You could argue that we’ve also added quite a bit to the pre-consumption stages as well. Following the news. Watching and discussing and analyzing trailers. Commenting on “leaked” assets and talking about our expectations before the movie or game is released. Reading classic consumer-advice reviews.
We don’t even have proper words for a lot of these concepts. Some of them have names: Fan Fiction, let’s plays, teasers. But some of the other things don’t have proper names yet, and for me the most frustrating one is the fact that we use the word review for both “consumer advice” and “retrospective”. That is really annoying.
Push the Button!
Scenes from Half-Life 2:Episode 2, showing Gordon Freeman being a jerk.
The Biggest Game Ever
Just how big IS No Man's Sky? What if you made a map of all of its landmass? How big would it be?
Dear Hollywood: Do a Mash Reboot
Since we're rebooting everything, MASH will probably come up eventually. Here are some casting suggestions.
Silent Hill 2 Plot Analysis
A long-form analysis on one of the greatest horror games ever made.
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?