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.
The Biggest Game Ever
How did this niche racing game make a gameworld so massive, and why is that a big deal?
Juvenile and Proud
Yes, this game is loud, crude, childish, and stupid. But it it knows what it wants to be and nails it. And that's admirable.
The product of fandom run unchecked, this novel began as a short story and grew into something of a cult hit.
A video Let's Play series I collaborated on from 2009 to 2017.
Shamus Plays LOTRO
As someone who loves Tolkein lore and despises silly MMO quests, this game left me deeply conflicted.