Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Gaming Coverage and Review Policy

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Greetings retro gamers and readers of Gaming History 101,

Normally I do not find the following information necessary or standard, but the fact of the matter is that the world of video game coverage has changed. With most of my written reviews, articles, and stories there is a small amount of traffic that aggregates to the wonderful number of views this site receives everyday and I have no one to thank but all of you. Breaking it down, each video receives about double to triple the views and article would receive and the podcast blows all of them away by literally hundreds of times. At this point I cannot ignore the data, nor would I ever fight it, and concede that audio is the most popular medium for retro, followed by some following for video, and lastly with written. It then occurred to me that perhaps the volume of coverage I put into each game far surpasses the interest of most of you readers and, in truth, probably surpasses the volume I care to read in articles myself. For this reason I have decided to alter written coverage in the following ways:

  • There will only be one or two “lessons” per month. These are long (typically 2000+ word) articles that get into detail on broad topics and thus aren’t commonly written. When I do cover them, these articles will remain the same. For the record, I think it has been around a year since my last lesson.
  • Blog entries regarding neo-retro topics (ie: games or topics that harken to the days of retro) may be more frequent.

Finally, and probably the biggest news, is a revamp to the review policy. Typically I gave hybrid/retrospective reviews on games that seemed to relate back to the days when they released as well as give a modern perspective. Now reviews will be shortened to 500 words or less (I’m trying for 300 or less), which is a start breakdown compared to the now 1500-2000 word reviews. These reviews are now broken down within a single paragraph or two that gives you a quick perspective on the game, not to mention allowing a larger number of reviews to be done each month. You will see a significant increase in volume. Additionally there will now be a review score and a “would you like to know more” section (when applicable) added to the end of each review. While the “would you like to know more” link will typically attach to a related video, podcast, or extra article I write (usually the next day and with the same shortened format). The review score will be on a 5-point scale and allow the reader to get a quick snapshot. Since review scores are so varied from site to site, I have my review score guidelines pointed out below, including what each means. You can still expect my usual profile snapshot at the beginning of every review to let you know how to find the game, download instruction manuals, see box art, and if it the game is available digitally.

Review Score Guidelines

Nothing fancy, just a way to know where the game stands. As I have always felt, review scores (especially retro) require no more than a 5 point scale, no “.5” necessary. Scores on Gaming History 101 will be rated on a 5 point scale, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, and 3 being average, which is a rarity on most sites. Here are what the numbers relate to in general terms.

  1. Poor: Games with this score are typically broken in many ways. Whether there are programming glitches that prevent the game to be played, continued, or finished, games with this score demonstrate an overall lack of quality. This also means that from the perspective of the reviewer’s definition of fun and playability that it demonstrates almost no merit. Games of this score can be appreciated, but this is typically on a heavily biased or “cult” perspective.
  2. Fair: Games with this score are usually regarded in a negative light. While they may be free of flaws or have no drastic blemishes, the game has little reason to enjoy. In some cases this can be lack of proper instruction, misleading information, poor controls, or just an absence of value. Often these games are celebrated by a select few who see promise in what the game attempted to deliver but the title itself never came close to that vision. These are below average games.
  3. Average: It’s simply a game; no more, no less. This can be granted to titles that don’t particularly do anything impressive, but stand as a means to pass the time. They may be fun or even at times inventive, but overall they offer little to a user hoping to have a fresh experience. Sequels of the sprite-based era or titles that attempted new technology first (not necessary launch titles) often fit this category. There are many reasons to play games in this category, but rarely do they have a lasting effect or generate strong nostalgia as a complete experience.
  4. Great: Titles with this score go above and beyond to achieve a memorable experience for those that play it. Aside from bias (ie: genre, console, rarity), these are titles that should be played by any fan of gaming and in many cases should not be missed. Almost free of programming and gameplay flaws, these titles show that they stand above the rest for their platform and are often part of lists as to why to own the console. Additionally these tend to be of the first re-released when given an opportunity.
  5. Excellent: While the highest score, these games are not perfect. Perfection has not been achieved yet in game design, but if you are going to argue that case any title with this score creates a compelling point. Brought together by innovative design, professional programming, and amusing gameplay, these titles are not to be missed. Not branded on so-called classics as often as most would like to claim, these titles should be played in spite of a bias. They were and continue to be achievements in the realm of gaming.

There you have it, a taste of things to come. Starting in August you will see a significant increase in the number of reviews posted and by all means please feel free to request reviews in the contact area. In the meantime, happy gaming.

Sincerely,

Fred Rojas
Executive Editor/Site Owner
Gaming History 101

Written by Fred Rojas

July 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with , , ,

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