RunPee: OK, admit it. You find yourself needing to go in the middle of a good movie, but can’t decide whether to suffer a little longer or go now. Wonder no more. Next time you go to the movies, check RunPee to find out the best times to go.
Kosher Coke is not just for Jews: Excuse me? No, the regular Coke tastes better than the one without corn syrup. Or maybe the fact we can’t get this in cans or smaller bottles is the problem because they go flat the minute you open them.
I thought it was time to break out the games portion of my site and send it out on its own. This site’s main blog content focuses on business, marketing, writing, and technology. Though games technically (pun intended) fall under technology, it worried me that it would bother some readers to have it blended.
I tried to keep the content separate, but I noticed the game’s content was showing up in the email feed. The two parts of the site attract different audiences.
To celebrate the official launch, I’m collecting prizes to give away to you and your friends. How big will this be? Well, when I celebrated my blog’s 8th birthday in June 2008, I collected over $5000 worth of prizes and jumped out of a plane as a thank you.
No plane jump this time (hey, I’ve had enough injuries for 2008 to last me a couple of years). Anyway, if you would like to be a sponsor, you can count on link backs to your web site from this blog, the new site, twitter, and everyone who helps spread the word.
To sponsor a prize please email me (merylk [AT] game DOT] com) with the prize you generously wish to donate along with a link to your web site so I can link back and the value in $ of your prize. Here’s the 8th birthday bash final list of prizes if you need ideas.
Hold on to your codes or whatever you’re donating — we’ll work it all out later.
Excited? You betcha!
Wanna peak? Wanna give feedback? It’s all happening at TheGameZen.com.
When I first started doing casual game reviews, praising or picking apart a game came easy. Now, when writing game reviews, I feel like I’ve said it all before. The top 10 game journalism cliches (article no longer available) captures the challenges game reviewers face. Here is the list along with my comments.
1. Top ten lists: I rarely do this. When I do, the top ten list article comes out at the end of the year. Sites like Mashable often write “## best sites for [enter a topic].” I prefer “## sites for [enter a topic]” because it’s easy to miss deserving candidates.
2. The historical open: This approach gives the writer a nice way to segue into the review. But during these times of information overload, I try to open a review with what it is along with a subtle hint of whether it’s great or blah. What do you want to know when you read a review? For me, I want reviews to tell me what the game, book, or product is about and whether it’s any good.
3. Headlines with a “?” at the end: I don’t have to worry about headlines since all the places I review for just list the game title as in “Diner Dash PC Game Review.” We could argue for and against this method, but it tells you exactly what it is.
4. 7/10 reviews: This would be 4/5 for some of us where ratings use the five point scale instead of 10, but 7/10 appears frequently in working with one client. The local newspaper started adding comments next to the rating such as “two out of five stars (good).” So, two to five stars are positive while one and zero (never happens) stars is negative. That’s no bell curve. It’s as if the newspaper is trying to be gentle and prevent readers from automatically thinking “two stars… don’t go there!” Reviews should be about serving the reader and potential customer, not making nice with the business. Kids today often get a trophy every time they play a sport regardless how their team played. Getting a trophy should make us proud because we earned it not because we signed up and played. How are we going to motivate ourselves to improve?
5. Realistic graphics: No comments on this one.
6. Quirky: Is it good or bad? Exactly the problem.
7. Fans of X will enjoy it: Guilty. I use this line when I don’t have a clever way to end the review.
8. Only time will tell: Pointless. Just give the details now.
9. Reviews broken up into standardized sections: This refers to “graphics,” “sound,” “gameplay,” etc. None of the places I review for use this. They provide a rating. One uses “pros” and “cons,” which gives you a snapshot of what’s good and bad about the game. I think that’s beneficial. Web writing rules apply here — if the review is long, use bold headers every few paragraphs. I rarely do this, though — it just doesn’t work as well for reviews.
10. “Fun.” I try to avoid this like the plague. Considering its synonyms (enjoy, amusing, cool, entertaining, pleasurable) often don’t work well, reviewers sometimes can’t help but use “fun.”
My biggest problem is describing different things such as the graphics and sound. You can only say the same thing so many ways. One thing about reviewing… it offers writers a wonderful way to put their creativity to work. [Link: Gamewire]
Freelance Writing Fees: Anne Wayman has great series of articles to help writers with their fees. Unfortunately, writers won’t find a straight answer and it’s up to us to figure out our fees. But resources like this can help with the process.
Design of Desire: On Thanksgiving, my daughter was talking to a family friend about her interest in psychology as a college major. We learned from one of the relatives that she knows a psychology who works at a major retailer who studies buying motivations. Fascinating!
Best cell phone deals from Consumer Reports: I’m ready to terminate my cell phone service as my provider’s data coverage is unacceptable. This article covers options for those who want to terminate early plus other advice.