Settling scores

Edge have just published their Grand Theft Auto V review. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so just as soon as I’ve posted this. What I did do was scroll through the text to find out the score. I’m sure a good proportion of their readers do the same. In my case it’s more than impatience and curiosity: I actually rather like scores.

That number at the end of a review may be arbitrary to some people, but I can think of no better climax to a review than a couple of bold digits. It’s a statement, made all the more powerful when the publication has worked hard to protect the significance and integrity of its review policy, by which I mean giving average games a median score and only the greatest games the highest. In Edge’s case there are famously only 16 games that over the last 20 years have scored a perfect 10 – GTA IV  and V are the ninth and sixteenth respectively.

I’m not ashamed to admit that for me the score has often been the most difficult part of submitting a game review. It doesn’t just summarise an opinion down to its briefest possible form, it places the game against its peers and predecessors, siblings and successors. It’s the only part of the review that helps form part of a larger picture – a mosaic of opinions, if you will. Just because it’s the most reductive part of the review,  it shouldn’t be dismissed as the most subjective or meaningless.

As to whether GTA V is any good or not, I shall endevour to find out for myself when the next-gen properly arrives.

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I did a podquiz

I don’t normally do podcasts, due to an inability to communicate in real-time without the aid of a couple of Hoegaardens, but when an old Zone chum was let down by a succession of mildly important gaming chaps and needed someone on the lower rung of his friends list to step into the breach in discussing the gaming news of the day in a vague Have I Got News For You-style format, I was only too happy to help out.

Behold, an episode of the Level Up Videogame Podquiz from a couple of weeks back. Featuring me and some other people:

Playing catch up

I have so many games to catch up on I’m starting to question whether I’ll ever manage to get through them all. I’m not just talking about the dozens of titles I’ve picked up in Steam sales that I know deep down I’ll never properly play, but as someone who claims to be an expert in the field there are games I really should have completed by now.  Games like Mass Effect and Dead Space, neither of which I’ve made a concerted attempt to finally complete, in spite of them being right up my gaming alley and boasting multiple sequels and add-ons that I’m keen to get through. Hell, I’m still on the first Assassin’s Creed for chrissakes!

Once more onto the bridge...

Once more onto the bridge…

In my defence I’ve had a severe attachment to Eve Online for many years (and in the last year its PS3 spin-off Dust 514), but that’s a fairly lame excuse for someone in my line of work. So from today I’m going to make a pledge to not just tinker with games until I think I’ve grasped their character, but to know them inside and out. I shall start with the aforementioned Dead Space trilogy, because with a six-week baby keeping me up most nights (though not nearly as much as she should), the sleep deprivation should add considerable flavour to the adventure.

Ishimura here I come… again.

Needs must, or better late than never

When applying for a job the other day it struck me that I didn’t have anywhere to offer examples of my efforts for prospective clients or employers. The trouble is (was) that I’ve been continuously working on gaming magazines for so long now that I’ve never really had a need to bother with a personal website. Perhaps that was a mistake given the increasingly precarious nature of the print industry and the ever-decreasing number of jobs suitable for old dinosaurs like me.

Still, they say it’s never too late to start a journal, which is something I hope this tiny corner of the internet will develop into beyond being an online CV. If nothing else, perhaps hanging out at this digital homestead will be good for my sanity. Apologies in advance if it isn’t.