As I’m writing this, it finally occurs to me that saying that this site is X years old is pointless since it means that I have to update it every year. For the sake of simplicity, then: this place has existed in some form or another since March 2012.
A little about me
I’m currently [CURRENT YEAR MINUS 1987] years old, and while this section used to state that I possess the bitterness of a finely-aged curmudgeon, playing through dozens upon dozens of truly horrible games has made it possible to instead view it as preemptive realism. There really are that many bad games out there. Anyway, I’ve loved video games since pretty much forever; growing up, I used to force my babysitter to play through the entirety of the original Mario for the NES because she was crazy talented at it. In fact, I have a ton of gaming-related memories like that.
For example, when I was 7 or 8, I’d always have my parents rent this one game for the Sega Genesis (it’s either Landstalker or Light Crusader, and I’m like 80% certain that it’s Landstalker) and invite a friend from down the street to come over and help me play it. Neither her nor I ever managed to get past the first part of the game because we evidently sucked at games. In fact, it wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that I actually finished and reviewed Landstalker, in the process knocking out one of the first entries on my “things to conquer out of spite before dying” list.
Anyway, you’re probably wondering why anyone should care what I have to say about games. I certainly hope you’re wondering that, at least, because far too many people blindly accept the opinions of strangers on the internet. The whole point of this site is actually consistency; by having it staffed by a single (very tired) individual, the reviews all make sense relative to each other.
That makes a difference
The reason this is helpful/important is that agreeing or disagreeing with me on several games means that you’ll probably agree or disagree with me on other games, so you can use my opinions to discover other games you might be interested in or want to avoid. Since other game review sites often have different reviewers, it’s incredibly difficult to use them in such a way.
My game-related biases are pretty much spelled out whenever they come into play, but I’ll list all of them I can think of:
I’ve never been good at real-time strategy games so I won’t ever review one negatively (it wouldn’t be fair to hate on something I don’t enjoy, because that lack of enjoyment is separate from the game’s actual pluses and minuses).
The same goes for racing games—while I’ve played some racing games that I truly enjoyed, I don’t have enough of a handle on the genre to adequately review one negatively. That’s not to say that I won’t ever review racing games or real-time strategy games, but when it comes to them, I’ll only post the reviews of games that I loved despite my general inability to enjoy those kinds of games.
I’m physically incapable of hype
Keep in mind that I judge games based on what they are (and in the case of sequels, sometimes compared to their predecessor/s where relevant) rather than what they were promised to be at some marketing event years prior. It’s only rarely that I even bother to follow games before they release, so if a game is different than it was promised to be, there’s a good chance that I don’t know about it. It’s also worth pointing out that I don’t fanboy out over things regardless of how much I look forward to them or want them to be good. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to check out my Wind Waker, Fire Emblem Fates, and Dreamfall Chapters reviews to get a feel for just how unwilling I am to give out free passes.
A developer making something amazing once upon a time doesn’t earn them the privilege of getting away with releasing trash, and the popularity or financial success of a game or series shouldn’t dictate the tone with which its virtues and flaws are pointed out (I’m looking at you, reviewers who cover certain franchises with kid gloves to avoid upsetting fan bases and/or publishers and/or advertisers). Nor should lesser-funded games be thrown to the wolves for flaws that’d be overlooked if they were bigger and less safe for mainstream reviewers to lambast.
I’m not a journalist
It’s annoying how many people with game review sites fancy themselves journalists. I don’t go to press events. I don’t communicate with developers or PR people (and if they email me, they get ignored unless they’re asking for something shameless enough that I feel compelled to lash out at them). That said, I do (increasingly rarely) post on CD Projekt RED’s forums and have since 2011, a year before this site even existed, and I had some contact with staff members around 2012-2013, mostly in a thread revolving around whether Batman or Superman is superior. I also won a contest and got an official Witcher 2 game guide sent to me with a bunch of autographs from the dev team. Other than that, I’ve kept my hands completely free of possible entanglements, and anyone who’s seen my posts over on their forums knows that I’m harder on them than anyone (see: my The Witcher 3 review). Still, feel free to smack me and keep me honest if a conflict of interest arises that I was too stupid to notice ahead of time.
It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t receive review copies (as of now, though this may change at some later point when I can think up a way of doing so without being beholden to the people giving me said review copy), which means that this site runs in the red. Like, really, really in the red. This place is supported by me and my Patreon. And ads, I suppose, though I honestly haven’t seen a cent from them yet because I can’t be bothered to play the whole “use psychology to get people to click on ads” game. Same with search engine optimization (SEO); the whole thing requires a certain slimy salesman quality I’d rather not come to embody, though I’d appreciate any links you’d be willing to share with friends in a non-pushy way.
I always post screenshots at the end of reviews, but I’ll sometimes post a different batch of screenshots in the dedicated “screenshots” section. Whereas the screenshots at the end of my reviews are hosted here and only go down when the site does—and this used to be a frequent problem before I changed hosting—I have the ones from the screenshot section hosted on XOMF, so if you’re ever having trouble loading screenshots from that section, it’s most likely a momentary hiccup on XOMF’s end. This only happens rarely and is usually fixed within a matter of minutes, though, so it’s unlikely to be a problem.
This site doesn’t use review scores
For a detailed explanation of why, read this.
Contact me if you want
Lots of people ignore the above
You don’t really realize it when you’re on the outside looking in, but the amount of PR stupidity in the industry is truly staggering, as are the cheap tricks little devs employ for favorable reviews. The press releases and such are fine and expected, but some devs go out of their way to try and game the system. I had one guy send me a billion LinkedIn requests so that I’d be flooded with emails with his “struggling indie dad with kids” picture plastered all over them. To that guy: I hate you and your kids, and I’d sooner remove my eyeballs with an ice cream scoop than review whatever game you were trying to whore out. It’s insulting that you thought I’d be so easily manipulated. My heartstrings are made out of steel and contempt.
Then there are the paid PR people. This is where we get into the realm of the gambling sites and MMOs; I have people regularly contacting me about how much it would cost to do “native advertising,” which is code for them wanting me to shill their product and trick people into thinking I’m doing it objectively when in reality I’m being paid. These are the people I tend to snap at over email. It’s not that I necessarily hate money, but their expectation that I’ll whore out this little thing I’ve built for something as trivial as cash makes me want to engineer some kind of PR person genocide. If you look around the internet, it’s truly depressing how many people sell themselves out for the money and dance around on companies’ strings.