20 October 2009

Recession Times

I need to start off by stating that the only recession I'm presently worried about is my hairline! This nonsense about global economic crisis has, thankfully, gone straight past me without really affecting my personal employment experience, and so for that I am incredibly grateful as friends around me stumble into depleted salary packages and job losses / retrenchment. Nonetheless, it is with some guilty joy that I reveal to you all my new part-time profession...

That, of game reviewer!

As many of you who know me can vouch, one of my favourite past-times is playing computer games. I am a natural at it. I've had a computer or gaming device since I was born. First came an Atari, then a ZX Spectrum, and so the list goes on! At any rate, what better way to live out one's dream than to actually LIVE OUT ONE'S DREAM, right? Sadly, this is not entirely true. I have discovered that being a games reviewer is a fantasy, not a dream, and the reality isn't all rosey and cowboy midgets riding on unicycles with a tankard of beer in hand... game reviewing can be really hard work. There's deadlines, there's length-limitations, there's editing, there's good moments, and there's a lot more bad moments. Getting a rubbish game can be soul destroying, and fantasy destroying. My first review was a hard slog to finish on time, because I am a casual gamer who likes to fart around and explore, so my two week deadline loomed up heavily and before I knew it, I was pressed for time, and none the more entertained by the game I had to review. Thankfully as time progressed, the game, and the enjoyment thereof, improved, and I can confidently give this game a good rating. Read my review at www.el33tonline.com if you would like to know more :) I have to point out that my review was mildly edited because it was "too long" (what do THEY know :)), so there's some confusion about who or what Mooch is, which is only rectified halfway through my review - that's not my fault :)

(EDIT: Lisa chatted with me after reading this post, and it turns out she didn't edit anything to do with my content. It must be my old age [evidenced by that recession up top] that's causing me to imagine things. I must have heavily edited it myself in my sleep or something. No harm, no foul. It wasn't modified at all by anyone beyond ME)

A brief backdrop as to how this all started:

Tim Twelves came back for a weekend, and we hooked up for dinner at Le Trouquet. There I bumped into some old friends from UKZN (then UND); two of them were Wayne and Lisa. We started to chat, and I discovered Lisa runs a game review enterprise. We started to chat some more - things were said - and eventually a long road down Oltman won his first competition he entered on el33tonline's website (thanks to me). He was so excited about this he unashamedly wrote a novel to them to thank them for his winnings, and to subtly hint that he is capable of writing reviews. When they subsequently asked him to write reviews, I became a little jealous, and approached them to ask them to hire me, which they did. That's the story (open letter to follow at some point I'm sure).


oltman said...

sour grapes! they just recognise talent when they see it, hence i was asked... i did not have to beg :P

just kidding! awesome dude! we going to the big time in no time!

Graeme said...

So are you and Oltman both reviewing games now? I was wondering why you were playing G-Force. Do you get to keep the review copies?

I thought reviewing games would be a good way to get free games when I was in varsity, and I sent off a horrendously verbose sample review to some site. They replied saying they thought it was good, but they needed to confirm with their bosses if they needed another reviewer, and that they'd get back to me. They never did, which I'm assuming was polite rejection.

Right now, though, I can't think of any worse way to play games than to have to finish them on a deadline, I've become very slow at playing games and I can take months to finish them sometimes. And, to be honest, with all the top quality titles already out or coming soon, I'd hate to have to spend valuable gaming time playing something like G-Force or Smackdown vs Raw.

BrYan (aka Brattex) said...

Yes, Oltman and I are now reviewing... and yes, we keep the review copies (most of the time). We are also offered a choice (well, at least, I was - SMACKDOWN 2009 or NHL 2010). I couldn't agree more about the deadline thing, since I take forever to finish a game (Bioshock isn't finished yet!) - however, there is something of an incentive to get through the rot to get a good game (I have to prove myself), but I am intending to blog about my experiences as a novice game reviewer to let everyone know it's not all rosey city stuff.

At any rate, I sent in my top ten wishlist of games (they are nice that way) and that will be posted up soon too...