- Age / Gender:
- 23, Male
- New England
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"What foul beast, its hour come round at last; slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" - The Second Coming, W.B Yeats
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Level 39 Writer
Ranked as General
I've always struggled to come up with something in this space, hilarious in context when I always have a plethora of ideas coming through constantly. In the last few years (since 2007) I've been reviewing on and off to try and make the top reviewers list. Recently I wrote the last ten or so that saw me enter onto the top ten reviewers list. You can see me in the statistics section on the website now. Why did/does this matter to me?
It was in the early days when i signed up to this website that I had no idea how it worked or who made it work. The next year saw me discover the BBS, the B/P system and the whistle system. One thing that I already knew was the reviewing which was ironically the thing that saw me join the website. I wanted to review a flash that I had liked at the time.
I realised at a late time that I couldn't learn flash even after a friend gave me a copy of the program but I still wanted to contribute to the site somehow. I learnt that I could do a 'service' by reviewing the content on the website. Reviewing flash is second in terms of effort and contribution (excusing one dimensional reviews by young people or old) right after submitting (IMO). I didn't want to do this to offer something back to the flash artist but rather the viewers. It is rarely that I address the artist when I review.
To me a review is just that; a draft and simple summary of the content with its cons and pros piled up, allowing the reader to instantly understand and know what the flash is about. When I review a game I normally discuss the controls and learning curve and how it might apply to the reader of my review. When I review a flash cartoon I sum up what its premise is, what makes it appealing or makes it suffer. This is a different style to many other reviewers as most people seem to believe that you must be 'helpful' to the artist. This isn't even entirely clear in the FAQ on reviews. It doesn't state it at all. Of course it doesn't mean I am 'right', rather everyone is bound to interpret things in different ways. Someone sees Jesus on a piece of toast and someone sees burnt toast.
I am going to go over my reviewing style in the next few paragraphs just to give an example of how easy it is to review a flash in-depth as well as making it short at the same time and to the point without needless bullshit that other people feel necessary.
The summary is the basis of the review on a basic tangent. Its not necessary to make it 'exciting' or captivating. A simple and single word could do. However, you need to think of it as a summary and a title at the same time or you could style it to yourself. For example, you could write 'Liked' for a positive review and response to the flash and 'disliked' for a negative responses. You could also say 'Thumbs up' or 'Thumbs down'. You could also go for a grade system such as 'A Plus' etc. Summaries can be hard to come up with, particularly if you review a lot so it comes in handy to have a good idea of what to write. Its normally easier to write the summary after the review is written.
ELEMENTS OF FLASH
This is where it all happens. When you watch the flash take note of things that stand out such as the animation, the angles, use of music, colour coordination, character design, effects, background sounds, clashing elements, voice recording, acting and other things. You don't have to comment on them all, just the things that stand out or don't at all. Doing this gives you something to work off instantly.
For example, if you're impressed with the character design then you can instantly comment on that with a positive response. If you didn't like the way they had been designed then you could comment on that. You can't get reviewed banned for not liking something in a flash. As long as you are adequate in explaining what's wrong with the animation then its nigh impossible.
As an example;
Great use of design with the characters... as a positive reaction.
Terrible, clunky use of design with the characters... as a negative reaction.
Its not abusive. Too many people are scared of being banned for such a statement but it is not an offence. It is criticism which is the point of a review and you're not being an arsehole. Another example;
Sounds worked great, they brought out the scene being played out... as a positive reaction.
Terrible use of sound, it didn't go with the scene at all and brought it down... as a negative reaction.
Notice the use of simple words. You don't have to use big words to get your point across and its actually better to use words everyone can understand. Speaking of words...
USING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Now this is diverse and easy to learn and you're more than likely to have a solid grasp on how it works. Simple words work wonders and can be applied easily without much effort. If you can't think of a word use several smaller ones to explain what you mean. One thing worth noting is that you don't have to write an article for a newspaper, this is a review on a website; you can write as you'd talk to your friends, it gives it a friendly vibe and makes the review easier to rread which is a good thing. use the english language to your advantage, don't avoid colloquial language. Read some of illuminate's to get a general vibe. Note however that he 'talks' in his reviews. This is a neat little style but its something that isn't generally advised.
KNOW THE SCORE SYSTEM
Not everything is on the same level. The latest AWESOME flash isn't even considered to be on the same plane as a stick flash. Learn the score system and apply accordingly, though this will change between persons. Myself however, I would never rate a stick flash above a 7. I also, never give out a 10 unless the flash is amazing. Here is a basic outline of how I review.
0 - Minimal effort, nothing was applied, some kind of joke on the artist's part
1 - No effort, little redeeming quality, an idea reared its head but died instantly
2 - Weak, nothing to it except something that set it apart from being atrocious
3 - Evident effort but poor execution or idea, not funny but clearly trying something
4 - Below average, misses the boat on some vital point
5 - Average, this is a good work but also not the best, hits the mark but also misses
6 - A good flash, execution is questioned but it is solid nonetheless
7 - Great flash, solidly done, performs well at what it sets out to achieve
8 - Surpasses expectation, tight, fluent and hits the bar on most aspect
9 - Brilliant, an evident display of flash goodness, hits the appeal metre easily without effort
10 - Masterpiece, nothing wrong, if there is its very minimal
[[This system has since been changed]]
The new rating system is simpler, more concise and in some instances works better. I have appropriated accordingly.
0 - Nothing, this is worthless, no effort was put into it or it is racist, offensive etc
1 - Ordinary, minimal effort for attempt at a joke or one dimensional context
2 - Poor, not very good, but ideas surfaced
3 - Not bad, good solid effort, watchable and enjoyable
4 - Good, very solid flash movie/game
5 - Excellent, definitely a must-see, original, funny or just put together perfectly
Occasionally small, weak flash cartoons come along that I have to give a high score to because they appeal to me. Never judge too harshly. Anyway, looking at the list you can see how I rate things.
((More on reviewing to come))
Recent Game Medals
Total Medals Earned: 164 (From 35 different games.)