Writing Game Reviews and Giving Feedback

Posted by Conor Murphy on May 17, 2012 in Gaming Lifestyle -- Share:

Video game reviews are helpful to other gamers because they provide insight into the game, enabling people to judge for themselves whether it might be something they enjoy. It might surprise you to discover that video game reviews are also very helpful to developers! Video game reviews help developers understand what their fans like and dislike about their games.

If you’re interested in writing reviews for some of the games you’ve played, here are a few tips to make sure you’re providing the most helpful feedback.

Feedback
It’s important to note that feedback doesn’t just mean “criticism.” Feedback can be either positive or negative, and can be used to praise the features you like just as easily as it can be used to pick apart the game features that don’t work as well. Regardless of the type of feedback, you should try to write your comment so that it is helpful to your audience.

For both video game developers and other gamers, it’s most helpful for feedback to be both clear and precise and address specific game issues or themes, especially if it’s positive! For example, if you really loved the game you’re reviewing, you may be tempted to say, “this game is awesome!” Although it’s something that’ll definitely entice another gamer or pad the ego of a developer, it doesn’t really let either party know what about the game you enjoyed.

Instead, you might want to write something like, “This game’s voice acting and plot are awesome!” This feedback mentions the quality of specific elements within the game. This is good for other gamers because it tells people who absolutely love games with good plots that this is the right choice for them. It’s also nice for developers because they’ll know to design more story-centric video games.

Etiquette

The old saying goes, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it,” but a better saying for video game criticism is, “If you don’t have something nice to say, say it politely.” It’s easy to express your frustrations when you go to write a review for a game, but you should try to keep a cool head if you want your feedback to be helpful.

Just like with positive feedback, it’s helpful to address specific issues you might have with a game. It’s a little tougher to avoid emotional responses when writing a negative review, but you should do your best to be as objective as possible.

Effective feedback should focus on the game and its features, and, if possible, offer suggestions for improvement by discussing things the game did right and ways the game could have been better. Emotional writing in a negative review can easily be misinterpreted as a personal attack against the game developer, and may distract from the concerns you’re trying to express.

Plus, other gamers are more likely to trust balanced reviews that are not skewed too far in either direction. It’s fine to think something about a game is terrible. Everyone has different likes and dislikes, and that’s what brings gaming communities to life! However, addressing specific elements will help other gamers decide whether they should buy a specific title and let developers know what their games are missing.

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Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+