This file contains guidelines for reviews for NUNEWORLD, divided into three sections: Format, Style and Content. (The format rules apply in general to non-review articles (tips, etc.) as well.) Before you send off your review, please check that it follows these guidelines.
To begin with, I only have 3 basic overall rules you must follow:
1) Be honest - In deference to the reader
2) Be fair - In deference to the developer/publisher
3) Be thorough and comprehensive - In deference to both
NUNEWORLD Review Guidelines: Format
1) No profanity!!
2) If it's a PC game, send screen shots!
3) Put a header at the top using the review header templates at the end of this article. (Use the PC game or cartridge game header as appropriate.)
3) Set your editor's margins to 0 and 75. (That way it fits our screen.) THIS IS A MUST!!!
4) Use spaces, not tabs (they play havoc with our format). THIS IS ALSO A MUST!
5) Don't indent paragraphs.
6) Include a copyright notice at the bottom, of the form "This [review/article/whatever] is Copyright © 2004 by [your name here] for NUNEWORLD. All rights reserved."
7) Put the first mention of the title of _any_ game in the review body in ALL CAPS.
8)Use a spell-checker, check your punctuation, and have it proof-read by both a friend and yourself before you submit it, please! Then read it again, out loud. You'll be surprised how you sound the first time.
9) Make a list of all the topics about the game you need to explain:
- Overall premise of the game
- Mechanics of the game
- Playability (replayability)
- Fun factor - Was it enjoyable?
- Graphics, Sound, Music, etc.
- Did the designer/producer achieve his/her goal?
10 BE THOROUGH! What else do you need to tell someone about this game!
NUNEWORLD Review Guidelines: Style
Actually, the best stylistic advice is to go back through back issues of NUNEWORLD, and study the approach of reviews that you yourself found helpful and enjoyable. But keep the points below in mind, and when the review's done, check to make sure it fits them.
1) Give both description and specific opinions for each game element. Readers want to know both what the game is and what elements you think are good or bad.
2) Make comparisons with other games. It's the most efficient way to showcase what's different, and to get out of the way what's standard about the game design. (Not everyone will have played those other games, though, so make sure the review can still work for readers who aren't familiar with them.)
3) Give specific examples of what you talk about. Your readers haven't played the game, so you really need to demonstrate what you mean by "great graphics" or "detailed statistics" or "you colonize planets".
4) Avoid lists. A clear statement plus one or two examples are usually enough; more becomes tiresome and bogs down the review.
5) Point out the exceptional or unusual things about the game.
6) Decide what things make the game more or less fun, and discuss them!
7) Don't waste time on the unimportant. If the manual/sound/whatever didn't make a big difference in your enjoyment of the game, then it only needs a sentence or two tacked onto an appropriate paragraph.
8) Be personal. Let readers know how you yourself felt about the game, what you enjoyed or didn't enjoy, heck, whether you had fun!
9) Leave the emotional extremes at the door. Whether you hated or loved the game, don't rant and rave -- it's unpleasant reading and ruins your credibility.
10) Objectively describe what's so bad or good about the game and why -- readers do want your judgement, but calmly.
11) Don't give ratings. Without a standard GB system, readers can't compare them, so they're just confusing. ( we should create one)
12) Write a review that reads smoothly as a single piece. Don't use so many sections that it becomes a bunch of isolated paragraphs; don't write 2+ screens in a single paragraph so as to bog the reader down.
13) Give the review the information it needs without crushing detail. The typical PC game review is about 100-150 lines. If you find yourself significantly outside those ranges, the game may or may not warrant it -- ask yourself whether you're providing too much (or too little) information.
NUNEWORLD Review Guidelines: Content
Every review should cover all these elements. This also works reasonably well as an outline, although you're free to use whatever order works best for you. Either way, check to make sure you've covered these subjects when you finish your review.
[Do realize that in a typical review the first three and last three items below (the introductory and concluding topics) will be much shorter than the middle four sections (the "meat" of the review).]
Background on the game/genre/author -- if it's a sequel, tell us about the predecessor; if it has obvious competitors, what are those like?
Overview -- what is the game about? What, in general, do you do?
Summary -- what are the game's strengths and weaknesses (that you're about to explain)? Let the reader know where you're headed.
Output -- quality and style of graphics, sound, animation, etc. Does the game have a distinctive 'look'? Is it pretty and/or realistic?
Interface -- ease/precision/detail of controlling your actions. Does the game let you do what you want to? How easy is it to figure out?
Activities -- what specifically do you do in the game? Give specific examples of game play. What's enjoyable (or not) or unusual?
Evaluation -- how much fun is playing the game? Does it get repetitive, or does it have 'replay value'? How's the ending (if any)?
Miscellaneous features -- how good or bad (or missing) are the manual, installation, film replay, modem play or other features not central to the game?
Fulfilled potential -- does it live up to your expectations? What features are missing that really should be there? What additions would have been nice, though not necessary?
Conclusion -- what's your overall opinion of the game? How does it compare to similar games? Who do you think would enjoy it?
NUNEWORLD Computer Game Review Header Template
GAME TITLE (all CAPS) from publisher/developer
Computer Graphics Memory Disk Space
Reviewed version on:
NUNEWORLD Console Header Template
Platform: (Super Nintendo / Sega Genesis / Sega CD)
Size: (if cartridge, # of Mbits)
Supports: (if any -- e.g., Nintendo mouse, Menacer, etc...)
* Sample Computer Game Header *
ULTIMA VII PART TWO: SERPENT ISLE from Origin
Reviewed by Black Dragon ( use your real name if you like )
Computer Graphics Memory Disk Space
Minimum PII 800 GeForce2 128MB 200 MB
Max/Rec. PIV Gh GeForce4 256MB 400 MB
Control: Keyboard, Mouse (recommended)
Sound: Adlib, Sound Blaster, SB Pro, Roland LAPC-1/MT-32
Notes: Supports simultaneous SB or SB Pro and Roland. Cannot be
run with expanded memory manager (EMM386.EXE or equivalent).
Reviewed version 1.02 on: 486/66, 8MB RAM, SB Pro and Roland sound cards.
Reviewer recommends: 2MB disk cache, SB-compatible sound card.
* End Sample Header*
[Notes for PC game headers]
Use the box, manual, README file, program menu, or other documentation to fill out the header. If your experience disagrees with what they say, note that in the review, not the header.
The 'minimum' row refers to the slowest computer type, lowest resolution, smallest amount of memory and least amount of disk space physically required to run the game, according to the publisher. The 'max/rec.' row refers to the computer type/speed recommended by the publisher for quality performance, and to the highest resolution, largest amount of memory, and largest amount of disk space the game can usefully employ. If the game doesn't use variable graphics/memory/disk space, just put a single figure in the 'Minimum' row
Edited by Lord, 10 May 2004 - 09:44 AM.