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V'lanna
 






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    May 17th, 2000
  • General Tip
    I'll be bringing forward problems that are happening consecutively here. First one's obvious: READ THE GUIDELINES! As you'll see in them, incorrect reviews will *not* be accepted. I have to be strict not only to keep the reviews at the high level of quality you, the readers and writers deserve, but to save my sanity. I already work a job where I point out to people what they've done wrong, why it's wrong and how to fix it, so I'll be offering useful tips when I can if I do turn down a review.

    May 29th, 2000
  • Review Ratings which are Decimals
    It's a pesky problem haging on from the time that we had .5's in the critera (which made our 1-10 system really a 1-20), but it's been removed for a bit now, and so if you slip up, I'll just send it back for adjustment. I've also gotten the rare odd decimals like 7.8 and 5.3. I don't think we've ever had those, but they're toasted too now.

    June 8th, 2000
  • No Subject Line
    I've begun to get a few emails here and there which have either no subject lines or misleading ones. Please do not send me something that says 'reader review' that has personal questions. Also, don't send something with a blank subject, it makes getting back to your review difficult as I can't distinguish it from others that are the same way.

    June 16th, 2000
  • "Is it okay? Did I forget something? Are you gonna post it?"
    Overanxious authors, sheesh ;) Seriously, please *don't* email me (especially not paws@rpgamer.com) to ask on the status of your review 3 days after you submit. Rule of thumb: wait *2* updates. If you still haven't heard from me, *then* email me with the original message (if you still have it), as well as the file again. But be patient, I have lots of reviews to read as well as background HTML projects and daily stuff to do, so be patient with me ;)
  • Lack of Screens
    I can completely understand those that choose not to do their own HTML either because they don't feel comfortable or don't have the time (I mean, hey, this is my job, lemme do it ;), but when you don't include images, it does make the work a little harder as I have to do your review several days in advance or delay an update (wait until I have confirmation), as for selection and placement of screens. The choice is always entirely up to you how much to include, but it would be a great help to include the addy if the images are on RPGamer, or to zip them up if they are your own.

    July 3rd, 2000
  • A Perfect 10!
    Generally, as reviews are quite heavily influenced by opinion, I don't touch the ratings much. The few times I have, I don't send them back and say "these are too high!", I will simply ask the reviewer to look over them again and give an example of something I might look over myself and reconsider. Remember, the proof of your ratings lie within the review. If you're giving a category a high rating yet it has some drawbacks, it's time to reconsider your rating. I've also been accepting, very occasionally, perfect '10' overall scores. Please note that these are extremely rare cases and I will not always allow them. Why not? Simply put, there is no such thing as a perfect game ;)

    July 9th, 2000
  • A Man of Few Words?
    There is most certainly such thing as a review that is too short. I have been getting at least one or two per update where there is simply not enough info for a postable review. Generally these reviews also don't follow the RPGamer structure. Please, *please*, before submitting, take a look at the Review Template and past reviews for good sources on what and how much to write :)

    July 17th, 2000
  • "Is my word count too high?"
    I set a word count into the guidelines before I actually had enough time to sit down, convert them into a decent editor, and count the durn things. Turns out most are hitting 700 - 1000. So, I'm adjusting the submission guidelines accordingly. My apologies to those who worried-most of the time their review were awesome :)

    July 25th, 2000
  • "Is there a limit to the amount of reviews I can submit? Is there a limit to the number of reviews a game can have?"
    There is no limit to the number of reviews one person may submit, though I do ask that you only send one reviwe per email; I will accept multiple emails at once as long as there isn't more than five in the group. There was a limit of five reviews per game. I have tentatively lifted that restriction. However, I may return it to select games if I find I am only getting reviews for that game in particular. Considering that reviews have to be of good quality to be posted, there shouldn't be too much of a problem with one game getting too many reviews. The one game I expect I may have to cap reviews on will be FFIX, and the tentative number I'm sitting on is ten.

    July 30th, 2000
  • Choppiness
    While I was HTMLizing these reviews, a lot of them seemed more like a bunch of mini reviews on each criteria item. While covering everything is nessessary, it seems a lot less stilted if you can segue between paragraphs. This is more of a tip than a mistake, but I figured I'd mention it anyway. Also, I'm pretty sure Paws won't bite your head off if you don't talk about the criteria in the order they're scored. I'm starting to sound too much with an english teacher so I'll just shut up in a way with grammar that's less gooder than it could be. 8)
  • "Are images required? How do I submit them if they're already on RPGamer?"
    Yes, images are required for reviews; if you don't choose em, I will, though I prefer readers pick since that way they know they'll like the images that accompany it. If the images are already on RPGamer, please do not send them with your review! Just send the addy for them. Thanks.
  • Burns
    Well, since some people felt I was leaving out certain illegal copies (ie, burns), I'm putting it to rest here and now. Though it is obviously much easier to tell when an emu is used, please do not review a game using any sort of illegal copies. Imported games should be submitted as an import review, and clearly marked as such at submission. Sorry, but I'm not backing down on this.
  • A Perfect 10! (Revisited)
    I now see my teasing comment to MrChupon confuzzled a few people into thinking I wouldn't accept perfect 10 reviews. I *will* accept them. I just won't accept a lot of them, especially if the review doesn't bnack it up or every contribution I get from one writer is for 10 games. Rest assured, MrChupon sent me a list of games he felt didn't deserve 10's, so there will be no problems from him ;). It was just me having fun teasing one of my loyal contributors. Sorry about the mixup :)
  • Sending Reviews: 101
    Gack, 4 booboos in one update! I'm finding a lot of people are forgetting to archive (as in, zip or rar) if they can (and I know because 9 times out of 10 unless you've sent as a non-viewable attatchment I'll send you a note back asking for it). Please, please, especially when sending multiple files, use .zip or .rar! Sorry but I cannot accept .sit files.
    I know a few Mac users have tried to submit and for some reason their submissions get all funky when moved to text. General rule of thumb: If you're submitting from a Mac, that's the one exception I'll allow for throwing the text or HTML into the body of the email. Saves the extra step of receiving an unreadable sumission and asking for you to resubmit.

    August 7th, 2000
  • "Are you X person?"
    Woohoo, another booboo that should go in the FAQ! Wait..it's already there! No, I'm not anyone. I'm me. Wow. For, if what everyone asked me were true, I am Googleshng, who is Heather (Brad's girlfriend Heather), and that is just so, so wrong.

    August 21st, 2000
  • AOHell
    AOL drives me batty. They have some sort of parental shields which, since RPGamer has no rating with them, block all emails from me. Please do NOT submit from AOL. If you have submitted in the past from AOL and gotten no response, chances are your review went into the garbage because it was rejected and I had no way of contacting you. If you use AOL and wish to submit, please go get a free email account on the internet. Sites such as excite, hotmail, and yahoo! may be substandard to some people, but at least they're free and most give you 2000KB of space for email. This of course applies more to future submissions and/or people who have previously submitted and gotten no answer. Those who have successfully submitted from AOL (CLOUDBONDOO7 comes to mind as one) need not worry.
  • A few reminders
    Just some little reminders that need to be touched upon: -Please, please, if you can, archive (like zip or sit) your review! It makes submissions so much easier for me to handle. Winzip, for example, is free, and is very small (I run it off my not so nice computer just fine), so please remember ;) -Please include a title to your review whether it is HTMLized or in text format. Reiterating the game name is not a title, and I will be no longer accepting reviews with no titles. -Please do not use 2 different emails when subbmited (such as emailing from one and putting another one on the review, submitting the review teice from 2 different emails, etc. Use the email to submit what you want to appear on the review. -Please remember two 'two updates' rule of thumb. If for some reason your review oesn't go up the first update that goes by, please do not spam my box with another copy of the reviews with no explanation (actually, no spamming it at all thanks). If it somehow gets missed, email me back withOUT the review.

    September 5th, 2000
  • Multiple Reviews per game/per update
    Now that the volume of reviews has increased, two things begin popping up that people are constantly asking about. First is multiple reviews per game. Yes, they are allowed. My current floating cap is '10' per game. Now, that doesn't mean it's absdolute in either way. For example, Xenogears has been getting a lot of attention lately. If I see more reviews come in, I may turn away a few and simply ask for their resubmission in a couple months' time. It doesn't mean you *shouldn't* write about XG, it just means your work may not be publuished immediately. Secondly is multiple reviews per update. As demonstrated a couple updates in a row, one author is most certainly allowed to have multiple reviews. Just please remember to send them individually, and no more than 5 per update :)
  • Titled Reviews, Take 2
    I warned you. Now it's time to have some fun >:) For, from now on, when a review comes in with no title, I'm simply going to title it myself. So, you have no reason now not to give it a good name ;)
  • AOHell, Take 2
    I've had a few people email me 'testing' to see if they can send reviews from their AOL accounts. /ALL/ of them rejected my emails. For those of you who emailed me, this is your clue that it didn't work. Please, PLEASE, don't send me 'test emails'. Check your AOL settings, and if you think your email is going to be rejected, send it from somewhere else. I'm sorry it has to be this way but if I can't answer back to your review and it gets rejected, there's no way for me to contact you.

    September 12th, 2000
  • Paws@ versus Reviews@
    Now, don't start sending me apology letters, this isn't pointed at any one person really. I also understand that when you hit 'reply', you're automatically mailing paws@. However, for first draft submissions, section fixes, critiques, comments, flames, the usual spam mail, etc, should generally go to reviews@. Personal stuff (which I always love to receive and try to answer every one), should go to paws@. If you're not sure, say so, and email paws@ :) Hope this clears up any leftover Q's.

    September 19th, 2000
  • Hire Me!
    I'm not sure how this started but the past 2-3 weeks I've been getting mail asking for staff positions. Lemme clear it up right now: "I'm not hiring. I don't do the hiring. Don't ask. If I was to hire someone, I'd approach you, not the other way around." Easy? Good, because if you ask after this, you're going to be filtered ;)
  • "That review sucked/ruled!"
    Please remember when responding to a review to send it to the author of the review, not me. That's why we have their email addresses both on the PsoV page and within their reviews.

    September 25th, 2000
  • Formality
    I seem to be getting both ends of the spectrum these days. While 'Miss Paws' (or the occasional Mrs. Paws o.O?) is quaint, it's certainly not necessary. Neither is 'post this, bitch!', which has promtly gotten someone ignored >:) Keep it clean, but keep it friendly too. I don't bite ;)
  • "Can I do <enter question here>?"
    Not that I don't mind hearing from you, or answering your questions, answering the same query over and over again is tiring; some questions now I have a formatted answer for I've been asked so much. Please, look over the FAQ and past Reviews Submissions BooBoos if you think your Q's been asked before :)

    October 10th, 2000
  • Difficulty, and Time to Complete
    I'm so evil >:) Yep, this is the one that /always/ slips up Jake. Half the time I ask even before I read the review if he added it or not (which he does, grudgingly, afterwards, but usually only with one sentence or two ;) Don't be like Jake! Make sure you detail Difficulty and Time to Complete ;P~~~

    October 18th, 2000
  • How to submit screens: A refresher course.
    I've been getting several repeat slipups I've noted earlier in PsoV and in my submissions guidelines, so I'll go over these once again just to remind everyone.
    -If the screens are already on RPGamer, please do not attatch them to the email This merely adds junk to my email I really don't need ^^;. Instead, include the URLs of the screns.
    -Screens shoiuld generally be free of watermarks. Obviously the smaller ones don't detract from the screen (I can think of the ign one of the top of my head), however the larger ones are rather frowned upon since the screen is being shrunk down and detail counts. RPGsmer's crossed swoards and V'lanna watermarks are acceptable, of course. ;)
    -If you're submitting screens of your own, they must be .jpeg or .gif; nothing else will be accepted. Conversions to these file formats can be done through various art programs. Please archive thes files. Do not merely attatch! Why? Because, even though I know it's not true, my email program insistes on saving as a bitmap. Ick. So, crack out that .zip, .rar, .sit, etc, please. For those of you with no archive program, I recommend WinZip since it's the easiest one I've found so far.
  • Jake's Good Advice
    You can check out what tips Jake had to give in his guesthost bit. He has a lot to say two questions down.

    October 25th, 2000
  • Redone/Rereleased Games
    I'll use for an example on of the reviews below: It's for Lunar: The Silver Star. That means it's the Sega CD version. That means it should have no mention of anything from Silver Star Story Complete, for the PSX, which is for all purposes here, another game. Some games stay the same but move to different consoles. Playing Diablo 2 on the Mac or Ogre Battle on the SNES should be mentioned within your review.

    November 1st, 2000
  • 'Naughty' Language
    Now I'll be the first to admit, IRL I swear pretty prolifically (Ask Scar ;). However, to my credit, I don't do it in front of children, elders, or other bodies who would be insulted by the coarse language. Alas, since our reading audience is young and old, I have to tighten up on the language used in reviews. I've been trying to keep it to a minimum but I think I've missed one here or there. However, if you, the writer, would take a care to tone down any swears and/or derogative terms, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

    November 8th, 2000
  • ONE PER EMAIL
    I've stressed this a few times but it seems to be getting more and more prevalent. Please, send only one review per email! It's very difficult to keep track of multiple-reviews in one email since usually some get rejected and some accepted and it's very confuzzling to keep track of what is what. So, just to clear this up: One review per email. Send me 5 emails if you have to :) There's no limit how many you can submit between updates. Hope this clears up any lingering problems.
  • HTML Template
    I'm thrilled with the large amount of you who are using the template. Most of you are doing a bang-up job, and those of you who booboo I can easily fix ;) Fixing takes less time than HTMLizing, so it all works out in the end. Just one note: please do not simply save reviewtemplate.html as a file! You will need to download either the .zip or .sit to use the template correctly. Simply put, we use special insertion tags for some of our code and they get fuddled if you don't use the zipped/sitted version. Please also note I take the liberty of fixing code and spelling errors where I can.
  • Screen Requirements
    Please note some reviews may be so short as to only warrant the logo and two screens rather than the three I have in the template. If your screens look too squished or you can seee more than half of two different screens when scrolling down the review, nix one. If I find your screens are misplaced (Hey, it happens. The placement in the review template isn't perfect) or there's too many, I'll move them around for you.

    You guys are still doing an awesome job at this :) However, I'm noticing a few problems popping up with the screens. One, look carefully at the code. You need to fill in the URL twice: once for the href (the link to the picture) and once for the src (the image of the picture within the review). These links can be hard links (http://www.rpgamer.com/games/etc/etc/screens/screenname.jpg), or soft links (games/etc/etc/screens/screenname.gif). Just inserting 'screenname.jpg' is not encouraged as images aren't kept in the same file as the reviews, and I have trouble tracking down the image to link it correctly. They also need to be subtitled 2 different places, one as an alt (which can be anything), and once as text (which is what is shown below the image).
  • HTML Template: Overall Score
    General rule of thumb: if you can't figure it out, submit it with the correct information in the email. Don't change my code to get it to work :). That's very bad, and it happens the most often in the overall score. What you're looking for is a small href link that contains 'http://www.rpgamer.com/graphics/review/number.gif'. You'll want to replace the word 'number' with a digit (as in the symbol and not the written word), from 1-10.

    November 27th, 2000
  • Text vs. HTML
    Red Raven is one of my very few authors left not submitting in HTML. No, that's not the boo boo! The boo boo is that some writers believe they can't submit in text any longer. If your skills in HTML aren't good or my template looks too confusing, simply attach a .txt file with your email along with a title, URLs to some screens (and their subtitles) and your pen name. Easy, no? There ya go. Now you have no reason not to submit ;)

    December 5th, 2000
  • HTML Template: Screens
    You guys are still doing an awesome job at this :) However, I'm noticing a few problems popping up with the screens. One, look carefully at the code. You need to fill in the URL twice: once for the href (the link to the picture) and once for the src (the image of the picture within the review). These links can be hard links (http://www.rpgamer.com/games/etc/etc/screens/screenname.jpg), or soft links (games/etc/etc/screens/screenname.gif). Just inserting 'screenname.jpg' is not encouraged as images aren't kept in the same file as the reviews, and I have trouble tracking down the image to link it correctly. They also need to be subtitled 2 different places, one as an alt (which can be anything), and once as text (which is what is shown below the image).
  • HTML Template: Overall Score
    General rule of thumb: if you can't figure it out, submit it with the correct information in the email. Don't change my code to get it to work :). That's very bad, and it happens the most often in the overall score. What you're looking for is a small href link that contains 'http://www.rpgamer.com/graphics/review/number.gif'. You'll want to replace the word 'number' with a digit (as in the symbol and not the written word), from 1-10.

  • Back Buttons
    Google now. At the bottom of the review template is a back button. Nobody seems to realize this. If you have the time, figuring out where to point it isn't that hard. While you're gathering screens, just look at the name of the screens page, and replace the "ss" with "reviews". It makes Paws' job that much easier.

  • Flow Break!
    (What, I said I've been watching Slayers all day!) Ahem. This was covered for a long time when Jake Alley guest hosted Q&A, but that's not where you look for tips like this is it. Simply put, when you write a review, you shouldn't just go down the list of subscores and write a paragraph about each. Just write two pages worth of text talking about the game, and then go back and make sure you covered everything. Reading "The plot is..." "The music is..." "The visuals are..." isn't as enjoyable as something that sounds more natural.


  • December 12th, 2000
  • 5 is average.
    When writing a review, part of your job is to give every aspect of the game a score from 1-10, with 5 being average. I've noticed that most people tend to think 9 is GREAT, 7 is good, and 5 is just OK. Now, when you get right down to it, the average RPG is pretty darn good. I've played most of them myself, and the only ones I actually disliked can be counted on one hand. So keep that in mind, if a game is pretty fun, but not mindblowing, aim for a 5, not a 7. This goes double for subscores. When's the last time you played an RPG with BAD graphics or music? Oh, and if you can't bring yourself to lower your mental scoring like that, here's two tricks: Take all your scores, subtract 5 from them, than double them. Then if you have a review that gives all 7s and 10s, with the 7s being stuff that's just OK, it'll turn into a pile of 5s and 10s, which is what you'd really want. For someting more exact, you can put every game on the same scale. Take every single RPG you've ever played, multiply that number by 5. Then take that number and, for each score divide it out amoung all those games. Not only will this guarantee that you'll give average games average scores, but you'll have scores for every RPG you've ever played, making it that much easier to review them all down the road! 8)


  • January 18th, 2001
  • Being Afraid of 'The First Time'
    Now that we've all fished our minds out of anything we shouldn't be swimming in, I'd like to encourage many of you 'long time readers, first time writers' to send in reviews! :) Like I said earlier, the holiday season usually bring a couple games into everyone's loving hands and now you can show how much you enjoyed or despised that present with flair. C'mon, how hard is it? ;) I promise not to bite.


  • January 25th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "There wasn't an update, so I didn't submit anything..."
    Gah! I've heard this a lot since I've come back. Silly puppies, if we're not updating, we have nothing to update with! If you don't see an update going up, email in those reviews pronto to get PsoV back on track!



  • February 9th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: It's what's in the details!
    Imagine, if you will, a pendulum. This pendulum swings to the far left, where there isn't enough detail within the review to truly convey to the reader what the game is all about. Now the pendulum swings to the far right, where there is so much detail that the reader is swallowed by it and loses focus. Now, the pendulum swings at the middle points, where there is a balance between frugality and detail. Try to balance what you're saying with how much you're saying and you'll find your reviews turn out better :).


  • February 19th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Never give up; never surrender!"
    I've been getting a lot of brand new writers. No, that's not the booboo, that's a good thing! The booboo is that, because often they're new writers they forget things. Most often it's scores, but many newbie authors also forget to detail one criteria or another (Wow, the plot was a 6 but you didn't say why? Hmmm...). Anyway, the point is, don't be surprised if you're first attempt is rejected. Heck, even Red Raven still gets rejected sometimes, and Stewart usually is too, but we're harsher on staffers ;) If you have any questions before you submit or after I've rejected a submission, don't hesitate to email me.


  • March 9th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Here's the URLs for my screens...from another site!"
    I don't mind screens from another site. Just because we usually have them...but, hey, not everybody loves digging through our files like me ;)... actually, when I put up screens, I randomly choose. Anyway, if you're submitting screens for a review from another site, you'll need to download them from that site, zip or rar them together and send them along with the review. My submissions guidelines give file types. Oh, and just as a side note: watermarks are okay, and I understand most sites use them, but HUGE watermarks take up too much of the screen when they're minimized. I have asked for another screen before, though it's only happened 3 or 4 times. Here's fair warning ;)


  • March 23rd, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "o/~ Just call me Al o/~."
    I have many names for my many authors. Just looking at the archives you can see a wide assortment of real and fake names. However, do note that some names are inappropriate and/or unsuitable. Please try to keep this in mind when deciding what name to write under. I've already had to ask people to...tone it down. Some things just don't wash: you'll never see a FrEaKaZoId writing here. Whether that's good or bad, well, you be the judge :).
  • Today's Lesson #2: "FEEDBACK!"
    A lot of my authors are dismayed to find how little feedback they get from their reviews. They've pleaded with me to tell people to feel free to email them about reviews they've written, so here I am doing it. Surprisingly Red Raven despite being my most published author, is one crying out for said feedback. C'mon, readers, write them! Their email is listed both in their review and on the main update page. It's a link meant to open in an email client, but you can also C&P it into an email browser like Hotmail.


  • April 1st, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Spelling and Grammar"
    Although this is mostly a problem with newer writers, even some of my old pros get suckered. Before you submit, please SPELL CHECK!. I find too many errors, I send it back without reading it. Also bear in mind grammar. Your and You're have two completely different meanings. Don't get suckered. Also think about such things as capitals, periods, commas, and the like, in order to get your review flowing a little more nicely. Generally if it isn't too bad the first time, I'll fix it, but don't think I'll do it all the time ;)


  • April 4th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Go back for your scores."
    The most prominent way I've found people write their reviews is to decide scores first then to write the review. Hey, even I do that. However, it's not always the best way. Once you're done your review, go back and look at your scores. Do they match up with what you've said in the review? Do they really reflect the game as you felt it? Try going back and re-doing your scores, or do like Jake Alley does, and decide your scores afterwards. See which way you like better ;).


  • April 19th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: It's Not the System, Really!
    Don't go brutal on the hardware. A game might have annoying music, but if it's because the system doesn't allow for any better, don't spend ages droning on and on about it in the review, it's unprofessional. Look at how well the hardware is utilized (compare it to other RPGs of the same system, etc).


  • April 25th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Oops, I forgot this, can you add it after posting?"
    I'll admit it, I'm human...er, feline ;). Sometimes I don't catch mistakes, or that something may be missing. Please, please, read over your review to make sure everything is in order before submitting. I know this seems like a silly point, but you'd be surprised how often I catch little mistakes. A good idea is to read over your review aloud before submitting. When you read it out loud, not only can you get a better idea of how things sound, but you read slower than if you were just scanning it with your eyes and you are able to pick out more mistakes.


  • May 4th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Looking Vs. Feeling Stupid"
    I know that it doesn't come up a whole lot, but try to watch the news or at least keep track of the game that you're reviewing so that certain 'remarks' get caught before you send the review in. It saves Paws a lot of work sending the rejection email back and it keeps you from letting everyone in the RPG world know how out of it you are.
    Paws: This would refer to stuff like release dates, whether or not a game has been released in North America and it's chances of coming here, stuff like that which changes over time.


  • May 11th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "How to address an email"
    I know, it seems basic, but I'm still catching people. A few key things to remember. The title should have 'review' in it; the title should not have FWD in it. The title should read "Reader Review - Name of Game". If you just put reader review, I can't tell you from Joe Shmoe down the block who submitted the same way. If you find your review is delayed, it's often because it's been filed into an incorrect folder and I didn't pick it up until a few days later.


  • May 17th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "What's with that quote?"
    Hey, it's a special occasion, so I'm taking a break from the usual lesson. Actually, I've been getting a few people asking me what's up with the quote in my signature at the end of my emails. It's actually a quote from a song I like. Every few months I change it, depending on my mood and if I've heard something I really like. Perhaps if someone guesses it, they can win a cameo in a PsoV update or something as some of the other sections do with quotes. I'll be including it from now on in my updates as well as my emails, just under my name, which is right below this of course ;).


  • June 3rd, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Be like the river"
    Yeah, that was a bit dumb, but make those paragraphs flow! You don't have to follow the template down to the letter, people. Don't be afraid to string a few together or perform various tweaks to ensure better readability, as long as you get your points across.


  • June 11th, 2001
    Today's Lesson: "Parentheses."
    I tend to put in a lotta parentheses in my reviews (just click on any review, you'll see it). I'm trying to cut down (keyword = trying) on using them, but as you can see (quite obviously) they're very intrusive. Make sure to do your best to steer clear of using parentheses unless sorely needed (for some reason I always feel I need them). It'll help make your review more fluid and readable =)


  • June 22nd, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Dualities"
    Since games released in sets of two or three are becoming popular, I guess I should clear this up. Pokémon games review as one game, because everything is the same with the exception of a few monster. Zelda games review seperately, because plot, dungeons, and items are different. This will hopefully stop them stem of emails I've been getting on the subject ;)


  • July 4th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Dualities, Take 2"
    My apologies, I wasn't specific enough last time on pokémon games. Games that are released together (Red/Blue, Gold/Silver) will be reviewed as one. Games similar but released seperately (Yellow, Crystal, future GBA releases), will be set as unique because they DO have keynote differences, or at least enough points to seperate them from the parent game.


  • July 17th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: ...In a nice, neat little package.
    When sending your attachments in an e-mail file, try to keep it as one nice, archived file, zipping up the review, screenshots, and any other files. Doing so makes it a lot easier to organize which files belong to which reviews, and will save a fraction of hard disk space in the process!


  • July 30th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Guidelines are there to guide.
    Despite the corny title, guidelines are here for everyone's benefit. If you're a first-time writer, please do read them and make sure that your review is in the correct format. Also, be sure to send it to reviews@rpgamer.com and not to Paws' mail account or my mail account. Danke! ^^


  • August 8th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Guidelines are there to guide (part 2).
    There IS a scoring system that should be followed. If it's your first time submitting (even if it isn't), or you're used to sending reviews to other websites, such as GameFAQs, please read over the guidelines. Even if a review is the best piece of writing in the world, it won't be accepted if it follows a "Story: 9/10, Fun: 3/15" -type format. Danke! ^^


  • August 20th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Are you hiring?"
    I really wish people would sit back and just THINK for a minute. If you emailed up, say, AT&T and said "Hey, I want a job!", do you think they'd hire you? Nuh uh. Basic rule: I'm NOT hiring. When I do, I pick from my writers. Why the seeming nepotism? Very simple. Getting a review through staff is a LOT harder than a normal reader review, and if you're not familiar with RPGamer, you'll never cut it as a staffer. Trust me on this one.


  • August 27th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: "Are you hiring?"
    Why am I putting it up again? People are still asking.
    I really wish people would sit back and just THINK for a minute. If you emailed up, say, AT&T and said "Hey, I want a job!", do you think they'd hire you? Nuh uh. Basic rule: I'm NOT hiring. When I do, I pick from my writers. Why the seeming nepotism? Very simple. Getting a review through staff is a LOT harder than a normal reader review, and if you're not familiar with RPGamer, you'll never cut it as a staffer. Trust me on this one.


  • September 7th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Submitting in the correct format
    Please take note, and read the submission guidelines! They're there to help you send me your work in the correct formats. Please note: I do not accept .doc format. I can't drive home this point enough.
    The extension of your review should be .html; not .htm, not .jhtml, not .phtml.
    Adhering to these submission rules makes my life and yours a lot easier, because I don't hae to reject your review because it is in an unsuitable format this way.


  • September 23rd, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: DON'T GIVE UP!
    Once again, over the past month, reviews from first time writers has had a huge upswing. This is a great thing to see! However, first time reviewers often never submit again because they are rejected. They are rejected for the most part because of format errors - the scores are missing, something has not been touched upon in the review, there is unsuitable material in the review such as spoilers or swears. But these are only errors. Everybody makes them. Heck, Red Raven still gets rejected every other review ;) A rejection doesn't mean you give it up. It means you fix what I've asked you to fix (I always give suggestions how to do this), and resubmit. Reviews are usually accepted the second time around, and I can remember only one review getting more than two rejections.


  • September 30th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Don't back down
    Yeah, this will sound like it belongs in eds, but it's an important thing to remember: Make a stand, and stick with it. If you don't like a game, make sure your scores and review reflect it, and don't be wishy-washy. There's a fine line between merely saying, for example, a game isn't fun, and giving reasons, and just having the stand "This game sux" (which I actually got in a review submitted this week. Mmhmm).


  • October 7th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Feedback
    Just as a small addendum to Red Raven's request, we'd also like to encourage that readers write to authors. Especially for reviews that you agree with. I have had a very similar experience myself, except that I receive quite a bit more mail. If you agree with someone, let them know. It'll make them realize that they're not wasting their efforts. But, more importantly, if you mail them to disagree, be intelligent and let them know why you feel the way you do. Don't just flame us. Thanks everyone!


  • October 13th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Keep It Real
    In your reviews, try to be as specific as possible without actually giving anything away. The majority of readers don't like having major parts of a games' plot spoiled when they're trying to decide whether or not to buy a game. Generalize plot elements, but keep the basic gist of your review at hand.


  • October 22nd, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Quality over Quantity
    This couples again with Mikel's comments in the last update. It is a rule on RPGamer that a game must be completed before it is reviewed. This goes for both readers and staff. I'm still getting reviews from people with lines like "I can't wait to see the ending", or "From what I've played of the game...". It's frustrating because often these reviews are good quality - but the rules are there for a reason.


  • October 30th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: RPGamer PC RPG Coverage
    Seriously, though, my mock incentives behind, we're desperately in need to PCRPGamers to review games for us. If you come through for us, we'll find some way to repay you for your efforts on the behalf of the RPG community... Maybe we'll have a random drawing for some sort of gift this Christmas (provided our funding permits).


  • November 14th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: RPGamer PC RPG Coverage Addendum
    Just to clarify: we are looking for reader reviews of PC games. I'm not hiring right now, but thanks to those who offered, you will be considered when I eventually do hire ;)


  • November 19th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Links In Reviews
    They're starting to pop up a lot. Some good, some bad. Rule of thumb: Link only when absolutely necessary, or if you've been taught how ;) I'll be putting a section on how to link in reviews into the FAQ, but do remember, don't link to sites outside of RPGamer.

    December 3rd, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Reviews In Text
    I know I mentioned this in the last update, but, I thought I'd again reiterate that it's extremely helpful to us if you actually select screenshots and quotes before you send in your review. It'll make sure you get the ones you want, as well as make the HTMLizing process easier on us.

    December 17th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: We WILL Do It
    As mentioned in the last update (and hopefully this will be the last occasion that we forget to flesch out this topic), selecting a title, screens, and quotes for your review will negate us having to select them for you. And, believe us, we're gonna start making interesting 'punishment' titles for things >;)
  • Today's Lesson #2: Don't get upset
    Before any one person feels guilty, this is pointed at several people. Although most authors are very good and handle rejection gracefully, some feel that it's a personal attack when their review is rejected; it's not, in any form. We're not prejudiced against one person, nor against one game under normal circumstances. The only time we may turn down a review is if a certain game has had too many in the past few updates - for example, FFIX is periliously close to 10, and we added another review, so for your FFIX review to be accepted it would have to be very well written; not impossible, just harder to do than normal. All in all, remember: it's not worth getting mad over. If you don't understand why you're being rejected, email back and ask for clarification.

    December 26th, 2001
  • Today's Lesson: Don't be afraid to ask questions
    I'm never sure why, when an author writes me to ask something, they act like they're doing something naughty, or apologizing for asking. Seriously, it's not a bother at all, so feel free to ask. I don't bite, and I'd rather you ask than being undecided, and end up making a mistake ;) Saves everyone time just asking.
  • Today's Lesson #2: TBODY tags
    If there's one tag ever to really, really annoy me, it's gotta be this one. Unfortunately, many editors AUTOMATICALLY add them; worse is when people add them, because they're usually put in the wrong spot. Please, don't use them and if you find they're in your review, run a find/replace for both tbody and /tbody tags, and remove them. Thanks!

    January 3rd, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: One per email
    Please, PLEASE. Only include one review per email. I do this so that I can seperate corrections, accepted reviews, and rejections. It just makes my life a bit less hectic. Thanks to those who corrected their mistakes promtly.

    January 8th, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: Rejection Returns
    When you send in a review, it's always a prudent course of action to keep the review saved to a text file somewhere or as a draft in your mailbox. That way, if you get rejected, you can send the entire thing back to us with the corrections added. HTMLizing reviews from text can be very time consuming, and having everything in one place to start out just makes our job a LOT easier.

    January 15th, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: Contacting Authors
    I will sometimes receive feedback for a review not written by myself to reviews@rpgamer.com; while I do not mind receiving these, I cannot do anything but pass it along to the author. Please bear in mind, reviews are the opinion of the reader and do not reflect the opinion of the site. The information in each review is verified to the best of my abilities and is presumed to be true by myself unless otherwise informed. If you see something erroneous in a review (fact wise), please contact the author of the review. Their email is in several places: on the review itself, in the game's reviews archive, in the reader's archive by author, and in the PsoV update the review was published in.

    January 23rd, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: Additions To The Template
    It doesn't happen very often, but if you need to make a temporary addition to your review - to see images on your home computer and such - make absolutely sure you change things back before you submit the HTML to us. Doing us this small favor will ensure that it doesn't take us hours to figure out what you did when we're readying it for an update.

    February 3rd, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: Locked & Reviewless Games
    Just to clarify a couple things that might be misinterpreted in the archives, the games on our 'locked list' are not permanently locked. We will simply return email regarding new reviews for those games with a rejection notice pointing you to the list. Save reviews for those games until the unlock date comes around, so you don't lose your work. The opposite goes for the games on the 'review us list'. Although we will not arbitrarily accept any old thing that resembles a review, we will do our utmost to print reviews for titles we have no other reviews for.

    February 14th, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: More About Locked Games
    Just so everyone knows... The thing we look for before locking a game is how close it is to having 10 reader reviews. Any game that's approaching that bench mark, that you're planning to review, you have your attentions fast, or else you, too, might have to wait to send in your reviews.

    February 26th, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: A Call to the Mac-Daddies
    Fear not Macintosh users! We have it in our powers to accept reviews from you as well. Thanks in large part to our own RPGamer Mac resident, we can accept HTML files compressed with your 'Stuffit' program. No more need to hastily slap the code directly into your email (and thus, virtually eradicate the semblance of the page). Just stick the file(s) in a .sit and ship 'em our way.

    March 13th, 2002
  • Today's Lesson: Graphic Usage (Not a BooBoo!)
    Note the emphasis on Not a BooBoo! Anyone who has a setup to capture graphics to use with their reviews are more than welcome (nay, encouraged) to do so. If this is the case, we'd prefer JPEG files. Other than that, thanks for the material ;D


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