You: The Future of WikiGameGuides Reviews

Sorry for the delay folks. I meant to post this blog sooner but ran into unforeseen circumstances that were in no way related to my two playthroughs of Mass Effect 3. Honestly.

As many of you may not know, I recently received promotion to WikiGameGuides Reviews Editor-in-Chief. I’ll wait for you to wipe the shock off your face… … … Don’t worry, the position equates to very little in the grand scheme of things, at least for the time being. Hell, I didn’t even get a nametag or placard, but I have been granted administrative privileges, allowing me to post insightful/informational content to WGG’s homepage. Additionally, I am also in charge of any future reviews.

So where does WikiGameGuides go from here? Our next and current step remains the application process for Metacritic. As of the latest podcast, the paper work’s been sent off. Now we play the waiting game. But seeing as this whole venture reflects the hard work of Dan and John, they call the shots. The lengthy procedure of earning a coveted spot on the aggregate website falls to John selling the business. I reside more as a blank slate to bounce ideas off.

However, John has given me permission to decide the format of the reviews that will be posted on Metacritic *knock on wood*. We are not prohibiting reviews from the community blog, but should you want your work featured on Metacritic, you must follow the established layout. This method underlies the need to maintain a cohesive look for the website and also distinguish the official reviews from the community reviews. Adam Page has proven himself capable of collecting his thoughts into a well flowing piece of journalism, so I suggest you start there. He has detailed an intricate review guide (to be posted soon) for rivaling those of bigger named sites like Giant Bomb, IGN, or Game Informer.

The structure is simple to comprehend. You must write your review in a paragraph arrangement. However, no one wants to click a link and be greeted with a wall of text (like the one you’re reading). It’s often intimidating. To break up the flow, insert several pictures every couple paragraphs. This gives the review a professional look.

Three more things you should know if you want to contribute official reviews:

  1. Post the platform you played the game on at the bottom of the review. Metacritic requires this information as they average scores per system. You’ll see that the Mass Effect 3 means differ for the Xbox 360 or PS3.
  2. Secondly, you must include a final grade, no matter how strongly you oppose the use of ratings in the gaming industry. WikiGameGuides converted to a 5 star system recently – no half stars.
  3. Lastly, please, for love of your religious deity, utilize proper punctuation and grammar! Yes, everyone makes mistakes, but no one, including future employers, will take your writing seriously if you blatantly misuse commas and periods. I'm sure everyone can handle basic high school grade composition courses, so why should your online works not be held to the same standards?



Now if you are currently reading this, not bored to tears, and believe yourself capable of composing official reviews for WGG, here’s your first assignment. You have until the first week of April to collect your thoughts into a comprehensive and coherent review using the approved format. That means the version tested, several body paragraphs elaborating on the game’s faults/merits, and the assigned score (out of 5) located at the bottom. I’ve provided a healthy list of US releases due out in the coming weeks. UK release dates may differ.

March 12 – March 18:

  • Journey – PSN
  • Warp – PSN, PC
  • Silent Hill: Downpour – PS3, 360
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations – PS3, 360
  • Yakuza: Dead Souls – PS3
  • Tales of Graces F – PS3
  • FIFA Street – PS3, 360
  • Shoot Many Robots – PSN, XBLA


March 19 – March 25:

  • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – PS3, 360
  • Armored Core V – PS3, 360
  • Silent Hill HD Collection – PS3, 360
  • Ninja Gaiden 3 – PS3, 360
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising – 3DS
  • Angry Birds Space – iPhone, Android, iPad


March 26 – April 1:

  • Silent Hill: Book of Memories - Vita
  • Ridge Racer Unbounded – PS3, 360
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 – PS3, 360
  • Inversion – PS3, 360


However, feel free to post a review of a previously released game. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE A REVIEW from another site, even if it’s yours. Metacritic does not condone this behavior. Composing multiple reviews for the same game is also prohibited.


Our reviews are no different than that of any other product reviews, minus the character limit. 


Here I am rambling on, but I won’t pretend I’m an expert on drafting reviews. Two weeks ago marked the anniversary of my first review contributed to the site (Killzone 3). Even now, I cringe at my questionable word choice and sentence structure. The first time I attempted to put my thoughts in a Word document, I sat contemplating for hours. Dozens of questions scrambled my brain. What mechanics should I discuss? What if people bashed my opinion? Could game journalism become a conceivable career? My magazine subscription history totaled at least ten unique publications. I read every review, whether I cared for the game or not. Yet when the time came to voice my own opinions on paper, the words did not magically leap onto the screen. I spent hours proofreading and rewording each detail; granted, that fact may not readily apparent given the final product.

At the time of this posting, my official review count tallies 22, not including two single-player reviews, a handful of beta/demo first impression blogs, and several unpublished reviews indicating a lack of quality. That equates to nearly two reviews a month. Not bad for a full-time college student with limited funds.

Anyone not up to the challenge, I ask a different, yet no less important, favor of you. Comment. Comment. Comment. Give other reviewers/bloggers positive AND negative feedback. Part of being a journalist is having your views questioned. We need to support our work wholeheartedly rather than conforming to popular opinion. Call people out when they appear to be lying through their teeth. Suggest grammatical changes to improve the flow of future reviews. Don't like what you read? Produce your own content. We will constantly look out for fresh talent to join the more official ranks of WGG. Publishers also take the amount of community interaction into account when filing their mailing lists - another ambition of WikiGameGuides. The more active WGGs members, the better our chances become of bringing you quality commentaries, reviews, wikis, etc. on release day. 

Now I leave you with these closing remarks. We all know WikiGameGuides can't contend financially with other game-centric sites in its current status. John and Dan simply lack the resources to accomplish such a lofty goal right now. However, for anyone not seeking immediate pay, what we can give you is exposure. If you wish to work in the game industry someday, featured Metacritic pieces are sure to carry some weight on a resume.  Let's show the rest of the Internet our voices matter just as much as Giant Bomb's or IGN's. Dan, John, Adam, myself... We can't do it alone. So would you kindly help us, please?

PigheadedBobobo's picture

what is the rating for the stars? for instance 0- unplayable, 1- broken, 2- bad, 3- decent, 4- good 5- great for example. or will it be up to the reviewer to decode how he or she "ranks" each star

explicit_baron's picture

I'm also a broke college student who is up for it. Kowbel check out some of my previous posts and tell me what you think of my writing ability, I have always felt it's just "okay". I like writing reviews but, it feels like so much wrk so I would like to know what you think of my reviews, if they're metacritic worthy.

conboydude's picture

Congrats Kowbel, I may not be the most skilled writer but what the hell. I'll write another couple to see my abilities.

michaelkirschner's picture

Do you want us to PM our reviews to you or will you just look at our profiles?

Scumbagb3n's picture

Most reviews on this site are pretty excellent in terms of subject matter, grammar, flow... but occasionally they are painful to read. I find them much more enjoyable when they are broken up with images and bold titles for the different game elements or even a short  video.  I also loved reading the Review Crew stuff as I could see the opinons of several people instead of just one.

Mr Hat's picture

A very inspiring article, your reviews are always a good read. Here's to hoping that soon WGG will be showing up on Metacritic.

Josh Kowbel's picture


Our five star system is based off that of Giant Bomb's: 

  • 5 stars come highly recommended despite a few grimy flaws; a must play.
  • 4 stars mean several faults are liable to detract from the experience, though the game is still easy to recommend.
  • 3 stars indicate the game is average all around; nothing unique but nothing inherently bad.
  • 2 stars claim the problems outweigh any redeeming qualities.
  • 1 stars should be avoided at all costs unless you're a masochist for torture. 


I'm kind of talking out my backside until John posts the official descriptions. We typically don't spend our money on games that aren't worth your/our time though, so I don't expect to see many 1 star and 2 star reviews on WGG until we've gained a larger following. 


Just post them here on WikiGameGuides. The idea is to get as many people looking at and commenting on the reviews as possible. Good, quality reviews will of course make the homepage.


I loved doing the Review Crew stuff as well, but it was a hassle to get two other people to buy/rent the same game and draft a review in a timely manner. We only had four main contributors back then, and I appear to be the only one left on here.

John Tarr's picture

@Pigheadedbobobo Here's what I included in the Metacritic application (written by Adam Page)

5-Stars are awarded to games with few flaws, no outstanding technical issues and an exceptional gameplay experience.
4-Stars are awarded to games with minor flaws and/or minor technical issues and a strong gameplay experience.
3-Stars are awarded to games with significant flaws and/or significant technical issues and a good gameplay experience.
2-Stars are awarded to games with serious flaws and/or serious technical issues that severely hinder a passable gameplay experience.
1-Stars are awarded to broken games with game-breaking technical issues and very poor gameplay experiences. 

And the images for the score:

Veemon3449's picture

I'm a bit broke at the moment, so will reviews for older games (The Half-Life Series, Star Wars Republic Commando, Ect.) count for this?

Oh, and to those reading this that have also read the forum post about not being able to camment, I figured it out. I need to refresh the page and click on this as soon as it loads.

Josh Kowbel's picture


I would try and keep your reviews to games of this generation, but reviews for higher rated titles like Half-Life 2 will also work. 

Veemon3449's picture

@Josh Kowbell:

Thanks for the advice. I think I'll make 2-3 reviews from now to April.

brodyitis's picture

I would like to join the ranks of our reviews team. I think I could help with both writing and proof reading.

P.S Should we use "The Good, The Bad, and the Interesting" at the beginning of our reviews for continuity's sake?

kRN's picture

John, Dan & Josh, what are your ideas on making Video Reviews? Is it possible to make a video review and still have it feature on Metacritic by way of having a 5-star rating system?

The reason why I ask this is because personally I rarely, if ever, visit sites that write text-based reviews. They're dull and disengaging, especially when you consider that gaming is a medium based around video. I think Gametrailers is the sort of site that knows what direction the industry is (read: should be) heading in, and they receive a lot of traffic for it.

Just my two cents. WGG has more or less always been a video-based business, so to me it seems perplexing that you would focus on written reviews as opposed to a video format.

Josh Kowbel's picture


The amount of time and money required makes video reviews unfeasible right now, at least for me. I only recently purchased a new computer but still lack the proper recording equipment. It's much easier to draft a lengthy paper review than cut footage, write an even longer review, and monologue into a microphone for several minutes. 

AzureSkyKnight's picture


I don't mind writing a review for a game and in fact I would actually like to, but I do have equipment to make video reviews. So, would I be able to submit those or would you rather have a written review?

Josh Kowbel's picture


Sure, you can post a video review, but I would also like you to post the written review too. Even GameTrailers posts their reviews in text form so Metacritic can link to them. 

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