I am a closet gamer. I don’t have the thousands of gamer points my husband or children do on XBox. I have never fully completed any version of Diablo on the PC, and I have never played World of Warcraft, but I do enjoy playing games. Some are on XBox, some on Wii, some on Facebook, and some on the DS. Regardless of platform or location, most of them are light-hearted, fun games. There are no first-person shooters, and very little violence. I never really thought my gaming would amount to anything, but just recently I got the opportunity to have my electronic habit show for something.
My husband writes for a website called Platform Nation. The site is a great resource for gamers, as it is a site devoted to gamers writing about games and gaming, for no other reason than the gamers want to share the information. No one gets paid to write for the site, although occasionally a courtesy copy of a game will be sent out to a writer in order for that writer to review it. That exact scenario played out at our house this week, but I was the unexpected beneficiary. My husband’s editor put out a call, asking for a writer willing to review a DS game. Normally, any time a free game is offered, the editors at Platform Nation have gamer guys lining up at the door, but for some reason, none of the usual suspects wanted to add their byline to a review for a Disney Princess DS game. I can’t imagine why . . . nothing more manly than having your name attached to such games as Ghost Recon, Call of Duty, Left 4 Dead, and Disney’s “Tangled”. Anyway, when the editors did not have any volunteers, my husband asked if it would be OK for me to play and review the game, even though I am not an “approved” writer. A few emails back and forth later, and the little cartridge was on its way to me.
I spent a few days playing through and finishing the game, then came the hard part. I usually have no problem finding something to write about, but this time I was stuck. I never realized how much pressure could be attached to objective criticism. Often when I write, I am giving my opinion of whatever I am writing about, and I don’t feel the need to be objective. If someone does not agree with what I write, that is fine, because I am only spouting my opinion, and opinions are like belly buttons – everybody has one. If your opinion does not agree with mine, great! That is your right. It is far more difficult to try and objectively evaluate something in order to give other people information about the thing, without adding opinion. That type of writing to me is dry and lifeless. After all, who am I to determine whether something is good or bad or whether or not you will like it or dislike it or find it appropriate? Trying to establish “this is good, this is bad, this could be better” without adding personal feeling to the evaluation is extremely difficult. Suddenly, I have a whole new respect for Roger Ebert and his movie watching.
Anyway, I finally got the review written, and my husband submitted it. The powers that be must have thought I did an OK job, as the review was posted the next morning. It was an interesting experience, although I am not sure if I will do it again. I think it would depend upon the game . . . but anything is possible. In the meantime, you can find me at home, sitting at my desk with my laptop, playing MahJong Titans. Just saying.