Looking to Score…


I had a disagreement about a score recently. I wrote two reviews for a game, one for Bit-Gamer and one for Custom PC Magazine, and in the process of formalising my thoughts I scored 95 per cent for one review, 99 per cent for the other. I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I just had a better day when I wrote the second review, or had just done particularly well in the lunchtime game of Call of Duty 2. Either way, a 4 per cent discrepancy showed up and I wanted to stand by both scores equally.

In the end, I was rightly told to reconcile the reviews to a single, consistent figure across the brand. The game scored 95 per cent, remained excellent and I moved on to the next project – but not before I’d had several interesting discussions with other journalists about their views on scoring systems.

The idea which seemed to stick in most people’s craw was that you cannot ever score something 100 per cent and that there is no such thing as perfection. 10/10 was alright, some people said, because it’s less granular – a 96 per cent game would be 10/10 without having to be perfect, for example. 100 per cent, however? Get out of town.
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Christmas and Kindles…

Christmas’ are always a difficult time for the friends of boring people in my line of work. I only really have two hobbies – writing and playing computer games – and both of them are sated on a daily basis. I play computer games, write about them and people give me money for that. Sometimes I don’t even bother to write about them because I’m too busy playing. Other times, vice versa.

The other potential gift that would work would be films, naturally…but I can get those when I want them too, for free. My occupation really does make it difficult on my friends and family. Mostly they get me sci-fi books, which are great.

Now, I’m expecting something in the post that will completely ruin that avenue of giftage too. I’ve ordered an Amazon Kindle. I opted for the 3G version, just so I can always read about comics on Wikipedia if the whim takes me, and it’s set to arrive in a day or two. I expect to be instantly struck by buyers remorse when I get it, because it’s hugely expensive compared to my current tactic of buying books from charity shops or waiting for birthdays, but I figured it’s been a while since I last treated myself. God knows I could use cheering up at the moment anyway – or he would if he existed.

Bit-Gamer’s steady growth continues at the moment. In line with Dennis’ new Social Media Strategy, which I read over the Christmas break, I’ve created and optimised a Facebook page to complement our Twitter account. I’ve also been contacting new freelancers and designing advertisements to feature across other Dennis publications. Fun!

We put some content up over Christmas, as usual, and I’m going to link to it below. Before I do though, here’s a link to Craig’s latest piece – a short one-page feature about Trackmania, why it’s awesome and why I’m an idiot. The article is really good, even though it gets some fact wrong. I love Trackmania. Anyway, the article is called Trackmaniac.


Out, Joe


I’m tempted to write about one of a half-dozen issues and problems right now, but that would probably be unwise. Instead, I’ll limit myself to saying that Project Incredibleness has been unveiled – Bit-gamer.net.

One of the biggest problems facing bit-gamer at the moment is that nobody has yet defined what it is exactly. Is it a channel, a wholly new site or just a refresh? Really, it’s all of the above. As the person who’s going to be responsible for it in every sense of the word, I think I can safely say that it’s a channel that will, over the next six months, grow into something more. It’s also a rapid branding prototype, which is what corporate types call it when someone has to put a new brand and portfolio together without going through the proper channels. It feels like Bit-Gamer came into life as a result of me running desperately from the photography studio, to the sales team and then to Jamie’s desk, begging for favours. Thankfully, everyone I asked is a lot more competent than I am, especially Jamie, Jenny and Danny.

Part of the way I’m going to grow Bit-Gamer straight away is through competitions; lots of them. I’ve got shed loads of gear to giveaway from some of the publishers who’ve supported Bit-Tech the most in the past, such as EA, Paradox and CD Projekt, and the competitions will be running weekly. You can keep up best by following @Bit_gamer on Twitter, where I’ll also be handing out stuff through quick-fire competitions.

My links are below and it’s an odd assortment this week.

In other news, I finally collated together some of my ideas about Canticle for Leibowitz, which I finished reading not long ago. It’s a good book, but I think it’s wounded by the epic scope it tries to rush into towards the end and the predictability of how the plot unfolds. Dan Gril told me not long ago that he loved the book because it wasn’t afraid to murder off main characters, but it struck me that that tactic is only really effective if you’re telling a story that drives itself forward on the characters. Miller doesn’t do that. Instead, he focuses on the era of each sub-book, bringing in little mysteries and bits of backstory to make each interesting. It’s not the characters that are important, at all – so, when they die, it doesn’t feel like a big loss. I never invested in Character A, so when he was very abruptly murdered, I was quick to recover.

Here are things by other people, some old, some ours.

The only other links worth sharing at the moment are my favourite bit-gamer articles of the year, which I singled out in another post somewhere else earlier this week. My favourite of my own was the Fabled Lands: The MMO That Never Was feature. My favourite by someone else was Craig Lager’s The Price of Neptune’s Pride.