One Paragraph Reviews

by Mitchell Dyer


When I first listened to the March 27th episode of 1up’s ListenUp podcast, I brushed off game-developer David Jaffe’s proposal that game reviews should be stripped down into a single paragraph. On my second listen (it was a long day at work, give me a break) it kind of made me mad.

I’m used to having a word count, but capping an online review of something at 600 or so words seems totally reasonable to me. Excessive length as a problem is something that I can understand, but as a writer I’m compelled to read someone’s thoughts to whatever extent they’ve expressed them. If I’m feeling particularly lazy, I’ll skip to the bottom and read what is almost always a recap of the review (as expressed in our reviews’ tail-end verdicts) and get the gist.

But to say that something like that should basically replace the full-text review sounds insane to me.

So that’s why I’m going to start doing it.

I want to see how writing a one-paragraph review actually works out for me as a writer, and you as the reader. Every day for the month of May, Meghan Watt and I will be posting a one-paragraph review (possibly with a rating, if only to further give in to Jaffe’s suggestion) for 31 random games.

When the time comes, I hope that you’ll take part in giving us feedback not only on how the reviews themselves work for you as a reader, but how you accept it as a form of criticism. At the end of it, we’ll see whether or not Jaffe’s idea is brilliance or idiocy.

It’s gonna be a busy month.