When I started SirTapTap.com, the core intent was to have a place for more detailed, written reviews since I felt more detailed and deliberate analysis didn’t really fit in with my YouTube channel. My attempts at “reviews” had little distinguishment from the Quick Look/Let’s Play videos and their view counts would never justify the additional effort. So, a website specifically for reviews was the clear solution!
I wrote a few, as you can see in the Reviews section. I tried to keep myself to a high standard and go over the games thoroughly. Covering even one game turned out to be an impressive degree of effort and, again, the actual amount of people reading each didn’t really justify the effort.
So long story short, I’ve decided I’m going to be reviewing games less, and talking about them more.
Like Pulling Teeth
I’m probably mostly to blame, since I tried to set a standard for myself that frankly, most major publications don’t even satisfy for a majority of titles; I wanted to beat the whole game, and cover every aspect of it. A fine goal, but it’s just me here, and I’m working entirely on my own time.
I also made the even poorer choice of starting with a few RPGs to review (thinking reviewing an RPG made more sense than a shorter game you can get a good impression of in a 15 minute video). It turns out I barely even have enough time to play a 60+ hour RPG let alone write about the whole damn thing. That was a pretty dumb one on my part.
Over time my drafts folder grew bigger and bigger; I deleted 50 drafts a few months ago—not all reviews, but it was clearly getting to be a problem. I kept starting things then stopping after getting distracted (by trivial things like my paying job and my YouTube channel that gets many times the views any of my reviews ever did).
I didn’t want to publish half-finished things or only post “impressions”. In the end that made every review feel more and more like a chore, and instead I eventually found myself not writing reviews at all.
That’s not to say I haven’t written anything lately; instead I’ve found my enjoyable pieces (both to read and write) to be more spontaneous things, or things I never expected to write. Lots of Game Guides sparked merely from my own tracking of information that was hard or impossible to find. Lots of quick peeks at something I found interesting.
Writing What I Want To Write
I still love talking and writing about games. I simply do not like the review format. At all. I always thought it was mostly the number score and unnecessary weight people attribute to reviews that I disliked; the absurd notion of”good games” versus “bad games” as if there were some objective metric. I thought that if I wrote reviews my own way things might be better.
But it turns out I simply do not like reviews at all. I do not like reading them. I like writing them even less. I don’t even particularly enjoy people reading my reviews; reader interaction is far lower on my reviews than my guides and opinion pieces. And looking at, say, the IGN comment section, I’m actually rather glad for that. Honestly, reviews kind of bring the worst out of everyone involved for some reason.
So what I’m going to do is stop trying to meet my own stupid standards of what a “review” is and just write about games. Pieces won’t necessarily be about a single game; most of what I want to talk about is design rather than a specific commercial product, beloved series, etc. I have a lot of drafts already, about things like accessibility and the “cheat shop” design pattern, various thoughts about good (and bad) RPG design, and little tidbits about good small or free games I’d like to talk about without crushing myself.
So I’ll be retrofitting the “reviews” section on the site to be a bit broader and encompass these things. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll call it, or if it will even be separate from my “articles”. I’d like to focus largely on positivity and game design over evaluating, quantifying, and recommending. I don’t really have a word for it all, and maybe I won’t find one.
The important thing is, I don’t like writing reviews. So from now on I’ll be writing a lot less reviews and writing a lot more about games. That’s really what the site was meant to be about, after all.