Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
From: Desiree Cifre (******@guillemot.com)
Subject: Writer from Sprung....
So, do we get a trophy or a shirt or something?
We'd like to take a moment to commend you on being cool enough to actually send us virus-free mail after we gave your game our Worst of the Year Award. Way to play along!
Now on to more pressing matters. No, we're not sending you a thing, because that would only encourage you to continue writing for bad video games. The writing in Sprung was the only part that didn't make us want to die; consider yourself spared from further wrath PROVIDED you put your, ahem, "talents" to use in another medium.
Firstly, please let me congratulate you on creating a well-composed and extremely informative/entertaining website. I always look to your site when considering new games, and have been introduced to fantastic ones that I never would have previously thought to buy. Such as Baldur's Gate, Age of Empires, Warcraft, Tenchu, and others.
I've also always respected your fairness of judgment. You almost always find the flaws in games, but you don't concentrate on them. You show the pros *and* the cons. And, from what I've seen, you hold no punches or praises. Which leads me to this question:
I was curious as to how you, as a competing review company (If I'm not mistaken), regard other review sources?
Not to name any names, but I've found that some game review sites tend to be more lenient and have a sense of "We'll kiss your butt if you give us money" toward game companies. And others I find to be biased towards particular genres(IE: FPS, RPG, etc.).
I was wondering if you all shared the same feelings. And if so, what kinds of general policies do you guys have to prevent that from happening to GR? I'd hate to see such a great review site fall victim to corporation promotion as others have(to such a great extent anyway).
Thanks and keep up the great work!
Thanks for the compliments. We looked long and hard for a good "fairness of judgment" before finally settling on a cute gray one with a big nose. We keep him reasonably well fed with quality offerings from worthy developers, taking him on regular strolls through Los Santos and Azeroth to maintain his healthy sense of optimism in the face of so many crappy games. We tried feeding him Catwoman, but it led to one of the most disgusting acts of defecation we've witnessed on this side of the GR zombie farmhouse.
Frankly, we don't really like to talk any of our competitors up or down, but we will say this: different kinds of folks value different kinds of things. Some sites and publications are so enamored with getting attention from publishers that they will sugarcoat games they themselves know to be weak simply to stay in good graces, which in turn keeps them knee deep in advance copies of games and ensures attendance at fancy press events. Actual bribery for good scores - as in, paying for grades - is a very, very uncommon practice and it's hard to point fingers and prove that this happens regularly anywhere (although we do not doubt it). We don't have a favorite publication because we're too busy reading ourselves.
Some of our competitors go easy on games because it's a rosy path filled with better ad sales and tons of box quotes, and that's their business. Our business, however, is based entirely on our judgment, and it's the one thing we take very seriously.
How To Be Leet In 4 Easy Steps!
From: John Smith
Hello, i am john Indelicato i would like for some help on making an awsome website like that. im trying to make a website like yours but it wont work. i am requesting that you help me step by step on making it via i.m. thankyou for your time
We'd love to help, but you might be beyond aid. Here are some ideas - see where they take you:
1. Dress for success! If you're going to build a website, you have to look the part. We recommend swim goggles, a helmet, a cape, and a calculator watch. Perhaps consider accessorizing with a cool t-shirt.
2. Motivate yourself! Keep this page open on your desktop at all times. When you become frustrated, refer to it and repeat the words "Someday I will be a webmaster and Melissa Joan Hart will be my webslave. And then I will kill her." You have to have a dream.
3. Nurture a professional attitude! If you don't have any pets, get a kitten and name it Melkor, Harkonnen, or Ner'zhul. Then practice speaking to it like it just asked you to fix its network settings AGAIN, especially when it poops on the floor.
4. Keep it real!
Legit web designers only use Notepad. Web publishing applications are for pansies.
From: sami - Subject: Hi!
Hi! Were Finnish CoD (Call of Duty) clan named Final Solution.
Now were looking another sponsor, headsponsor (who spons server to uss [and
voice server]). and i had crazy idea to ask that sponsorring at u!
and i hope that ur will be interested of our clan and think this seriously.
what we can offer to u?
we can put ur website address in
-server (if we get)
-and next to our gamign tag
u can give me more ideas what we can do for u that u start sponsor uss.
and were hoping that u will start sponsor uss, we dont let u down!
After deciphering your wildly misspelled e-mail, we decided that you need to explore something like this. Then, you'll be prepared to read something like this.
With that out of the way, we aren't too keen on the name of your clan. It's bad enough to name yourself after Hitler's euphemism for the Holocaust, and even worse in light of the fact that Finland sided with the Nazis in World War II. Instead, name yourselves after Finland's finest contribution to the world, Nokia. How about Nokia Solution?
Political matters aside, you need to make this worth our while. We thought we'd take a look at what your country had to offer, so we entered "Finnish models" into a search engine. We got this and this. Yikes! Things looked grim. Then we stumbled upon a webpage devoted to Finnish stars, one of whom was Anna Falchi. We'd link a photo, but she doesn't seem to take any pictures with clothes on. Yowza! Send her to us along with some snacks and maybe we'll talk.
From: Bob Riley
Subject: Croc-legend of the Gobbos help
We're looking for help with this game. We get to the place where we're being chased by a rubber duck with a star on his belly in a ring of fire w/trees. How do we get passed him???? No matter what we do, he keeps killing the croc and we have to do that level again. WE can't get passed the duck. Can you help??? Donna & Brayden
Dear Donna & Brayden,
Argh, that be mighty Feeble, the foulest and first boss o' the game! Use the lawnmower! Watch out! He's full of bees! Get a diaper on him quick, and then brace yourself fer the second part o' the first level! Make sure to chew on some Puggy Brine and remember to jump, jump, jump!