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Game People adds short stories to its stock of unconventional game reviews

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Game People, a recently-expanded website, has been publishing niche game reviews for the past three years. Very niche. Among the site's reviewers are a 'tired' critic, a 'soulful' critic, a haiku-writing critic, a song-writing critic, and now Chris Jarvis, who reviews games with short stories.

"I write stories to say what I think about games, for me it's the best way to express my reaction. Do you ever have a response to something that's hard to put into words? For a long time stories have helped people to understand intangible ideas. I find that a piece of fiction can give an insight into a game that a regular review can't do in the same way," says Jarvis.

"Often when we criticise games, films or stories we focus on technical areas: control, visuals, atmosphere, pacing and characters. I find that my personal responses aren't always defined by the sum of a games parts and I don't believe yours are, either."

A few of Jarvis' recent "Videogame Review Novels," as the site calls them, include Pokemon Black/White, Epic Mickey, and Costume Quest. New short stories are published every Monday as both text and audio recordings.

"It was raining in the city. Raining hard, like the skies were trying to wash the memories from the buildings, the walls, the train yards and the sidewalks," begins Jarvis' Epic Mickey review. Unfortunately, the audio version isn't narrated by Max Payne.

Some of the site's columnists serve more practical niches - a mother, a teenager, a multiplayer fan, a sports fan - while others, like Jarvis, are focused on specific experiments with the form.

It's funny to me that game reviews, of all things, are so often the subjects of experimentation. From Yahtzee to Jarvis, reviewing games in any manner other than the established norm seems to be unusually popular. Maybe gamers are just extra-creative? Or maybe something about the medium - its uniqueness, perhaps - draws us to unconventional forms of expression?

What do you make of game reviews like Jarvis'? Do you find them valuable? Should I review Max Payne 3 from the perspective of Mickey Mouse? Please say yes.

Mar 7, 2011

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7 comments

  • 4fromK - March 11, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    @pheonix; from my impression of the pokemon review, the author puts his criticism subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) into the narrative. ie "With today's technology, the recordings of these fights also look better than ever and it won't be surprising if many aspiring trainers are attracted by the bright lights, clean images and fast nature of the world which they will be entering." (the graphics are good) "As Sergeant Oak pointed out, previous generations of trainers seemed to have more varied activities on which to spend their time." and "If anything this generation is one of the most focused purely on catching, training and fighting." (not as much stuff to do on the side, more focus on main mechanics of battling and collection) a very interesting way of doing things, to say the least (you are right in that it comes off as fan fiction; but it is particularly well written fan fiction)
  • Ovenman - March 8, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    Or maybe gamers have short attention spans. Reminds me of a story, once while in the Austr- OOH A PENNY
  • strictlybeats - March 8, 2011 11:43 a.m.

    The bit I like the most about gamepeople is that each game usually ends up with all of these niche reviewers adding their review. Eventually, you find that kindred spirit to follow and confer with.
  • Robx - March 8, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    @Security77 If they jelly, I doubt they'd say it's a 'cool' method and link us to it... Unless they are using the word "niche" with the hispanoamerican meaning, which tends to confuse me in some of their other articles lol
  • dphoenix192 - March 8, 2011 6:46 a.m.

    It's an interesting read, but is it really a review? Its more of a novelization or Fan-Fiction.
  • Security77 - March 8, 2011 2:59 a.m.

    U jelly, GamesRadar?

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