Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint about rewiring things and punching people, I'm on a weekly gaming podcast called The Crate & Crowbar, I wrote these two short stories in the Machine of Death collections, and I used to write articles like these for PC Gamer. I'm now prototyping two new games, Heat Signature and one about grappling hooks.
king security services san francisco: Carbon monoxide sensors...
best male enhancement pills: This is such a great post, and was...
CdrJameson: Just scattering the clues around, but make them...
However bad at games writing I might be now, I was a lot worse when I started at PC Gamer nine years ago. When I first applied, my sample piece was so bad I didn’t even get an interview. I was hired as a coverdisc editor a few months later, and spent two years trying to worm my way into a writing job by volunteering for every piece I could get.
The editors gave me much-needed feedback, and when they didn’t have time, I’d study the printed version of my stuff to see how they’d changed it and learn from that. And I learned a lot just by being around the editing process: listening to people critique new writers, discuss what second drafts needed, and talk analytically about games writing without the writer present.
At some point, my stuff stopped coming back to me for changes. And at some point after that, I was involved in deciding what our standards should be. They became a shared set of beliefs between me and my friends, ones we’d tweak and discuss in the pub at the end of every week.
I’ve just finished tidying up after my PC Gamer leaving party. I’ll still be writing about games, but I’m at the end of my full-time career. So in case it’s of use to anyone, I’ll pick out the five most important things I learned about game criticism in the last nine years. They’re all rules I’ve broken, but they’re the ones I try to break less often as time goes on.
The reader doesn’t know who the fuck you are, what the fuck this is, or why the fuck they should care. At least, you’ll write better if you work on that assumption.
They certainly can’t read everything, so it pays to respect the attention they’ve decided to give you. And you can do that by telling them what the fuck this is and why the fuck they should care right away.
The two ways to treat a reader are: “I am important” or: “You are important.” Some readers do like the first. But for me, if your videogame review starts with the words “When I was six,” I rub my forehead and quietly close the tab.
The most common problem with early pieces by a new writer, myself included, is when they try to show off. It’s as if they put what they want to say through Google Translate set to ‘Professional Games Journalist’, and like Google Translate, what comes out is often painfully awkward.
Don’t translate it. Just tell me, the way you’d tell a friend.
“The latest title in the Splinter Cell franchise…”
Don’t write like a suit.
“Bursting onto the scene with silenced pistols blazing, Sam Fisher is back in his new adventure…”
Don’t write like a twat.
“The new Splinter Cell game…”
Write like a person.
It’s tempting to think you should summarise your time with a game, share the judgements you came to rather than the events that formed them. But giving specific examples gives a much more colourful picture of what the game’s like to play than any overall description could. They illustrate more about your point than you could ever articulate in the abstract, and as a bonus, they also make me believe you.
The combat’s satisfying? Describe a fight you found satisfying! Tell me what happened in it. That way I know a) exactly what you mean by ‘satisfying’, and b) whether it’s the kind of thing I would find satisfying.
It’s even more important for criticism, particularly if it’s a game I’m excited about. If you tell me Dishonored makes it awkward to play non-lethally, I think you probably just suck. But if you tell me you left an unconscious guard on a doorstep and he died because the ragdoll slipped six inches to the ground, I think “Jesus, yeah, that’s bullshit.” We’ve shared your experience, and I’m on your side.
The game gives you a “dizzying array” of options? Is that exactly what you mean, that the array caused you to feel dizzy? Or is that just the word you’re used to hearing before ‘array’?
If you reach just a bit further for the word that really matches what you felt, the phrase you use will stand out. It’s not the word I’m used to hearing, so I pay attention to the one you chose to use instead, because I realise you must have put some thought into it. That makes me picture it, and I follow you much more clearly and vividly.
When you know exactly what’s wrong with some element of the game, and you know exactly how to say it, it’s natural to say it. But your objective isn’t just a list of valid points about the game. The objective is to understand why a game works or doesn’t, and spend your wordcount on the stuff that really matters.
Keep checking: is this really the most important thing still unsaid? If it’s praise, is it really the fundamental source of your enjoyment? If it’s criticism, is it really what’s limiting or spoiling the game? If you changed that one thing, how would you feel about the game?
I want to rant for three paragraphs every time a multiplatform game has glitchy mouse behaviour in its menus. But if they fixed it, it wouldn’t change my score.
I could write essays about the heavy clatter your crowbar makes in Half-Life 2 if you dodge when Barney throws it to you. But if they took that out, it’d be the same game. If they took out the Gravity Gun, different story.
Next: I pick apart my BioShock Infinite review to show how I tried to apply this stuff to the intro.
Leaving PC Gamer, by Tom Francis: [...] I generally avoided talking about games writing itself when it was my job, but now seems like a good time to think about it a bit. So I plan to do a few posts on the topic this week, starting with the five most important things I learned in nine years of doing it full time. [...]
Ben Borthwick: Ahhh the hilarious shambles of Alone in the Dark. Good times! (And not just because I was there for that one, though watching your review process in the flesh was incredibly useful/educational to me.)
Great, great article. Even though I've always avoided writing game reviews, but I do write on design and development, so many of your points apply as well, particularly about giving concrete examples and brevity. I always find myself too "verbose" and cutting things down because they're just fluff or too fancy. It's almost like the 30-70 rule applying here as well!
(one of the reasons I enjoy following you on twitter as opposed to many other game journalists - you don't spam 3 tweets in a row about trying to find your socks...)
CJ: I may not be the best writer, but I've come far enough to know when I'm getting good advice: namely, when I get all defensive and want to hurl obscenities.
I'll save you the indignant bullshit I was thinking of posting and instead offer my thanks. Great article, Tom.
Ben Rose: Yeah, I'm definitely guilty of doing most of these things at one point or another.
Antan: Thanks for this. When I write game reviews, they often end up being summarised by the phrase: "It's good because I like it"! Clearly, I need to work on that a bit!
Tom Francis: Cheers everyone!
Quick update: that breakdown thing I mentioned might be a day late, it's 10pm and I only just finished my work for the day.
Ingo: That is a great list, makes me think I'd have loved to read your articles. Actually, I just read two and they were great.
Strangely though, every videogame journalist that impresses me turns out to be an ex-journalist who is now making games instead of writing about them. Some at least still talk about them, thankfully.
Jed. H: "...if your videogame review starts with the words “When I was six,” I rub my forehead and quietly close the tab."
Very true and I'm glad I didn't close the tab on this article even though it started this way. Good points. This.
Kyle: Great article. I've been a long term fan of your writing and your pieces at PCG were always among my favourites, one that comes to mind being a very funny feature on dating in video games.
It's brilliant to have advice on hand from a writer I admire, so thanks a lot for this and I'll try my best to follow your principles!
Joe: Can we still expect more posts on this maybe please?
Jory: Hi Tom, I've really been looking forward to your follow-up to this piece! Your game criticism is some of the very best and most fun to read and I'd love to hear more about your process. Pretty please?
Anatomy Of An Intro To A BioShock Infinite Review, by Tom Francis: […] I left PC Gamer a few months back, I wrote up five things I learned from my 9 years there. I also promised to pick apart something I’d written to show how I’d tried to apply […]
Dale Morgan: I was just forwarded this link by a friend and it made me hang my head in shame!
I'm definitely guilty of points 1, 2 and 4. I *like* to think I have a handle on 3 and 5 though.
I felt like facepalming myself after reading as I immediately thought "oh god, I did that in this article/review".
Good work Tom!
corporate bankruptcy attorney san diego: Consult what sorts and exactly how many bankruptcy
cases the attorney has managed. In case a lawyer has
treated plenty of Part SEVEN cases, however not numerous Section 13s, shhe
mightn't be for you. Around tthe other hand, when the lawyer just manages Page 13 bankruptcies, that might be a red flag.
Anyone don_t deswire to be displayed when a Section 7 might be greayer by somebody who presses clientele
while in the way of Phase 13. (Solicitors tylically produce
a higher profit from Chapter 13 bankruptcy.)
Bankruptcy Attorney Filing for bankruptcy can bee quite a challenging and stressful approach, and
when anyone make certain bankruptcy problems, you've a
top possibility of acquiring youjr situation declined by the court.
So that it's usually within your best attention to work well
with a skilled bankruptcy attorney who can show you the
fundamentals about Page 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy attoreneys typically have a great deal more experience of this type than lawyers who specialize in another location or several places.
Review the attorney's sitye to find out wherever he or she visited university, the length of
time they've continues to be exercising within the field of
bankruptcy law, andd how large or small a service personnelPERoffice the patient
possesses. If the individual is certified from the American Board of Qualification (and most bankruptcy attorneys are not), thais a
huge plus because it indicates the lawyer is an expert while in the field
aand has proven expertise in baznkruptcy law.
In regards to employing a bankruptcy attorney itis a simple and miserable
priven fact that the cost will be an immportant element foor most of
US. After all, dollars are at the main of this unique challenge.
But with charges ranging from $ONE,thousand to $3,000 based
on what part of the place yoou reside in, it's vital that you be sure
toare receiving just whast you need.
Thankfully, most bankruptcy lawyers utilize a fairly typical contract foor
a basic Chapter 7, liquidation, oor Page thirteen,
personalized re-organization. The flat fee includeds appointment usinng the customer and evaluation
oof tthe financial predicament; planning of tthe bankruptcy petition; researching the petition with
aall tthe customer; work at the meeting of collectors, referred too as
a 341 meeting; and follow-ups using creditors, such aas
for instance having action to halt any post-filing selection work, if
In a Chapter 13 case, the charge must allso incorporate planning of the
re-organization approach and portrayal at the prpof reading.
According to Meaghan Tuohey-Kay, a bankruptchy lawyer in Newjersey,
it's important too be sure these services aare all plainly spelled
out inside the rendering deal.
Most likely, the flat fee will not include scenarios like addressing the
person inn a adversariaal planning, for example each time a lender challenges the declaring, and so itis vital tha you consult what the
attorney is likely to charge for any possible litigation thhat will arise out frrom the bankruptcy.
Althoiugh lawsuits occurs in onlly a small number of instances, it's a factor
that each one filers must look into before selecting aan
attornney whilst the prices could be high and certainly will
rapidly spiral outofcontrol.
corporate bankruptcy attorney san diego
Before anyone make an appointment, find out what thee lawyer typically costs for a Chapter 7
orr Chapter 13 situation. Cheaper isn_t always superior _ anyoone
don_t desire someone cutting edges not would youu always wish your case handled bby way of a
_bankruptcy mill_ that churns ouut bankruptcy paperwork without providing custommers personal consideration.
To the other hand, higher costs don_t generally link for the
finest representation. Shop around to fiund out what most bankruptcy lawyers charge locally.
(Observe, Bankruptcy SolicitorsHA Charges and Cost Constructions tto find out more.)
If you_ve rezd this guide, you_re presently better-informed
than many clients (and several lawyers). How can the lawyer react to this?
Many lawyers are endangered by purchasers who've doone their research.
Clientele that are well- knowledgeable and willing to participate completely inside their
circumstance aree welcomed by others.
There are various benefits and drawbacks to choosing
an attorney from the large bankruptcy company vs.
someone froim a small organization. Bigger ccorporations wuth lots of
lawyers may (or may well not) charge increased
expenses, however again, tey could (or might not) have more expert attorneys
who genuinely learn their wway around your neighborhood court process.
Smaller companies might (or may well not) give you a little more hand-holding through the method;the flip side is
that people attorneys might (or might not) be less experienced.
It surely will depend to the uniqwue attorney handling
your situation.Furthermore, numerous attorneys count heavily on individual and paralegals to aid them.
In both scenario _ dealing with someone from the huge or
smaller laww firm _ itis possible to feel a bit "shed within the mix" when the lawyer you choose iss extremely over-worked.
Thatis a distinct possibility duue to the fzct bankruptcy
fillings aare on the rise. In 2010 alone, 1.5 million Americans declared bankruptcy.
Also, the American Bakruptcy Institute states bankruptcy may continue
to climb in 2011.
best san diego bankruptcy lawyer [wrightevans99.wix.com]
Consider getting a lawyer who may, when the reply isn't any.
If he/she is professionally irresponsible but bear in mind that malpractice
insurance is a lot more defensive of the lawyer than the
buyer, and also the proven fact that a lawyer is insured will make
it more in the place of less difficult to recoup damages in the lawyer.
[Kathleen: This Really Is my take. Yours may vary.]
Do the lawyer_s advice seem noise?
Certainly one of your targets at the first convention is always
to discover what the lawyer advises inside your unique
event. Go home and take into account the lawyer_s tips.
Should they don_t seem sensible or you've other booking,
call another person.
Irrespective of how seasoned or skilled the lawyer is, if you don_t
feel comfortable with them during the first meeting, you might
want to keep wanting.
king security services san francisco: Carbon monoxide sensors and inspect smoking regarding lint and dust build up that will hinder receptors.
Whether you're obtaining, creating or perhaps remodeling your home ensure that you pick roofing that's fire resistant.
In power, security guards certainlly are a
well-known characteristic in many firms as well as
a variety of personalized predicaments. It's a location that has severaal much talked about
organizations and corporations that need guarded, since this is actually
the nation_s funds.
Start by ensuring your business gets protection safeguards from the business with
a strong name. Don_t hire security guards immediately, since
there are protection busdinesses that can do all of thhe work of selecting skilled specialists and after that you
just need to select the company you wan to work with.
Doing this will save lots of effort, time, and inconvenience.
You need to gget electricity protection guads who are correctly trained to work-in the
capacity that you nred these to. By way of example, anyone wouldn_t retain a safety officer who does not
hafe any knowledge in a bank in case you have a bank hat realoly
king security services san francisco
So you gett the best outcomes achievable try ensuriing that the company which
you work with can provide anyone using a qualified whho provides appropriate knowledge.
One more thing to consider is wheter the safety firm possesses adequate insurance tto cover any problems or
prolems due to thee safeguards which you retain. These firms
include this insurance, nevertheless, you should always mae certain that they have adequate protection merely to be risk-free.
When possible, install a locked mailbox at your home and
not place outgoing mail containing personal informatoon within an unprotected available-field or inside your
mailbox for pick up.
To greatly help avoid tipping off thiefs, in tthe event that
you want to be away from home for a protracted time period, set your phone ringer
towards the cheapest volume.
Never leave information in your dooway for services persons
or guests when you are not household. It_s a signal-to burglars that the property is vacant.
The protection requuires of banking institutions are inticate consumer details,
folks, functions and _ amenities most have to be secured.
That_s where AlliedBarton_s years off knowlddge becomes priceless.
Our expertise, plus our connection with all the Bankk Administration Institute aand thee Financial and
Financial-Services Councill off the National Society
for Industrial Security (ASIS) allows uss to provide security alternatives like:
Do not use indoor extension cords outside. A safe outdoo cord mmay examine
"ideal for Use with Outdoor Devices."
In case youir strength goes out, the full freezer can take
food safely for up to 48-hours.
It is suggested to get interconnected smoke
sensors. If one alarm is triggered each of them go off; these alarms are joined together.
Never try too charge no-rechargeable batteries. Wanting to refresh non-chargeable batteries might lead
to the batteries to burst.
Greasy rags can simply combust, also without being open straight to a
flame. Hold them outside to dry, and after that
place these away in a metal could witth a lid when completed.
Just how much does oone spend on overtime income, gis, background assessments, education,
etc? Learn to determine actual costs when determining whether to outsource
your safety system.
Shopping Center Security Guidelines: Five Criticcal
Security services san francisco
Hoow is a security company selected by you to get a shopping center?
Engaging the proper protection associate iss crucial for guaranteeing the safety
and safety of readers within the shopping mqll or mall together with thhe renters occupying
the stores. The following best-practice factors will help
you select the the most suitable safety solutions supplier
ffor ypur requirements.
Professional and manufacturing Security Best Practices: Fivve Critical Factors
Most protection plans aren't the exact same.
Your security proviuder might have a significant effect on howw safe
youur workers experience and also your visitors_ initial effect of the capability.
The following best-practicecriteria willl allow you to select the thee best option safety officer solutions company.
A total protection solution is a collaborative effort between you as well as your security supplier.
This infographic hikes you the ways as individuals wants change your security supplier must ttry make sure your plan is designed according
to evolves and your preferences, so that yoou get peace-of-mind in the long run
URLs get turned into links automatically. You can use <i>HTML</i> but not [b]forum[/b] code. If your comment doesn't show up, e-mail me - the spam filter's just detained it for questioning.