As revealed this morning, today was a pretty cool day for TrevorTrove.com. I got to publish my first advance review ahead of a game's release date. In case you missed it, I wrote up my thoughts on Brut@l by Stormcloud Games. It was a really good experience for me and the site.
It's not my first advance review overall. A few months back, my friends at KnerdsOnline.com gave me a code for Hitman GO and I wrote up a review for them. But as that game was already technically a couple years old thanks to the fact that it was a port from mobile devices, today's review feels like it has a little more heft behind it.
One of the things I could (and should) be better about is reaching out to developers for review codes. I typically don't for a variety of reasons, the main one being I can see the metrics of how many hits my site gets. I'm certainly proud of the small following I've built but I don't exactly think it's really worthy of troubling a developer for a code. Plus, I like supporting developers with my cash. Even if my reviews don't convince a single person to buy their game, they at least got a sale from me. There's also the fact that my work as it stands is predominantly written and engagement of written work has long been in the decline.
So for this review I started taking steps in a new direction. I spent the last few days compiling the review. I finished the game Saturday night and in addition to my normal daily post, worked on that review Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before I was able to post it for this morning's embargo. Admittedly, when I decided back in November to write and post everyday, I didn't think about how difficult that would actually be. With a day job I seldom have the time to invest in these multi-day projects and mostly write, edit, and post every entry day-of.
But as this was my first review pre-release, I wanted to put a little extra polish on it. I was hoping I'd be able to even put together a video review of the game but I ran out of time on the editing front. So, instead I settled on the audio review that I included. But even that required some extra time reading through the script/review, making the edits and corrections I discovered when I actually read the thing aloud. Then after the whole thing was recorded, I went in and edited out all of the bad takes, some of the unnecessary pauses, etc. I did even have gameplay recorded but by the time I wrapped the audio piece it was already 1:30AM and I didn't have the time to teach myself video editing before going to bed for work. I might still try and put something together just for my own training this weekend. We shall see.
So as an alternative, I decided to stream some gameplay instead. I've definitely still got a ton to learn about streaming (first and foremost is probably getting myself a decent setup going) but I did my best to engage with the chat, explain the game, and answer any questions. For about two hours I did my best to keep dead air to a minimum even if I was something only talking to a couple people. All in all, it went way smoother than my 24-hour Extra Life stream last year, which was continually interrupted due to the horrible WiFi accessibility at the old house. Connected directly to an eEthernet cable is clearly the way to go.
So yeah, writing about video games is pretty dang cool. I like doing it. I want to do more or it. But I also want to get more into audio and video work as well. Just a matter of finding the time, really. But I've some ideas percolating. In the meantime, I'm definitely going to try streaming Brut@l a bit more between now and its release next Tuesday so follow me on Twitch to see when I go live at twitch.tv/tstarkey0810.