Since the staff is now gearing up to start brainstorming and writing their article ideas, I’ve taken it upon myself to provide you guys with a mini writing style guide of sorts and a helping hand on what you can and should write. Keep in mind that this isn’t the final guide. We’ll have a more complete and in-depth guide on the site at a later point that you can all use for reference. This is more or an F.A.Q that will hopefully help answer most of your questions.
The most encouraging part about being a staff member on Bit Cultures, as opposed to a more typical video game site is that you can basically write about whatever you wish. As long as it’s video game related (card and board games are allowed as well as a few of our writers specialize in that field), it’s fair game. Here are just some examples to get you thinking:
-Reviews (of old or new games)
-Top 10’s, Top 5’s, Top whatever you wish
-Lists that are not in any specific order (“6 of the Worst Final Fantasy Spin-Offs”, “8 Characters I -Want as Smash Bros. DLC””, “10 Facts you may not know about the Super Mario Universe”)
-Editorials (“Why Doom Paved the Way for Future Shooters”)
-News stories. Although we won’t focus in providing video game news like 90% of the industry, you may cover it if you wish, especially when huge announcements are made (IE FF7 REMAKE OMG). I would, however, ask that if you do plan on doing news articles, to be consistent with them.
Is there a word limit?
As of now, there isn’t. Your articles are your own creation and we don’t wanna put a limit or minimum on what you’d like to contribute. This may change in the future but only for certain types of articles. In the meantime, write whatever you wish and don’t worry about limitations of any kind. However, if you write an article titled “Ocarina of Time Sucks” and it only contains one sentence saying “It just does.”, then we’ll have to have a talk.
Is there anything I can’t write about?
Well that depends. We’re constantly trying to reassure all of you that unlike other websites, this is a platform for your opinions on video games (whatever those opinions may be) and have your voice be heard and for all the internet world to see. That will always remain the case but as with every other business in any type of media, there are some restrictions that must be upheld. Obviously, any form of hate speech, racism, sexism, crude language (to an extent), and any other type of intolerable behavior will not be allowed. Think of it this way: If it’s not allowed in a typical work environment, then it’s probably not allowed here. This doesn’t mean we’ll restrict your edit your articles if any of the managing team disagrees with your opinion. Editing is only reserved for grammar/spelling errors and to suggest better ways to make your articles “look good”.
Are there any written articles that I may use as reference?
There won’t be anything available until the site is up and running so I’ll post some of the work I’ve done in the past year to use as reference, if you wish. You don’t have to follow or even use any of my work as inspiration on what you should write (I recommend you follow your own ideas and writing style instead). They’re just here in case anyone needs them:
Is there anything else I can do instead of writing?
Absolutely! We don’t just want written articles populating Bit Cultures. We all know that in today’s market, people enjoy a million other forms of entertainment as well. We welcome and actually highly suggest doing anything from:
-Video content (reviews, features, Top 10’s, Lists, embedding YouTube videos you find interesting and discussing them)
-Video game music audio files
-Audio or video podcasts
-Image galleries (“7 of the best Metal Gear Solid cover boxes”)
-Fan Art (“The Most Amazing Metroid Art I’ve Seen”)
And anything else you can think of.
If I still have any questions, who do I go to for help?
The managing staff will take care of any questions or help you may need. Eventually, every staff member will have a company e-mail but for now you can PM any of us regarding site content. The managing staff is:
Eric (Site Creator)
Grant (Managing Editor)
Alex (Community/Social Media Moderator)
Patience (Assistant Editor)
Reviews are going be scored on a 1-100 scale. We have 5 categories (presentation, gameplay, visuals, sound, value) which you’ll need to focus on when reviewing a game and set a score for each. Once you fill in the scores for each respective criteria, the widget will automatically add the numbers up and give an overall percentage. Here’s an example of the final result:
Splatoon (Wii U):
Presentation – 84
Gameplay – 89
Visuals – 77
Sound – 84
Value – 79
Score – 84 *This isn’t our actual Splatoon review score*
A lot of members here are interested on reviewing older games and we came up with a format that’ll separate us from most other gaming sites. We will have a “Classic Review” section under reviews but we will use the same criteria that we are using for new reviews as mentioned above. Like so:
Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube)
Presentation – 100
Gameplay – 92
Visuals – 98
Sound – 89
Value – 93
Score – 95
To clarify what we mean by “classic”: Any game that was released on a generation before the one we’re currently on. I understand that reviewing older games provides a challenge but if we think critically, we can give out fair scores. This is a site in which we all have the freedom to shout our opinions and write about whatever we want, but reviews, much like some of our planned recurring features are meant to be as professional, critical and unbiased as possible. When you review a “classic game”, criticize it for what it is and not for what it was or for how it has aged, that’s not the point of reviews. Super Mario 64 may look dated today but when the game came out it was the best looking game around. Put yourself in the timeframe of when those games came out and think about other titles that were out at the time. That will help you achieve the best and most fair score possible. The reason we are being as critical as we are about this is because our reviews will represent our entire site, not just yourself.
Here’s an in-depth breakdown of each review category and what you need to look for in a game when reviewing it:
- New games and old games
- Game Feel
- Price (not as important)
It took us a long time to agree on a fair and balanced score system and I hope we all use it to the fullest.
Top 10 Guide
Like with our reviews, the site’s Top 10’s will be one of our major attractions so it’ll be a group effort. We’ll probably be shooting for a bi-weekly schedule. The process will start with a quick session in which we pitch ideas for the upcoming Top 10, sometimes relating it to a major release happening at that date or anniversary/news story. Once a Top 10 has been chosen, those of us interested in the discussion will get together on a specific date and time to discuss the list, name candidates and try to sort out the list. This won’t be in person as that would be too much of an inconvenience for everyone involved, especially considering we’re not all close to each other physically. Although I do hope for in person meet ups for some of the big features I hope to achieve with the site in the future (“Top 100 Games of all Time”, “Top 50 Characters”, etc). As far as communication during these meetings, Skype seems to be the easiest and most reliable way to plan these and get those of involved in a Skype group to sort out the list, either in a call, through text or a mix of both.
I think this process will help make our Top 10’s be as unbiased and as good as they can be. A group effort can knock out a far better list than an individual would.
As far as what our first Top 10 will be. Brenna has decided to take the lead and put forth a pretty simple one to start with: “Top 10 Games we can’t wait to play in 2016” or something along those lines.