Friday, December 19, 2014

Editorial: Opinions

When I started writing this blog, I wanted to share my opinions and my experiences with movies and video games. Early on, I accepted the fact that my view count wouldn’t be spectacular, but I continued on and now there are three regular contributors. At this point we know that exposure would be great, but we’re motivated more by the enjoyment of writing what we think and it also doubles as a sort of writing exercise; our writing has improved since the beginning and will continue to do so for the years to come. Having said that, there’s another reality we’ve accepted: the idea that an opinion isn’t set in stone.

As we write a review, we are writing our personal opinion on a game, movie or video game comic, but after it goes up, it represents how we felt at the time we wrote it. That original review is there for the foreseeable future, but as time goes on, we may begin to feel differently. We don’t want this blog to be filled with ramblings about what opinion changed when. If a new opinion is expressed, it’s usually in the form of a Second Opinion or even a Second Look.

And time has caused us to reflect on what we wrote and even feel differently based on new information or experiences. For example, I wrote in my review of John Dies at the End that I loved Cracked and would continue to read David Wong articles, but recent events have caused me to become disillusioned with Cracked and I no longer support it; I don’t even consider David Wong literature to be my favorite anymore and don’t even bother telling people about his work. I may still like the movie if I see it again, but the original creator has been replaced in my mind by new favorite works and authors, though I haven’t narrowed it down to just one.

As another example, when my brother and I saw the Angry Video Game Nerd Movie in a theater, we liked it and I wrote a positive review about it. However, in retrospect, I attribute this more to the atmosphere in which we saw it, which happened to consist mainly of passionate AVGN fans. If we were to view it again while divorced from that setting, we may feel a bit different about the overall quality of the film.

Lesson learned: stop making absolute statements about websites I frequent.

As time goes by, there are still some franchises we’ll continue to support for any number of reasons, including generally liking it or longevity (i.e. we’ve gone so far and it’s hard to stop). For me personally, that would include the Metal Gear, Kingdom Hearts and Assassin’s Creed franchises. For Metal Gear, I mostly like the stealth gameplay, but I’ve become invested heavily in the story and have come to accept the realistic yet supernatural combination. While my feelings on the story have changed over time, I like the silly elements and will continue to invest in future installments.

Kingdom Hearts is one I will continue to buy games for partially out of nostalgia, but also because the gameplay is genuinely fun and exciting. Over time the story has actually made a startling amount of sense; like Metal Gear, I’ve just accepted the highly complex nature of the plot.

As for Assassin’s Creed, I find the gameplay to generally be good all around although I understand that the games are pretty uneven overall (I’ve even expressed this in reviews). While I have a copy of Unity, I haven’t played it yet and I learned that there are some issues players have with the game (these will be addressed in the review). I will continue to buy games in the series because playing them is the only way I can really form my own unbiased opinion.

When I started Trophy Unlocked, I looked at how other people (mainly Game Informer) reviewed games to try and structure them properly and, in the process, the opinions I read may have influenced my own. While this influence decreased with time, I don’t think it was until about a couple years in that I finally stopped reading other opinions before writing mine (and recent events have also made me very disillusioned with Game Informer as a whole. I see the magazine now as the free thing that comes with a PowerUp Rewards Pro card).

Gotta get those sweet deals and discounts somehow.

My feelings have since changed and when I look back on my past work, I feel like an amateur when I wrote them; in fact, I often don’t like what I wrote, but I only see that as an incentive to improve (I also understand that self-criticism is a good thing). Still, these opinions may have changed over time and I’ll likely write another review if I play or watch something again.

What I want to leave you with is that the views expressed on Trophy Unlocked are how we felt based on at least our first experience, but aren’t necessarily set in stone. Our opinions may change with time and, if we so choose, we may write another review to express that change in opinion. As an additional note, you don’t necessarily have to agree with what we’ve written and that’s okay because we understand that people can have a different opinion based on their own personal tastes.

Part of the goal of Trophy Unlocked is to start a conversation about the video games we’ve played, the movies we’ve watched and the video game comics we’ve read. Your experience and opinions may be different than ours and we’d love to read your comments.

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