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More game review writing tips

We deployed a handful of tips on writing video game reviews not too long ago. How about some more?!

After you get the basic structure of a review down, it’s time to expand. Your writing style is what sets your work apart. It’s why editors seek you out as opposed to your fellow journalists. Once you get the technical aspects of reviewing down, it’s time to start relaxing and breaking the rules. Use the following tips (and George Orwell’s rules in the image below) to help expand your craft and turn run-of-the-mill articles into your personal best!

  • After writing your review, read over it and ask yourself if it makes sense to anyone but yourself. Then ask if it makes sense to a five year old. If it doesn’t, keep writing/editing.
  • Don’t be clever. At least, not at first. Focus on simplicity and communicating your experience. Witty phrases will come later.
  • Avoid cliche metaphors and phrases. They add nothing to your reviews.
  • Never start your review with “(Insert dictionary name) defines (insert word) as…” I will personally hunt you down if you do.
  • Get a good grasp on grammar. Only after you’ve put in a few years of good writing can you start breaking the rules. When applicable.
  • Write for the non-gamer. Mentioning an obscure game makes you seem pretentious and can alienate your readers.
  • Link liberally. Web users are notoriously lazy. Link to your own articles when possible, and be sure to link to any games you write about.
  • Read your final draft out loud. Sometimes this is the best way to catch obvious mistakes. If it “sounds good”, it probably is good.
  • Avoid using the same word over and over again. English has one of the largest vocabularies of any language. Take advantage of that, but at the same time, don’t abuse the thesaurus.
  • Eliminate unnecessary words. If you can kill a word, do it. This is especially true for adjectives. The result will be a tight and well-written review.

It’s as important to master the basic structure of a review as it is to branch out and add your own personal flair. Once you feel you have a grasp of the foundation, let your own writing style be seen!

Orwell's rules for writing