Richard Lawrence's Review Format
by Richard Lawrence
The format of these reviews is designed to present the most amount of
information in the least amount of space. Each review is exactly one text
screen long (25 lines) so that many conventional text viewers for most PCs
will be able to flip forward one review at a time. Here is a break down of
the sections of the reviews and their meaning.
NAME - I think we can figure this one out. Top left hand corner.
MANUFACTURER: Who is responsible for this thing?!?
PLAYERS: The number of players supported in any form
STEREO: The Lynx II, as it is popularly called (Atari refuses to make a
distinction) is capable of producing stereo out of the headphone jack. You
have a Lynx II if you have a "Backlight" button on the bottom left hand
side of the display screen. If there is a ??? here, it means that Stereo is
produced but apparently by accident rather than design, as in RoboSquash.
RATING: An overall game rating from 1 to 10 (type unsigned int :-) )
Following my rating, in parenthesis, is the last rating I have obtained
from Eric Ng's video game rating list.
As you can see, I rate games on a scale of 1 to 10. I do not individually
rate the gameplay, graphics, sounds, sprite count, title screen, or any
other subdivision of the game. It detracts from the main point: do you LIKE
it or not? For the purpose of preserving this aspect of the reviews, I try
to make my RATING figure as ballpark, off the cuff as possible. When you
ask a friend if he/she liked a game or not, they give you a yes or no. In
my ratings scheme, anything above a 5 would be a yes, although there would
probably be a reservation or two about a 6 or 7 game. ****IMPORTANT
NOTE!*****: I will occasionally rate games 10, and occasionally rate them
1. I use the WHOLE range of the scale, unlike 98% of the game magazines out
there. There is no point in having a ten point scale when the only scores
given are 7+. Using my system, it is entirely possible that a game with
ho-hum graphics and sound would get a good rating, eg Scrapyard Dog.
Scrapyard Dog is not an impressive game technically, it is just fun to
TYPE: A very generic attempt to describe the game play style
COMLYNX: If they game supports Comlynxing multiple players, this field will
have a "Yes". Note that it is possible to have multiple players but no
Comlynx, although a dumb design feature (Fidelity Chess).
BLINK: The Lynx II seems to have a small hardware incompatibility with the
original Lynx chip set. On some games there will appear a single pixel that
may blink or shine steady, depending on action on the screen. It is not
very noticeable, does not appear in the same place in all games, and is
included in the review more as trivia than anything else. If there is a
"Yes" here, then this game shows a blinking dot on my Lynx II at one point
WHAT: Describes as succinctly as possible the point (the "plot") of the
game. Lynx games can be deceptively original; this field helps identify the
original ones from the scroll-and-shoots.
HOW: Attempts to touch on as many aspects of the implementation of the game
as possible, describing control schemes, options available, ergonomics,
etc. I try to keep this section as objective as possible, a just the facts
type of approach.
SOAPBOX: is where I climb up on the Soapbox and either laud or rip the game
to shreds, depending on my mood, the phase of the moon, and on a related
note, my girlfriends mood that day. This is a completely subjective
analysis. You should correlate my feelings on games that you already own to
see if you generally agree with me or think I'm a total twit so you can
make the best use of this section.