Recent questions from readers have made me realize most of you are unaware of how I review NES games. This is my fault. When I first started this quest three years ago, I didn’t think it would become as widely read as it has, and thus, that nobody would care how I went about reviewing NES games. But time makes fools of us all. Three years later, my readership continues to grow on “the regular,” I’m about a hundred reviews from completing the quest, and I still haven’t discussed how I review games (outside of a couple interviews not posted on the site themselves).
Here are seven frequently asked questions I’ve received over the years. FAQ a-go-go, baby! (Certain answers updated as of November 2022)
1. Do you emulate?
In order to complete the quest, I had to emulate the majority of the games.
2. What kind of controller do you use?
I used a Wii Classic Controller via USB adapter. NES games feel really good to play with it.
3. Is emulation ok?
Legally, no. And I don’t recommend emulating games. That said, I find it ridiculous that emulating older games (25+ years, let’s say) remains illegal, given that many game companies have no interest in selling their back catalog to consumers.
4. How long do you play each game?
It really depends on the game. If it’s your traditional platformer, it depends on the depth of the title. Something like Bionic Commando I gave a couple hours to get into. Rocky and Bullwinkle, on the other hand, received about thirty minutes. Contrary to many angry retro gamer’s opinions, it doesn’t take dozens of hours to get the hang of 95% of the NES titles available.
If I were to do this quest again, I would devote more hours to RPGs and Koei games.
5. Do you consult FAQs? Instruction manuals? Both?
Once again, it depends on the game. I usually always have an FAQ from GameFAQs ready to go, even if I never end up using it. I don’t always use instruction manuals because the FAQ works just as well most of the time. If, however, I need to get just a basic feel of the game and the FAQ isn’t cutting it, I’ll head over to Nintendoage.com. They have manuals for every NES game. Also, believe it or not, Wikipedia can be a decent source of info.
6. Why are your reviews so short? Poorly-written? Unfunny?
Long ago, I decided that I was going to keep the reviews short. I give my reasons here. I try – try –not to publish anything I don’t consider to be decent quality. Sometimes uninteresting reviews slip between the lines; we all have bad days, Internet. Once I’m finished with the quest, my plan is to go back through and polish them up. If you don’t like my style, I can’t help that and there are plenty of other NES reviewers out there that might be more to your liking. If you have a critique, keep it respectful. I have zero patience for buffoons on the Internet who can’t write thoughtful responses.
7. Why review just the U.S. Library? Why not European or Japanese titles?
I’ve reviewed a few PAL and Japanese titles over the years, but more on a whim than anything else. The Japanese library, in particular, is stuffed to the brim with Mahjong games and dating sims. No thanks. Besides, 740+ titles is enough for any man.
I hope this gives some insight into how I review games. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
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11 replies on “My Review Process”
You should make a book when you're done. I'd buy it.
That might be in the cards…
Are you going to move on to SNES once you are done with Nes? I hope so 😉
I never say never, but at this point, I don't think so. However, a friend of mine is currently reviewing the SNES library over at missionsnes.blogspot.com. Check out his work!
Would definitely be cool to hear your take on SNES. I will check out your friends blag as well though. Thanks for the heads up .
I use this website all the time to help decide what NES game to buy. Thank you for doing this. You are almost done!
Wow, that's quite the compliment. I hope I don't lead you astray.
Excellent site and also, I appreciate the Dale Cooper.
I love your site although I don't even have a nes. I think your review of Super mario bros is excellent, almost like reading a screenplay. Your reviews are useful, easy to read and have an identity of their own. Your writing style is pleasant and your descriptions are imaginative.
I would like to ask you if you are interested in reviews for ps2 games (I have a ps2, dozens of games and the wish to share my experience with others).
I know you have finished your nes quest but I hope you keep this site running for years. Many people can enjoy it.
Thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoy the site.
It's funny you mention the PS2 because I've been wanting someone to start a site dedicated to Playstation reviews for awhile now. If you have a PS2 and the drive to share your experiences, you should definitely do that.
Considering how huge the emulation scene is these days, I'm a little shocked that so relatively few titles are available for the Wii and 3DS virtual consoles… especially previously unreleased gems like the original Mother, which had already been translated by NOA but scrapped at the last minute.