So you’ve done it. You’ve found your way to Gold-Plated Games, my little corner of the internet where I keep my reviews and ramblings about the great many video games that populate Steam. But who am I? And why do I review things? And how are my reviews special? If any of those questions have crossed your mind, you shall certainly find the answers below. In fact, even if those questions never occurred to you, both they AND their answers will still be found below.
Who is Gold-Plated Games?
First of all, that’s a silly question because it obviously isn’t a person, it’s a website. Now, the person who owns, updates, and maintains Gold-Plated Games is me, Michael Audish. I’ve been playing video games since my parents made the demonstrably poor decision to get me a Nintendo Entertainment System at the tender age of 4. Since then I’ve wandered all about the gaming world, from consoles to PCs and back and forth, with stops in Flash country, ROM pits, and the bygone world of arcades. These days I do nearly all my gaming on Steam, and so that’s what I spend my time reviewing.
What exactly do you do here?
This, on the other hand, is not a silly question at all because I don’t just review games on Steam. In addition to sharing my thoughts on whatever Steam titles I’m playing at the moment, I also compile a list of Steam’s Weeklong Deals that I’ve reviewed in a weekly feature for those unwilling to sort through the list themselves. I take looks at free indie titles and game jams regularly, as well. There’s a lot of neat stuff being made out there in the vast wilderness of indie development, and I’m trying to shed some light on some of it. Finally, I write articles when the mood strikes me, either to expand on a previous review or to share my thoughts on gaming or reviewing.
I post new stuff on the website every weekday, according to the following schedule.
- Monday: Weeklong Deals
- Tuesday: New Steam review
- Wednesday: Indie review or game jam coverage
- Thursday: Update of an older Steam review (new for the website)
- Friday: New Steam review
Any articles I write get posted on Sundays, but I’ve relegated those to irregular features. My focus right now is on producing more high-quality reviews, and as you might imagine that takes time.
Why do you review games?
In the many, many years I’ve been on Steam, I’ve amassed a frankly nonsensical amount of games. I realized a few years back that unless I made a point to play them, I’d never experience even a fraction of what I had in my library. So in October of 2014, I compiled a list of horror, creepy, and generally Halloweeny games to play and write impressions of over on the SomethingAwful forums.
I got quite a bit of positive feedback for my efforts, so the following year I wrote some longer reviews of games I particularly enjoyed, including Invisible, Inc., Lichdom: Battlemage, and Darkest Dungeon. When October rolled around again I did another spooky game roundup, this time with more effort in each review and on a steadier schedule. I enjoyed it so much that I started a Roguemas series that December, and in the wake of that founded my curation group to at least attempt to organize the growing morass of reviews I was producing.
By that point, reviewing the games I played had become habit, and a really enjoyable one at that. I was one of those kids who talked to themselves while they played games, and reviews turned out to be a healthier and more productive way to organize those thoughts. I like writing, and I like knowing that my writing is helping people, even if it’s just to decide which hidden object game to throw away fifty cents on.
What makes your reviews special?
My philosophy is that a good review will make the reader feel like they’ve already played the game. I’m not here to necessarily tell you what to buy, I’m here to tell you about what I played in a way that helps you decide if you want to play it too. To that end, my reviews focus on what you’re going to do in the game, how well the game does it, and how much I enjoyed it. It’s not the most exciting or colorful writing, but I want it to be the most useful to you.
I’m also not here to pad out reviews with tons of jokes or anecdotes. Originally my audience was the Steam community and message board denizens, two groups who are exponentially more likely to scroll past a wall of words with each paragraph they pass. On average my reviews come to six paragraphs, enough to explain what the game is, what it does well, and what it does poorly. Games I feel passionate about I sometimes go to nine or ten paragraphs. Games that are extremely simple or short may only get four or less. I want to get you in and out and educated without wasting your time.
I know some readers (and reviewers) are concerned about disclosures, so here’s my piece on it. All these games I’ve collected have come from all over the place. Most were bought on deep discount or in crazy cheap bundles. A lot were gifted from friends or terribly generous readers. I don’t keep track of all that, and if you become familiar with my work you’ll soon see that purchase price means little to me. So I won’t be disclosing if I paid full price or sale price or nothing for my games, because I don’t remember and I don’t care. What I WILL disclose is if I received a game from the developer themselves, for review or testing or whatever else. That kind of direct relationship can certainly color impressions, and I think that’s worth being aware of.
What’s with these ratings? That’s new.
On Steam, I was perfectly happy with the binary up/down review system. It worked well in context because in the end, all someone on the store page needs to know is if I’m recommending it or not. Out here on a review site, though, it’s not so simple. I might give a thumbs up to both The Talos Principle and Mirror Mysteries, but that hardly means they’re equivalent. For that reason I’ve come up with a rating system to use just on the site, to help organize my reviews further and provide a better snapshot of my recommendations. It’s still not a substitute for reading the review itself, but in short this is what they mean.
Excellent – Reserved for games at the pinnacle of their genre. I would recommend these titles without reservation to anyone, regardless of preferences.
Good – Most games will land in this area, since I don’t make a habit of buying bad games. These titles accomplish what they set out to do and succeed in entertaining, though they may have quirks or flaws that need to be highlighted.
Ok – This is a pretty gray area, meant for games that perform as advertised without doing anything else of note, or ones that took risks that didn’t pan out. They’re not bad games, but they can’t really be recommended without huge caveats.
Bad – If I can’t recommend a game, it ends up here. Any title that fails to hold my attention or doesn’t manage to be fun gets this mark of disapproval.
Awful – A game really has to work to get this one. Technical incompetence, repugnant content, or worse will earn a title my strongest condemnation.
Anything else we, the disembodied questioning voice, should know?
Not at the moment! But if I think of anything else, I’ll smack it up here right away. And if any of you gentle readers have questions you think should be answered here, by all means leave a comment or contact me through one of the many, many social mediums I use. Until then, go forth and enjoy the not-Audish-focused parts of Gold-Plated Games!