Sunday, March 23, 2008

What is wrong with Yahtzee Croshaw?

Well, nothing.

Many of you may have stumbled upon the unique reviewing style of Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw with his Zero Punctuation reviews. Those of you who haven't stumbled upon his humour yet are advised to do so immediately. I'm not going to provide a link, I'm going to let you google the term and come across the link yourself, in addition to the raving fan boys that praise his every word.

Why not? His humour is more often than not pitch perfect, and cuts a swathe trough the games industry at large. The problem is however, the slew of imitators that have cropped up.

Take a look at the Review Forum on the Escapist Forums and you'll probably find one or two people imitating his style...badly. Heck, I've even done it for kicks, but there is something very simple that these people can not seem to understand. That without the use of visual aides, Yahtzee's humour would fall flat.

You see, Yahtzee's style so relies on the visual effect of his illustrations that if you were to transcribe the audio from one of his reviews, the effect would be none too effective. It is because of this new style that Yahtzee has enjoyed great success.

The fan boys would have you believe that Yahtzee is a brand new revelation in the gaming journalism world, but he's been around for more than a year or two. So why haven't we heard of him before this point?

More than likely, his reviews for print media (He wrote for Hyper I think, and now writes for PC Gamer, but don't quote me on that) just haven't struck a chord with the audience the way his Zero Punctuation reviews have.

So what happens when unskilled citizen journalists get wind of his popularity and start writing text reviews in his style? Well, they usually fall flat and get savaged by the unkind world of anonymous feedback.

That's why I personally have steered clear of trying to imitate his style (save for effect), and heavily criticize those who do choose to imitate Yahtzee. Instead of writing balanced, well thought out reviews that may be of some use to the community, the imitators decide to get lazy and copy and paste the formula for their own ends.

What really is confusing about all this business, is repeat offenders.

They commit the same crime again and again, and yet maintain that writing in this style 'expresses their own voice'. Bullshit. They see something popular and jump on the bandwagon.

In closing (I fear I've gone on a bit too long), copying a style that is effective in entirely another medium is folly upon madness. So what's wrong with Yahtzee Croshaw? Nothing. It's his 'fans' we need to watch out for.

1 comment:

Melaisis said...

Gotta agree James.

Last month I clearly pointed out on 3scapism that I resent Yahtzee clones or suchlike. After all, if I wanted to see that sort of style; I'd watch his or Charlie Brooker's videos, not read some mediocre trash thrown out to the Escapist audience to chew up in vain hopes it'll hit big because it draws heavily on an already popular idea.


Anyway, regarding The Prime and The Three Rs; yeah, I'll get around to it tomorrow. Just sorting a few things out.

Ciao for now.