What if Joystick Division Writes 140-Character Reviews?

By Rich Shivener in Game Talk/Community, Reviews
Monday, February 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm
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Spin Magazine is reviewing 1,500 albums on its Twitter feed.
There are, of course, mixed reactions to Spin magazine's plan to review 1,500 albums in 140-character tweets, posted at . Some say it's brilliant, reflective of the ways we distribute and digest communication in the digital age, whereas others say it's the beginning of the end of music criticism, and that such "Brevity is OK, but don't argue that it's equivalent to a full review. Quoting a line from 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' doesn't explain why Sgt. Pepper is a good album."

What do you think? Will the magazine's plan impact video game criticism? Is video game criticism meaningful in 140 characters or less?

Let us know in the comments.
I hazard to say I'm for or against Spin's plan. On one hand, it's a neat experiment, and I like experiments, especially in writing. I tried a 55-word review of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and a handwritten review of Hector: Badge of Carnage. And while I can't say that they were awesome or shit (that's your job), I can say they definitely helped me break away from routine review writing. With this new plan, Spin is definitely breaking away from its long-standing tradition of 80-word reviews. 

On the other hand, Spin can't afford to take this experiment lightly. Like those found in poetry, every word in its review Tweets matters. Scratch that - every character matters. Every character should, in some way, illuminate the subject of said Tweet, conveying tone, verdict and anything else that offers a clear opinion. Take this micro-review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, highlighted in a contest sponsored by The Telegraph: @DaxHalo: "It's the near future, they can replace all your limbs with more functional ones, but they can't make the escalators work."


Unfortunately, not all reviews will shine. The sad truth is that Spin's micro-reviews will fail on some level, just like every other review, and eventually they will become old hat, perhaps as typical as a five-paragraph essay.


And what comes after this Twitter experiment? It's an exciting question to which I don't have clear answers. What is clear, though, is the notion that music criticism, like video game criticism, isn't dying - it's just changing, like it always does.

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