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Welcome to The Pause Button

Special by jeremy – 9/10/2010

Welcome to The Pause Button

The Pause Button was created as a pet project conceived by a small group of friends who wanted to do a little writing about a topic that they love, and in the process try to inform and entertain. We're not professional gamers, we're not professional journalists, we're not professional entertainers. Hell, we're hardly professional anything. What we are is a group of friends with a passion for video games, and an interest in sharing our passion.

How is this site any different from the thousands of gaming sites already out there?

The field of gaming journalism has, in recent years, been inundated with countless blogs, most of which lack professionalism or quality writing. There are some great sites out there, and just about any gaming site around has its strengths, but journalistic professionalism and quality writing are generally lacking. From reviews being written based on a tiny fraction of a game, to gaming sites accepting all forms of gifts from game companies, to plain and simple biased reviewing of games, the journalistic standards in the gaming industry are lacking, to say the least. That's not to say that there aren't good sites out there, but simply that quality gaming journalism is the exception, rather than the rule.

At The Pause Button, we aim to do our small part to change gaming journalism for the better, and bring more professionalism to the field.

Okay, so how are you actually going to be different than any other gaming site?

First off, we will not write reviews that don't explicitly acknowledge whether we have finished a game or not. The reasonable assumption when you read a review of any sort of media is that the reviewer has actually finished the media being reviewed unless otherwise stated. With our reviews, that assumption is a safe one. If we don't specify otherwise, we completed the game before we reviewed it.

The cost of this practice is that we'll take longer to complete our reviews. We believe that it's worth the wait. You can rest assured that you are getting a complete review, and that we're not basing our opinion on just a small fraction of the game.

To counter the problem of longer waits for reviews to come out, we will occasionally post running reviews. A running review will essentially be a serial review, in which the game is continually reviewed as the reviewer plays it.

We may, at times, write reviews based on only part of a game, but ONLY if that game is too difficult or bad to be completed, or if it's a game that can't be “beaten,” such as a sports game. In those cases, we will play as much of the game as we can muster, and will be completely up-front about how much of the game we played.

Second, we will always do our best to acknowledge our biases. Everyone has biases, and it's difficult if not impossible to completely avoid them when writing a review. You can, however, be open and honest about your biases, and let people know what your preferences are and how you might be biased. We will give the readers as much information as possible to let them understand our predispositions.

Third, we will never accept gifts from gaming companies of any sort. Review copies of video games will be accepted, but any sort of promotional gift or item will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to charity. A journalist accepting any sort of gift from the people he or she covers is a huge no-no and one of the first things taught in journalism 101 is not to accept such things.

Finally, we will not post rumors. Rumors are not news, no matter how you try to spin them. Finding a rumor on another site and writing a story with the headline “Site X reports rumors of Y” may sound like news reporting, but when you get right down to it, all it is is spreading the rumor. If you read it on The Pause Button, you can be sure that it's either news that's been confirmed, or it's an opinion piece posted by one of our writers.

You said before that everyone has biases. That means this site is biased too, so why should I put any stock in your reviews?

You shouldn't. You should always form your own opinions, rather than simply taking the word of a reviewer. Our goal here is not to persuade, but to inform. We don't want you to take our word on what you should play or what you should buy any more than we want you to take the word of any other site out there. What we do hope is that you find that your tastes align closely with those of one or more of our writers, and you can then use their reviews as suggestions as to what you will probably like or probably will not like.

So you're trying to bring about greater professionalism and avoid being too “bloggy?” Does that mean we can expect dry boring writing?

Hopefully not, if we do our jobs right. First of all, good writing is accurate, informative, and engrossing. Of course some things will be dry and boring – no one is perfect – but we will do our best to remain entertaining while we inform. Furthermore, I never said we won't be blogging.

We will be making blog posts, which may cover anything from random thoughts on a subject, to well-researched and well-thought-out essays on miscellanea, to nonsense intended purely for entertainment value. Typically they'll be videogame-centric, but who knows. The most important thing to understand is that you should never confuse our blog posts as pure journalism. More often than not they will probably be purely entertainment, with little or no informational content.

So you guys are better writers than anyone else out there? A bit full of ourselves, aren't we?

Nope. We don't claim to be the best, and we don't know that we write better than the other guys. We just know what's out there and think we can do better, so we're trying to do just that. You don't have to agree, and I'm sure plenty of people wouldn't agree. But really, doesn't everyone strive to be the best at what they do?

If you feel you can write better than we do, I encourage you to start your own site, or send us a note via the contact form and come write for us.

Similarly, if you feel that our writing is inferior to the other sites out there, then go read those other sites. Vote with your dollar – or you click, as it were.

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