Awesome Site of the Week: ‘The Video Game Critic’
It’s recently come to my attention that some people in the world don’t stay glued to First Arkansas News. Indeed, it would seem the Internet is about a whole lot more than just this site. While that is a blow (heck, an outright kick) to the old ego, we’re more than willing to roll with the punches over here.
To that end, it’s time to start a new series — Awesome Site of the Week. Consider this series to be a guide — something you can rely on to tell you every week what sites out there ooze with such awesomeness that they merit a mention here at First Arkansas News. We’ll stay away from the sites that everyone knows about, so don’t come over here and expect to read yet another review pining over Google, eBay or Amazon. You may have heard about some of the sites certified as awesome by First Arkansas News and you may not have. Rest assured, however, that the Awesome sites referenced in this series help make the Internet a better place to be.
Bear in mind that First Arkansas News receives absolutely no compensation for promoting awesome sites. We gave up on the idea of making any serious money with this site a couple of years ago and, instead, concentrate on having fun and writing about things we like.
That said, our first Awesome Site of the Week is The Video Game Critic (VideoGameCritic.com). Why is that site so awesome? Because you’ll find short, punchy reviews on video games for just about any system you can imagine. How far back does the site go? You’ll find everything from classics to the Fairfield Channel F and Atari 2600 to current systems such as the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii U over there. You’ll find plenty of reviews for portable console games to, and it’s worth mentioning that less popular systems such as the Atari Lynx are given the same respect as the wildly popular Nintendo Game Boy franchise. The Critic even mentions when games might be very expensive and includes handy links to eBay and Amazon where you can purchase games directly.
The number of systems covered is incredible and the sheer number of reviews is staggering. That should come as no surprise — David Mrozek started the site in 1999 and has updated it constantly since then. The reviews are unbiased and obviously draw on Mrozek’s lifelong addiction to playing video games.
Want more? While the emphasis is on providing unbiased game reviews, Mrozek includes reviews on consoles and portables, too. That can be very handy if, for example, you’re wondering whether to pick up a Magnavox Odyssey 2 or Atari Jaguar. While the video game reviews are in convenient, capsule form, the reviews of consoles themselves are exhaustive and pull no punches — the Critic will let you know what’s great about those consoles, what’s bad, how durable they are and whether they’re ultimately worth collecting for at all. More often than not, Mrozek puts together a short video for each console showing the top games for the system. Furthermore, you’ll find a lot of history in those console reviews — Mrozek puts an emphasis on describing how each console fits into the scheme of things and that information is both entertaining and gives the reader a sense of perspective.
As if that wasn’t enough, Mrozek communicates directly with his readers through an online forum and even puts together features revealing, among other things, the best best Halloween games or Pirate-themed games.
You’ll notice this article is illustrated with a shot from the Critic’s mobile site, and there’s a reason for that — if you’re out hunting for old games in the wild, pulling up the site on your phone and doing a little research is very convenient and can steer you clear of titles that are terrible.
Yes, The Video Game Critic is clearly awesome and it is a true resource for anyone who has an interest in gaming. There are only two things about the site that can be considered downsides and they are both minor. First of all, there is very little coverage of role playing games on the site and that is a bit surprising. While “big” titles such as those from Nintendo’s Zelda series are covered, some of the more obscure ones are not. You’ll find plenty of obscure titles in other genres, but role playing games are underrepresented on the site. Also, there are few reviews of computer games on the site — the Commodore 64 gets some attention, but that’s about the only system.
Again, those complaints are extremely minor. The Video Game Critic is one of those “go to” sites when you’re wanting to learn about games and consoles. Pay the site a visit and you’ll be hooked. Promise.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.