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About Me 

My name is Scotte Formella and I fancy myself a gamer.  I say it like that because, while I have never been particularly good at video games (the serious DotA, CoD, and SC2 players operate in a different realm), it has been my longest-running hobby ever since my mom brought home a Nintendo Entertainment System many years ago.  Fast forward to high school, with my family’s first computer, and I discovered the joy that is PC gaming.  When my friends and I were not playing basketball or catching cheap movies at the local theater, we were passing the hours playing Half-Life or Age of Empires 2 in someone’s bedroom or basement at very cramped LAN parties.  Ever since then, I have been hooked in a way that I never was with console games; the mouse and keyboard just seem like the superior way to game.

Back then and through college, money was naturally tight so I had to stretch my gaming budget as best I could.  I would scour the various review sites in search of the perfect game with the best replay value.  While I would see generally good reviews for something and I would want to try it, if a game lacked a solid multiplayer component to extend the entertainment value, I could not justify the purchase.  As such, I ended up playing a lot of Age of Mythology, Diablo II, Battlefield 1942, and World of Warcraft under my gaming moniker, West Side Wonder.  When I passed by those other games on store shelves though, I made a mental note to try them out at some later date, when prices came down or money was no longer such a concern.

This is where I am today.  While I have much less time to devote to my hobby these days due to family, friends, and work, I have resolved to play through at least some of the single player games that I have missed out on over the years.  While I am at it, I figure I may as well share my thoughts on them with the world.  After all, someone out there may want to pass some time with a good retro game and unfortunately, most of the existing reviews are as outdated as the titles themselves.  If I can help someone out there find a classic game that has withstood the test of time, I will consider this site a success.

About the Site

The review scale on this site is extremely easy to understand; either I recommend the game or I do not.  There is no in-between and there are no gray areas.  I do not have time to decide whether a title should be three stars versus four stars and realistically, readers should not want that.  Once you start breaking scores down into detailed subcomponents, it is too easy to forget the bigger picture.  If a reader is on the fence about a game, and my recommendation is not helping, that is what the written review is for anyway.  Then the reader can assess my impressions and make a decision on their end.

A number of factors influence my final recommendation, but the single most important one is whether or not a title is fun and engaging at this point in time.  I am a self-professed graphics snob and I have not been living under a rock for years on end, so my opinion will be somewhat skewed by how good the game looks, how influential it turned out to be on the industry, and how well-received it was at the time of its release.  However, I will do my best to keep these minor items from impacting any overall thoughts on a particular game. In the end, I realize people have limited time and money to spend on this hobby, and I want to make it absolutely clear whether one of these classic games can go toe-to-toe with its modern counterparts.

In terms of the formal review process, I promise to write only on those games that I have played from start to finish.  I have been following gaming news for a long enough time to spot those high-profile reviews where it is clear the writer does not fully understand what they are saying.  The goal of this site is to help consumers make informed decisions, and the only way to do that is with accurate information.  Extrapolating a little bit on that earlier statement, games must have an ultimate objective or discrete ending to be reviewable.  It is too hard to say whether I put enough time into that sandbox sim or arcade shooter to make a fair assessment of it, so I will not even try.  Reviews will only be done on the single player portion of a game.  Most of these titles will no longer have the kind of sustained community to do a fair review of multiplayer, so I will simply treat it as though that portion of a game does not exist.  All playthroughs will be started on their default difficulty level.  Not only will this challenge me exactly as the developers intended, but it will be the way most other players experience the title.  As far as unofficial game modifications go, I will only use them if they make the title playable on modern systems, squash bugs, or tweak control schemes.  Since my audience is modern gamers, I figure it is safe to use the tools that they would use themselves.  Finally, I understand that all gamers tend to have different definitions of what is considered a classic game.  My goal is not to spark a debate on this front, so I will keep it simple.  In order to be reviewed here, a title has to have been originally released on the PC for at least 10 years at the time of the review date.  Aside from that, there are no other qualifiers and I will play through those games that I want to, in the order that I want to.

I do not believe in doing anything within a box and oblivious to the outside world. I understand that my opinions will be based solely upon my own gaming context.  Therefore, I reserve the right to append the retrospectives of games I have previously recommended, as I try additional titles.