Gamestyle Archive intro: now here’s a peak into the backstage workings at Gamestyle. This document dates from September 2003. As the site continued to grow and prosper, the team grew accordingly and there was a need for some guidelines. When you applied to join the team as a writer you had to submit some examples of your work. These submissions were then debated by the team as a whole backstage before a collective decision was made.
Successful applicants were then taken on a tour backstage via the forums of the various reference tools available. This general submission document would have been an example of such a resource. The document is interesting for its tone and highlighting the move towards the 3rd person perspective. As for who wrote these guidelines I’m sure it would have been the sub-editor we had at Gamestyle who hailed from Australia.
Writers would have a forum area to post submissions online. These in turn would be edited, occasionally there would be some debate around the score and questions asked from other writers i.e. what did you think of the controls? The essence of the edit was to ensure consistency and a degree of professionalism. At times over-editing became an issue internally as the piece became more in the style of the editor and not the writer. These are the unforeseen joys of having a successful gaming website.
For reference before submitting material to the submissions folder. Please read and note the following:
All material submitted to the submissions’ folder must be (in the mind of the writer) the finalised version. Those who are only online during working hours (therefore work ongoing) should mark their submission as such. Thereby warning the editor/s to leave it alone. Apart from this, Submissions is not a folder for unfinished material.
Most of us use PC’s, so spelling mistakes should reduced to almost nil, however correctly spelt words will not show up i.e. dose instead of does. Therefore it is recommended that the writer re-read the final version through before submitting it. Raith for instance prints off his work and searches for errors whilst travelling to and from work.
A similar situation to spelling and solved through re-reading and reading of others work. The third person “Gamestyle” perspective needs to be maintained throughout; no I’s will be tolerated. Suggestions can be made (if applicable) during editing to improve the vocabulary. Soon the GS perspective will become second nature.
Yet again, easily avoided in this day and age. Re-reading, learning and experience should improve punctuation.
These are the basics. Note we haven’t given guidelines as to what to cover in a review/preview/feature such as structure, story, controls etc. This is left down to the individual writer to cover as best as they can.
Final submissions then will undergo the editing process and apart from the above will be judged on the following aspects. Please bear these in mind when submitting material.
Writers should not take three sentences to say what is possible (reasonably) in one. We need to keep our material concise and not the epic (and off-putting) scale of other sites. Also the exact opposite must be true; it is not unreasonable to expect a review to consist of 800-1000 words. Some may prefer a shorter style (Edge) however we’d like to think the professional image GS has is because we are seen to do a thorough job.
Material needs to be a fluid and enjoyable read – not an effort on the part of the reader to follow and digest. It must make sense and not be ambiguous. Editor/s may question a particular section if it is unclear. Also it must not sound too colloquial and friendly, rather an honest critique of the game at hand.
Clearly our recent problems have arisen partially because editor/s have felt the need to work heavily on a piece to bring it up to scratch. Admittedly this has lead to reviews being edited heavily. This is what we want to avoid from now on. If a submission is deemed to require too much work then it can be refused and returned – along with suggestions. This would then force the writer to learn and improve, and in the long run save time.
When a submission has been edited and is considered ready to be released online, the topic can be closed. There is no benefit in returning to old work and making further changes.
Bearing the above in mind will ensure the high standard of GS is maintained.