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Video game reviewers wanted

Too many video games is a nice problem to have, right?

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Too many video games is a nice problem to have, right?

We get offered a lot of review codes here at Thumbsticks. Sometimes we’ll get asked if we want a code; other times we’ll just have a review code thrust upon us by an enthusiastic PR person. On some rare occasions we still get physical copies of things, though this is becoming increasingly infrequent in the modern era of digital distribution.

The problem is that there are far, far too many for us to play them all.

too many review codes – game reviewers wanted

Alas, we are mere mortals – we have to succumb to the primitive need for sleep every now and then – and this leads to us declining more review copies than we ever accept. This unfortunately doesn’t sit will with our British sensibilities of politeness and graciously accepting any invitation we’re offered (because our parents taught us it was rude not to).

This is why we’re looking for a horde of new game reviewers.

Game reviewers wanted – who?

We’re looking for competent writers, first and foremost. Honestly, it’s actually easier to teach a brilliant writer how to critique video games than the inverse (to bring an avid gamer with no writing ability up to scratch). Ideally, we’re looking for a balance of the two.

English should be your first language, or if it isn’t, we sure as hell shouldn’t be able to tell it isn’t when reading your copy. You must have an excellent grasp of the language, including spelling and grammar, and any previous writing experience would be lovely. A conscientious approach to your work, including rigorous self-editing before submission, is thoroughly encouraged. There will be positive criticism, feedback, and editorial assistance from the team, but if a piece requires too much time on our part, we’ll either ask you to take another swing at it or have to reject it.

Age, gender, location, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other variable you can think of really isn’t important to us, though you really need to be over 18; partly so we can ensure a level of maturity befitting our site, but also so we’re not violating any labour laws in your country.

Game reviewers wanted – what?

Mostly, we have an overspill of indie games, or those from smaller/more left-field publishers. Typically the majority of these are available for the PC, because this is the most open publishing platform.

You’re therefore going to need a reasonably modern PC in order to be able to play the majority of review copies we get sent, and in most cases, a Steam account. We do sometimes get review copies for other platforms, but as with the physical copies, those are fewer and farther between. It’s far cheaper and easier for a publisher to produce a Steam key than one for PSN or the Xbox store, so even if a game is multi-platform, you can almost guarantee it will be a Steam key you’ll be receiving. Sometimes there are previews, betas, and Early Access games, too.

We can’t however promise they will all be any good. That’s the nature of reviewing, and it will be as much your job to say something isn’t very good – and why – as it is to rave about the great games. It’s important to have the ability to do that in an even-handed way, without gloating or sounding mean.

You’ll get to choose which games you review from the codes we have available, on a first come, first served basis. We’ll never force you to review anything you don’t want to, but if you’re always hanging on for AAA games (or even just for games that you expect you’re going to like) then you may have a long wait. That’s the nature of being a reviewer.

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Game reviewers wanted – where?

This really doesn’t matter to us. You could be based anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection, some software to write articles, and your grasp of the English language – and ability to write sparkling, error-free copy – is up to scratch.

Thumbsticks is a British English site, however. This means some words are spelled differently – like ‘colour’ instead of ‘color’, and ’emphasise’ instead of ’emphasize’ – but also that some of the vocabulary is different, like ‘pavement’ instead of ‘sidewalk’, or ‘football’ instead of ‘soccer’. We won’t turn an article away if you get these things wrong, but equally, we’d appreciate you making as much effort in trying to keep up with the differences as we do.

Physical location can also have a bearing on the ability to review certain things, but not through any mechanism on our side. In the rare event that a publisher is sending out a physical copy they may only be able to do so in certain countries, for example, or a writer might only be able to attend a review event if they’re local to it.

Game reviewers wanted – when?

As soon as possible! We have review codes sitting in our inbox that we haven’t been able to service, and those codes could be yours.

There is a question of the timeliness of reviews, however. We’ll usually get sent review codes by publishers a few days in advance, and writers are expected to finish games before delivering a final verdict. Sometimes, you’ll finish a game early and might have to wait for an embargo to lift – that’s a deal we agree with the publisher in exchange for an early copy – before we can publish it.

Other times, a game might be so large (or we might receive it so late) that you run past the release date, and that’s absolutely fine: we would far rather you took your time and did it right, than rushed a game out for its release date deadline and cut corners. Similarly, we might not be able to get hold of a game until after launch, and the same principle applies. Ditto if you already have a game that you’d desperately like to write a review and we’ve not already covered it, incidentally – the more the merrier.

Game reviewers wanted – why?

Only you can answer this question.

Maybe you’re an aspiring writer, video game reviewer, or journalism student, and you’d like to cut your teeth on some real life reviewing? Maybe you’ve got really strong opinions (and the writing ability to back it up) and the world just really needs to hear your critical appraisal of video games? Or maybe you just really love games, have some latent writing ability, and think that reviewing would be fun?

All of these things are great starting points, but it can be a lot of hard work, with scant reward.

Unfortunately, as we’re a growing site, we can’t currently pay for reviews. What we can offer – in addition to the free review copies themselves, which are a bonus – is a great platform to learn your craft, editorial support and training as part of a fun team, and the chance to have your work read by an ever-growing global audience. We’ll also offer other freebies, perks, and access to events as and when they become available.

It certainly beats blogging on your own.

Interested?

If you’ve read everything above and you’re still interested in becoming a game reviewer here at Thumbsticks, then please get in touch.

Fire an email over to [email protected] (that’s our catch-all editorial inbox for prospective writers) with the words ‘Reviewers Wanted’ in the subject line, telling us who you are and why you’d make a great game reviewer.

Please include links to your portfolio or any previously published writing where possible. If you don’t have a portfolio or any published clips that’s not a problem – you can attach a short sample review (around 500 words) to show off your ability. If we like your sample, we may even ask to publish it as your first piece.


Want to find out more about writing for Thumbsticks? Visit this page to find out more details.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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This wasn't written by any one individual. This was written by the Thumbsticks hive mind. Resistance is futile.

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New PlayStation 4 releases (August 10-14, 2020)

Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape headlines this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape headlines next week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

Hyper Scape is next week’s big new PS4 release following a month in open beta on PC. Ubisoft’s free-to-play FPS battle royale is certainly ambitious, and you can expect it to be well supported by Ubisoft. Nonetheless, it has a ways to go to convince us that it will be as successful as other F2P shooters like Apex Legends or Valorant. Lovely art direction, though.

Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey made their names on mobile, but we can’t wait to play Noodlecake Studios’ dreamy snowboarding games on the big screen. Both titles come to PS4 – as well as Xbox One and Switch – in The Alto Collection on Thursday.

Other new PS4 releases that catch the eye include Zero Strain, which is a vibrant top-down shoot ’em up with MOBA elements, and Dying Light: Hellraid, a new, hellish, expansion for Techland’s Dying Light. EA Sports UFC 4 also makes an entrance on Friday.

We’ll update this page throughout the week as we get more PS4 release dates confirmed.

The Drop: New PS4 releases for August 10-14, 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

  • No releases.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

  • Brunch Club
  • Hyper Scape
  • Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Infinite Combate

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

  • Banner of the Maid
  • Escape From Tethys – TBC
  • Metamorphosis
  • Prehistoric Dude – TBC
  • Zero Strain

Thursday, August 13, 2020

  • The Alto Collection
  • Bite the Bullet
  • Boomerang Fu
  • Darkestville Castle

Friday, August 14, 2020

  • Dying Light: Hellraid
  • EA Sports UFC 4

Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest video games. You can also follow us on social media via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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New Xbox One releases (August 10-14, 2020)

Next week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases features snowboarding, slayings, slams, and brunch.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Next week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases features snowboarding, slayings, slams, and brunch.

A glut of new games come to Xbox One this week, headlined by the full release of Ubisoft’s new battle-royale shooter, Hyper Scape. It looks rather lovely, but the hype escapes us on this one, unfortunately.

Instead, you’ll find us on the slopes enjoying the delights of The Alto Collection, a compilation that includes Noodlecake’s sublime duo of snowboarding games, Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey. To be frank, it’s all downhill from here.

Other new releases include EA Sports UFC 4. EA says the introduction of “Real Play Motion” technology will overhauls the experience from the clinch to the takedown. One for fans of furious but friendly fumbling.

Meanwhile, residents of Harran can take a trip to a dark and dangerous stronghold in the long-awaited Dying Light: Hellraid. This new expansion is based on Techland’s long in development fantasy slasher.

Brunch Club, Through the Darkest of Times, and Bite the Bullet are also among next week’s Xbox One releases.

Each new game can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and the Microsoft web store. We’ll update this post throughout the week with any last minute additions.

New Xbox One releases: August 10-14, 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

  • No releases. Why not watch the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy?

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

  • Brunch Club
  • Car Mechanic Simulator Classic
  • Hyper Scape

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

  • Escape From Tethys
  • Metamorphosis: Xbox Edition
  • Prehistoric Dude
  • Zero Strain

Thursday, August 13, 2020

  • The Alto Collection
  • The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines
  • Boomerang Fu
  • Darkestville Castle
  • Faeria
  • Through the Darkest of Times

Friday, August 14, 2020

  • Bite the Bullet
  • Cooking Simulator
  • Dying Light: Hellraid
  • EA Sports UFC 4
  • The Explorer of Night
  • Linn: Path of Orchards
  • Of Tanks and Demons III

Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow the Thumbsticks team via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Final Fantasy VII Remake smashes another massive sales milestone

Nearly half as many people who bought the original have already bought the Final Fantasy VII Remake.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake 5 million sales
Square Enix

Nearly half as many people who bought the original have already bought the Final Fantasy VII Remake.

It’s no secret that Final Fantasy VII has always been one of the biggest sellers for Square Enix, then Squaresoft. No single game in the series has sold more units, either upon original release, or when you include re-releases and remasters.

There is one modern Final Fantasy game that’s coming up fast on the rails of Final Fantasy VII, though – its own remake.

Where the original game has sold over 13 million copies, the Final Fantasy VII Remake sold 3.5 million in its first three days, and in the following four months, has now sailed past 5 million sales overall. It’s an impressive achievement for something we were genuinely very worried about prior to release.

It’s even more impressive when you remember that the Final Fantasy VII Remake has only (thus far) released on PS4. Final Fantasy XV, for instance, which launched on PS4, Xbox One and PC, has sold nearly 9 million units. When the Final Fantasy VII Remake inevitably releases on Xbox One and PC – and presumably with a graphical bump on PS5 and Xbox Series X at a later date – those figures will only increase.

And then remember that we’ve only seen a fraction of the story. The scope of the Final Fantasy VII Remake only covers the first eight hours or so of the original game. If each segment of the Remake – and we’re assuming there’ll be at least three parts – sells 5 million copies, then it could very well surpass the original and become the best-selling Final Fantasy game ever.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Everything revealed on the PlayStation State of Play for August 2020

August’s PlayStation State of Play included a detailed look at Crash Bandicoot 4, more information on Spelunky 2, and a deep dive into the PS5’s Godfall.

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PlayStation State of Play - August 2020
Sony / Thumbsticks

August’s PlayStation State of Play included a detailed look at Crash Bandicoot 4, more information on Spelunky 2, and a deep dive into the PS5’s Godfall.

Of all the games on last night’s broadcast, it was the indie titles that caught our attention. Derek Yu’s tantalising walkthrough of Spelunky 2 was the highlight, but we’re also excited for the remaster of Braid, and the more we see of Bugsnax, the more we want to move to Snaktooth Island.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the announcements from August’s PlayStation State of Play. You rewatch the broadcast in full at the bottom of the page.

PlayStation State of Play – August 2020

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

Developer Toys For Bob promise precise platforming action that builds on the original trilogy with new abilities and wide-open environments. The game includes cosmetics to unlock and playable characters including Dingodile and Doctor Neo Cortex. The cool-looking N’ Verted mode changes the camera perspective and adds varied new gameplay and art styles existing levels. Bend the laws of time and space on October 2, 2020.

Hitman III

IO interactive give the acclaimed stealth series the full VR treatment as part of the upcoming Hitman III. Sneaking onto consoles in January 2021.

Braid Anniversary Edition

Jonathan Blow’s subversive platformer receives a subtle but sumptuous makeover to celebrate its, erm, thirteenth anniversary. Improved graphics and audio are accompanied by a comprehensive developer commentary. Scratching heads in early 2021.

The Pathless

New PlayStation 5 footage from Giant Squid’s open-world adventure game. The demo includes traversal and Eagle cleaning gameplay. We expect the pleasure will come in the playing for this one. Soaring onto PS5 in 2020

Spelunky 2

Derek Yu, we love you! Spelunky 2 will include online multiplayer, a raft of new items and an expanded, more intricate world. And ridable turkeys. Ridable. Turkeys. Saddle up on September 15, 2020.

Bugsnax

More offbeat PS5 gameplay footage from Young Horse’s curious and quirky trip to Snaktooth Island. Starting singing that song this holiday

Vadar Immortal – August 25, 2020

The hit virtual reality Star Wars experience is coming to PlayStation VR. Be as clumsy as you are stupid on August 25, 2020.

Auto Chess – October 31 PS4

The popular online competitive multiplayer strategy game is coming to PlayStation 4. Make your move on October 31, 2020.

The Pedestrian – January 2021

Skookum Arts’ inventive 2.5D side-scrolling puzzle platformer is PS4 bound. All signs point to a January 2021 release.

Hood: Outlaws and Legends

It looks like Robin Hood is finally getting a AAA – or perhaps AA – game. Rob from the rich and give to the poor on PS5 sometime in 2021.

Godfall

New combat gameplay from Counterplay’s upcoming looter slasher. Looks okay we suppose. Godfall drops on PS5 this holiday.

And also

  • Genshin Impact  – A new trailer for the game of the manga that we know little about. Shriek hysterically in Autumn 2020.
  • TemTem – A popular Pokélike appears on PlayStation 5 consoles in 2021.
  • AEON Must Die! – A new trailer for the upcoming tactical beat-em-up RPG.
  • Anno Mutationem – There’s neon aplenty in the new trailer for Lightening Games’ blend of action and role play. Light up in December 2020.
  • Control – Remedy’s sublime third-person action adventure receives its second expansion. Alan wakes on August 27.


Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 games. You can also follow us on Flipboard or Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds pledges support for Able Gamers charity

Steven Spohn teams up with that bloke from Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to raise awareness for the Able Gamers charity.

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Ryan Reynolds Aviation Gin
Aviation Gin

Steven Spohn teams up with that bloke from Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to raise awareness for the Able Gamers charity.

You may not know Steven Spohn – though you absolutely should, and we’ll get to that in a minute – but you probably do know Ryan Reynolds. He’s a big Hollywood superstar. You’ve probably seen him hawking Aviation Gin and in such movies as The In-Laws, Green Lantern, and playing Wade ‘Deadpool’ Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

(We’re kidding, Ryan. We think you’re great. You totally redeemed Deadpool and you’re easily the second-best actor to ever voice Pikachu.)

Right, anyway, that’s the Hollywood bloke out the way. Now let’s get onto the really interesting guy: Steven Spohn.

Steven is the founder and chief operating officer of Able Gamers, a global charity that champions accessible gaming. He’s won prestigious awards for his positive contribution to the video game industry, developed numerous accessible controller options and contributed to the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and has consulted on accessibility options for numerous games. He’s a powerful voice in this industry and you really need to know who he is. He’s brilliant, and we need more people like Steven.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Steven tweeted the following:

And to be honest, we forgot about it. The only “famous” people we know are game developers, and we had a feeling that wasn’t exactly what Steven had in mind for extended outreach for Able Gamers, so we didn’t really give it any more thought.

Then today, imagine our surprise when we saw the following tweet on Steven’s account:

That is big Hollywood celebrity actor man Ryan Reynolds going into bat for Steven Spohn and Able Gamers, which is amazing to see. Well done to everyone involved, it’s quite the collaboration. (We’re also reliably informed that Ryan still hasn’t blinked.)

You can find out more about Able Gamers – and, of course, donate to the cause – on the Able Gamers website.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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