What is Uninformed Gamer?
Well, it breaks down like this: I like videogames. I like them in the present, existing state, the way a man likes oxygen. Thing about it: when you're about 20 feet underwater, do you look up at the surface and go ‘man, that oxygen would be nice right about now'. Yeah, much like oxygen, I see games only in the present, existent state, meaning they don't matter if they haven't been released and they don't matter if they are printed in a magazine. Unless I can hold that CD in my hand, it's just not that important to me.
On this basis, Uninformed Gamer was founded. I don't read gamer magazines or visit the corporate websites, anxiously gobbling up every tidbit of news about when they might speculate on possibly considering a release date. I don't read developer blogs(although really I should), and I don't chat in gamer forums. I am completely, and totally uninformed.
So why am I reviewing games?
Because, by being uninformed, I am also impartial. I don't care who made the game, or what corporate drama is going down with them. I don't care who worked on the game, how long it was in production, how many times it was cancelled, or what prequels came before it. I walk into the game store, find a game that looks good, buy it, and walk back out. Period. I review without bias, but probably a lot of emotion.
So if I don't subscribe to the various periodicals, just what makes me qualified to review games? Why does my opinion count more than yours?
Well, mostly because this is The Internet and I can do whatever I want. But also because unlike you, I have a bachelor's in Game Design. When I look at a game, I look at it with the eye of someone who has been formally trained. Honestly, from a pure educationally standpoint, this puts me at least head and shoulders above the guy who plays videogames extensively and has a loud voice. I also have an associates in Multimedia Development, which covers the whole range from print graphics to web graphics to video production to web design. This means I know film techniques for evaluating cut scenes, design techniques for looking over box-art, and web-skills for building this pretty pretty website.
So, in summary, what is Uninformed Gamer? It's a review site by a guy who plays videogames. Plays, not reads about.
My background is in videogame environmental art. I am that kid who played with Legos ENTIRELY to much, who spent exhaustive hours in the backyard sculpting overly-elaborate dirt structures for his Ninja Turtles to fight on, who goes to conventions just to admire the architecture of convention centers! I am that guy, who is just absolutely obsessed with environments.
I studied it in school. I spent extensive, exhaustive, incalculable hours building environment after environment in 3D. I was carefully trained in art for videogames, with a high-degree of emphasis on effective use of polygons. I have literally spent thousands of hours in the program game studios use to build game models. So, when I look at a model in game, I know what I'm seeing.
I am also an author. My published works can be found here. As an author I am also an avid reader, both fiction and none-fiction. I like stories. As such, when I evaluate a game based on story, I am likely to be pretty hard on it, because let's face it: most games have lousy plots. The question then becomes whether or not the plot is ancillary, and how much it interferes with the important aspects such as hitting things with swords, or shooting them with guns. Only the reviews will tell.
What I Run
My gaming PC is a fairly standard affair, custom built by yours truly. It runs a dual core Athlon 64 X2 5000+ and 4 GB of RAM. My video card is a GeForce 9600. The system setup is, however, decidedly non-standard. For my OS I run Windows Server 2003. It's faster and more efficient at running videogames than Windows XP, Vista can't even touch it. Just to give you a comparison, a default install of Windows XP idles at about 90 megs of RAM usage. A default 2k3 install idles at 80 megs. And Vista idles at over 400. So: windows server 2003 = better for games.
Additionally I have a neat little peripheral device called a TripleHead2Go, manufactured by Matrox. This equipment allows me to connect three monitors to my computer, and causes the computer to see them as just one. Basically, I have a 4:1 aspect ratio monitor running at 3072x768. To put that in perspective; if you're using a standard PC monitor you probably have a 4:3 aspect ration running 1024x768(or higher, I don't know what you set your screen to). If you've got one of those fancy new-fangled ‘wide-screen' monitors, you're running a 16:9 aspect ratio and I don't know the resolution because I haven't had it ground into my brain 20 million times like 1024x768.
In short, I have a much greater field of vision in games, which is really awesome for 3D shooters. It's also fun in RPGs and other games. Basically, I just have a really big screen area.
This sometimes causes problems with my interface though. Most graphics engines these days can support the 3072x768 aspect ratio, but their interfaces aren't always designed to scale over to that. If my interface appears stretched, it is, and this is something I have accepted.