A clarification about my reviews of cover art and blurbs from last year

Last year, I posted a blurb that gave authors critiques and suggestions about their cover art and blurbs. My intent in this was not to be mean-spirited in any way. It was simply to help authors present their games in the best possible light, so that people would have the best possible expectations going in. I think most authors would want this.

That is all the post was meant as. But there seems to be some misunderstanding about how it was meant, so I wanted to clarify this. The post was not meant as a review of the full games, but critiques and advices explicitly on the cover art and blurbs, independent of the game content. I explicitly said it was not meant as a review. It was not meant to correlate with the scores I would give the entries, any more than the general correlation of polish in presentation and polish in design. And in fact, it did not correlate with the scores I gave the entries. It was not meant as a substitute for reviews of the entries; I reviewed as many as I could, and truly wish I could have done more, but I work two jobs in addition to freelance work and have very little spare time. It was not meant to be mean-spirited in any way. And once again, it was not meant as a full review. I don’t know how much more I have to say this.

I don’t know what I have to do to convince people of this. I don’t know how to convince anyone that I’m sincere besides being sincere, and I don’t know what combination of words will demonstrate this. Maybe in a few decades there will be such a thing as an interface with the brain that can display my thoughts, and maybe that would work.

I apologize if anyone was upset by this. It was not my intention. I realize this is not the same thing as an actual apology, and I apologize for that as well. I just don’t know how to convince people

I will not be doing such a post this year, nor any reviews at all. It’s clear that people would prefer I did not.


I appreciated your thoughts on blurbs and cover art last year. I’m sorry to hear they weren’t well received.


I just want you to know how much I enjoyed reading your blurb reviews and how much I have enjoyed pretty much everything you’ve ever written when it comes to all of this, from games to reviews and everything else. I have never thought that you have any maliciousness in you at all and I think you’re a really important voice and contributor to text games. If at some point in the future you change your mind, please know that I and many others really enjoy your writing on the blurbs and games!


Just in case you bring this up because of anything I said in thread about review rewards, I wasn’t around for this stuff last year and I don’t really know the inner workings or history of this community at all yet, so I wasn’t basing anything I said on anyone or anything in particular. I was just commenting on how people in general work.

So if you took anything I said to heart, just know that you weren’t targeted. If I’m way off base and this has absolutely nothing to do with me, then feel free to ignore this response. :slightly_smiling_face:

Either way, I think that tips on writing blurbs and making cover art would be helpful. I’m the worst at writing that kind of stuff, so I know that I would appreciate it.


I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with the reception of your reviews. Being very new to the IF community, it’s saddening to hear you won’t be providing any reviews this year. From reading your post, it’s pretty clear you had the best of intentions in the feedback you gave and sincerely wanted to help the authors improve. Hopefully you will be able to return in the future and take part again. I know I’d love to learn from your feedback.


I thought your blurb and cover reviews were fantastic. It’s really helpful to see someone articulately thinking and reacting out loud to these specific paratextual things that often don’t get attention in the way that the works themselves get attention.

When I started playing with cover design and blurb writing for my current work in progress, I went back and read what you wrote again. It was really helpful.

I’m sorry to hear that others didn’t appreciate them, but speaking only for myself, I hope to see them again.


It’s kind of a shame. My blurb and art contain the first clues :slight_smile:


I can come from an unbiased view since I didn’t read your blurb reviews yet and I know nothing of graphic art design. I just had an IF friend do my blurb art for me this year.

It seems like there are several replies that indicate that there are people who see value in your reviews and that, if you chose not to do your reviews, that would be a loss of good information for them.

I imagine an alternative approach could be to highlight blurbs that you feel are really great and discuss why they work. Something like a top five or top ten list for example. Gives the value of your input while reducing the possibility of miscommunication and hurt feelings.

Plus it’s a lot less effort, so, overall, better ROI.

Just a different idea to consider.


I loved it. They were not offensive. And you made totally clear what they were.

I hope you will write reviews this year, of whatever type!


It’s really a shame your constructive feedback wasn’t interpreted as such. It sounds like many authors found it valuable. I would hope we’re all here to learn from each other, but I guess that’s optimistic of me.


I liked this review! I think you did a great job last year, in fact, if I recall correctly your mini-review of the cover art was the first positive comment I’d gotten on my game after like 2 years of daily work…so it was nice/memorable.


I’m sorry to hear that. I really liked the reviews you did of the cover and blurbs last year. It’s an area that’s often overlooked in reviews, but is still really important as a first impression for your game. I didn’t think there was anything mean spirited at all there, perhaps someone has taken the critique personally where no offense was meant. It all seemed constructive to me.


I enjoyed reading that thread, it was both respectful and informative, and I’m sorry to hear it won’t be coming back this year… Although with the number of entries I suppose it would’vd been a much more intimidating task.

The blurbs and art are so, sooo important, yet I see them continually get treated as an afterthought. Constructive criticism can only help open authors’ eyes to this and attract more players to their game. If someone is refusing to acknowledge something so basic and willfully misinterpreting your intention, I think it’s completely reasonable to disregard their response and continue with what you were doing, which was something many people appreciated and could take some useful knowledge from. The games, blurbs, art and all were made public for judging, and that’s really the end of it.