Gamma Game Reviews (GGR)
for Howard Besser
October 16, 1996
Gamma Game Reviews (GGR) is a very COOL web gaming zine. Its objective
reviews are refreshing for many gamers who are used to biased reviews
that shed a positive light on advertisers. Since Gamma has no paid
advertising, it is not currently inhibited by a self-serving motive.
GGR's rogue status as an alternative zine attracts eyeballs to its site.
Gamma's Technical Advances
Gamma is known in gaming circles as being dynamic, high-bandwidth, and
graphic intensive. Gamma is one of the few sites that currently utilizes
the server enhancements of Netscape's LiveWire - a server-side code that
allows for complex database functions and client-side applications while
conserving bandwidth and processing power. Much of the processing of
of the processing load. Gamma's disbursement of the processing load is
vital to its functionality - otherwise Gamma's server would not be able
to handle the load.
Gamma is certainly a very attractive, intense site. Moreover, GGR
utilizes its technology to really benefit the reader. While other
Internet zines add high-tech bells and whistles, Gamma forces the
technology to enhance a reader's overall experience, learning,
understanding, and enjoyment.
Interaction with the Visitor
Gamma defines "interaction" for the World Wide Web. Check out this
older review of a game called Shannara. Each review has three main
- REVIEW: text based (qualitative) review with imbedded screen
shots. This section is usually three or four paragraphs -- giving the
reviewer's thoughts on the game.
- RATINGS: quantitative review rates each quality of a game like
addictiveness, interface, and playability. This section displays the
reviewer's choice and also the average of those who vote (see below).
- SPECS: informational overview of the game like what systems it is
compatible with, where to get the game, how much it costs, etc.
In addition to the reviewer's input, Gamma Game Reviews also solicits
input from its readers. This is where it differs from most gaming
magazines. Every game has five additional sections to the ones listed
above that engage registered users of Gamma:
- VOTE: Gamma asks it's readers to "vote" by also rating the game
quantitatively. These votes are averaged and displayed.
- FAQ: registered users can submit their own frequently asked
questions about the game.
- HINTS: If you have some hints about the game like some monster's
vulnerability or a good strategy, you can post it here.
- WALKS: Sometimes, especially for complicated games, it is nice to
have a detailed walk-thru of the game before you play it. This might
also be beneficial if you were deciding whether or not to buy the game.
- UTILITIES: for even more additional information about this game,
a user can post and view links to other sites talking about this game or
download software that might help make playing the game easier. The user
can even do a search through Alta Vista for more information on the game.
Gamma Game Reviews nurtures an on-line community that is committed to
interdependent contributors, problem-solvers, viewers, players, vendors,
and gamers. Gamma gives the different members of this community a sense
of ownership of the site - a reason to become engaged in GGR.
As a viewer, I love the ease with which Gamma makes reading and surfing.
Everything about a particular game is neatly designed so all the
information is very easily accessible.
Gamma's real strength is its content. With little marketing or money,
Gamma has managed to establish itself as one a few premier gaming
magazines solely through what it says and how it says it.
Gamma takes advantage of the medium better than other gaming sites.
Unlike most of their competition, Gamma is not an off-shoot of a paper
magazine. Most of the other sites are just soft copies of their paper
zines with interesting links thrown in. Gamma's use of video, changing
The main problem with Gamma is that it is an unreliable web site. It
goes down all time. Even when it is up and seemingly functional,
sometimes reviews don't work or other aspects of the site malfunction.
If GGR was more stable, it would attract a much higher volume of traffic
and could become one of the most popular stops on the web. Of course,
then they might start selling advertising.
I'm not a big gamer - but I love Gamma. I love it for the technology -
but also because it is fun and I become part of the community. GGR is a
great hang-out multimedia spot on the super I-way. Check it out.