Update on Critical Previews

As many of you may have noticed, I have not done a Critical Preview in quite some time.  As this year comes to a close, I've been working on some changes for our site and video plans and I wanted to discuss them with you here today.

Critical Previews were created in March of 2013 with our first preview for Shift.  The idea of the Critical Previews was two fold; Make more videos/content and focus on games that interested me.  At the outset, this was easily managed and while I look back at some of them with fondness, I can easily see the pathway that led us to where we are today; making the announcement that I will no longer be doing Critical Previews.

I could bore everyone with gritty details as to why.  From unprofessional project owners to last minute rush requests to project owners who only (shockingly and openly) just wanted to "milk our viewer base", to the project owners who blatantly didn't care about the game itself and just wanted to turn a profit; the list is insanely long. The multitude of project owners who are unprofessional is both astounding and disheartening at times.


Thankfully, there are, as in most cases with life, diamonds in the rough.  From Jamey Stegmaier at Stonemaier Games (one of my favorite people and companies) to Ben Harkins of Floodgate Games, to Jake Leeman of Vision 3 Games, there are plenty of well versed, well managed business people in the kickstarter game; all providing value, fun, and excitement.  I can confidently say I would recommend everyone I have done a Critical Preview for to date as a respectable and well handled business person, or team.


Unfortunately, over time, no matter the filter mechanism put in place to work on the games I found interesting and with professionals, I continue to find myself at the same crossroads, over and over again.  Making a Critical Preview is no longer fun.


I do what I do at Crits Happen out of passion.  I don't do my own kickstarters asking for funding (which is a much longer story for a taller beer).  I do have a "donate" button on our site, but barely every advertise it nor ask anyone to use it aside it just "being there".  I primarily fund myself.  I make my videos because I love talking about games and I want to share my thoughts and ideas with you, our critical community.  I've said for the longest time, if something isn't fun, I'm not going to continue to do it, and today, the Critical Previews have officially become, "Not fun."


As such, I will no longer be responding to requests to make a video for a game currently on, or planned to be on Kickstarter.  I will however, be continuing to both share games I am interested in on our social sites as well as I will keep the "Critical Horizons" section to the right (which is advertising space for kickstarters currently in motion). If you are a project owner and wish to have your game featured there, you can contact me for details.  This section, has, and always will be, ad space to help direct people to games coming out soon on crowd-funded sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, as well as ad space revenue for this site.  

If you are interested in games I have backed or am currently backing, you can also find them located in the "Critical Kicks" section to the right, which links to my Kickstarter Profile.  


I look back on the games I did previews for and hope that you have enjoyed them as much as I have.  Several of them are some of my favorite games.  Some of you may be asking though, what's next?


Coming next is "Critical Kicks" the video series!  Beginning in January 2015, I'll be doing videos, of games of my own choice, that I have backed on Kickstarter and received.  I'll talk about them from a project standpoint, what I liked and didn't, to the game itself, and the components.  Many project find themselves in the distribution channel for retailer sales, so I feel this will be a solid way to highlight the projects I personally enjoyed and backed, as well as still provide a value to the publishers and project owners, at no cost to them.  In the end though, I ultimately hope you like them and find them both entertaining and thought provoking!


Don't get me wrong, this journey has been fun, and I want to thank everyone whom I had the opportunity to work with over the last few years, doing Critical Previews for.  As with most journeys in life though, there are chapters that end, and new ones that begin, so I hope you look forward to the new Critical Kicks videos coming soon.  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, a joyous new year, and continues to enjoy the content I (and my play group) put out on our channel.

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Comments: 12
  • #1

    Mike Friesen (Monday, 15 December 2014 21:58)

    Hey Tox,

    I can understand where you are coming from, it's incredibly hard to do justice to something that is no longer fun. Thanks again for taking the time to do a Space Junk critical preview, I still appreciate it, and I won't forget!

  • #2

    Tox (Monday, 15 December 2014 22:14)

    Thank you Mike! Space Junk was a lot of fun and we're looking forward to more of you cool games!

  • #3

    Daniel Zayas (Monday, 15 December 2014 23:09)

    That's timely you mention this as I myself am getting into Kickstarter reviews on The Meeple Mechanic in January. Sorry about the bad run you have. Part of deflection on my site might just be we are publishing one review per week in the order they are received. If that doesn't jive with someone's schedule then too bad. Another reflection might be the standardized rubric we are using, even if the rubric is half subjective. If a game has something, it gets points. If not, it doesn't. Then I get to say after the fact almost how rotten tomatoes smashes good movies and praises good movies just so long as the meter is favorable to the opinion.

    Anyway wish you the best in the site's future endeavors.

    -Daniel Zayas

  • #4

    Tox (Monday, 15 December 2014 23:46)

    Good luck Daniel. I think that's a viable approach, but as you grow and gain demand, volume can crush you. I think our formula worked well, but when volume and practices came to light, it became something I either had to commit fully to or not and I'm not about half-baking anything so for our channel, this is the best route to go.

  • #5

    Matt Riddle (Tuesday, 16 December 2014 04:48)

    Well said

  • #6

    Silver Bowen (Wednesday, 24 December 2014 16:05)

    Regardless of the personal integrity of the critic, previews are a form of advertising. Talking about upcoming stuff is fun and no problem. We all want to share our excitement over the new hotness :) But, promoting it for compensation (even small amounts) crosses a line, IMHO.

    I enjoy your reviews and trust you to give an honest opinion. For me, previews damage that credibility, so I'm glad you aren't doing them anymore. Many other critical outlets (The Dice Tower, for one) are dropping previews as well, so you're in good company.

    Plus, it sucks doing stuff that isn't fun. So don't!

  • #7

    Jonathan (Monday, 29 December 2014 01:00)

    As a wise man once said: "don't half ass two things; full ass one thing."

  • #8

    Kim (Sunday, 22 March 2015 14:19)

    I understand. But its a shame because I think you do some of the best and liveliest reviews out there.

    You were top of my list.

    But good luck!

  • #9

    Mike (Wednesday, 29 April 2015 20:24)

    Sad that we won't be seeing anymore previews from you Tox, as I personally loved your previews. However, I completely respect your decision and can certainly understand where you're coming from. You've got to remain authentic, and I'd agree that putting out too many half-baked previews could hurt your reputation. KS previewers certainly do need to be selective, as a collaborative effort to help rid the community of unprofessional project creators who are simply looking to make a quick buck.

    I wish you the best in your future endeavors :)

  • #10

    Tox (Thursday, 30 April 2015 05:26)

    Thanks Mike, fully agreed.

  • #11

    on that page (Saturday, 29 July 2017 12:35)

    Mike wasn't right

  • #12

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