Hello ladies and gents. We've heard there are some murmurings about the TAY review system, and specifically the signup process. So, like any well-intentioned people, we're here to do our best to make things a little bit friendlier and manageable for everyone.
After talking to many of the admins and authors we figured it might be time for a refresher on where and how to sign up, when you can, what it's good for and what you're signing up for. Here are the most commonly asked questions.
Do I have to do this?
No. Just like everything on TAY it's completely optional to participate.
Where do I sign up?
The signup Google spreadsheet can be found here.
What info do you need from me?
We'll need your real name, address, email and a list of consoles you own. This way if we receive a physical review copy we can send it your way and contact you about the process. Send this info to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDIT: If you don't want review copies, we don't need this info.
What games can I sign up for?
Any game on any system that has a solid release date. By which I mean an actual date consisting of a day, month and year. If you sign up for a game with a release date and it gets delayed you are still tied to that game. Retro games are also welcome. You can't sign up for a game someone else has already signed up for.
What am I signing up for?
You're signing up to do a TAY review. That means if you sign up on the sheet, you're agreeing to sign up to do a review of the game you chose using the TAY Review format. If you want to deviate from the format, or do your own thing, please do not sign up on the review sheet.
Why do I have to use the TAY review format if I sign up?
It's all about consistency in this case. We're trying to snag you review copies from big wig companies and we usually have to show them our reviews and write ups to get that kind of relationship. If everyone did their own thing (which they still can, just not as a "TAY Review") then it wouldn't look very professional.
Why do we have to be professional? I thought the TAY was just a fun hang out place.
TAY can be as professional or unprofessional as you like. Personally I like to see both sides. The professionalism in question is basically just for those who want to use it. It makes us look more appealing to the game developers. By all means post whatever you like (as long as its not a direct attack on someone or porn) and make the most of TAY. I promise we're not trying to turn TAY into Kotaku proper.
What does signing up do?
Signing up makes sure GBD and Steve know what games you want to do a TAY Review of. Depending on the game, either GBD or Steve will work with that title's publisher to try to get you a review copy.
Will I always get an early review copy of the game I signed up for?
Nope, but sometimes! GBD and I are working on new contacts every day and our relationships with certain developers has grown substantially over the last few months. We'll always try to get you a game before it launches so you can put in the time for a solid review. Sometimes we get them early, sometimes after launch, and sometimes not at all.
I'm getting a review copy, what's required of me now?
Publishers all have different requirements when reviewing their games. Most games will come with some form of review guide outlining what the publisher will and won't allow; we have to adhere to those guidelines if we want to keep games coming in. Plenty of games also have an embargo date, your review should be up on the day that embargo lifts. If a publisher agrees to send a review game, either GBD or myself will contact you to let you know what the requirements are and if you can agree to them. If you can't for any reason, we'll have to assign the review to someone else that can meet the deadline.
Someone signed up for the game I REALLY want to review. What do I do?
Talk to them. You may find that they simply saw an opening and had mild interest in the title. In this case you could convince them to let you take it in their stead. Or maybe they'd like a second opinion at the end of their review that you could help with, there's nothing wrong a with a joint review. Though keep in mind that we usually only get one review copy if we get one at all.
What if someone signs up for a game and has no experience writing reviews?
We'll contact them and make sure they have the chops to take it on. If they're not a regular or have shown to be unreliable in the past we may not give them any review copies we are assigned. Your best bet is to do some reviews to prove you're a decent writer and understand the format before signing up.
What's the point of reviewing games that are already reviewed on Kotaku?
It's nice to have your voice heard, even if it's just your ramblings about the newest Halo. We may be technically part of Kotaku, but we're not Kotaku. Our opinions matter just as much. Also, it's fun! We assume you enjoy writing. If you're only writing reviews for the prospect of potential free review copies you may want to take a step back.
I'm going to forget about that sign up sheet. Can you remind me?
Absolutely! Starting next week we'll be linking the signup sheet every single week in a blip. Hopefully this will help more people remember.
I hate your format and that sheet. Can I contact developers and get my own review copies?
That's not a great idea, unless you contact them representing a different site or publication. When two people from the same site ask for review copies it doesn't make them look very organized and usually leads to confusion on the developer's part. It's also a little seedy and can result in us losing contact with that company. Most times they think we're just trying to swindle them out of free titles. If you have notes about the format or sheet about howthey could be changed for the better, we're all ears. Let us know.
Have more questions? Ask us in the comments and we'll do our best to answer them.