A bizarre and potentially disastrous series of circumstances put one writer off reviewing forever.
Being a videogame reviewer sounds like a great job. In fact, it’s hard to think of anything better than playing games and getting paid for it. But it’s also a job fraught with danger, some obvious – like fanboy backlash – and some much less so. In Issue 298 of The Escapist, Robert Marks looks back at his first and only professional review, for the second game in Bungie’s Myth series, which over the course of several weeks nearly cost him a hard drive and – indirectly – an ear.
Although there may not be that many people who remember it today, Bungie’s Myth series was one of the giant leaps in the real-time strategy genre. Just about every RTS maker prior to Myth: The Fallen Lords had made RTS games that were as much about gathering resources and building bases as they were about battles. The Myth series changed that … To be able to review the second one was an incredible thrill.
The first copy of Myth II arrived right on time … I felt like a kid in a candy store … until about midway through installing the game, when the installer crapped out. The CD was faulty … A couple of days into my playing marathon – it was a big game – the replacement CD arrived. Almost immediately after that, my editor called me in a panic, telling me that under no circumstances was I to actually use the thing.
It turns out that Bungie had found a bug in the installer. If the game was installed into the default directory (such as I had done), everything was fine. If it wasn’t, however, and you wanted to uninstall the game, the installer would get confused and try to compensate with thoroughness – by uninstalling everything. Yes, Bungie had accidentally created a game that could leave you with a blank hard drive as a parting gift.
As harrowing as the process of writing the review had been, it was what came after that soured Marks on the whole reviewing process. You can read more about it in his article, “Myth-Takes and Other Oddities.”