A review is an analytical examination of a work with the objective of offering a contextualized and critical opinion on a particular work or product, seeking to cover its positive and negative points in order to develop a critical comparison that allows the user to propose a conclusion, usually with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the development of the product, or, to offer opinions for other users to use as reference.
A review is of universal application, being possible to use in all types of media, from virtual to physical approaches. Reviews can be done for books, music, art, movies, video games, etc. Their application has no defined limit, and it can be used as an analytical and developmental tool.
Reviews can either be in written format, audio, video, or a combination of them. The former being the most common approach.
Reviews may also offer a rating system, either in a points format, five-star format, grading system or others.
Reviews are, by nature, largely subjective.
Since the origin of the game, there have been a large number of reviews developed in different formats throughout history. Mainly in written form; reviews have been used as reference points for users, being consumer guides by which they can decide what actions to take, usually being to buy or not to buy the product. A great number of magazines dedicated to video games have reviewed the classic games, as well as awarded the series with different prizes.
Reviews have also been written and used by the community for a long time. Their main purpose being to function as references for the critical evaluation of fan-produced content, especially PWADs.
With the advent of the internet and the birth of forums, numerous discussions and reviews have been published publicly on different sites throughout history. /idgames archive is the largest and longest-lived repository of Doom WADs, and the Doomworld web interface also contains a large number of (usually informal) reviews by different users around the world, which have the option to rate different files using a five-star rating system. However, most of these early reviews were very unprofessional and not taken seriously.
The rapid evolution of the internet and the general growth of the community, gave rise to an increase in the productivity output of the community, releasing more WADs than ever. Nonetheless, it was becoming harder to find relatively serious reviews that provided critical feedback towards authors. Thus, with the efforts of the community, more professional standards were becoming increasingly popular and even movements that dedicated themselves to review maps were starting to become well regarded.
On July 23, 2000, Andrew Bassett published issue #1 of the /newstuff Chronicles, a periodic roundup of recently uploaded WADs directly to the /idgames archive. This was among the very first efforts to create a formal and consistent review program that would allow for other users to use as a referencial guide. Initially, the /newstuff Chronicles was only written by a number of selected authors, but in due time, the effort became a communal activity. By 2008, after a several months long hiatus, the /newstuff Chronicles returned with a new system that allowed all Doomworld forums members to participate. The last /newstuff Chronicles roundup was issue #546 on December 21, 2018, after which the program entered an indefinite hiatus that is regarded as the closing of the reviews program.
In 2003, Doomworld became host of the Top 100 WADs of All Time, created by Andrew Stine (Linguica) and Mike Watson (Cyb), as a celebration for Doom's 10th birthday. This feature listed the top 10 WADs of each year, since 1994 to 2003. Each feature included a small review and a screenshot of the PWAD levels. By the next year, this feature evolved into the currently active Cacowards. A yearly celebration of Doom's birthday kickstarted by Stephen Browning (Scuba Steve) that collects the top WADs of the year in review format, along with several other runner-ups, article features, mods and other community works.
Several other sites and user blogs also featured a number of reviews, mostly managed by a single user or a number of users, such as the blog ONEMANDOOM: WAD Reviews authored by kmxexii, Doom Underground created by Colin Phipps (cph), Doom Wad Station by Bob Larkin and The Doom Master Wadazine founded by Endless.
With the decay of the /newstuff Chronicles, the lockup of the option to review WADs in /idgames archive and the lack of a properly updated WAD repository in Doomworld, the communal effort to actively review WADs has stalled greatly, but a handful of independent authors still offer periodic reviews to a number of WADs, and even community events open the opportunity to all members to participate, such as the DWmegawad Club, where Doomworld members vote for a monthly megawad for it to be played and reviewed for the duration of the month, by posting one review per map per day. The Doom Master Wadazine is also open to all Doom fans to contribute reviews, and is also host to the Wadarcheology Project, an open effort to review old and obscure noteworthy WADs ranging from 1994 to 2004, and the Endless Random /idgames WAD Adventures, a bi-weekly event that aims to explore and review random WADs by using the random file feature of the /idgames archive.
These are reviewers and writers that have made considerable efforts in various sites, blogs or other sources, in different formats.
- Bob Larkin
- Book Lord
- Christian Hansen
- Colin Phipps (cph)
- Dean Joseph (deathz0r)
- Demon of the Well
- Eric Claus
- John Anderson (Dr. Sleep)
- Major Arlene
- Not Jabba
- Stephen Browning (Scuba Steve)
- Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer)