About Zam reviews

March 8, 2016 by Danielle Riendeau

Everything you ever wanted to know about Zam reviews and how we write them.

About Zam reviews

Zam reviews are personal, opinionated, and above all, honest. We strive to give our readers a taste of the experience of the game, a succinct analysis of about how well that experience comes together, and a gut-level response to what it's doing. We don't grade separate elements, or weigh "gameplay" over any other criteria, whatever that means.

We don't "grade" anything, actually - every regular Zam review carries with it a simple yes or no verdict, based on whether the reviewer thinks this game is worth experiencing or not. It's like this: we're all grown-ups here. Would we recommend this game to a friend? A friend with a busy life? Then it's a yes. Would you tell that friend to give it a pass? Then it's a no.

What's the deal these "review impressions," anyway?

In a perfect world, we would have unlimited resources - time, money, good pizza, you name it - to review everything that looks even vaguely interesting. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world. Review impressions are opinion pieces where a Zam reviewer spends several hours with a game - not necessarily completing it, if it's a longer game - and gives their impressions. Because these are shorter pieces, and because not all games can be completed in the 6-10 hours the reviewer spends on these games, we do not render a yes or no verdict for these games.

Review impressions allow us to cover games that might otherwise not get reviewed - due to time or budgetary constraints. These are games we feel are worth looking into, and we think writing these up are useful to readers.

Hey, that's not a game review!

Zam is primarily a site about video games, but that doesn't mean we don't also enjoy other forms of media - and we're pretty sure our audience does too! To that end, we review a selection of movies, books and other entertainment that we think is worth writing about, using the same general approach we use to evaluate games.

Want to know about our ethics policy? Here it is:

Unless otherwise noted, all game code used to write reviews was provided by the game’s publisher or purchased by Zam staff. We do not discuss review assessments with a game’s publisher or developer prior to publish.

Zam reviewers are allowed to participate in crowdfunding campaigns (including Kickstarter campaigns, patreons, etc.), but are required disclose any relevant information in the footnotes of the review text.

Similarly, if a Zam reviewer has any current relationship with a developer or publisher (or personal relationship with a staff member at said company), all effort will be made to assign another reviewer to that particular game, and any relevant current or past relationships will be disclosed in the footnote of the text.

Zam is owned by parent company Tencent, which owns Riot Games, among other developers, and is an investor in others. As such, we will disclose any instance where we review a game where the publisher or developer has a relationship with Tencent.

We have advertising on our site, but believe strongly in a “church and state separation” between advertising and editorial. Zam reviewers have no involvement with the purchasing or displaying of ads on the network, and the advertising department has no involvement in the editorial process.