Review Guidelines

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These guidelines should tell you what the bare minimum of stuff is that you need to submit in a review for Freak Nation. Naturally, this is just the tip of the iceberg — if you’ve never written a review before, you might want to read our write-up on how to write a review; it has lots of helpful tips. But if you’re already familiar with the general concept, and just want to know what we need from you, read on...

General Tips

Don’t feel like you have to write only positive reviews, or like you have to slam on things and say how awful they are. Most things have a mix of good and bad points, and a good reviewer will cover both sides.

Whether you give something a review that’s good, bad, or the more complex options in between, say why you think so. Whether you’re lauding or savaging some particular aspect of the thing, giving an objective reason for doing so makes the reader trust you more.


A good length for a review is around 700-900 words, not counting the vital statistics (as described below). Since this is the Web, and there are no real space constraints, you can go over that 900-word cap if you need to, definitely up to or even past a thousand words or so. (Past about 1200, your audience may tune out.) Don’t drop below 650 if you can possibly help it — a 600-word review is painfully short, and leaves the reader feeling like they still don’t have enough information to decide whether or not to be interested in the thing.

Things to Include

For whatever type of thing you’re reviewing, all of the things listed in “vitals” should be included along with your review. These things will be listed in the blue “vital statistics” box in the text.

Important: Whatever you’re reviewing should also have a star rating, from zero to four stars. You can use half-stars, but please don’t go over four stars (or under zero). If you think something’s so incredibly fabulous (or so hideously awful) that it should go beyond the normal scale, say so in the text of your review. The “Sample Star Ratings” sidebar should give you an idea of where each number falls on the scale, in case you had any doubt.

If you want to throw in some supporting material, you can also include any of the stuff mentioned under “options”. These things tend to be attached JPEG, GIF or PNG images. Such supporting material is not required.

Vitals: Title, director, main actors, MPAA rating and why, year of release, and running time (hours and minutes). Most of this information should be easily available from the Internet Movie Database.

Options: Promotional photos, still shots, or posters.
TV Shows
Vitals: For a single show, give the series title, episode title, season and episode numbers. For an entire season (as in a DVD box-set release), give the series title, season number, number of episodes, and the name of the show’s producer or creator.

Options: Promotional photos or stills. Possibly a scan of the box cover.
Video Games:
Vitals: The game’s title, the company that makes it, the platform(s) it runs on (plus system requirements if it’s a PC game), its genre (action, sports, puzzle, FPS, sim, etc.), and number of players.

Options: Cover art is great, as usual. If you can get them, screenshots would be wonderful.
Vitals: Include the album title, artist, record label, and genre (however you’d describe it), plus a full track listing.

Options: Album cover art, photos of the band. Concert stills are especially nice, if the review is of a live album.
Vitals: Any type of book should include title, author, publisher, ISBN, and number of pages. However, for comics or graphic novels, you can omit the ISBN and number of pages, and “author” should be broken down into writer, penciller and inker.

Options: A scan of the cover art is great. Author photos don’t hurt.
Vitals: Name and version number of software, what platforms it’s available for, license/distribution terms (open-source, shareware, etc.), system installation requirements. If it’s available online, also include a URL where it can be found, and the download size.

Options: Screenshots are traditional, though only so useful to readers. If the software came in a boxed version (as opposed to a download), possibly a scan of the box cover art. Maybe any logo associated with the product.
Vitals: Name of event, location (full address, including country), date it occurs, start and end time, entry fee if any, age restrictions if any, dress code if any.

Options: Photos of people at the event are okay, as is any logo associated with the event.

Final Important Notes

Like any other written submission to Freak Nation, you must include an author bio (50-100 words; third person). Other than that... it’s up to you. It’s your review. Tell us all about the thing you’re reviewing: what was good, what was bad, what was in-between. Cover the thing in-depth; we’d rather get a review that’s too long and have to trim it down a little than get one that’s too short and have to ask you to bulk it up.