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So is that Toy or Game actually any good?
How to Write a Good Toys & Games Review
Member Name: azana
How to Write a Good Toys & Games Review
Date: 15/10/11, updated on 16/10/11 (54 review reads)
Advantages: great area to write in
Disadvantages: if you haven't played with it or seen it played with you can't really comment
I actually came across Dooyoo in the first place when trying to find out if a toy on my kids' most-wanted Christmas list was any good. Fast forward a couple of years and these days I spend quite a lot of time looking at other people's toy reviews, so I thought it would be useful to share my thoughts, which are my own rather than any official guide, on what makes a useful Toys and Games review.
First things first, in my opinion the best Toys reviews are packed with recent, up to date experience. If you are writing about Connect 4 circa 1980, or a toy that has long languished in an attic, then your experience can't be as helpful as that of someone who has bought and tested out a toy thoroughly and in the recent past. Toys change and manufacturers seem to update features continually so it's helpful if you are describing the exact product that I might be looking to buy now and not remembering how things used to be.
I think it's also important in this category that you are able to give plenty of information on the usage of a product by the age group for whom it is primarily intended, if that's a child then probably if you aren't in a position to have spent plenty of time with the child then your review won't be as useful as it could be. There are some great reviews on this site from parents and grandparents, but second hand experience - ie talking about a present given to someone you don't see often isn't going to be as useful in my opinion. Likewise if you are reviewing a toy for a 2 year old that your 6 month old has played with for a week, then it's probably of little use speculating as to whether they might like the toy in a year or two, and I also find reviews where people suggest that the child might like the toy later rather optimisitic - in my experience some toys are dud from the off and really, when I'm researching the Christmas wish list it's those ones I want to avoid and I suspect that most parents and gift buyers feel that way too. It's why people come to the site, as non members. In Toys and Games it's horribly easy to buy things that look like a good idea that turn out to languish in the toy box forever. Some toys are just not actually very good no matter how well they are marketed, eg on Kids' TV ad nauseum.
I always like toy reviews that make it clear if a range of children have loved something, played with it a lot and where the reviewer has thought about the play value of the toy and made it obvious if it is a five minute wonder or not. These kind of reviews are really useful for the consumers for whom this site exists.
Whilst I always like to know what the toy does and any bits that are not well made, in all honesty I don't think explaining the rules of a game in minute detail is really necessary, and neither is a history of the company producing it of any interest to me in the main, or a a blow by blow description of the box, but a simple idea of what a toy actually does is a must. If, at a basic level, you are reviewing an item and I'm not even sure roughly how big it is then the review can't be very useful for me. The soft toy in the photo in the category could be 5cm high or 50cm for all I know, so it's good to give some idea of how large it is. It's also very handy to know how much you paid and if you think the toy is worth the money or not - so many toys just aren't worth the price you pay in my experience so when something is a winner it's great to know, and I need to be able to understand easily what any particularly toy actually does.
I think the best reviews are heavier on opinion than they are on description. Clear sections and good spelling make it easy for the reader to find out what they need to know to inform a purchase quickly, whilst it's nice to have an idea of what kind of child the toy was bought for, again that kind of information is best quickly covered - I want to know if the toy is any good first and foremost rather than anything else.
Which leads me on to what I think is the most important part of a review - opinion, dooyoo is after all an opinion site and what I think it is really important to know is the actual reality of the Toy or Game behind the enticing pictures or the product description. Your opinion can be concise, and actually often the best reviews are. I really like it when I read a review and I get a real feel of what you think of the toy or game, or actually what the person mainly playing with it thinks, be it that the toy is good or bad. If the toys is badly made, overpriced or just doesn't have a point then tell us - so we don't waste our money! If a toy has been an instant hit with every child who has been around your house, then it's good to know, it's not a guarantee my child will like it, but the kid test is key!
I've been very grateful to this site for some of the opinions that people who have bought toys have given, the case of a cupcake maker that was massively advertised a year or two back springs to mind. Having read that it was rubbish gave me the insight and conviction to say "sorry but no" to my child (always tricky as any parent subjected to pester power will know) and spend my money on something much better, only to find out that I knew people who had bought the item and yes, the dooyoo members were right as I knew they would be it was a total waste of time!
I think that the value in Toys and Games reviews on this site is the real genuine insight that members can provide that will have you running to the shop (or adding an item to your wish list at least), or trying to talk your child into something else or hoping that they forget to put the item on their Father Christmas list. It's a pleasure to read reviews in Toys and Games that are well written, consumer focused and packed full of opinion. As a parent I find those kind of reviews really useful and I'm sure the people using this site to research products do too and ultimately that's what this site is all about. I hope that this review will help some people with writing their Toy or Game review - it's an area that I personally really enjoy writing in and which I think is an important part of the site. I look forward to reading lots more reviews about the latest products and seeing what the top toys will be this year, because, let's face it, Toys are, (or should be) fun! Happy review writing!
Summary: some of my thoughts on what makes a great Toy review