everything you ever wanted to know about pressing the action button

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that videogames are created awesome.

Welcome to ActionButton.net. This is a blog meant for the purpose of reviewing videogames. This is not a news blog. It is strictly for reviews.

You’re advised to read all of our reviews in a Jerry Seinfeld Voice; if you don’t do this, you might obtain the impression that the person writing the review is a lot more of a jerk than he or she actually is.

Then again, our definition of a “review” is perhaps loose. If something in the videogame news catches our eye, we might write a review of some older game just for the purpose of talking about the recent news.

Some reviews might be 10,000 words long and gushing with praise. Some might be 20,000 words long and seething with hatred. Some might be 800 words and consist of a single “joke” with no punchline. We are allowed to do whatever we want, quite frankly, because this is our website. If you would like to do whatever you want, get your own website. You can use the internet to do this. It’s a powerful feeling.

Our reviews may or may not have a reputation for being “strict”. This is inevitable: we are reviewing videogames to a different standard. That is (more often than not): the standard of “entertainment”. Therefore, we express a zero-tolerance policy for much of the bullstuff that passes for game design. (There will, however, be times where we inexplicably gush with love for, say, Dragon Quest. Or we might give an excellent game zero stars because some jerk that we played online co-op with saw fit to chew gum while talking the entire time. That’s just unforgivable! That’s what we call an “unpleasant memory”, right there. On such occasions, see previous paragraph re: this being our website.)


(DID YOU KNOW: Though the term was coined by Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue and still used in Western game design documentation, “Quick-timer events” (sections in games where the player must ram a specific button at a specific time, or else pound a specific button over and over again, while some sort of scripted sequence plays) are actually called “Action Button Events” in the Japanese games industry? Hence the name of the site — no, just kidding. The site is called Action Button for a wholly different reason. We do, however, despise QTEs and ABEs alike. Abe’s Oddysee, however, is a great game.)


Games magazines since the beginning of time have rated games on a scale of one to ten, with eight being average. We will rate games much like film critics rate films — that is, on a scale of one to four stars. Our “average” score will be one star. If your game impresses us enough to receive a score higher than one star, congratulations.

Unlike some of our and your favorite games magazines, we’re not going to dare pretend we’ve played through these games to completion, either. In fact we’re going to state right here that we’re going to play these games for a minimum of two hours each. We do not believe this is lazy.

In a film, it’s said that the first twenty-two minutes are the most important. Films generally last inside two hours. In a game, we believe that the first twenty-two seconds (after the title screen) are the most important. Games generally last ten or more hours. A person playing a videogame, in the first place, tends to want some degree of control over something. They tend to have what a filmmaker would call a “short attention span”. They will end up playing games much longer and in much deeper states of concentration than most people partake of any kind of cultured entertainment. However, this does not contradict their short attention spans.

We here at Action Button Dot Net would like to salute that short attention span, and treat it dearly.

We’re going to strive to put up only reviews with an interesting hook. Maybe you’ll keep coming back. Who knows! We certainly won’t tell you to go away — unless:

1. You comment on a review and say it’s not a “review”. There are thousands (literally) of websites you can go to for a number. Just try Metacritic.

2. If you tell us that a score is “too high” or “too low”, or dare ask a question like “Are you seriously saying that Bangai-oh Spirits is a better game than Metal Gear Solid 4???” Said questions smack of severe psychosis. We don’t rate games against every other game on earth: we rate them against themselves, and against ourselves. Period. If you can’t grasp this tiny, simple concept, you probably shouldn’t have your eyes open more than sixteen seconds a day (the cumulative amount of time it takes to aim your instances of urination).

3. You don’t have anything nice or constructive to say.

That’s about it. If you violate rule #1 or #2 once or rule #3 more than three times, your IP address will be banned :-/.

Also, the first time you leave a comment, it won’t show up right away. Your right to comment will need to be approved by an administrator. We do this to filter spam and jackasses.


If you want to write reviews for us, follow these steps:

1. Visit the review archive and read as many reviews as you can so as to understand where we’re coming from
2. Write three reviews, preferably within 800 to 1,200 words — try and review a game you like that other people don’t, a game you hate that other people like, and a game you find to be “just okay” regardless of anyone else’s opinion of it
3. Put them on Google Docs (docs.google.com); share them to tim108 (at) gmail (dot) com (with a brief bio (“hello” is good enough) and a clear subject line (“reviews for action button”) on the email introduction to your Google Docs share.
4. Wait ((very) patiently) for a response.
5. Don’t expect to be paid, though you might get offered a job someplace else if you’re hot enough

What you don’t want to do is use the word “heck” every two sentences just because you feel your review needs “edge”. Every one of our “heck”s is thought through for less than a microsecond. In other words, if what you got isn’t real, don’t force it. Writing reviews should come naturally. If you start thinking too much, that’s how you end up with bold headlines like “GRAPHICS” and “SOUND”.

Be warned: any reviews you submit will be judged based on more than just quality of writing and sharpness of wit. You will, believe it or not, need to possess the correct set of opinions. Refer to step one for details. There is a certain way we go about liking what we like. It can’t be summarized in a few words. We’ll leave it to you.


We had a guy reading our reviews as podcasts. He might have gotten a job as a “professional videogame journalist”. We’ll pretend it was because of his work on this site.

We’re looking for anyone who thinks they have a good idea for how to read these reviews as podcasts. Be our guest. Please. Read any one review that you think you can put a nice spin on, host it on some website (soundcloud.com is nice), and then send a link to tim108 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Bonus points if you’re British.


Are you a video game developer who is even one tenth of one percent unsure of your game’s awesomeness? We’re willing to help. We will offer 100% confidential (and 100% very harsh) input on your game design for a one-time, reasonable fee. No need to even write an NDA — we have a template sitting right here on our desktop. (“We promise to tell no one on earth (or in space) anything about what your game was like before it was released. Ever.”)

(Please please please please don’t notice that this NDA excludes people on the moon . . .)

For details on the structure and flow of the expert input we offer (“expert” as in, most writers on this site have a lot more experience in the games industry than we will ever admit), just send an email to 108 at actionbutton [dot] net. We think you’ll find our asking price somewhat shockingly reasonable. (A tiny fraction of, say, licensing the Unreal Engine.)

Warning: the above is, actually, not a joke. We can hardly think of a better way to keep this site advertisement-free.


Editor-in-chief: tim rogers
Senior editor: Ario Barzan


Samuel Kite
Toph Stuart
Brandon Parker
Hamish Todd
J. Jonathon Brett
Adam Burch
Brendan Lee

Graphic design: Rero Rero Industries

Web design: Geoffrey Roberts


2 Responses to everything you ever wanted to know about pressing the action button

  1. Pingback: Five Things that (Probably) Influenced Final Fantasy VII and Five Things it (Probably) Influenced | Toasted Hobo

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