Methodology

When you come across a random website run by someone you’ve never met, it’s perfectly valid to ask: “how can I trust them?” On this page I wanted to go into a little detail about my methodology when it comes to writing the different kinds of pieces you’ll find here. Either to reassure you that what you read here on Trekking with Dennis is genuine… or so you know it’s not right for you so neither of us wastes our time!

First up, let’s talk about reviews. This is the big one, because knowing whether a review is trustworthy is important. When it comes to writing any piece that I title a “review,” you can rest assured that I have seen or played the title for myself from beginning to end. If it’s a big release that I’ve been anticipating – such as a brand-new season of a Star Trek series – I may well have read and/or watched a lot of pre-release commentary. But when it comes to writing my own reviews I’m giving my own thoughts and impressions. I don’t read or watch anyone else’s review before writing my own because I don’t want to allow the opinions of other critics to influence the way I watch or play a title.

The only exception to that rule is for some major film releases. Due to disability I’m not able to go to the cinema any more, and as a result I often watch films weeks or months after their release in theatres. Sometimes in the intervening span of time, stumbling upon critical opinion is unavoidable. But I will try to always be up-front about that when I write my own review.

In the same vein, I make sure to avoid spoilers wherever possible. Spoilers can have a major impact on the way we approach media, and while in some cases they’re unavoidable or accidental, as much as I can I like to go into any title unspoiled, allowing myself to react to story developments in the moment.

Reviews aren’t the only pieces I write here, of course. I will sometimes give my first impressions on a newly-released title, especially a video game. In the case of games, I tend to say that if I’ve played a title for around a couple of hours, that’s good enough to know how I feel about it. So for pieces with the “first impressions” title, I will always have played the game, but I won’t have completed it. In some cases I won’t have gotten very far into it at all, but I will still have played it for long enough to get a feel for the game and to be able to write up something meaningful.

While on the subject of video games, I also do playthroughs (otherwise known as the “Let’s Play” series). I will always tell you in the first part of a playthrough whether the game is new to me or not. If it’s a title I haven’t played before, you’ll be following along with me as I play for the first time. After a play session I will take a break, sort out my screenshots, and then write up that session before moving on to the next. In short, I don’t play the game in one long hit and then break it up into smaller articles; each article represents one session. As such, the amount of time spent playing (and thus the length of the piece) may vary a lot even within a single Let’s Play series.

When it comes to writing things like fan theories and wishlists, it’s important to remember that I don’t have any “insider information.” I’m not a professional journalist with a lot of sources close to major productions, I’m just some fan with a website. When I speculate and theorise, that’s all I’m doing. I’m not trying to start rumours or saying that something is definitely going to happen. I draw up my own theories, and I don’t rely on outside sources. In a lot of cases I won’t be the only advocate of a particular theory, but practically every theory written here is something I came up with independently.

Fans can be very passionate, and can express that passion in both positive and negative ways. I try to stay positive here, though I reserve the right to criticise any work of entertainment. However, I don’t seek out on purpose something that I know I won’t like. That would be counterproductive, and if I feel a title isn’t “my thing” then chances are I’ll simply skip it and move on to something else. None of that means that I’m going to be a cheerleader for any franchise, no matter how much I like it. Even when it comes to my favourites – like Star Trek – I can be very critical of everything from poor business decisions to narratives that I didn’t enjoy, and if you read my work you’ll see plenty of examples of that.

The most important thing to remember is this: I’m an independent critic. I do not, under any circumstances, accept payment for writing positive reviews or articles. This is my personal website. I paid for it, and I choose the topics for articles and columns based on what I’m interested in talking about or where I think I have something relevant to say. This website isn’t set up with a view to make me a lot of money, nor is writing here my job. This is a side-project for fun, and a way to keep the old grey matter active. That’s all.

I hope this has been helpful. If you want to know more about me and how this website came to be, you can find out by clicking or tapping here.

I also have a copyright policy which you can find by clicking or tapping here.