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  1. Getting Started

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    1. How do I sign up?

      You want to join Game Informer? Good, we want you to as well! Look at the top of the screen while you’re on the site and click that “Join” button to begin the process. You’ll need to put in your name, e-mail address, and time zone here. Keep in mind that the name you put in here is the same name that everyone else on Game Informer will see on your profile and any comments, user reviews, or blogs that you post.

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      Once you’ve finished this easy step, you’ll get a helpful note that the account has been created. You’ll need to check your e-mail address to get a temporary password. I recommend changing your password immediately so that it’s something you’ll remember.

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    2. How do I edit my profile?

      The first and easiest step to getting involved is to fill out your profile information. Click on your user name or your avatar to access your personal profile, then click "Edit profile" to the right of your user name. You can fill in basic details like your location and birthday, write up a short biography letting us know who you are and what you do, and fill out tons of other info. Let the community know where else they can find you on the web (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), what games you love more than anything, and who your best character is in your favorite MMO. Click “Save Profile” at the top when you’ve filled in as much info as you want.

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    3. How do I enter my online gaming stats?

      If you filled out your profile completely, you’ve just passed on a whole lot of info about yourself to the Game Informer community, but we can’t forget what it’s all really about: the games. If you click “Edit Profile” and look on the right sidebar, you’ll see a small section for “Online Gaming Info.” In this area, you can enter your Xbox Live Gamertag, your PlayStation Network ID, your Wii Friend Code, and your XFire ID.

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      Filling out this info will automatically allow your Xbox Live Gamercard and XFire Info Card to display on the right-hand side of your profile. If you’d also like to display your PlayStation Trophy Card, you’ll need to do a little bit of footwork. First, head to Sony’s PlayStation Network website at http://www.us.playstation.com/. Log into your account by clicking the “Log In” button in the upper right corner.

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      Once you’ve logged in, click the “My Profile” button that will appear in the same corner as “Log In” was. On your Sony profile page, click the “Portable ID” button to the far right.

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      On the Portable ID page, click the “Get Your Portable ID” button.

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    4. How do I change my hero image and avatar?

      See that huge image at the top of your blog? That’s what we call a Hero Image. When you first create your account, it will automatically be set to an image from a Game Informer cover.

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      If you run your mouse over the Hero Image, you’ll see a pencil appear in the corner. If you click that, you’ll be able to upload your own image. The Hero Image will look the best if it’s at least 940 pixels wide by 324 pixels high. Technically, the height can be anything, but try to go for 940 pixels across.

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      Below your Hero Image, you’ll notice a smaller box with a faceless dude holding a controller. This is your Avatar, which will appear on all comments you make. Obviously you’ll want something more interesting than that, so be sure to change this as well.

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      To make your Avatar look the best possible, make sure you choose a square image that is 128 pixels by 128 pixels (or looks good when shrunk down to that size).

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      Follow these steps, and you’ll have a full profile that will help the Game Informer community get to know you much faster. Remember, your profile is a space to show off your personality and what you’re enjoying. Feel free to change Avatars and Hero Images based on your changing interests. We’ll certainly be doing so as well!

  1. Blogging

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    1. How to get started blogging on Game Informer

      Welcome to the new GameInformer.com! In addition to being able to check out all the latest news, reviews, previews, videos, and podcasts from the Game Informer staff, our new site has a ton of ways for you to contribute. You can join the conversation on our forums, help out the community with game guides, or make your thoughts heard in your personal blog.

      Become an A-list blogger on GameInformer.com by going through the following tips! Get out there, and start writing and sharing some blogs. We’re sure you’ll learn more of the cool features available on the site as you blog. You can share your own tips at our Writer’s Guild group.

      Remember that the best bloggers and contributors on the site will earn “Expert” status, and if you really impress us, you’ll even have the chance to have your blog featured alongside the Game Informer editor blogs!

      I’ll help you get started with some tips for writing a blog:

      Style And Substance: Perhaps the most important thing I can caution you about is a lesson I learned the hard way: DO NOT COPY AND PASTE TEXT FOR YOUR BLOG POST FROM WORD. Microsoft Word and other rich text editors put hidden formatting tags in your text that don’t jive very well with our site. If you copy/paste from Word in your blog post, it’s going to mess up the look of your post, and it will be moderated. We’ll be sure to send along a warning, but continued copy/pasting from Word or other text editors will lead to a ban. If you’re like me and you absolutely MUST type a post out in Word before putting it into your blog, copy and paste it into Notepad, then copy and paste the Notepad text into the blog post. That will clean out the bad tags.

      Don’t fret about missing out on advanced text editor features, though. Our blog editor lets you change your font style, size, and even color. Just be careful not to over-use these features. Making a headline bigger or a different color can set it apart from the rest of the text and help show that you’re moving on to a new subject, but if every word is a new color or bolded or extremely big, the changes will lose some of their power and possibly even become annoying.

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      Once you’ve got your words looking right, make sure they read right as well. Even if you’ve got the most exciting ideas in the world, your audience needs to be able to understand them. We recommend full sentences with periods, commas, and any other punctuation that might be necessary to make your sentences readable. Grammar is probably the least exciting part of writing, but trust me, the more you understand those basics, the better your writing will become overall and the more everyone else will want to read it!

    2. How do I insert pictures into my blog post?

      Nothing draws people in faster than big, beautiful images. Whether it’s a screenshot or a picture of your most recent purchases, it’s always a good idea to include some visual stimulation in your posts. To do so, click the ‘Insert Media’ button as shown below. You’ll have the option to upload from your computer and put the image permanently on our site or to pull the image from another URL, although if you take it from another site, you run the risk of the image going down at some point in the future.

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      You can also set your max width here. I recommend setting images at 610 for max width. That way they fill a whole column on your blog and look awesome. As long as the picture you’re uploading is at least 610 pixels wide or bigger, you can just set the width to 610 here and it will automatically resize it for you.

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      If your image is smaller than 610 pixels wide, don’t give up hope! If you click on the image to select it, then right-click, you’ll get a menu with “Alignment” as an option. You can center the smaller image so it still looks nice, or play around with left-aligning it so that your text wraps around it. Experiment and figure out what looks best for you!

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    3. How do I embed videos into my blog post?

      Want to post a video? Well, click the ‘Insert Media’ button as shown below. Once opened, click “From URL” and put in the URL of the video you want to embed, whether it’s a YouTube link or one from GameInformer.com! Once again, I recommend a width of 610 to make the video look great and line up perfectly on your blog.

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    4. How do I add hyperlinks into my blog post?

      Does your blog post talk about a hot new game or reference an article on Game Informer? Help your readers out, and link to what you’re talking about. You can link to a game page on Game Informer or directly to any review, preview, screenshot, or video.

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      To make a link, just highlight the text that you want to act as a link and click the “Insert/Edit Link” button. Paste the URL into the “Link URL” box. You can also title the link and change the “Target” if you’d like the link to open in another window. That way, readers don’t have to leave your blog to check out the link!

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    5. Adding tags to your blog post

      In addition to making your post look nice, you should also consider adding in “Tags” before you post it. If the post is about a PS3 game, you’ll want to use tags such as “Sony,” “PlayStation 3,” “PS3,” and whatever the games title is. In a post about a Metal Gear Solid game, in addition to the game’s title, you’ll want to add tags like “Metal Gear Solid,” and “MGS.” Smart tagging will ensure that readers who are interested in the subjects you’re writing about find your blog post.

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      And don’t feel like you need to just write about video games! Obviously Game Informer’s site and community are focused on gaming, but we love lots of other things too. If you’ve seen a movie recently that you really want to write about or had a crazy night out that you think our community just has to hear about, feel free to share it on your blog. Your blog is your space to do whatever you want with.

    6. How do I create a summary/excerpt of my blog post?

      Once all of your text is complete, there are a couple final clean-up steps to make sure it looks as good as possible when it’s live. First off, there’s the “Excerpt” tag. At some point in your post – probably after the first or second paragraph – you’ll want to add “Excerpt” (make sure it’s in brackets and with a capital ‘E’). This will determine how much of your blog is shown on your blog page before readers have to click through to read the rest. If you don’t add an “Excerpt” tag, your blog page will just show the title and an image none of the text of the post, so be sure you add it! Check out the image of a preview below to see how the “Excerpt” tag will work.

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    7. How do I break-up a long blog post into several pages?

      Also consider the length of your post. If it’s more than five or six paragraphs (see also: this post), you might want to turn it into a multi-page post. To do this, add in the tag "[PageBreak]</p>" where you’d like one page to end and the next to begin. Again, make sure it’s a single word, in brackets, and with ‘P’ and ‘B’ capitalized and the ending p tag in the raw HTML. You can use the "PageBreak" token as many times as you’d like in a post to spread it across multiple pages. A new page is also a great spot to put a new 610-width image to keep things looking hot.

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    8. What is the advanced editor?

      If you look down below the “Tags” box, near the “Publish” button, you’ll see a link for our “Advanced Editor.” Clicking this will take you to a more in-depth editor with a lot more options.

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      It will open onto the “Write” page which will look very similar to the normal blog posting page. Note the “File Attachment” button at the bottom. This allows you to attach files other than images. If you’ve got a podcast or a cool video game song to share, attach it to your post! Just keep in mind that there’s a 10MB file size limit on your attachment.

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      The “Comments and Feedback” tab will give you a number of options for how you want to deal with comments. Afraid that your post will be barraged by angry fanboys? You can turn comments off altogether. Or if you want to make sure you’re on top of what everyone’s saying about your write-up, you can turn on e-mail notifications for comments or all feedback.

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      Want to post a video? Well, ignore that “Video” tab! That section is actually part of the beta and won’t affect your post at all. Instead, you can use the regular “Insert Media” button on the “Write” tab that I discussed before.

      The “Publication Settings” and “Advanced Options” tabs contains some options for RSS summaries and changing your blog’s URL, but these are pretty minor details that you probably won’t want to mess around with for most of your blog posts.

    9. How do I write a user review?

      Have you ever read a review in our magazine and strongly disagreed with us? Or maybe you just picked up a new game, and you’re eager to tell the world how awesome or how awful it is? You’ll have the chance on our new website thanks to the “User Review” feature! Let me give you some tips on getting started with user reviews.

      Thinking It Through: Before you decide to write a user review for a game, you should ask yourself two very important questions. First off, have you played the game in question to completion, or have you at least experienced enough of the game to give readers a full overview of what it’s like? Posting a hate-filled review just because you dislike the developer or the console it’s on isn’t going to help anyone or make you look good. Neither will writing a review based off of info you got from the game’s manual. Make sure you play the game first!

      Second, do you have interesting and fully-formed thoughts about the game to share with the community? If not, you might need to take a little bit more time considering your experience before you write the review. Some Game Informer editors find it helpful to keep notes of their thoughts as they play through a game, while others make an outline of what they found good and bad before they start writing the actual review. Figure out what helps you write the best, most helpful reviews, and then run with it.

      Making It Happen: So you’ve decided to write a user review. Good for you! The best way to start is by searching for the game you want to review on our website. In my example, I’m going to be searching for Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, since I recently played that game and have an opinion on it that I’d like to share with the Game Informer community.

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      On the search results page, look under “reviews” to find the published review written by the Game Informer staff. Click on it.

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      Once you’re in the review, look on the right side of the screen and find the “Write a Review” button. You’ll want to click on this to get taken to the text editor where you can enter your user review.

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      If you’ve posted a blog on our site, you should find the user review text editor very familiar. Be sure to give your review a title that sums up the feeling you’re going for. Also, make sure you give the game a rating. Trying to assign a number to your review can often be the scariest part, but don’t let it hold you back too much. Here’s the scoring system we use in the magazine:

      10 -- Outstanding. A truly elite title that is nearly perfect in every way. This score is given out rarely and indicates a game that cannot be missed.

      9 -- Superb. Just shy of gaming nirvana, this score is a high recommendation because the game reviewed is head-and-shoulders above its competition.

      8 -- Very Good. Innovative, but perhaps not the right choice for everyone. This score indicates that there are many good things to be had, but arguably so.

      7 -- Average. The game’s features may work, but are nothing that even casual players haven’t seen before. A decent game from beginning to end.

      6 -- Limited Appeal. Although there may be fans of games receiving this score, many will be left yearning for a more rewarding game experience.

      5 -- Passable. It may be obvious that the game has lots of potential, but its most engaging features could be undeniably flawed or not integrated into the experience.

      4 -- Bad. While some things may work as planned, the majority of this title either malfunctions to varying degrees or it is so dull that the game falls short as a whole.

      3 -- Painful. If there is anything that’s redeeming in a game of this caliber, it’s buried beneath agonizing gameplay and uneven execution in its features or theme.

      2 -- Broken. Basically unplayable. This game is so insufficient in execution that any value would be derived in extremely small quantities, if at all.

      1 -- Horrifying.

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      Sharing Your Words: Once you’ve hit the ‘Publish’ button, your user review will be live for the world to see. You can find the review in two places. First off, user reviews will show up at the bottom of the same page as our official Game Informer reviews:

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      You can also go into your profile and click on “Reviews” to see a list of all of the User Reviews you’ve done so far:

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      Your user review is now live and viewable by the Game Informer community! Remember that for every user review you write, you’ll get points added to your account that will increase your level. Frequent reviews will also increase your chances of being granted “Expert” status. If you really impress us, you’ll even have the chance to have your blog featured alongside the Game Informer editor blogs!