Hi I guess that's the best way to start. I am Patrick, a Maths student at the University of Manchester (UK). I am a gamer... no s**t, I have played games for over 15 years starting with Sega Megadrive, Super Nintendo and an Amiga A500. My console repertoire would be: Sega Megadrive 2, SNES, Gameboy, N64, PSOne, Gameboy Color (urgh I hate that spelling), GBA, Gamecube, Xbox, DS, Xbox 360 and most recently the Wii.
I enjoy pretty much any genre of game: from Shooter to JRPG to Platformer. The only genre which I don't get on particularly well with would be sports games.
My favourite games of all time would include: Full Throttle, Half-life 2, Splinter cell 3 and Skies of Arcadia among others.
Other than games I am pretty heavily into Music, particularly Rock and metal; with my favoutite bands including:InMe, Anthrax, Reuben, Fei Comodo, New Found Glory and Lamb of God. I am also a fan of all Joss Whedon's projects, particularly Firefly.
To me this is one of if not the most important aspect in a game (which is not how the game actually plays). Consider it this way, do your favourite games have bad or average soundtracks... No they do not, unless you have no opinion on this due to disability (deafness). The soundtrack is often ignored, this is done less these days however the music should be recognised and commended more. If you look at some of my favourite Games they all have fantastic soundtracks: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, has an excellent soundtrack done by Electronic artist Amon Tobin (he also did the majority of the InFamous soundtrack), the soundtrack captures the atmosphere of the game perfectly, with a change of tempo if you are discovered, if you havenít heard the soundtrack or remember it fondly it is available to listen to on both Last.fm and Spotify. Another of my favourite games is Full Throttle, a classic Tim Schafer adventure game by Lucasarts, which featured music by The Gone Jackals, whose music fits perfectly into the Heavy Metal Adventure, despite by todayís standards it is very low quality, which is entirely forgivable due to it being 14 years old, here is a link to said games intro. My final example would be the Halo series (particularly 1 and 3) the fully orchestrated soundtracks work fantastically, despite what your opinion of those games is you cannot knock the soundtracks, the Halo theme is Iconic and clearly recognisable, it feels right, it feels like Halo; which is the exact thing you want it to be.
Unfortunately music in games is not perfect. Not enough games follow in the steps Lucasarts did with their adventure games, a system called iMuse was an interactive platform that allowed music to be synchronised perfectly with what was on screen, whilst seamlessly transitioning from one piece to another: Monkey Island 2: LeChucks revenge includes the best examples of this. The reason that iMuse wasnít well known was due to how well it worked, generally people will only notice a system such as this if it is done clumsily.
Ideally music in games is unnoticed until you are looking for it; this is not to say you donít hear it. I consider it a success if it fits into the game perfectly; you notice how well it is implemented as well as orchestrated in later playthroughs.
I really don't like numbers for reviews, particularly with most game reviews considering 7 out of 10 an average (I'm not sure but as a Mathematics University student I consider the average is 5). With numerical values I see no particular advantage, If I am going to see a movie I want to know if it interests me not how good it is for what it is and how the camera work is, if I am buying a guitar I want to know what kind of sound it makes, how much it weighs and how durable it is, if I am buying a Camera I want to see test pictures, weight distribution and how durable it is; and I want the same with a game review (how it feels to play, whether it is completely linear or not, how it compares to its predecessor if applicable). Games journalism need to grow up a little in my opinion, which I reckon should happen soon, with the games industry becoming bigger in recent years, in Britain there are (on average) 40% of people have a console (this is with the consoles sold, so doesn't account for those with multiple consoles, PC gamers or imports). People may argue that gaming hasn't grown up that much in the past 5 years, this I disagree with, particularly those who bring up the addition of casual games to the market (including fitness games), I disagree with people because if you look at most forms of entertainment there will be many genres which different people will enjoy: People don't always consider casual gamers real gamers, but if you don't like all sorts of film that doesn't mean you cannot be a film fan does it? And if you only like art house films, you aren't a film fan? My point here is that if you play games, regularly or semi regularly you are a gamer.
I know numbers will never be out of all reviews in my lifetime with them being a pillar of that style of journalism. With this increased divergence in genres, such as films did as they matured, will hopefully encourage more diverse criticism, reviews now usually only say how it plays not how the gameplay makes the player feel about it. Language is a beautiful and constantly evolving thing, so why not use it in a more eloquent way?