August 2019 Chatter

Posted at 31/07/19 - 03:02 PM

One of the roles that I have as part of my involvement with Magicseen Magazine is that I am a member of the product review team, and each issue we publish considered and honest comments on a wide range of new products from around the world.

Now on the face of it, you probably imagine that it’s a simple job. You get a product, you read/watch the instructions, fiddle with the props (if there are any!) and then just give your opinion on it. However, although that might sum up the essence of what we do, it doesn’t take into account a lot of other factors that we need to consider.

For a start, it’s not just a case of giving our opinion. After all, everyone has a natural bias either for or against certain types of magic, or maybe even individuals, but the job of the reviewer is not to allow personal feelings to prevent a more measured, impartial view. The reader is not really interested in whether the reviewer likes or would use the trick, he wants to know whether HE is going to like it, and since everyone is different, a review has to try to take as objective an opinion as possible. So all the reviewers try to park their prejudices at the door and attempt to look at all the marketed items with fresh, unbiased eyes.

The next factor that reviewers need to be wary of is honesty. Giving an honest opinion on a product does not just mean pointing out any or all of its defects, but also highlighting any good or strong points too. It’s rare that a product is totally perfect, and it’s equally unusual for anything to be offered in the marketplace that is complete and utter rubbish, and so our job is to make the reader aware of the pros and cons so that they can make a value judgement as to whether the item is suitable for them.

We also think it is our responsibility to make it clear what the product will and won’t do, to suggest the type of performing situation it might be suitable for, and to give a fair assessment of whether the product is honestly advertised by the manufacturers, plus whether it is fairly priced when considering what the buyer receives and what other similar products may cost.

So, as you can see we are trying to take an objective, balanced view so that the reader is well informed when considering a purchase. We don’t see it as our job to reveal the method behind the magic, but we do think the reader should know if the claims made by the producer are misleading or disingenuous in any way. If they say it is very easy to do, and it clearly isn’t, we will say so. If they say it is perfect for table hopping and we know it would never work in that environment, we will reveal that too. We want our readers to trust us and to feel better informed when parting with their money.

But it’s not just the reviewers who have a responsibility, the readers need to exercise some common sense too. It’s all very well watching some Hollywood online dealer dem of a trick and wanting to believe that it’s the next best thing to real magic, but if you then read a review which reveals that there are weaknesses behind the publicity gloss, then you have to be prepared to either accept that the item is simply not as good as you hoped and give it a wide berth, or ignore the advice and possibly get stung! We might be able to steer you round the potholes, but we can’t help you if you still insist on jumping into them!

Author: Mark Leveridge

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