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Topic: Reviewers suffering from prickley heat?
Message: Posted by: stevenamills (Aug 1, 2007 05:47PM)
I can't ever recall seeing this many negative product reviews in a single magazine issue. The review of Prohibition was especially harsh.

Actually, I'm somewhat glad to see it. I get tired of reading nothing but positive and I never bought "we only review the good stuff".

I still miss Mike Close, but these guys are growing on me.

Message: Posted by: Payne (Aug 1, 2007 06:07PM)
I'd much rather see a reviewer call them as he sees them instead of your typical glad handing reviews.
It's the reviewers job to tell us if a trick is not well made, poorly thought out or not honestly advertised.
Maybe if more reviewers were brutally honest it would put the kibosh on these wonder of the week vendors who prey unmercifully on the gullible newbies ever anxious for that next bargain basement trick that will elevate them to stardom.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Aug 1, 2007 09:58PM)
The reviewers as I understand it are looking for all the negative in each product. In many cases they slash the product to death and still recommend it!

Prohibition I thought was to be a great review, but it was the exact opposite. And did you see their reviews of Kevin Parker's Psnype and Edge? OUCH!

I see exactly what you mean.
Message: Posted by: seigeman (Aug 2, 2007 02:04AM)
On 2007-08-01 19:07, Payne wrote:
I'd much rather see a reviewer call them as he sees them instead of your typical glad handing reviews.
It's the reviewers job to tell us if a trick is not well made, poorly thought out or not honestly advertised.
Maybe if more reviewers were brutally honest it would put the kibosh on these wonder of the week vendors who prey unmercifully on the gullible newbies ever anxious for that next bargain basement trick that will elevate them to stardom.


It all depends who's side the reviewers are on. Frankly, if you've been in magic a while, you'd probably have to agree that most of the rubbish we are now seeing is only escalating to greatness through viral marketing hype, and newbie magicians with too much disposable income.

There's very little creativity in a lot of todays 'new' magic. But the fact that a single effect can generate hype via clever marketing or advertising WILL make it appealing—whether it is utter rubbish, or a viable purchase.

It is also apparent that a lot of the newer 'street magic' stuff isn't aimed at MAGICIANS at all, it's aimed at eager kids who want to be able to pull of cool playground stunts, and therefore can you actually see a working pro paying for it to make his living?

I say KUDOS to Magic Mag. Finally, some real-world, dirt-tinted-spectacles reviews of what's hot, and what is most definately not. Honesty is always the best policy.

And Mike... why did you expect Prohibition to be such a great review? Most magicians (note: I said MAGICIANS) would have worked it out for themselves after seeing the demo video. It was't really anything groundbreaking. And the method had been discussed openly around forums before Prohibition was released.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Aug 2, 2007 02:20AM)

I expected great review because, despite it's ovious (to magicians) method, it has been praised quite a bit, with friends of mine saying it is their favourite effect.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Oct 10, 2007 12:14AM)
I miss Mike too, but these guys do a great job telling it like it is.

Also, as I recall, the poor review of Prohibition had nothing to do with it not having an impact on an audience, but rather on the fact that it was impractical and derivative.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Corn (Oct 10, 2007 09:36AM)
It's far from impractical. I've been using it since it came out and the quality of the video and effect sold me on Covert Coins as soon as it came out. I guess others felt much worse about the review. The letters to the editor in the new Magic has quite a few complaints about that review.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Oct 29, 2007 12:57PM)
Some may consider the wearing of a certain gimmick to be imparctical or, at the least, a bit of a bother. Really, though, the review didn't knock its practicality, I recalled this incorrectly. Sorry. The review was more critical of the advertising and the fact that there were other vesions out there which are similar.

Again, I think the reviewers at both Magic and Genii all do great work.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Oct 29, 2007 06:45PM)
I loved the Mail MAGIC received this month in the October issue! :)

"I will never subscribe or buy an issue of Magic Magazine ever again all because of the Prohibition review" was along the lines of what was said.

Personally, I think Magic is an excellent magazine. But I am also glad they got their just desserts as I was disgusted by the Prohibition review.
Message: Posted by: J.Robert (Oct 30, 2007 10:41AM)
I agree that the review was not at all what I expected, I personally love Prohibition and use it almost everytime I'm at a bar. The person who wrote the letter was upset about percieved ethics violations by discussing the method of the effect. I think cancelling a subscription over it is a bit harsh.
Message: Posted by: Richard Kaufman (Nov 2, 2007 09:50PM)
You can find Mike Close in Genii reviewing books. :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 4, 2007 10:57AM)
With the current "once you bought it you can't return it" mode of commerce I, for one, salute Magic Mag for calling it like it is.

I do not think they are doing grouchy reviews. For example, from personal experience I agree 100% with the recent review of "Connected". I purchased the download and was never able to use it the way it was advertised. I emailed the author for an explanation and never received a reply.

Beginning to doubt my reasoning ability, I put it on the shelf. It felt so good to read that I wasn't an idiot, other than for buying Connected. So, please continue to make the reviews fair, but keep up from buying junk we can't return!
Message: Posted by: Steve Landavazo (Jan 18, 2008 02:27PM)
Respectfully, I think it's important to understand that reviews are just the opinion of one person.

That doesn't negate the fact that many others still like it!

In no way does it minimize that many other people still think it is an awesome effect.

I think reviews are important regardless whether it is something you agree with or not.

In the least, it helps others to think of ways that can improve the effect.

Message: Posted by: CyrusTX (Feb 2, 2008 09:10PM)

Movies can have 100s of people reviewing it and you can get 100s of extremely different opinions. With these magic reviews we usually only get one viewpoint. I have disagreed with many reviews printed in all magazines.

What I appreciate is more of the 'matter of fact' of the trick that many reviewers give.

But I also agree...reviews are important...even if you disagree with them.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 6, 2008 01:26PM)
I review for another magazine. If you saw some of the unmitigated manure we get as reviewers, you might understand the negative reviews some of these items get. When you have been in magic for more than three decades, you expect a certain amount of quality for your money.

I'm tired of inexperienced magicians who are too lazy to look up the references that concern items they have "invented" putting out rehashed material.

I wish the magazine I review for would let me review some of the items I have purchased based upon the reviews of others. They would be real eye-openers!
Message: Posted by: stevenamills (Feb 6, 2008 03:20PM)
Sometimes terrible magic is just terrible magic.....
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 7, 2008 05:20PM)
There are several producers of magic tricks and routines who are so terribly naive that they think that nobody will notice when they have lifted something, even when they allude to it in their instructions. I recently purchased an item that read like the greatest gift to mentalists, ever.

I was very disappointed to find that it had been lifted from Bill Tarr, Irv Weiner and even from a Punx item that I had translated, myself.

Bill Tarr was credited.

Another common failing is when people produce items that are only available through an e-mail address. Sometimes they are pretty good. Sometimes they are wonderful. But their marketing is awful.
Message: Posted by: jimbowmanjr (Feb 8, 2008 08:18AM)
People are still free to make up their own minds after reading a review as well. I read the review for Prohibition and hey that is their opinion. Personally I like it quite a bit I make no bones about that. I think people place entirely too much stock in a single person's opinion of something. I respect their opinion as reviewers and they have been given the opportunity to give their opinion through the magazine but you still have to make up your own mind in the end about what works for you and what doesn't.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 26, 2008 12:28AM)
On 2007-12-04 11:57, mandarin wrote:
With the current "once you bought it you can't return it" mode of commerce I, for one, salute Magic Mag for calling it like it is.

(section omitted)

So, please continue to make the reviews fair, but keep up from buying junk we can't return!

The idea that "once you bought it you can't return it" has been around ever since mail order magic shops opened. Let's face it. Many times when people purchase a trick, it's to find out how it works. It's not necessarily to perform it. Once you learn the secret, then it's yours.

The late Syd Bergson was the first dealer that I knew who would actually accept a return on anything you bought from him [b]for any reason[/b]! He said that he sold props to performers. He wanted his material to be used. If you didn't like it, he wanted you to return it. Very few of us did.

I used to work for a magic dealer. He let me decide the return policy on certain items. I once really ticked off an author by telling him I was selling his book with the idea that if people didn't like the material, they could return it. He went ballistic. Then I explained that I was picking the people who I would sell it to.

That's one of the reasons to deal with bricks and mortar people. They will help you match your capabilities and your needs.

I don't expect a dealer to take back anything I purchas from them unless it is:
a. defective
b. advertised with completely misleading information
c. if I have explained the circumstances in which I am performing, they claim it will work, and I find out that they have lied to me.

I would estimate that 75% of the material I buy never goes into my act. It either gets sold to someone else, or it goes into my warehouse. I buy a lot of stuff for research.

When I start working on a new routine, I will purchase everything I can find that is similar. I'll analyze it, then I'll work out my own way of doing the routine.

BTW, when I review props and tricks, I don't try to see what is bad about them. I try to figure out if they will work and if they are well-described in their ads. I look to see if the material is credited correctly. If something is supposed to be an "improved" version of another item, I check the other item to see if there really is an improvement. I contact the manufacturers on occasion, to see what their excuses/reasons for doing something are.

Then I write my reviews based upon what I see and how they respond.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 28, 2008 11:29AM)

Good points, all. I applaud you for in-depth and fair reviews. I am sure it takes a lot more time to put that much effort into a review, but many times it is the only way a buyer can get a realistic concept of an item before purchase.

Also, I do understand why some esoteric items would be non-returnable, but sponge balls?

I am learning that most cheap magic things, are. Latest lesson - a "disappearing bottle" of root beer. Therefore, I now know you can buy root beer in 3" tall bottles, and that a toilet-paper roll covered with mylar looks like a metal tube in an ad.

Whoops, it's starting to sound like I'm grousing, and I am too old to be naive. Really, I just wanted to say "thanks for the effort" - I'll gladly wait for the reviews and heed!

Message: Posted by: MagiKen (Oct 24, 2016 12:07PM)
I am only getting reviews of the reviews here. It's OK, but I was looking for an actual review of pSnype. I wanted to see if others thought it was as horrid as I do. I guess from what I see here that the actual reviewers did not like it.
I got a copy on closeout at half price and still it was overpriced for an effect that was more Hypen' than snipin’ -- hyper than sniper. The sales pitch and its demo video clips made pSnype sound like its principles were something new and incredible. They did this by leaving out key footage that would have tipped the method to any magician, but also to some lay audiences too. The actual video sold was very short and although well shot as far as videography, it was poorly scripted with too much poor adlib; and way too much glib. The demo video was better than the product video.
This is NOT even a NEW EFFECT. If they wanted to say that they had a new nuance or spin on the peek, then this should have been included in a book on the topic of new spins on old effects. Maybe then the compendium of all the thoughts on many old chestnuts might have been worth the price of the 1/2 off video. This single trick variation was not worth the price.
One did not need to see this version of the explanation done as a video in order to fully understand what would have come across better in a polished (well written and edited) in print version rather than this half-baked, way too raw short video. But then, who would have been sucked-in by a few page booklet at that price (?) as opposed to paying a video price for what turned out to be only a few minutes of footage. The complaints, outrage, and refusal to buy from that dealer as well as just the product producers ever again without an immediate refund would have certainly have resulted if it turned out to be a booklet. Instead the typical magician’s response, including my own, is likely to be one of complacent, it was a video after all, wince, whimper, and resigned silence towards the seller, with just a rant or two in a forum like this one regarding the product. They all get to keep their cash.
Most likely this should have been offered to the magic community, considering its content, as a submission to one of the club (MUM, Linking Ring, etc.) or general (Genii, Magic, Vanish) current magazines as an idea for a variation of an old effect. After all, as fantastic as the ad copy and promo video for pSnype was, it turned out to not even be the best version of this effect I have ever seen or used. It certainly would not play as well to others in the magic community or to a lay audience as many of the other versions using stack peeks which have been around for ages.
Now that is my review. IMHO pSnype is hype without the promised bite. It just bites.
Message: Posted by: Stanyon (Oct 24, 2016 07:08PM)
Well at least we won't have to be subjected to those biased/horrendous reviews in "MAGIC" anymore.