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Game reviews are the backbone of video game journalism. Previews are nifty, interviews help to build hype, the occasional editorial is good to get the creative juices flowing, but everything comes down to the review. At least, when it comes to retail.

Posted by JoeX111 on Jun 17th, 2007
Article

[page=Introduction]

Game reviews are the backbone of video game journalism. Previews are nifty, interviews help to build hype, the occasional editorial is good to get the creative juices flowing, but everything comes down to the review. At least, when it comes to retail.

Early game reviews were written on these dinosaurs.
Early game reviews were written on these dinosaurs.


We, as readers and—notably—consumers, love game reviews. When the average video game costs about $50, it is nice to have a source that guides us towards or away from a given purchase. Sometimes we disagree with the reviewer, sometimes we read it just for the novelty value and usually we just read them to validate the opinions we already have. Most people know if they are going to buy Game X already, but a little nudge in that direction never hurts.

However, that argument only carries well when it involves making a purchase. We enjoy reviews because they inform us whether or not to plunk down the dough. Period. End of line.

When it comes to mods, opinions are instantly polarized.

As a journalist, I have something of an obligation to the public. While I am not doing something as noble as saving people money, I am still trying to urge people towards an experience well worth their time. I have to be fair in my judgment, but being honest and candid is the law of the land.

Hold it! Your game sucks!
Hold it! Your game sucks!


The first time I experienced people disagreeing with this was two years ago, back when I first started. I made a novice mistake of letting a mod team read an article I had written before I published it.

“How dare you be critical of my fabulous mod,” they seemed to say. “I worked long and hard on this. What gives you the right to think it is anything other than wonderful?”

Well, that right would be freedom of speech. More specifically, by releasing a mod, you are effectively throwing your work out into the public spectrum and subjecting it to potential scrutiny. No one seems to mind when a person posts a comment saying, “This mod sucks!” or “This mod rocks my boxers!” When you write a review and stick it on the front of your website, though, then you are asking for trouble.

At what point is the mod community going to willingly accept criticism? It astounds me that an industry of independent game developers so determined to get their work taken seriously are so quick to flame at even a hint of negativity.

It is worthy of note that a retail game is hard set at the time of its review and cannot often receive much in the way of major changes, yet a mod can be rebuilt from the ground up to accommodate for problems and suggestions people have.

To this end, we have stripped out scores from our reviews. No longer can people complain that they deserve some marginal number above another. Now positives and negatives are listed alongside one another, providing balance.

The future of mod journalism.
The future of mod journalism.


Still we get emails lampooning our supposedly shoddy journalistic practices.

To what extents must we go to provide honest coverage?

Should I ask for your permission before I spread my honest opinion about your publicly available game?

Should I just regurgitate the same public relations lines you use to describe your mod back at people, forgoing honesty for hasty sponsorship?

When I interviewed a mod developer a year ago about the image people have of the typical modder, he described a person sitting in a basement, closed away from society and toiling into the night. He said that many people feel that the average modder is a 13-year-old that cannot cope with the idea of how the gaming industry really works.

I fear he may be right.

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 56)
P4R4.be
P4R4.be Jun 20 2007, 6:31am says:

Quote "If the mod teams don't like you reviewing their mod then tell them to get the **** off of ModDB. It's THAT easy."

I agree!

+1 vote     reply to comment
HaloStrike
HaloStrike Jun 18 2007, 5:49pm says:

I feel so sorry for you guys. Dont listen to the crappy mods! Keep on reviewing!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Promagnum
Promagnum Jun 18 2007, 5:51pm says:

Personally, I don't think you would be any sort of gamer at all if you didn't first try the game/demo/mod and judge for yourself instead of relying on others to do it for you.
I have relied on reviews or journalism to lead my life for me, or make my decisions, all my decisions are based of my opinion after testing the game. This I think should of been touched on, after all where does the 'Line of the gamer' end and the 'Line of the game lemming' begin?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Soroc
Soroc Jul 30 2007, 10:40am says:

Perhaps one of the problems some mod teams have is that they have not identified their target audience (i.e., victims - :D ) before they create their mod. If there are not a bunch of folks out there looking for what you are creating, then there is a strong chance that most of the feedback on your mod will be confused and misguided. On the other hand, if you have a group targeted and you provide them with updates during the development process to keep their attention, you will get valuable feedback along the way and especially after any release.

@Joe - Have you considered providing the general process that you use to review a mod to the public so that they know what they are in for when they throw it out there? If not, then many will under-estimate the depth to which you will go in expolring the positives and negatives of their work. Just a thought.

I have been in professional software development for over 20 years, and in that arena, you get pretty used to having your work critiqued mercilessly. This is because you are trying to deliver a product as close to perfect as possible, and YOU NEED HELP TO GET THERE. Reviewers are a tool to find the shortcomings in the work you do. They help make it better. But you have to be mature enough to leave your ego at the door and consider the feedback, be it right or wrong. Conversely, it is critical that reviewers couch their reviews in a manner that helps the developers accept the comments as useful input.

You can choose to avoid early reviews, but eventually someone will review your work...your "customer"...the gaming community.

+1 vote     reply to comment
A13X
A13X Jun 17 2007, 1:16pm says:

Sweet.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jun 17 2007, 1:22pm says:

i've had the same issues too. Honestly, I've never played a mod I didn't like for some reason or another (nearly every mod has a shining point, the real thing is can you deal with the bad parts. An example, in my opinion, is HL2. Had some great scenes but there was so much crap it wasn't fun. Actually, that's the only game I own that I never have the desire to play, but we're talking about mod here) but sometimes modmakers didn't agree with me (IE: that's not the point).

do I know what's fun? Yes. Do I know what looks good? Yes. Do I know what I want? Yes. Is that what everybody else wants? No. Do I care? NO! I've gotten lots of bad "reviews" of my work, normally from people who just say "it sucks." I as "What sucked? How could it be made better?" Then I get no reply. That's worse then a bad review, because like you said, "pro" mod reviewers at least say what they enjoyed & didn't & how something could be better. Majority of "consumer reviewers" are just smart mouthed brats who like to say "it sucks" because then they feel it made an impression on someone else & their empty opinion was worth something.

I'd say the BEST mod makers are the one who when someone says a legitimate "problem" they get more info & see why it's a "problem" then decided where to go from there. It may well not be a problem but part of the design (D3 = no flashlight + gun) or it may be a real issue (hl2:cs, hitboxes way off).

+1 vote     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Jun 18 2007, 5:17am says:
Quote:but have you ever been told your work sucks?

All the time. I usually resort to discrediting their arguments. If their arguments are valid I will take them in and sensis the public's opinion.. Because these are the demographics and what they want they should get. At the same time though it'd be nice for a little respect.

My policy is. If you don't respect the indie developers.. You won't get your game. They'll give up and try something better, or they'll just give up on modding/developing games completely which is a significant loss to the community if not the entire video games industry because modding can make and break commercial games even.

I think formal critique is a great idea as you could see it as more of a control device against stupid little negitive comments. I'd love to see "Article must contain at least 500 words" as to avoid short posted comments like what INtense said about "Your game sucks" comments. 500 Words means that you'll actually have to think about the game in order to post something useful.. Else it'll be just one big rant about how you suck for no apparent reason (which usually leads to the public thinking these people are crazy and will post just about any crap in a community).

We only have to look at Bethesda soft to see how crappily the Forums work at comments. I'd like for ModDB to never head down that path :D Those forums are chaos. It proves just how viscious fans and gamers can be towards developers, Bethesda are commerical and proffessional developers so they should be pressured to deliver a great product (as we're investing a lot of money into their projects) where as Mods and Indie Games are usually free. Hence we shouldn't be treated to the same abuse because the products we produce are free and are designed to work with the video games industry not compete against it.. else we wouldn't be using other people's engine's instead building our own so that we could sell them.

We're not asking you to pay money, we're asking you to support us.. That's something that seperates us from commerical game developers and their publishers.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ChrisPage
ChrisPage Jul 9 2007, 3:54am says:

EntityHunter:

well put. I couldn't have written it better myself.

+1 vote     reply to comment
UnDeAdEviLmAn
UnDeAdEviLmAn Jun 17 2007, 1:09pm says:

nice

+1 vote     reply to comment
Aeneas2020
Aeneas2020 Jun 17 2007, 1:13pm says:

well said unfortunately there are a lot of modders and mod teams out there that can't accept criticism however please don't be disheartened the most valuable lessons come from constructive criticism and should you ever review anything i'm working on your more than welcome to give it an totally unbias write up.

+1 vote     reply to comment
UnknownTarget
UnknownTarget Jun 17 2007, 1:26pm says:

I would like to disagree - I know that our mod (Beyond the Red Line), takes criticism very seriously. Whether or not we'll listen to you is another matter, but we still like to have our game reviewed. I'm sure we're not the only team out there that does this. I have a limited internet connection - so when I download things, I'm in it for the long haul. Therefore, I use mod reviews (of which I wish there were more of), to decide whether or not it's worth it at all to spend 5 hours downloading something I might not even like. Mod teams should take criticism with a "is this reasonable" approach - i.e., if the reviewer has put up a reasonable objection, then the mod team changes it in the mod, if it's something they agree with, then they don't. Unfortunately, it seems the maturity of many mod teams is lacking in that they can't separate criticism from a personal attack - and that's not to insult any particular teams, it's agreeing with what you said - many mod teams can't take criticism from anybody. That only hurts them, IMO.

+1 vote     reply to comment
_Kat_
_Kat_ Jun 17 2007, 1:40pm says:

If the mod teams don't like you reviewing their mod then tell them to get the **** off of ModDB. It's THAT easy.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JoeX111 Author
JoeX111 Jun 17 2007, 2:15pm says:

Kat:

We typically don't like to alienate people from our community, if we can help it.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Kai-Li
Kai-Li Jun 17 2007, 3:01pm says:

At first I have to thank JoeX111 for putting his opinion on the front site of a website, because that's always an act of showing courage. But I don't know if it's good or bad that mod teams are the first readers of a review of their mod. On the one hand, they shouldn't read the review before it's released, because they'll try to influence the writer, but on the other hand mod teams know, if there is something discribed wrong in the review. I have often read stupid thing about the game I'm working on . Some people wrote that you can paint other players with the spray gun or that we have a bubble gum gun to glue other players to the floor. Everyone who ever played knows that this is kind of nonsense, but people get irritated of half-truths like this. But I think mod teams should know that the writer of a review is always guided by his own opinion, so reviews are never objective. They always represent the author's intention that's why it's more important that they are constructive. Not only to help mod teams to review their mod by themselfes, but also to help people if it's worth a download or to check it out. The hardest thing for mod teams is if someone writes " ...found on the internet, downloaded and installed it, shortly played and it sucks, uninstalled it...". Everyone remembers bad news he has read much better than good things and he often tells this to his friends. That's really annoying because it effects that other people won't try the game by themself. But mod teams will never know why there's is something worse with the game. That's why reviews (independant from game industry) like here on moddb.com help mod teams. We took JoeX111's comment in the last review of very serious and now we're sitting together to to discuss how to loose the image of being a yellow painted Quake 3 Arena, to make our game more unique. ;)

PS: Hard to write this in english but I hope you got my intention.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ambershee
ambershee Jun 17 2007, 3:32pm says:

Noose needs less bloom.

XD

+1 vote     reply to comment
OmeVince
OmeVince Jun 17 2007, 4:03pm says:

hehe Kai-Li could you have put links to World of Padman anymore into that post :P

Anyways, I think people should distinguish different kinds of modders: modders that make mods for others, and modders that make mods for themselves.
What I mean is, that for instance I used to make tons of small mods which I'd never put on the internet, simply cause I'd play them in school, they often had ripped graphical and audio stuff, but it was all about the fun, making exactly what me and my friends or in school we'd like to play.
Usually this was wacky fun stuff, which wouldn't last longer than a couple of weeks/months, but is was wacky-fun that would never make it past an initial Alpha 0.4, lol

Then there's the guys that make mods for the "world" to either train their game design abilities, try and get into the game business, or like to share their mods with others and develop a community.
Whatever the exact reason is, it also often (not always) determines the reaction of that person towards criticism, whether its mindless ranting or serious reviews.
An example would be:
A modder who puts his work online just for fun and really doesn't care would respond to a mindless "this sucks" comment with a counter-insult or ignore it and simply continue to build the game that he "wants" (Same deal with a serious review). A modder who has a "bigger plan" with his/her mod will take politics into account as well as incorporate the feedback, and often feels a bit more offended because he categorizes the time he spend on making it differently.
Its like playing casual soccer, or pro-soccer, the difference is, when the stakes are "high" or you have something to win/lose/want, and its not about just "having fun" then your reaction and expectations towards it change as well.
Anyways, thats my opinion about this :P Good Article btw,

+1 vote     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Jun 17 2007, 5:08pm says:

I agree with Kai-li. I think that if the reviewer doesn't write a constructive article firslty 1. It's bad PR for the mod and really ****** the devs off 2. They have no idea what people want improved and 3. It only encourages similar critique by new players.

I do like ModDB's new +/- system. It really puts forward "you'll really like this.. but you probably won't like this" and it gives devs a chance to say "lets get rid of all them negs :D". Of course a review doesn't necessarily equal the opinions of the public ... hence why we have forums and comments. But I think the review system is a great idea in that the authorities on this site (the respected members of this community) will have the ability to really critique the games being produced here at ModDB and help the developers as well as players decide what to do.

The number system really doesn't work (just look at gamespot) I think the opinion peices are better and I think even the user polls that are on our profiles don't even show accurately people's opinions, rather I tink opinion peices by users would work better as a formal way of critiquing a recommeneding features as well as dismissing problems. Comments aren't a very formal method of critique as I've seen so far.

Great feature though :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
randomperson
randomperson Jun 17 2007, 5:14pm says:

if someone told me that the mod I work on sucked the first thing I would want to know was, why. I would also remind people that this is a group of people doing this in their free time and are amitures. we are not trying to make a full game that is retail worthy, if they expect this then they should go buy a new game! for your information I am 14 and don't wine or flame people when they say I am rubbish, I just ask them how to improve and weather they could do any better.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gibberstein
Gibberstein Jun 17 2007, 5:49pm says:

@randomperson

If everyone had your attitude, this rant would never be needed :)

@article

Good point well made. As someone on the other side of the fence (making things for review), I still have to agree. Anyone who can't take a polite and considered critique of their work shouldn't make it publicly available. The glare of public attention is a double edged sword. At least moddb reviews are well written and argued, which is far better than 90% of what passes for critique on the internet. If you can't cope with well written critique, I dread to think how much you'll fall apart and cry when the trolls start attacking ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
methy
methy Jun 17 2007, 6:47pm says:

I'm glad this finally came about. It's good to see some interesting analysis in the comments.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Klink
Klink Jun 17 2007, 7:37pm says:

First and foremost I have to agree with Mr_Cyberpunk about the "+/-" system that ModDB now uses when reviewing mods. I have never approved of a percentage/ranking/numbers system that a lot of game reviewers tend to use, only because reviews themselves are subjective. Just because the reviewer writing the review likes/dislikes the game, doesn't mean that everyone who reads it will mindlessly follow what he/she said.

Mods are very similar to games in that most of us have already made up our minds on which mod we want to waste our bandwidth on. Chances are that if you are a Stargate fan and love Half-Life 2 or Unreal Tournament 2004, you're going to download Stargate based mods for those games. It is then not a question of how great a mod is on its first release, rather a question of how well the mod can be should more work be done on it.

Having a percentage/ranking/numbers system completely removes necessary feedback that modders so desperately need for improving their mod. The system that ModDB uses not only nudges people into downloading a mod they've probably already considered downloading (much like game reviews do to consumers), it gives people an idea on what to expect. Are there place-holder textures? Are the sound effects and music not up to standard? Could the gameplay be significantly better? All these questions can be answered with the opinionated reviews found on ModDB.

People who can't stand constructive criticism are literally the worst kind of modders (much like how 'pro' or 'tournament' players are the worst kind of gamer ). Sure, you may have poured your heart and soul into a mod, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's good. With feedback, you're able to view the opinions of those that have played the mod and use it to enhance the mod - to make it far better than what you had previously believed.

Constructive criticism shouldn't be taken lightly - it's a necessity. Without it, people could be spending months, if not years on end creating something that can be just utter crap.

Off-topic, in the future if any of the mods I work on get reviewed, I want an honest opinion - if it's crap, just say so.

+1 vote     reply to comment
INtense! Staff
INtense! Jun 17 2007, 10:20pm says:

I know everyone has responded here saying they want an honest review, but have you ever been told your work sucks? Its a hard pill to swallow. I remember when I first launched v3 of the Mod DB. With a community of 100,000 + members it is impossible to please everyone, but it really hurts when people jump on board and say "this is ruined" "this is horrible" etc without giving a reason.

But the reality is, there are always going to be people who dislike what you have done no matter how good it is, the key thing is not to dwell on the negatives, but look at the positives and what you can do to make the "haters" fans again.

Oh and yes I totally agree % review systems are just stupid. There are just some many games which sit at the 9.5+ end its impossible to differentiate what is good / bad.

+2 votes   reply to comment
TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jun 17 2007, 10:39pm says:
INTense! wrote:but have you ever been told your work sucks?

one quote about something I released:

Quote:holy, holy holy crap. Seriously, you took screens of this? What if people think this is indicative of the game engine? You're HURTING us, here.

AND...

Quote:oh god, that looks like the Library(?) from Halo 1

can it get worse then that? :D

can't find all the bad comments i've gotten though. they seem to be lost in time!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Klink
Klink Jun 17 2007, 11:54pm says:
"INTense" wrote:I know everyone has responded here saying they want an honest review, but have you ever been told your work sucks?

On more than one occasion (although not related to modding). While sometimes it may be insulting, you get used to it and just shrug it off. From there, you listen/read what has been stated, look hard at your work and see if it really does need improvement.

"INTense" wrote:But the reality is, there are always going to be people who dislike what you have done no matter how good it is, the key thing is not to dwell on the negatives, but look at the positives and what you can do to make the "haters" fans again.

Which is why people need to learn not to take constructive criticism as an insult, and negative opinions to heart.

+1 vote     reply to comment
leilei
leilei Jun 18 2007, 12:39am says:

Oh I get told that my work "sucks" all the time. I just ignore and continue on like any mature person would. No need to follow and feed.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JangoFett21
JangoFett21 Jun 18 2007, 3:01am says:

Thanks for the very well written review, good to see it from the journalists' point of view.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jun 18 2007, 11:25am says:

do gotta say though... i like the X-Play of ratings, even for mods (1 = sucks, 3 = if you like this type of thing you'll like this game, 5 = complete awesome). That gives most things a ~3 & that doesn't mean they're bad, means they're average. Average doesn't equal bad, just nothing you haven't seen before and/or you'll enjoy it but it won't be stupendous. I'd honestly give most mods out there a 3 just because they are nothing memoriable, mostly because lots of them try to re-create things I've played on Quake 1 or 2.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Varsity
Varsity Jun 18 2007, 4:37pm says:

Hooray for Joe!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Arkanj3l
Arkanj3l Jun 19 2007, 2:40am says:

13 isn't the age.

It's 14 :p.

+1 vote     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Jun 18 2007, 6:43pm says:

Reviews give us a heads up as to what we should expect from a game. This is improtant as a bad review can really screw a game developer over, this is why PR has become the main focus of developers lately. PR is a massive part of game development even for us modders/indie devs because we need to attract a mass following else our work has no influence.

Lets not forget that our work is our portfolios and if people aren't watching then we're not really going to make it in the industry (assuming thats where you want to end up). Front page reviews are great in that situation I mean exposure is a really cool thing for an artist/developer.

So thats my rant over :D Hope to see more of this stuff :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Crispy
Crispy Jun 19 2007, 6:02am says:

The new review style for the Moddb was one of the best things to come out of Joe getting to grips with his role. The quality of every single piece produced since is notably higher and you always come out feeling that it was at least honest. I think the only thing missing here is perhaps a "... Revisited" feature that mods can apply for if they do an initially poor first release but they take on what's said, work on it, and resubmit to the same reviewer so they can let everyone know it's been improved. But modders really need to be prepared to take criticism and work with it. Commercial game reviewing is a shick, where magazines are essentially indebted to writing a shining review because they've been chosen for the exclusive so they will sell more copies than their competitors this month. It's only because the modding scene is -up until now- largely free of money and all the sins that come with it, that the process can be more fluid. Flexibility, trial and error, submission and re-submission are what keep the modding community full of playable fun, fresh and free-thinking ideas. Take away that flexibility and you have a carbon copy of the exact same conditions that makehave brought the games industry of today to a sorry state of affairs.

I think a good modder should listen to all criticism but only act if it fits in with their general goals for the mod. If every modder listened to every I&S they'd never get anything done, or if they did it would have no cohesion or common theme whatsoever. Being open-minded will help you pick up on the common complaints but also on the gems of inspiration that can come from literally anywhere - from random chats on IRC to a suggestion from a community member.

So seeking out constructive criticism is good, but at the same time I can understand why people are annoyed when the premier site for mods and modding gives them a bad review. At the end of the day this is bad press, but bad press on a massive scale. This is simply down to the way the internet has revolutionised opinion forming. In the past someone might read a bad review in a PC magazine and tell the friends they know, perhaps discuss it with the guy in the games store who might then warn off other people (friends, not customers!) from that game. The first thing about this is that its on a smaller scale, so the bad news can travel less quickly and to a smaller audience. A bad review in a UK magazine, for example, is unlikely to change the opinions of people in Australia, especially if they may have read a more favourable review in the aussie specialist press. The second important aspect to note is that when people have a conversation they usually try to explain why they thought a game was bad, so there's at least a level of understanding involved in the opinion-forming process.

These days, though, the internet means opinion travels much more rapidly and with much less accuracy. I can read a review for a Half-Life 2 mod on the Moddb and post a "I heard this mod sux bigtime" comment on a Half-Life 2 newsportal within seconds. The way we communicate on the internet is for the most part incredibly truncated, with people barely ever attempting to expand on why they thought things were bad. The other thing is that communication is much less direct. If someone does happen to ask why a person thought a mod was '****', they're unlikely to get an instant response and unless they're very persistent they probably won't be bothered to wait around to check back on the same thread.

But I don't think we can at all blame online journalists for telling the truth and then having that sentiment chinese-whispered across the internets. It is something to be wary of, though. Personally I'd say the review system could be used as a valuable tool by modmakers. Personally, I'd look into getting your mod previewed when you're in the final stages of playtesting, and use that feedback to re-work the release candidate and make it even better for release. The first public release is what you're really going to be judged on. It's difficult to entrust yourself to a preview if you haven't seen any live footage of the game in action and don't know how much a previewer has had to play with, so it's worth playing the game. At the end of the day a (good) reviewer is the best type of playtester you could hope for. This is their first subjection to the game, so they won't be used to anything being clunky or unforgiving, it'll jump right out at them. They're also good communicators, so can explain problems in reasonable detail. Lastly it's their job to provide as objective an opinion as possible. This usually means they'll be balanced and point out the good parts as well as the bad, not like the hordes of yesmen clogging up your playtest servers. :P

Previews pique interest, reviews form opinions. Play the game and be flexible enough to bounce back from criticism, or don't ask for a review at all.

+1 vote     reply to comment
bluseychris
bluseychris Jun 19 2007, 5:47pm says:

I used to review CD's for a dieshellsuit.co.uk and the stick I got for slating a CD was like nothing else. The best complaint I had went along the lines of "How dare you say our music is awful. The band is comprised of session musicians and all the songs are made from classic riffs played backward and re-arranged. And we have a cover of a classic track by a classic band, you know nothing!"

You get some right arrogant b*st*rds in this line of work, fortunately they only go so far as making themselfs look like tw*ts.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JoeX111 Author
JoeX111 Jun 19 2007, 6:29pm says:

Promagnum: Actually, that game review lemming mentality was something I wanted to touch on, but didn't really feel further the point of this specific piece. I may revisit that in the future in another one of these columns, if people don't quickly grow tired of me bitching about game journalism.

+1 vote   reply to comment
sha0k4hn
sha0k4hn Jun 21 2007, 9:18pm says:

"LIEK THATS NOT TRUE THIS GAME IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1"

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tei
Tei Jun 22 2007, 4:30am says:

The problem here is that 90% of everything sux.
90% of mods suck, we know why. most hare not really finished ..yet, or will be .. never.

And 90% of the review sux (I dont feel that way, but has to be true).

The way to go is to ignore destructive criticism againt your reviews, and take constructive criticism.

Notice the irony here. You are angry because some people critice your work ;D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Jambozal
Jambozal Jun 22 2007, 6:17am says:
Varsity wrote:
Hooray for Joe!

Agreed :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jun 22 2007, 7:42am says:
Quote:90% of mods suck, we know why. most hare not really finished ..yet, or will be .. never.

That's not even remotely true. Many released games aren't finished & don't suck. THAT is that attitude that's causing all the problems: everything sucks.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JoeX111 Author
JoeX111 Jun 22 2007, 12:26pm says:
Tei wrote:Notice the irony here. You are angry because some people critice your work ;D

True, it is pretty hypocritical on my part to react with an outburst to the criticism, but I'm honestly trying to ask modders what they would like from us, as opposed to just flinging curse words around. Very seldom, if ever, do the creators willingly enter into a dialog with me about my criticisms instead of just flaming me outright, whereas I'm trying to actively show people my side of the picture and how it doesn't seem to have a winning condition.

I suppose the juvenile "They started it" argument is my best line of defense here.

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TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jun 22 2007, 7:42pm says:
JoeX111 wrote:but I'm honestly trying to ask modders what they would like from us, as opposed to just flinging curse words around

The truth! And to be truthfull, I don't care what you say. If you had a great idea for my work I'd seriously consider it. If I feel you didn't then i wouldn't care.

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leilei
leilei Jun 23 2007, 4:48am says:

well modding isn't as cool as it used to be. No one wants to make 'fun game x', they just want 'gamebasedonfranchiseoroverusedsetting x' mmos in source now. The maturity barrier has been shoved in the past few years among modders after Counter-Strike's retail release bringing 'i wish i could make moneys' dreams out

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Klink
Klink Jun 24 2007, 12:48am says:

Well, thinking about it in terms of the bigger picture, I can see where the reviewing/writing staff are coming from. While a majority of us here are stating that we want truth in reviews, there is a much larger population of people who don't want to read the truth. I'd even bet that some people here who had posted comments about wanting the 'truth' will throw an all out hissy fit if there is any sort of negativity on a mod that they've worked on.

I still stand by what I've said though. It is your duty, nay, your right as reviewers to post the truth and nothing but the truth. If mod/game devs aren't happy about it, tough luck. This isn't the 'real' game reviewing industry where larger companies with promises of exclusitivity get all the positive reviews despite the game being sub-par to what was expected. We are modders. We create mods in our spare time with no finances, no resources nor any technologies that real game developers have. Some of us are working towards a larger goal, in hopes of one day working in the industry that we love. We are still growing. We need guidance.

Constructive critisicm and truthful reviews give us, the modders, that needed guidance so that later on in the future we're able to steer away from our previous mistakes. Without it, we'd be making the same crap over and over and over again, and our only hope of ever entering the industry would be through EA. :P

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Promagnum
Promagnum Jun 26 2007, 10:59pm says:

JoeX111
Was a good review none the less and I enjoyed reading it.

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EntityHunter
EntityHunter Jul 8 2007, 11:45am says:

I’ve really gone out of my way to avoid replying to this article but I find I can’t keep my opinion (or criticism) to myself anymore. By your own admission I am supposed to accept criticism when it comes my way. Why should I exactly? Do you know how many times I have been told that my Entity Hunter mod is terrible because I don’t have counter-strike weapons in the game? Why in the world would I have counter-strike weapons? It’s not even a counter-strike mod!

Your article attempts to drive home the point that as a journalist we should accept your review for what it is. However in the same article you say you get flamed for your opinion. Sounds to me like you’re the one who can’t handle criticism of the articles you write. The entire article is in contradiction of itself.

We mod makers set out to make a mod for a specific purpose. The game works the way it does because we have a vision in mind. If I want my scope to work a certain way I don’t need to be told my mod sucks because it doesn’t work the way a specific player wants it to work. If you really want your reviews to mean something then review the game based on what the game sets out to accomplish and not because your opinion is based on how you think a game SHOULD be played.

Oh and don’t get your feelings hurt when we don’t agree with your reviews. If you’re your “obligation” as a journalist to give your opinion, then it’s our obligation as readers to share our constructive criticism about your opinion.

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Radcliff
Radcliff Jul 8 2007, 6:04pm says:

Reviews are the only way you, as a modder, can see where you stack up. If you don't want to show improvement, you will go nowhere as a mod maker, and I will just about guarantee that any future mod you make will not be taken seriously. Look at what happened to Typhoon and Dreamcatcher. They lost an incredible amount of their audience because one game they made (Dungeon Lords) was basically (and I use the term loosely) visual and audio vomit. It was WAY behind in the graphics department, full of bugs, most of the spells were missing, the sounds didn't seem realistic enough (plate boots do not make a shuffling sound when walking, they make a clanging noise), and half the voices didn't even work when they first released. Heck, some people even complained about crashes to the desktop when they entered Fargrove. They've really come a long way toward making a halfway-playable game since then, but DL still hasn't become the game it could've become.

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TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jul 9 2007, 11:04am says:
EntityHunter wrote:By your own admission I am supposed to accept criticism when it comes my way. Why should I exactly? Do you know how many times I have been told that my Entity Hunter mod is terrible because I don’t have counter-strike weapons in the game? Why in the world would I have counter-strike weapons? It’s not even a counter-strike mod!

if a reviewer writes that then either a) you're trying to emulate CS (or CS style), b) the reviewer doesn't understand the purpose of your mod or c) they're morons.

if it's A that the comparison is expected. If I made a mod that's similar to CS I would expect it to be compared to CS no matter what.

if it's B the reviewer did a BAD job researching the mod. I checked your page. It's not a CS style game. It's not a "realistic combat" game. If a reviewer complained there wasn't CS weapons in your mod it's like someone complaining there's no crowbar in Doom 3. They're not related in any way. Crappy *** reviewer (or really lazy).

if it's C there's not much you can do. They're a jerk and/or a fanboy of something specific & everything else must be like that, but it will suck anyway. Ignore them, they're job will be short (unless people read them for the same reasons people watch Jerry Springer or CNN)

But from what you're saying it sounds like you're talking about users, not "official" reviewers. The article was about official reviewers being bullied by modders. I just ignore ignorant players. They're... ignorant. :)

BTW, cool looking mod. Make a D3/Q4 one & I'd get it (don't have HL2 installed & don't want to).

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Radcliff
Radcliff Jul 3 2007, 10:03pm says:

I welcome reviews, good or bad, and care about what the end user thinks of my finished product. Unfortunately, many people get upset at an honest review. If I'm a well-known game reviewer, and people trust my opinion, I'm not going out of my way to ruin MY credibility by endorsing a game that's not even worth playing. If you can't deal with my honest opinion (and I'm VERY opinionated), TOUGH! Welcome to real life.

What people don't realize is that we are being reviewed every day of our lives - whether we know it or not. You write a book report, one of the criteria that the teacher uses when he or she grades it is his or her opinion of how well-written the book report is. Is it informative enough? Does the author state his or her opinion, and give reasoning on his or her position, and evidence to back up their position, if necessary? Does each sentence begin with a capital letter, and end with the proper punctuation? (You wouldn't believe how many COLLEGE-LEVEL people mess that one up.) These are the criteria the teacher uses to arrive at a decision on what letter grade to give the book report. If the teacher likes it, the student will receive an A. Even at work we are being reviewed. The boss reviews your job performance every so often to arrive at a decision of whether or not you should remain employed with the company he or she represents.

Nobody seems to mind those kind of reviews. But, if you review something someone has worked VERY hard on, and you bash it, it all of a sudden becomes personal for some reason. Heck, when I first started modding, I got VERY bad reviews - some people even laughed at me. Did it bother me? NO! I moved on, and continued to improve.

I think reviewers should get over their fear of being brought to task by someone who can't take constructive criticism, and speak the truth. Bring back the numbering system, that way mod leaders know where they stand, and reality is not distorted. Heck, you may just inspire SoMEONE to get over their holier-than-thou attitude.

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TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Jul 4 2007, 12:06am says:

so when's the next article? :)

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Radcliff
Radcliff Jul 10 2007, 10:45pm says:

To TheHappyFriar:

It's not so much the purpose of a mod, as much as the bore factor. Some of them are just so boring that they don't hold the reviewer's attention. That's the way I look at it when I make a mod - if a player or reviewer doesn't understand my mod, then I haven't done my job as a modder correctly, and I need to go back and fix some things. However, one must also keep in mind that a modder cannot please everybody. Each person has their own taste.

But I agree with you on the rest of your post. Some people are just jerks.

To EntityHunter:

Pay a little more attention to the reviewer if they're saying that about your mod. Take the time to ask the player questions, such as what exactly is wrong with the mod, and how they would like it to be changed. If the person cannot give you a straight answer, then the person is more than likely just being a jerk, and trying to bring you down. Don't take it to heart. We all do the best we can to please as many people as we can. There's one in every group. :)

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Assaultman67
Assaultman67 Jul 14 2007, 5:50pm says:

well, i think it would probably be a good thing ... as long as you don't get a deeply entrenched jackass writing the review ¬_¬ ...

I used to be a part of a mod called Mars Wars for UT2k4 ... but i quit later because it just seemed like people would take one look at the mod and just start burning the hell out of it because they didn't like that it was different from UT2k4 ...Why do people want to play mods that are like the game O_o ... It just plain frusterating to work on a mod for about a year just for people to come along and say...

"MAN!!! Do NOT and i say NOT install this mod. The maps are ok but the characters have nothing to do with UT 2004. They didn't do the gore mode, there is not those 3 seconds before the game starts, the wepons are bloody slow; the monsters kill you before it recharges the next bullet but if you aim right with one shot you'll kill them. I have a low end pc and UT2004 runs smoothly but though this mod is of low quality it runs very slow is as if you er playing on internet with 9999 ping!!! The vechels are nice but some are impossibel to drive. DO NOT INSTALL THIS MOD"

... Mars Wars is a full conversion mod that is supposed to be like an updated Red Faction ... what is the point of making it play/look just like UT2k4? :/ ... but then again i pretty much classify anybody who misspells more than 2 or 3 words in a post as a moron :lol: ...

If the writer is open to new mods and games and is not completely a die hard fanboy of one game/mod the reviews should be perfectly fine and fairly balanced ... and there would be fairly few problems :thumbup:

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RogerRamjet
RogerRamjet Jul 30 2007, 3:06am says:

While making the mod called Star Trek: Enterprise - TCW, the Design Crew have found constructive criticism extremely useful in making changes to the models, textures and overall flow of the mod. Media releases are used for just this purpose, not to say "Aren't we fantastic" with all the nice pics and hard work that has gone into the mod so far, but to have feedback of these images and vids from the general public, as we have found that without it, the crew can get lost in its own little "This is brilliant" world... Without this input from the community, we would not improve as we go, nor would we have the opportunity to face these problems in a public venue. Helpful criticism is integral in developing a mod that brings the best out of those developing the mod to the public and end product. It is a pity that real games don't take more of a serious look at ongoing input from the general public as a game is developed, then we might not have had bad releases such as Star Trek: Legacy developed by Mad Doc....

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