Gamer’s Poor Attittude

In this post I would like to talk about the way that gamers act like complete megalomaniacs. To do this I’d like to discuss a couple of posts that I have seen in recent months that most flagrantly involve this issue. Specifically I will be referencing Polygon’s Review of Dragon’s Crown, the controversy surrounding Cube World’s development, and a “controversial” 9/10 given to GTA V by Gamespot. I would like this post to be more of an analysis of why these things are happening rather than an angry rant as to how gamers should be less angry.

The first and maybe saddest example of this is reactions to a review of Dragon’s Crown given by Polygon’s Danielle Riendeau. In this review she gave the game a 6.5/10 because it over-sexualized women and used them for rewards. There was also some less than satisfactory gameplay mechanics within the game. There was a huge amount of backlash to this post as well as flagrant discussion about the topic of sexism in games, to the point where people were verbally attacking Danielle. So why did this happen? I think that it is a combination of few things. Firstly the fact that this review was attached to a low score. On top of it being a low score, it was a low score when most of the other reviews were relatively high. I think that if this review was posted as is without a number on the end of it, it wouldn’t have been as singled out or as controversial. In addition to this gamers have this weird thought in their head that reviews can only be. The fact is that everything is biased to some degree. You can’t remove your own viewpoints from what you write entirely, and I’m not sure if you should have to in a review. There isn’t anything wrong with providing different perspective on a topic. This same topic was then escalated with the release of GTA V. When Gamespot gave GTA V a “measly” 9/10 gamers began posting angry hate filled comments on the review. I think this situation is pretty well explained by this post on the daily dot. It is as if intelligent discussion is impossible on the internet. I think that one thing that definitely hurts internet discussion is the wall of anonymity between everyone. Things that are said on the internet would never be said in person. Yet another incident involving gamers and the internet happened more recently involving the developer of a game called Cube World. After his game exploded into popularity he didn’t release that much news and his fanbase raged at him, repeatedly calling him out for fraud and demanding refunds. Well he recently responded to all the accusations in the form of a response to Kotaku. It turns out that the fans fears were totally baseless and the game is still being worked on. This is due to yet another weird sentiment from gamers that if they paid for an unfinished product they deserve the full product.While this would be ideal I don’t think anyone should buy into an alpha or a kickstarter for that matter without the thought, “I may never see any return on this investment.” So what do all these events tell us? Gamers can be extremely vicious for almost no reason, but definitely not without some things leading to such behaviour.


Gaming Websites

So I’ve been reading a bit more of video game related posts for either research or leisure reading, and I’ve begun noticed some interesting trends. These may apply to a variety of different sites, but for the purposes of this article I am going to focus on three. These are IGN, Kotaku, and RockPaperShotgun. There are two interesting behaviors I’ve seen involving these websites. There is a serious lack of outgoing links on large websites. There does seem to be incoming links though, more so for Kotaku than IGN. There is also the difference in content styling between IGN and Kotaku.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a link on IGN that goes to another site, they are internal links(this is excluding ads of course). While this may make finding content within IGN easy it makes it hard to branch out to other sites if you want to. Another thing is that even though they are this huge site there doesn’t seem to be a lot of inbound links either. While surfing the web I rarely see links to IGN. It is almost as if everyone their readers are so established that nobody bothers with links to IGN anymore. That doesn’t really seem to be the case with Kotaku though, there are plenty of external links leading to Kotaku. The most likely explanation of this is that it is due to the content. Kotaku often posts very opinion heavy pieces which promote discussion, while IGN focuses on news and game reviews. I’m not supporting either type of site, but I think that those differences in content probably explain some of the differences in web traffic. As for that matter it is interesting to me that such an opinion based website like kotaku got so big. I would actually put those two at the extremes of the spectrum. IGN being very corporate and professional, and Kotaku being more informal. I feel that they should honestly each move more towards the middle. IGN feels like a giant mega conglomerate that only cares about profit and Kotaku feels informal to the point of being inaccurate. One site that I think does a good job of balancing professionalism and opinion pieces if RockPaperShotgun. They are a PC gaming site that releases news, reviews and other gaming related articles on a regular basis. They openly criticize review scores which is something that IGN does heavily, I think to the point of detriment. Check out this post that covers that topic in detail. I think gaming websites should move more towards the type of content that RockPaperShotgun releases. While it is unique content, I don’t like that RPS is very limited in its scope. I would love to see viewpoints similar to theirs applied to other gaming medium, not just PC stuff.


My First Experience with Wikipedia

So this past week I decided to get into Wikipedia contribution. Let me tell you about my experience. I decided to edit the Wikipedia page involving the PS Vita. I chose this page for two reasons. The first of which is that I have been researching the new PS Vita slim that was recently announced and released in Japan this past October. I’m was doing this research so that I can make an informed decision about whether not I’m going to buy one. I want to buy some kind of mobile console as it is something I have wanted for a while now. The second reason is that the section on the PS Vita Slim had terrible grammar and writing issues so I wanted to fix it.

I was quite surprised at how engaging it was. I began to want to check up on the page and see if anybody had updated what I said or corrected some error I had made. Oddly enough there wasn’t really any changes made to the section I edited. I guess that means that nobody had any problems with it so that’s good. I expected there to a be a little bit more interaction with other Wikipedia contributors, but there wasn’t. It may have been just because I picked a page that didn’t have too much activity.

It was definitely an interesting first experience, I feel like I may be more likely to edit Wikipedia in the future.



Used Games and their Effects

Being Used:

In the post linked above, the author discusses used games and how they don’t really bother him. His main arguments are as follows: first, saving money is always beneficial, second, the fact that you are able to sell any used games, no matter how out-dated, to stores is a great thing.

I agree with the author’s statement on the benefits of saving money. It’s impossible to say otherwise. So the real question is: are used games bad in any way for consumers? To that I can only say no. The only possible negative is that gamestop agressively forces used copies on gamers which can be annoying and take more time for purchases, even then the consumer saves money so that argument doesn’t hold too much water.

Another point that the author made is that you will always be able to sell used games to gamestop as long as the disc still functions. The way that he phrases this argument is that it will be a way to rectify bad purchases no matter what. I’m not exactly sure if this is as strong of an argument. The reason for this is that there are significant reductions in returns if you are past the 7 day cut off point the amount that you would get back for selling to gamestop is very nearly cut in half if not more.

I find it odd that he didn’t mention that used games means that you will more easily be able to find old games in stores. This is a huge benefit of having used games at all. The ability to walk into a store and buy a game that is 5-10 years old for a very good price is a very cool thing.

Another thing that is at least slightly beneficial where the used game market is concerned, is that used games drive interest and sales of future products by that developer. By making it cheaper it becomes more accessible to people who might not have purchased it otherwise. If they really like that game then that is a sale for future games that would not have happened otherwise.

To be clear I am not trying to argue whether or not used games are bad for the video game industry. I do not have enough data to argue this point. I do think that they have a negative impact on the industry, but I don’t think that it is signficant enough to make a real difference. Then again there isn’t any data that shows used game sales or their impact, so its all a moot point really.


Steam Controller: Innovation or Failure?

Official Steam Announcement:

Will the Controller Catch On:


These posts are all about the announcement of the new “Steam Controller” which is the third in a series of announcements from the Company Valve, concerning their foray into the console space. This peripheral is very different than standard controllers, and Valve is trying to sell it as a superior gaming experience. This controller looks very interesting to me and I am excited for when I can get my hands on one.

The first post is the official announcement from Valve that details the specifics of their controller. The second post talks about whether or not the controller will be a successful innovation. The last post describes a hands on experience with a beta version of the controller. I think the most interesting thing about all of these posts is the discussion of whether or not this controller will fail, or be a useful innovation. If all of the features work as stated in the post by Valve, I think that this could be a really useful if not amazing piece of tech. However, it all comes down to two things, how it feels, and whether or not the inputs will function adequately in most games.

If the controller doesn’t feel right it won’t be fun to use it. Tommy Refenes, who is responsible for the movement system in Super Meat Boy (widely renowned for its extremely tight and responsive controls), stated that “I’m excited to see what [the] final hardware feels like because I think with the upcoming iterations of the controller we’ll see something that is different, but still feels good.” It seems likely that this new controller will still feel good while playing games.

The only other worrying detail about the controller is its input. On the normal Xbox/PS3 controllers there are two sticks and then 4 buttons immediately above and to the right of the right analog stick. This placement is usually very important in genres such as fighting games, platformers, and fps, because they are used for critical actions that must be accessed quickly. This is changed with the Steam Controller, those 4 buttons are instead in the center and they are split into two groups by the touchscreen on the controller. This means that if anybody wants to hit those buttons they will have to remove their thumb from the left touchpad. The controller makes up for this by adding two additional inputs on the bottom of the controller, but it remains to be seen if this different setup will work well for games. It might be that we just have to adjust to the controller, or that it is actually a difficult setup. We can only hope that it is option one.

I’m excited for this controller, and I hope that it will be a well executed and successful device that actually innovates and changes the gaming experience in a positive way.


Video Game Reviews and Scores

This blog post written by Jason Schreier talks about how scores affect gamers as a whole, and all of the odd and negative behavior that comes about as a result of a score based reviewing system. This post is written in the light of recent events related to the release of GTAV which is one of the fastest selling video games of all time.

I think that this blog post merits a read for any avid gamer. I have personally experienced the behavior that Jason Schreier talks about in his post, whether it was me exhibiting these things personally, or that it was someone around me. I have found that whenever I am looking to buy a specific game, that experience can change greatly based upon its score. Instead of researching the game properly it is much easier for me to simply look at its score and judge it based upon that. I have been very enthusiastic about buying a game before, however when I see that it has a low score and I’m not so keen on buying it any more. This also works in reverse, it is much easier for me to buy a game that has flashy advertising and a high score on some site like metacritic, without even knowing what the game really contains. By judging games based upon scores rather than research that I have done, I become a more passive consumer of video games, and less likely to have my own opinion. This is something that I have been actively trying to stop, by looking at various reviews of a game before I purchase it. I have also been trying to look at every review through my own lens, keeping in mind what kind of games I like. By doing these two simple things I am able to buy games that I will like and play much more often.

Overall, this was a very interesting read, and I think that the author has some pretty cool points.