"It's free and I'd like to see you do better!" The common cry against critique with game mods/reviews
Posted on Monday, May 24 2010 @ 16:35:50 Eastern
Criticism is a fickle thing. Sometimes it is something we need and other times we just don’t want to deal with it. In any form of media, criticism will always be there, but there are some who believe it’s an evil thing or have huge misconceptions of the word. There are two kinds of criticism. Constructive criticism is where you give someone a critique on something by showing where they went wrong and ways they can try to fix the problems. Deconstructive criticism is when you bash the person’s work like a jerk and offer no advice on how to improve. Thanks to the rise of popular critics like Simon Cowell and Yahztee, now many people believe being absolute mean is the only way to grade someone’s work. These types of criticisms apply to video games as well.
There are tons of game mods out for PC games, ranging from new game modes, skins, sounds, and other things. The majority of them are free and we expect the content to be functional, have minimal bugs, and be fun to use at least. However, with the concept that game mods are free has been used as a shield against people who criticize custom content made by their fellow peers. The most common rebuttal the defenders use against people who critique custom mods are “Well, it’s free, so you shouldn’t be complaining about it! Let’s see you try to do better!”
The minute anyone says either of those two phrase or both, they instantly lose the argument. They are basically just covering their ears and singing loudly to block out any form of criticism. Let’s start with the concept of “you can’t complain because it is free.” Just because a game mod you downloaded didn’t cost you a cent does not excuse the maker of any major mistakes they made while creating the content. If there are tons of glitches or the level design is very poor, people will critique it and will not be happy with what they played with. To say that no one can complain about free content would allow makers to make shoddy work and hide behind the concept that it was free. Not to mention some companies like Valve release new content that is free AND they are well made and have few bugs. No one is expecting a common Joe to make free content of the same quality as the big game companies, but people should at least put effort in their work and test it (or have their friends test it) before rushing it out the door for everyone to see.
The other part of the argument, “LET’S SEE YOU DO BETTER,” also holds no water. The majority of people who make criticisms have little to no experience in the field they are criticizing, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t offer advice on how to improve a work. For someone who plays custom maps often, such as myself, we never made a single map in our entire lives, but we’ve played enough of them to know what works and what does not work. Even professional video game reviewers are constantly blasted for giving bad scores to a video game and that they never made a game in their life, but reviewers are the ones that show what makes a game work and not work. This applies to any medium besides video games. You have movie critics who review films and probably never produced a single film and are respected by many people. They watched a lot of films to know things like character development, good acting, good story, etc. and how they can make a movie good or bad. To have actual experience in the field is just a bonus. To say that people cannot critique something because they have no experience in the field would limit the author’s ability to improve and basically narrows down the critique to people who are in the same field. You have to listen to various voices to get a full story, not from people you only want to hear from.
Critique is not the spawn of Satan. It can push people in the right direction but only if they want to listen. Setting up artificial barriers to avoid critiques will only set you up to fail down the road. There are people who will pretend to critique just to troll but there are others who will give good and genuine advice. When making anything, your first priority should be to please the people who are going to play with your mod and if they think it falls flat, try harder!
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Expansion Pack VS Sequels: Are They One and the Same?
Posted on Sunday, April 18 2010 @ 14:17:56 Eastern
Whenever a great game came out and you played it for hours and hours on end, you and your friends would hope the developer would make a sequel to your favorite game. After all, who didn't want a sequel to Super Smash Bros. Melee or Resident Evil 4 where they could get more of what they love plus a ton of fun new extras? Then there are expansion packs that add more content to the current game, usually for a low price. These are not 100% necessary to get in order to get the most out of your game and they are quite convenient since they integrate themselves to the game that requires them and you can play it from there.
Nowadays, people expect a lot more for less and this has translated to the video game industry. Lots of gamers want better gameplay, longer hours of play time, bigger online, better graphics, and a lot more while not wanting to pay a lot for it. $50 has been the standard in price for buying a video game in the past several years, but as technology advances and grows more expensive to produce in, the added costs has to come from somewhere. Sequels, expansion packs, and DLCs (downloadable content) have been the bread and butter of most video game companies to generate revenue and our constant buying of their products support them.
However, many of today’s gamers are quite picky and cynical and will refuse to get a game at full price if they feel it doesn’t have enough to justify their purchase. This has transformed into a situation where people who think a sequel to a video game is nothing more than an expansion pack if the game is just more of the same with some new shiny objects to play with. For example, Left 4 Dead 2 has been dubbed as the $50 expansion pack due to people’s anger with Valve backing out on their word on giving the first game updated content. Yet, Left 4 Dead 2 changes so many things that I am left scratching my head wondering how it is an expansion pack. After all, it has the core part of what made Left 4 Dead fun plus lots of new stuff like more guns, zombies, a connected storyline, an improved AI Director, and a vastly different level design that keep things interesting and varied. People always say that the new stuff could have easily been in L4D1, but the new zombies and some of the new guns just wouldn’t play out too well due to how most of the levels were narrow hallways or having spots where survivors could hold out in one spot and the infected could only rush in from one or two directions.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is another video game sequel that is being labeled as a lazy expansion pack game. Unlike Left 4 Dead 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has not been released and the only info we have are screenshots and trailers. So far, you do seem to be hopping from galaxy to galaxy as before, along with collecting those stars (because it is always stars). The new stuff we’ve seen is the inclusion of Yoshi and giving him powers like Mario, Mario getting new stuff like the ability to drill into the ground, and bigger and nastier enemies to stomp on. We don’t know what the story is yet, nor do we know if Rosalina will even make an appearance. It's quite unfair to be calling Super Mario Galaxy 2 an expansion pack so soon before release and it's the same as calling Final Fantasy VII being samey as Final Fantasy VI because the core concept of both games are reused. Using things that worked the first time doesn't always mean it's a lazy attempt.
It has gotten to the point where the meaning expansion pack is starting to lose meaning like the word hardcore. To be technical about it, an expansion pack has to require a game in order for it to work or it merges with said required game in order to use the content. To say a game that adds little is nothing more than an expansion pack is absurd. A game doesn’t have to change a lot in order to be a sequel and franchises like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and Grand Theft Auto proved just that. Just remember, having more of the same plus extras doesn’t always equal to an expansion pack type game.
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Social Gaming: People You hate to Play With
Posted on Thursday, January 28 2010 @ 16:02:44 Eastern
It comes as no surprise when I say we human beings have become total dick bananas when it comes to being civil to each other. Selfish, self righteous and greedy are just few of the things that many of us have become these past several years and it is no surprise that it has moved into the culture of gaming. It is amazing how these kinds of people, no matter how small or petty their bastardized actions are, can ruin a good game for the rest of us and dive away new players forever. In fact, not a game will go by (unless you are playing with friends only) where a swear, sexual comment, or racial slur will be dropped because apparently no one can talk without insulting someone else at least ten times, the same amount of times that someone has to teabag another player.
Newbie players (no, not n00bs) can be a prime target for douchebaggery in online multiplayer games. They are obviously new to the game and want to have a good time like the rest of us. Unfortunately, you get pricks that get glee by taking advantage of the new player’s lack of experience. I know it’s tempting to pick on and tease the new guy every once in a while, but when you get people that either kill the new guy over and over again because he can’t fight back properly or don’t know all the secrets in the game that give them perks, it has gone over the line of picking on them and into the land of ass holeism. These actions will frustrate the new player and potentially drive him to quit the game for good if everyone keeps being a nutter **** to the poor guy. This is the same as the level 80 players in World of Warcraft who instantly kill the new players and possibly call them the N word, even if they are white. It accomplishes nothing other than proving you can wave your e-dong around and it gives the new player a bad impression of everyone else in the game.
Newbie players also targets of the hatred bile from experienced gamers, mainly because they don’t know the basics of the game or some of the more advanced moves. When it comes to multiplayer games, there are always going to be people who are still learning. Now imagine this scene: Johnny Newcomebody has just gotten Left 4 Dead 2 and is having a blast with it. After a few games, he kind of knows how the game rolls and decides to try VS mode. He gets a warm welcome from the other players and things are going OK so far. Johnny Newcomebody is having a hard time trying to get used to moving and attacking as a Hunter and this happens several times. One player on his team will start to swear at him loudly, tell him how much he sucks, and then starts to vote him out of the game. Johnny is then left scratching his head, wondering what the hell happened and if all people are as thick and rage inducing as the people he just played with. On many internet forums, there’s always people that whine about dealing with new players and can’t understand why they don’t understand the basics. Maybe new players don’t know everything not because they are new, but the fact that everyone is too busy insulting Johnny Newcomebody and his mother instead of teaching the guy the basics and advanced stuff? Not only you can’t expect new players to know everything off the bat, but people have no right to get mad at a guy who is not experienced if they aren’t bothering to teach him (there’s only so much you can learn on your own).
You also have people who do have good intentions, but their superior skills and knowledge of exploits can make them into dick holes when they aim to win or as some people call it, “playing to win.” Nothing infuriates these people more than having to work with people who are simply not as good as they are. You could have someone who pretty much knows all there is to the game, but in the eyes of the competitive player, he just sucks donkey tail for not knowing how to use a glitch to his advantage and that lack of knowledge “holds the team back.” In a personal example of mine, in one VS game in Left 4 Dead, I was a Hunter and was trying to get someone before they reached the end of the level. I had tried to pounce on them, but got stuck on a garbage can and by the time I got to him, it was too late. One person on my team then blamed me for making us lose. It wasn’t that the other team was better or that the other guys on our team couldn’t kill the survivors fast enough, no, it was my fault because I missed that one chance to do some damage. The competitive nature can bring out the jerk in many of us and when left unchecked, it can make the game quite unenjoyable as people start to rage and swear over every little thing that makes them have to work harder just to win. People need to remember that not only people don’t play the same, they also don’t always strive to win for the sake of winning.
There are also people that are a little too twitchy when it comes to getting rid of others from the game. Some games give you the ability to boot a player who is being a troublemaker. However, this is quite often abused and people can be kicked from a game for the stupidest reasons. Being insulted or yelled at is one thing, but to be kicked is another. It is fine to kick someone if he is being a total ass knocker, such as team killing, blasting music over his microphone, yelling at other people, etc. To kick a player just because he missed one thing that would have scored a win for the team (even though he contributed most of the time) or some other minor issue that isn’t a big of a deal is completely retarded. In a scavenge game I played in Left 4 Dead 2, I was kicked from the game because someone kept whining that I “did not know how to use a melee weapon properly.” You read that right. I was booted from a game for not knowing how to swing a sword. Keep in mind that in Left 4 Dead 2, you just hold left click to swing your melee weapon and move your mouse to change direction so you can get zombies that are behind you or to the side, and that is what many of us would have done. Yet somehow, doing this was “wrong” and was worthy of a kick. It is always said that people with too much power will abuse it and it’s no different in these games where you can wield the power to get rid of people that look at you funny. People will tell you that it’s no big deal and to find another game lobby to get into, but you will always have that thought in the back of your head that someone will vote to kick you because you did just one thing wrong and everyone else who is too busy playing will mash F1 to vote yes without even thinking why they want to get rid of you.
Between people who blast your weaker self in game for no reason other than to get a boner from it, people who want God himself to come and slap you in the face with a metal two by four because you are new to the game and ruined their winning streak, and people that try to find any reason to kick you from a game, it is no wonder that many people opt to choose to play only with friends or be in modes where they don’t have to interact with anyone. As stated from an article on trolls by Cracked.com:
“…for a normal person, the memory of getting called a ****tard in public even one time is striking enough to make them avoid the comments forever, even if it was accompanied by 10 non-****tard comments. It's human nature to remember the ****tard. It's the same in gaming. There are reports that most people who give up online gaming aren't frustrated by the games themselves or technical issues. It's the sheer number of ****wads they have to play with. Even on the most popular online multiplayer game, World of Warcraft, 70% of new players stay in modes where they don't have to interact with anybody else.” http://www.cracked.com/article_16765_5-ways-stop-trolls-from-killing-internet.html
Can you imagine that? Can you imagine a game where the majority of people will only play in a mode where they won’t have to talk to anyone else? That is pretty disturbing considering that video games have become a huge factor for social gatherings online. Multiplayer games should not become a place where you either play with friends or don’t play at all to avoid the jerks that plague public lobbies. Obviously, you can’t change everyone to become a nicer person, but at the same time, sometimes you just have to stop and think about how your actions can affect other people. After all, you never know if that new person you just met in Halo 3 will come back a year later stronger and more skilled than ever that can either kick your ass or become your powerful ally in a team fight and possibly a new friend in your huge list of friends on Xbox Live.
Perhaps because of this, it maybe one of the reasons why Nintendo has not bothered to expand its online services for its games. Just imagine the reactions to mothers everywhere when they hear their child was told to go @#$*! themselves while they played a game online. Of course, the parent could restrict the features for online play but not many would know that or how to do and would rather call and complain to Nintendo instead. There could be more to Nintendo's decisions for their online service but that is another topic in itself. Even people who are thick skinned and could brush off the idiots that plague online games have their limits. Yahtzee, famous for his Zero Puncutation segments, has said many times that he does not really like online multiplayer games and would rather play local multiplayer or single player because he doesn’t want to deal with all the retards that make the games not fun to play. Keep in mind this is a guy who many people would consider a jerk if met in person and is widely hated by fans when he bashes games they like. If someone like Yahtzee can be turned away from online gaming, then you know there is a problem.
If people are kept being driven away from games because everyone else is a jerkwad, there won’t be that many people to play with in a public game due to them all being driven away. Of course, many solutions have been presented, but nothing is perfect. The only thing I can think of that would help cut down on jerk asses in online gaming would be to require a monthly fee to play and you could only have one account on the game you bought and activated through a code. Nothing too big, maybe something like $5 a month. You won't have many people wanting to grief and then be forever banned while wasting their money. But other than that, no one is asking for hugs and kisses. Just being a decent person can make a game much more enjoyable for everyone.
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Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott: The History and Its Downfall
Posted on Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 11:42:24 Eastern
Back in June, Valve presented a trailer showing Left 4 Dead 2, the sequel to the ever popular Left 4 Dead. Naturally, you'd assume that the fans would be extremely excited to see a sequel. Only problem was that the sequel was announced to be relea... read more...
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Fan ideas: What seperates them from the professionals
Posted on Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 09:31:04 Eastern
Ideas. Everyone has them, but only a few can execute them properly. In the video game fandom, ideas thrive and grow and they mature into the games t... read more...
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Has Video Games Entered A Recession?
Posted on Tuesday, January 6 2009 @ 12:13:32 Eastern
We all heard about how crappy the economy in the United States was during the final months of 2008. Lots of stupid decisions and mistakes were made to have caused such a big effect. Video games have been hit by the ... read more...
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Nintendo Reborn: Blessing or Doomsday?
Posted on Monday, November 17 2008 @ 18:32:03 Eastern
Nintendo, without a doubt, was the leader of games during the 1990s. Ask any Nintendo fan who was around in that era and you're bound to find a few responses with the phrase "The Golden Age of Gaming" in it. Of course, Nintendo was not with... read more...
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Dumbed down gameplay is not the way to play
Posted on Saturday, May 31 2008 @ 18:34:06 Eastern
I can't help but notice how much...easier games are becoming. Yes, I may be slow to the realization, but nevertheless, our favorite games of today seem to be more watered down than melted ice in a glass of milk. Of course games should never be ... read more...
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Artifical Intelligence? More like powerful and broken intellegence
Posted on Thursday, May 1 2008 @ 07:42:01 Eastern
Ah, the good ol AI. Whether they enjoy screwing you over with their stupidity, or gleefully raping you with cheap tricks and blatant cheating, AI is almost every gamer's bane. We should have won that race fairly, but no, the computer decides that you... read more...
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Sequels, a love/hate affair
Posted on Friday, April 4 2008 @ 21:35:04 Eastern
Sequels, always expected, yet hated almost just as much. Movies and novels all have a sequel at some point and they are always welcomed by the fans since they want to see more. Sometimes sequels are either planned from the start or pop up unexpectedl... read more...
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