Week 7 preview: bit late for a preview, eh?
August 09, 2009

Especially if it's biased and deliberately slanted for maximum tiebreak advantage to Team Suskie. The judges are, apparently, almost done anyway. If they are not, they should strive to ignore this topic wholeheartedly, because they know what I am going to say.

First, I predict Team Suskie to beat Team Dagoss, because if I picked us to lose, I would be picking at least one of my teammates to lose. That would be no way to show faith in them! If 2-1, it would show that I think we'd just barely win, and psychological tests show that when people say their team'll barely win, they really believe they're going to lose, or their team tends to lose more than half the time. Ergo, I am morally obligated to predict a 3-0 match win.

In fact, I have a similar faith in my teammates to be morally obliged to pick THEM 3-0 individual wins as well, as a 2-1 prediction would be as above. I liked Wolfqueen's review the best of Team Dagoss's, but I think I noticed a sentence that set my inner Grammar Police siren a-wailin', so heck! I'm good enough, people like me, and...gosh, I feel up to picking a sweep for me, too.

Quick capsules--I found Suskie's review a good discussion of what a port of an old character's game should be, True's energetic and with good imagery. Dagoss and turducken's intros bring humor but are too labored and dance around and break the fourth wall a bit too much. Turducken's clever wordplay sometimes misses its mark and that's where a 3rd look through a review would help. Extreme conflict of interest prevents me from saying more on me vs Wolfqueen, other than that I think we both tried something different from the usual and I hope the judges were pleasantly surprised by both of us.

OVERDRIVE VS BLUBERRY

We need Overdrive to lose 2-1, so let's see...

I was really impressed with the Overdrive-Bluberry matchup. Bluberry's little cutesy writing tics drove me up the wall a bit, so in two entertaining reviews of a genre I can't stand, Overdrive gets the nod. Venter-Espiga is maybe not so much. I liked the reviews they used against me better, or I would've if they hadn't beaten me with them! Venter's Megan Fox gag/office gags seem a bit labored and I'd rather have read about if the challenge of level 20 tips off stuff on level 1. Espiga makes a great point about getting NPCs killed and the possibilites there but labors it. Still, both reviews interested me in the game. Espiga sidetracked less. BELISARIOS brings good condensed wit but in a game with limited range. Woodhouse is impressive with a police game the second week in a row. His work is always enjoyable but it's exciting and laugh out loud funny two weeks in a row.

...seriously, though, I think woodhouse wins with the other two matches being relative toss-ups.

Will vs Felix

A very good match between two teams not about to give up despite missing the playoffs. Way to go. You guys took good chances and made sure things were entertaining to the end!

Sashanan's review may labor the joke too much, and though there are funny bits that flow together well, eventually it feels like complaints-with-a-smile. Felix's review has an interesting combination of looking at history but I have to pinch him a bit for missing one other thing Adventure did--slip an Easter Egg in! Sorry Felix, I just played Rocky's Boots and Robot Odyssey, so I know all that history. It's an effort that doesn't try too hard, as some of his previous ones did, and I think it shows off a good side of his writing we haven't seen yet.

Randxian has improved a lot but still drops the occasional phrase like "As mentioned previously, raising levels is quite the tedious affair." Will's 1701 review may be the best I've read from him so far! It was longer but more gripping than Randxian's, and I would've liked to read a comparison of Dragon Warrior vs which NES games after that failed, and why it was better. Will keeps his enthusiasm and humor focused and scores a commendable win in my book.

Zipp vs Zig is the titanic match of the whole week. I almost junked this preview because I couldn't decide. Zigfried's review dazzles, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia done right and with a recognition it may not be everything it was. Zigfried tangles with in-jokes a bit long, and so I give Zipp the victory in this very playoff-worthy battle.

I think Team Felix brought out some of the best reviews of other teams, and so they got swamped a lot more than expected.

EmP vs Janus

Let's see, Suskie needs Janus's team to win a game, maybe two if Suskie doesn't sweep. Team Janus has lost some very close games this tourney, so they should be up to it.

EmP vs Janus

EmP's risk with the whole drumming bit was something I had to read several times before understanding it. There's a place for it, but the stretch might be too much for a review. Would it have lost effect to go with something more truncated like "There's a lot of simple sounding stuff in drumming that's much harder than it seems. Missing every fourth beat (or whatever) creates a different sound..." If you ask if someone can see where you're going, you're in trouble. Which is too bad because the way the review ties up at the end, I'm very impressed. Janus convinces me that, yes, Space Invaders is not as old and moldy as I always suspected it was. It's more than the repetitive quarter guzzler that was awesome because nothing else was there, and I'm impressed at the variation he communicates in relatively short order.

Rad vs DoI

Radicaldreamer uses a red-light phrase(to me) "I kid you not" but despite that I really enjoy his ability to convince me that, yes, online multiplayer stuff is very, very interesting. DoI has always been impressive and while I found myself nitpicking a bit, with some stuff that could be tightened, it's a very good review--but Radicaldreamer has enough of a jump for a bold take on online play that I give him a win in a well fought battle.

Disco vs DE

DE's storytelling really works here. It's a bit flowery, but when it works and goes up against something more straightforward like Disco's review, it usually wins. Disco has a few tangled sentences which make his good observations gum up a bit so I will give the win to DE.

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zippdementia zippdementia - August 09, 2009 (09:37 AM)
Thanks for doing this, Aschultz. It's good to see someone else's opinion on my and Zig's match up. I think if anything does give me that win it will be my conclusion. I do think it's my best conclusion and in reading it again, it really does deliver the sense of how much the game means to me along with the "just as true" fact that we can never truly go back to these games.

It's a sentiment I wanted to capture long ago with Chrono Trigger DS but wasn't quite experienced enough in my writing style to do.
zigfried zigfried - August 09, 2009 (10:34 AM)
I'm confused -- I thought the point of your conclusion was that if the game truly is good, we can go back? That's what separates a great game from a game that we just happened to play because we had nothing better at the time.

I think we absolutely can revisit childhood favorites, and I thought you were using SoulBlazer as an example of that. Even if nostalgia colors our childhood memories, there has to be something powerful to begin with... otherwise, the nostalgia wouldn't be so strong.

Maybe I'm just misunderstanding your above comment.

//Zig
aschultz aschultz - August 09, 2009 (10:43 AM)
Thanks! I had to be a bit flippant with my own stuff to do, and I don't want to influence the judges...you and drella gave me a good base to go from. Hope you're having fun with all your real-life activities.
zippdementia zippdementia - August 09, 2009 (10:53 AM)
No, you've got it right. The sentiment is that usually we can't go back, but sometimes there's a force so powerful that we're able to bring it with us into present times.

ie. Soul Blazer
randxian randxian - August 09, 2009 (01:55 PM)
and I would've liked to read a comparison of Dragon Warrior vs which NES games after that failed, and why it was better

Huh?
bluberry bluberry - August 09, 2009 (02:11 PM)
haha, cutesy writing tics? I don't know what you mean. (which means that if I have any they're so ingrained in my head I should just give up.)
aschultz aschultz - August 09, 2009 (03:34 PM)
Ouch! Attention for the wrong reason, that I probably didn't take enough time on the reviews.

Bluberry--oops, I think I was too harsh on you. There wasn't as much as I thought there was. Stuff like "I'll go with a sledgehammer" is something I'd take my red pen to immediately, and I'd have mentioned Erik Alm a lot earlier. That's the problem with judging 2 very good reviews with relatively little time. You say silly stuff.

Randxian--I goofed, a bit, too, on yours. My criticism is the wrong way around. However, I think your review does jump into the deep end too quickly, and starting anything with the word "boring" risks that the user feels...bored. I know I can't get around my perception that DW feels very by the numbers--a good template for something bigger. It's better than a lot of RPGs that came after it, and a lot imitated its approach, and I find that interesting. Not that you're obliged to give a history lesson, or discuss whether DW laid a successful groundwork for later games like DW2 or whichever, but that sort of thing works better for me than "As mentioned previously, raising levels is quite the tedious affair." Your review points out details without them coming alive for me, and I think the next is good goal for any future reviews you wish to write. Unfortunately, that's a subjective thing.
sashanan sashanan - August 09, 2009 (11:34 PM)
Sashanan's review may labor the joke too much, and though there are funny bits that flow together well, eventually it feels like complaints-with-a-smile.

No surprise there - it IS complaints with a smile. That review was part of a bandwagon at the time where quite a few of the bigger names in the review community had reviewed it in a relatively short time frame and I thought I'd sail on their success for a bit, smalltime newbie who only wrote for the Commodore that I was.

I'm not sure I care much for the style anymore, but it's still a nostalgic piece for me. As I recall, the awkward Office Assistant joke replaced an earlier, cruder one that crossed a line I wouldn't dream of crossing today.
bluberry bluberry - August 09, 2009 (11:39 PM)
word, I actually meant to not have that stupid line in my final draft and it just kind of slipped through anyway. probably not the end of the world, but I'll remove it after the results are in (although I doubt OD would give a shit). thanks for the compliment, anyway.

also, genre you can't stand? it's great to see people at large giving "Doom mods" that sort of legitimacy. their own genre...
zippdementia zippdementia - August 10, 2009 (12:05 AM)
Welcome to the world of previews, Aschultz. Like ROTW, you're bound to get a few dissenters ^_^
aschultz aschultz - August 10, 2009 (08:20 AM)
Bluberry--well that's what happens when you write a strong review. I'm not surprised Lewis gave you RotW for it at all. I can see the puzzle elements in the game from what you've written, and that makes it appealing. And the better a review is, the more something fishy stands out.

I think also my strong anti profanity stance (in reviews--they work just fine in fiction and movies) should be weathered by the fact that, well, it's hard not to cuss a bit during a shooting game. So that's another silly issue of mine with your writing down.

Zipp--well, I think dissent is a good thing, and it forced me to explain things more clearly. I sort of dashed this off. I knew it could be awkward trying to discuss what I liked without tapping up the judges, and anyway...

...my first draft was a lot worse.
Halon Halon - August 10, 2009 (09:55 AM)
The WQ/Schultz was my favorite matchup of the round. Really close and I had to think for for a few minutes about which one I was going to pick.
zippdementia zippdementia - August 10, 2009 (10:47 AM)
Dissent IS a good thing... except when other people have it.

Joking, of course. I love dissent. I thrive on it.
aschultz aschultz - August 10, 2009 (10:52 AM)
Sportsman--thanks for the preview. Zomg anticipation and stuff! I've finally been able to do something new, but we'll see if it comes at the expense of something else.

Zipp--dissent from other people is ok, if it's weak, cuz then you can smack down the dissenter and have everyone laugh at him and like you even better before!
bluberry bluberry - August 10, 2009 (11:39 AM)
some day, ASchultz, I will write a Kirby review and swear as much as GUTS did. just for you.
aschultz aschultz - August 10, 2009 (11:43 AM)
Good idea, but I'd think educational kids' games lend themselves to even --less-- swearing.
EmP EmP - August 11, 2009 (07:16 AM)
Now the results are in... The problems with your summary of my intro that that your discription dosen't describe offbeat strikes at all! Figures that the only one to really like my review of the judges is the musician among them, but I was aware of that risk.

Thanks for stepping in and doing the preview, though. It's great that we've had these and the stats running this year, so kudos to yourself, Zipp and Leroux for going that extar mile.

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