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Title: Buyer recommendations/reviews
Posted: May 04, 2009 (11:47 AM)
So the theory goes something like this: People wish to be catered for in a positive way, to be encouraged to buy a product. Hence critical buyer's recommendations don't succeed as well, nor cause more customer satisfaction. Instead of filling the subject with euphoria just from the thought of owning the product, the critical buyer will instead want more for less money, and will also fail to be impressed by gimmicks, coolness factor, peer- pressure and advertisements based on emotional attachment.

In other words, people only read reviews to enhance the product satisfaction of a product they've already decided they want (thanks to the advertisements that say nothing about the product).

Therefore reviewing games critically towards a standard you expect as a gamer, or even being a critic against what the game tries to accomplish - will be the same as ensuring you will work for free forever.

Because: there is no such thing as a company that wants it's products reviewed critically. And no large mass of users who do not read reviews to enhance their product satisfaction, just as the companies predict.


Which is of course complete crock. The only reason why people read reviews is to make sure what they already own is better than the crap their peers have.
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Title: Maturity in games...
Posted: March 19, 2009 (06:49 PM)
And we have to start reinventing it, and all, and bla, bla.. What /is/ this?

An attempt at crushing the stereotype of video- game makers and players as being vicious children - by... turning them into stunted loners seeking meaningful romance in videogames? A softer, more searching child, I suppose..?

I remember when Psychonauts came out (..game written by Tim Schafer, creator of Grim Fandango, Monkey Island series, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle) - and I distinctly remember that, while many heaped praise on the game for being very good. And had many subtle pokes to informed readers about how deep and thought- provoking the story and writing actually was. As well as mentioned how charming and believable the characters were. And how good the direction and variety in the scenes tended to be. Or how entertaining the game was.

I also remember there was a distinct lack of people who reviewed the game, and with it encouraged players to take a dive into people's minds, and prepare to follow the threads of the narrative on the inside and the outside, so to speak. And perhaps learn something in the process, allowing the game to be both entertaining and thought- provoking.

I also remember the game being marketed very consciously as an action- filled platformer, sporting cartoonish villains and stereotypical heroes, flashing psycho superpowers.

While the hero having issues on his own, and being more heroic for dealing with them - that somehow never made it into even the subtext.

I mean - how hard would it have been to market the game with: battle your inner demons! ..Or something similar? The game also sold extremely well - even after the atrocious commercials went away.

But.. now it's time to reinvent maturity in games again? So we can get away with the gratuitous sex and violence - by making it seem natural in the context it is in?

Spare me.
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Title: Everyone's a fucking editor..
Posted: March 06, 2009 (07:48 AM)
Ok, so my Rise of The Argonauts review is up.

Took me two days to write the first version. That was about 2000 words. Then it took another two weeks to eventually get it down to 1600 words.

Personally, I'm not sure if there's a particular point readers will start to snore and click away on something else. I've read reviews on 500 words that bored me to tears - but I managed to get through it because it was so short. And I've read large treatises on games like Planscape Torment and stopping naturally on the paragraphs to think a little bit before going on.

Should you really aim for short reviews like that, because your readers tend to struggle through a review in the first place?

You could maybe defend a large review if the game is entirely useless to people who can't hold their concentration for more than three seconds at a time as well.. so why cut it down?

I mean, reviews are more and more like complicated versions of "I like it, and so should you" commercials already. But is that what people actually want every time they read a review?

Sort of wonder how a book or a film- review like that would look: "yeah, and lots of interesting characters, but they fail and shit - junky directing, I don't like it. [insert witty retort directed at imaginary detractor]".

Well.. So I ended up rewriting a lot of it. And it probably became better in the end. *sigh*. Or maybe not - I posted the full review on Honestgamers under PS3 reviews. If it gets approved:


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Title: This sucks.
Posted: February 20, 2009 (07:09 AM)
About one month since last time. Finally finished with a commitment I've been stuck with for the last six months - but.. I'm an experience richer, I suppose. *grits teeth*

Meanwhile, the admin on gamersdigest.net (a page title apparently chosen for luring in casual gamers in the 45+ age group :p) was happy to push something i wrote about Killzone 2. It seems there might be review- copies once in a while as well. And the prospect of actually getting anything in return for writing things down - other than scorn, ridicule, envy, or deliberate silence - is starting to stir with an emotion I didn't think I had any longer.

What was it called again? Anticipation? No, that's not quite it. I wonder..

Unfortunately all is not well. I was supposed to interview the spokesdude on Psyonix - they recently released Super Sonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars on the PSN - about the development and publishing process. Apparently they self- published, and seems to have gotten all kinds of backing up to a point. Same as with Flower and flOw, or Riff - these titles are not bogged down in huge release cycles that publishers can expect returns on, instead being more of a boon to the PSN and so the Playstation brand. Meaning it's quality and image, rather than just sellability Sony seems to be looking for. Up to a point.

There are a few problems on the PSN, such as regions not getting the same releases, even though they evidently are not... exclusively going to sell in only one region. Other releases get delayed for months, for apparently no good reason.

SARP (Super Sonic Acrobatic...) was one of those releases - and here I was supposed to get any amount of dirt directly from a dev who did not seem terminally infected with Sony sychophancy.... and then he disappears. Curse me that I only have time to do this in my spare time, and couldn't be more immediate when he said he was willin to do an interview.

But then again, it's probably not going to be impossible to pick up some more data, and do a review on how the PSN has changed later on. I doubt no one will be willing to weigh in if I keep asking.

Asking /politely/.. fuck.
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Title: How to get an article in print?
Posted: January 25, 2009 (10:04 PM)
So I've written a piece on gaming and art - didn't think it was too bad, either - and thought: why not try to get someone to print it?

Heck if I know how to, though.

First attempt was writing the Escapist:

And as you can no doubt see, I've never written a pitch before, and I couldn't really say what you're looking for.

Writing style: it's going to be self- deprecating high brow silliness. Someone called it "post- intellectualism" once, but that's a bit too much, with giving me a whole new name for a style, and all.. I'm really just having fun. In the story, I'm analysing the plot in Super Mario, classifying it - and then highlighting how the story- telling in the archetypical video- game is not what makes it attractive - and that this is the reason why "games" are not thought of as art. While describing how a real plot can make a game exceed what the archetypical video- game is limited to, and so on. That's all perfectly true, of course, but it's not meant to be read as a serious analysis, which is obvious. The twist is that prejudice is silly, and it's possible to use unconventional means for telling good stories. Whether it is science fiction, or analyses about video- games.

Length, about 1600 words. Oh, and it's already written. I'd turn it in for a bit of professional writing advice.

..please allow 2 to 4 weeks for a response.

I seem to have been in this situation before. I blog for www.uiqblog.com, and have posted a lot of content there that took a long time to write - had good standard, too - but whenever I tried to get any of it published, there's two things that crop up:
1. The reason I'm writing on the blog in the first place - I can choose my own style, and switch between analytical and plain nonsense just like I want to. Any continuity or recurring elements is optional. Factual reporting or just shaming someone for being an arse tends to be about the same, and the editorial board consists of myself and two other part- time bloggers. The biggest challenge we ever had was to what degree we were supposed to directly criticise SonyEricsson.

2. I'm not used to criticism. Not that I've had any - that's the problem. I don't know what sort of writing is likely to be accepted for a publication of some sort. Is the style I've become accustomed to using too argumentative, or too oral? Or does it add something to the articles that I explain my own thinking, or construct settings that fill in details?

I suppose what crossed anyone's minds the last time I tried - I wrote a lengthy review on a uiq phone for a Norwegian online magazine - was more or less that I was trying to continue my crusade on the blog. But it was a review geared towards business- users of smartphones, something the site sorely lacked. Trying to review smartphones as toys and video- devices.

Received no real comments on the review - at least none from the staff. So, I guess it wasn't what they were looking for.

Meanwhile, another review by the regular staff turned up for a similar phone, where the phone was hailed for being awesome - but would recieve a reluctant trashing for trading in animations on the screen for battery- life. No one mentioned ARM, processors, OS functions, connectivity options or what THE PHONE ACTUALLY WAS USEFUL FOR.

Something that - once again - sidelines anyone who use their smallish computer device for anything other than receiving MMS- messages with farting Santas. I really don't know why this happens. "Edda Media", the umbrella organisation that pays this outlet, among other publications, are not invested in online advertisement, but rather sponsorship deals and increased hardware sales. So how come there's a huge void of content directed at the business- users on that site?

But then again, I'm just an unpublished writer.

So - if someone knows of any place interested in printing some intellectual drivel on the nuances of story telling in Super Mario, contrasted with other plots only suitable for presentation in games - you'll let me know, right?

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