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Forums > Submission Feedback > sho's Maniac Mansion review

This thread is in response to a review for Maniac Mansion on the NES. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: SamildanachEmrys
Posted: November 19, 2010 (03:52 AM)
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Aside from my disagreement with the score, I think this review's unqualified recommendation needs to be balanced by some mention of the bad points. No game is flawless. What about the blatant unsolvability of most of the puzzles? The solutions to most of them are completely illogical and make no sense at all, and attempting a solution other than the biarre correct one (or walking into a room that you couldn't possibly know was occupied) results in imprisonment in the dungeon.

I'm not saying the review is wrong to disagree with my opinion, but I think some acknowledgement of the game's weaknesses wouldn't go amiss. Interestingly, though, it clued me in on how to solve some puzzles that have troubled me for over a decade. Hmm.

'There would be tears and there would be strange laughter. Fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings. And dreams, and violence, and disenchantment.'

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Author: darketernal
Posted: November 20, 2010 (08:10 AM)
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Hmmm, I disagree. Thought it was a good review. You also have to understand Maniac Mansion was a pioneer in the industry of point and click adventure games, so of course some stuff will be unsolvable. That's like saying "Return to Zork" was awful because you had to do things in a really specific way with just the right wording to get through, and it's a known classic.

As for the dungeon thing, if I recall, you can never be permanently stuck in it, there's a loose brick or something near the entrance of the jail cell that when you push the door opens or something like that.

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Author: Leroux
Posted: November 20, 2010 (08:25 AM)
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Flawless is strictly in the eye of the beholder, plus no such claims were made.

You're probably not going to win a fair and balanced argument around here because we don't specifically encourage reviews that take both sides, are balanced, try to see all sides of the coin, whichever turn of phrase. That's IGN or Gamespot, where external forces have pull. Complete objectivity isn't a goal any review should be striving for -- relaying a person's honest thoughts, with rational reasoning why, is. Most people don't see both sides, and attempting such an objective viewpoint is worthless because it doesn't tell the reader anyone's actual thoughts, just a bunch of assumed thoughts or the collective thoughts of others already out there. And most of the time, when a persons says "you may find x aspect annoying or may not," they were the ones that noticed the aspect was a bit annoying and should simply say as much and give better definition to why.

So while some people will find the puzzles esoteric, I'm betting Sho didn't because I think he would mention it, because I don't think he writes about eighties point-and-click games to mislead people but to share his recommendations and fond memories. I don't agree this would be a better review with a long "But..." paragraph addressing everything negative ever said about the game, or negative aspects you specifically think about the game.

A better remedy is this: someone reviews the game he loves and tells us why, someone that saw faults in the game reviews the game and explains those, and the reader can decide between writers' actual viewpoints rather than one guy's attempt to write a review for everyone. I think it's fair to question why he didn't find the puzzles esoteric, because you're coming from a pre-established viewpoint of your own and want to discuss the game and the different experiences you had. That's what's cool about feedback sometimes. But I don't think it's fair to tell him he needs to address issues he didn't see or think noteworthy in the review itself, no more than if you reviewed the game covering flaws you should have to recognize his amorousness. A review can (and often does as part of a persuasive device), but shouldn't have to, acknowledge a viewpoint the author doesn't hold, and especially not for the sake of balance.

That's my reviewing philosophy thought of the day.

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