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honestgamer It's not all an elaborate ruse, some misguided attempt to establish for myself an online persona of dubious quality. I really am dull. If you don't find that unbearable, though, this is my blog that examines just how truly boring I can be.

Title: CrispyGamer doesn't agree with New York Times game writer
Posted: September 10, 2009 (07:04 PM)
So, some guy who writes for The New York Times in its "Games" section wrote a review of The Beatles: Rock Band that is possibly the worst review ever written. CrispyGamer comments on such things here:

http://www.crispygamer.com/features/2009-09-10/those-games-mean-nothing-to-me.aspx

I read through the whole article and, if you're serious about games criticism, I suggest that you do the same. After you've done so, I hope that you'll come back here to share your thoughts. I'm interested in hearing what some of you think.
[reply]

zigfriedUser: zigfried
Title:
Posted: September 10, 2009 (07:56 PM)
I read both the article and the review. I have to say that I disagree with the Crispygamer article.

Schiesel's supposed "worst review" states:

The weakness of most games is that they are usually devoid of any connection to our actual life and times. There is usually no broader meaning, no greater message, in defeating aliens or zombies, or even in the cognitive gameplay of determining strategy or solving puzzles.

Contrary to Crispygamer's assertions, the above does not mean that zombies/aliens and deep meaning are mutually exclusive. It means that most games in our hobby's 30-year history are about time-killing or escapism for escapism's sake, and don't use their trendy concepts to make a socially meaningful statement.

I do think Schiesel is making a jab at the fads that permeate games today (aliens and zombies), but I also think that jab is warranted. It's nice to occasionally play something different. And I don't think there's any harm in poking fun at the hobby you love, as long as you still come across as loving the hobby -- and after reading all of his words, Schiesel does.

In other words, I think Crispygamer is the one building a straw man here. He also rambles about a fictitious escapism/meaning dichotomy that came out of nowhere.

To support the belief that "games are meaningful", Crispygamer brings up recent examples such as Bioshock and The Godfather II . . . but the mainstream world's view of videogames is based on 30 years, not just the past five. Furthermore, the world has made it clear that they're not necessarily looking for deep meaning in their games. Wii Sports? Wii Fit? Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3? Street Fighter 2?

I'm a fan of meaning. I'm a fan of "games as an experience". But there are a lot of people who scoff at that school of thought and want their games to just be fun. They're not looking for intellectual stimulation -- at least, not in the form of anti-Randian philosophy.

Crispygamer's article ends by berating Schiesel for praising The Beatles: Rock Band at the expense of the entire hobby. I don't think Schiesel did that. Talking about every game as though it were a socially significant event is a quick way to turn people off. Many games are just damn fun time-wasters (and often develop their own subculture because of it). Acknowledging that doesn't make someone the Gaming Antichrist.

To end my response with an unnecessary jab, Crispygamer comes across as the overly serious sort who I would love to PK over and over in an online MMORPG.

//Zig
[reply]

joseph_valenciaUser: joseph_valencia
Title:
Posted: September 10, 2009 (10:05 PM)
"Seth Schiesel's review of The Beatles: Rock Band may be the worst game review ever written."

Someone hasn't read the works of Ashley Winchester!

Okay, my thoughts on Mr. Schiesel's review:

In a word, terrific. It is well written, accessible, and enthusiastic. I'm not a Beatles fan by any stretch of the imagination, but Seth got me excited about the game and its cultural crossover possibilities. He made me think about Rock Band in ways that I've never thought of it before; and on top of all that, he did a bang up job of summarizing the game experience without using any obvious "game review phrases."

He is a good writer that deserves whatever salary he's picking up at the New York Times...wait, the New York Times? Holy shit, I usually hate that paper and its editorials. Bonus points for Seth.

My opinion on John Titty's response:

Pretty much what Zig said, except I'd go as far as to say that BioShock is not a very effective attack on Randian egoism at all. What I took from that game was: "Walk, Shoot, Change Weapon, Plasmid, Die, Re-Spawn, Find Guy Who Killed You, Kill Him, etc." The game threw so much stimuli at me that I couldn't really process the dialogue and the alleged deep plot. Even the "scary moments" got lost in all the noise and scavenging.

Also, baby boomers not caring for video games isn't a "hackneyed stereotype." From my experience, old people really do tend to be either indifferent or resistant to gaming. If that isn't reflected in the "mainstream media," it's because seniors don't care about games enough to read and comment on the latest news about them. Questionable cultural rift? Baby boomers grew up in a completely different childhood environment than we did, one in which it was common for kids to roam the neighborhood and play outside. They didn't have cable television or 24 hour news or color TVs. Home video hadn't been invented yet. They spent their time differently than we did as kids, and this guy doesn't think there's a definite cultural rift? Does he even know any old people? I mean *really* know them.

The rest of the article is asinine. Why bring up the "Resident Evil 5" review? Is this about the "Beatles" piece or is it a general assassination of Mr. Schiesel? But probably the worst point CrispyGamer makes is that old people hate games because Seth "reinforces" their predisposition against them. Talk about oversimplification. Also...

"This slash-and-burn rhetorical tactic does real harm to those of us who are working to deepen the credibility and relevance of gaming discourse."

I can see it now: Harvard scholars teaching their pupils "Super Mario Bros." One of them tries to do a level-by-level analysis, but he just can't make that jump in World 8-1. "Sorry class, but I need to work on my skills. Study BioShock tonight and finish that essay on power-upism vs. shopism."
[reply]

jiggsUser: jiggs
Title:
Posted: September 10, 2009 (10:39 PM)
"THERE may be no better way to bait a baby boomer than to be anything less than totally reverential about the Beatles. So the news that the lads from Liverpool were taking fresh form in a video game (a video game!) called The Beatles: Rock Band struck some of the bandís acolytes as nothing less than heresy."

schiessel should have linked or provided examples where he got that information from about the heresy part, other than that i can see where this guy is coming from. crispy seems to have failed to notice the word "some", then the word "baby boomer" gets thrown in there and for some reason that ignites a cauldron within Crispy and he starts ranting about old people hates games stereotypes and games having meaning yada yada. i think schiessel was simply stating his opinion from a general point of view and crispy had to go and be a snob about it.

as for my opinion on Beatles: Rock Band. i think it's true that there probably will be some baby boomer beatle fans who probably won't give a crap about the new Beatles game, but on the otherhand i'm sure there are alot of other baby-boomers or people who aren't baby-boomers whom have fantasized about being a member of the Beatles are excited that the dream has come true. the game finally gives them the sense and means to do so. and much to the dismay of crispygamer, The Beatles:Rock Band is no less just as important as those hardcore games like Bioshock or Resident Evil 5. critics can say all they want but a game is just a game and games are meant to be fun. not all games are for everyone that's why many different types of games exist.

what really irked crispy was schiessel calling bioshock or RE5 mindless drivel and i think to some degree, he is right. meaningful is just a subjective word.
[reply]

zippdementiaUser: zippdementia
Title:
Posted: September 11, 2009 (01:12 PM)
Yeah, I don't think Crispy is on his game, here. I read the review expecting to at once be filled with ire and hatred based off his words, but uh... I actually liked the review. I thought it was a really high-end look at a game in the greater cultural market and his points seemed well backed up and well made.

The only line that made me cringe was this one:

One Friday evening last month I invited a gaggle of 20-something hipsters (Iím 36) to my apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to try the game.

I couldn't help but snigger at this. It sounds like he's trying to assure us he's cool because he hangs out with people 10 years younger than him.

It's the kind of crap I'll be writing in ten years to make myself feel better. Of course, if I can write the rest of the article as well as he's done, it won't really matter.
[reply]

WilltheGreatUser: WilltheGreat
Title:
Posted: September 12, 2009 (01:22 AM)
I can see it now: Harvard scholars teaching their pupils "Super Mario Bros." One of them tries to do a level-by-level analysis, but he just can't make that jump in World 8-1. "Sorry class, but I need to work on my skills. Study BioShock tonight and finish that essay on power-upism vs. shopism."

That...that would be the greatest class ever.

*tear*
[reply]

zippdementiaUser: zippdementia
Title:
Posted: September 12, 2009 (12:10 PM)
Why do you think I'm getting my teaching license?
[reply]

PanzerdrakoUser: Panzerdrako
Title: i hate that guy
Posted: October 12, 2009 (07:01 AM)
he is claiming several videos from another youtube users..

i dunno if he made a video from the same game or is just his ego, the thing is half youtube gaming section hate him...it is annoying!
[reply]

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