Official Feedback Issue 91

Want to air your opinions on the latest issue of Retro Gamer? Step inside...

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Darran@Retro Gamer
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:07 am

Crunchy wrote:
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:
Kai wrote: Still don't get the Zelda love, though. 98% for the remake? :shock:
Well it's a 10/10 game no matter what. Nothing has come close to matching it in the 13 years since it was released.
If you think this then why even bother knocking off the two percentage points?

Also, if you think that nothing has come close to matching it you really shouldn't be reviewing it. Not all readers of your magazine are Nintendo fanboys who want to wallow in your personal bias and nostalgia. Some readers are actually new to retro gaming and are looking for a credible review of a product that's entirely fresh to them. A review is supposed to be an aid to buying, not a chance to indulge your enthusiasm for a certain game.
I'm not a nintendo fanboy. I just have good taste in games. If you think differently that's your right and opinion, but I won't be changing mine either.
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Crunchy
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by Crunchy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:20 am

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:I'm not a nintendo fanboy. I just have good taste in games. If you think differently that's your right and opinion, but I won't be changing mine either.
I'm not saying you're not entitled to your opinion. I'm saying it's unfair on your readers to pass off such a biased opinion as a review.

It also leaves you wide open to accusations of the review being bought by Nintendo. When you've got Nintendo's PR issuing press statements about how closely they've worked with RG to bring us the Zelda issue and this is followed by glowing reviews of their products it's going to look suss. I'm all for partnerships of that nature bringing us features, exclusive coverage and extra advertising revenue for the magazine but not if it means a compromised review.

You shouldn't have touched it mate. Or showed some restraint at least. As I said, a review isn't just there as a showcase for what you think. It's there to inform the reader on whether to buy or not based on genuine experience and knowledge, not just of your own personal tastes but in the context of the current market and what other people might think when they play the game. The old "a review is only my opinion" defence doesn't hold water.

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by jdanddiet » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:33 am

some serious accusations there crunch, personally don't see the issue, darran liked the game and gave it a good score - are you saying that bearing in mind the situation he should have deliberately scored it lower? Surely that's just as deceptive to the readers as overscoring it?
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Crunchy
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by Crunchy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:46 am

jdanddiet wrote:some serious accusations there crunch, personally don't see the issue, darran liked the game and gave it a good score - are you saying that bearing in mind the situation he should have deliberately scored it lower? Surely that's just as deceptive to the readers as overscoring it?
I'm saying it would have been better if the review had been done by somebody who wasn't already an outright fan. I'd say that about any review. A review isn't supposed to be biased from the outset. It's supposed to be balanced, otherwise it's worthless.

I'm not accusing anybody of anything. I've stated how things can look. It's in the magazine's own interest to be more careful with such things. Nobody cares about a review of an old game that's no longer on the market. When you're reviewing current products that go for hard money your credibility is open to interpretation.

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by jdanddiet » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:56 am

well iac I'm sure Darran will be along in a minute to answer you crunch...
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thevulture
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by thevulture » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:03 am

As a general point:Magazines DO have to be careful in cases like the above, otherwise readers could draw the wrong conclusion.

Reminds myself of Edge, with it's Halo:ODST review think it scored something like 9/10, but in main body of review text, it's pointed out that entire 'review' (time auctually spent playing game) was done in presence of a MS Rep.

Whilst on the 1 hand, i'm all for their honesty in admitting that, i could'nt shake the feeling of wondering just how 'fair' those reviewing conditions were (think they had something stupid, like 12 hrs to review game, in a hotel room, with Ms rep either in same room or next door).

With the RG/Zelda case, here's where i think having NO score of any form, just main reviewer and a 2nd opinion, would have worked far better.No score=Far less for folks to get hung up on.

Seems hardly a month goes by when RG IS'NT being claimed to have 'Sold Out (to a corporation)' due to a cover (Miss Croft, Game Room, Playstation on front etc).

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by thevulture » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:09 am

Or system covered (Iphone coverage, too much of this system, not enough of that).

RG has to be able to pull in the biggest amount of readers, new subscribers etc to continue-Nothing odd about that.

If the cover is how folks judge a magazine, not sure what to advise, if a mind is made up so early on...not much you can do.

Reviews wise? Format can be re-jigged i feel, by ditching scores, if nothing else, RG would stand apart from the many...but as i've said before, NO idea what decisions are made by the people responsible for the magazine.would 'The suits' etc go for it? I'd assume probably not.

Seems very 'in' to shout FANBOY! these days, if someone speaks with passion on a game they like or a game or system they've had less than great times with.

Thankfully we all have our own likes, dislikes, live in a society where we can air them freely.None of us are 'Drones'.

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thevulture
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by thevulture » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:12 am

The day RG starts 'Airbrushing' up screenshots (a La Edge) for a particular format, then i'll start to look at my sub.

As matter of interest: Who, at RG team gets to decide 'Who reviews what?' and how many of the team in favour of ditching scores?.

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Crunchy
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by Crunchy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:20 am

thevulture wrote:Seems hardly a month goes by when RG IS'NT being claimed to have 'Sold Out (to a corporation)' due to a cover (Miss Croft, Game Room, Playstation on front etc).
Overall though, why is this seen as a bad thing? It's not "selling out" if you initiate a relationship with a publisher that's putting a game out. The magazine gets extra material for its features and the publisher gets coverage for its game. As long as the articles for the readers are good it's a situation that works for everyone. Commercially it's the lifeblood of many a magazine. The Zelda issue was a great issue IMO. I'm not against RG "selling out" to remain commercially viable while at the same time providing good material to read. Surely that's the sign of a magazine doing its job correctly?

The only sticking point is reviews in such instances. They can be seen in a cynical light. It's something that can be easily avoided with a better review policy and a bit more self-awareness.

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by thevulture » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:34 am

Personally finding it a little bit 'stale' rather than a 'bad thing' If someone is going to write off an entire issue of RG, just because of who or what is on the cover, it seems a little sad.To myself, any issue lives or dies on the content within, not what's been decided is best suited for mass market appeal.

For some, the covers seem to be a sticking point, for others it's the reviews, be it scores awarded, games covered (that's not Retro!) or formats games are on.

The RG team can never win, your never going to have a publication which is everything, to everyone.Darren felt Zelda deserved 98% so he gave it 98%. IF the magazine is to stick with a score based review system, then games which reviewers feel deserve 'high end' scores will be given them, pointless using the score system, if your going to shy away from handing out the biggies.

No score system would upset many, but remove some of the hang up's among the readership.

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by FatTrucker » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:09 am

Crunchy wrote: You shouldn't have touched it mate. Or showed some restraint at least. As I said, a review isn't just there as a showcase for what you think. It's there to inform the reader on whether to buy or not based on genuine experience and knowledge, not just of your own personal tastes but in the context of the current market and what other people might think when they play the game. The old "a review is only my opinion" defence doesn't hold water.
I don't agree with this. A review is exactly that, one persons opinion about a title, its purpose isn't to inform a reader on wether or not to buy anything, its purpose is for people interested in buying to be able to read some other people's opinion on a product. Are you genuinely suggesting that the best way for mags to review games is to give the reviews to people who aren't interested in the types of game they're being given to review?

What you seem to want is a dispassionate statement of facts about a game without any opinion offered, at which point its not a review anymore, its not interesting to read anymore and its got no point anymore, you might as well just sit down with a copy of Edge. To demand games are reviewed by people with no interest in the games is absurd, from the beginning of their existence games have pretty much always been reviewed by fans of their respective genre in every single games mag I can ever remember reading.....ever, largely because they are best placed to rate titles in that genre. The whole point is reviews are meant to be interesting to read and created by people who understand and enjoy the genre they are reviewing. I think there are plenty of other publications on the market that review and report on games like they think they're an art critic or working for Panorama, and TBH its just a dull waste of paper in terms of actually giving a personal opinion, as opposed to dispassionately listing stuff about the game and its mechanics, its exactly why I stopped buying Edge and Games™ in fact. As for review scores, does anyone pay attention to them? more or less since I started gaming, review scores in mags have often been arbitrary to the point of bipolar in comparison to the review text.

Finally, its a review in RetroGamer, by and large I doubt many gamers are buying it for its coverage on the cutting edge of contemporary games. I think its safe to assume that virtually anyone that buys Retrogamer considering the main premise of the mag will have been gaming at least long enough to have seen, owned or played an N64 and will know what Zelda is, what its about and wether or not its the kind of game they like. Its Ocarina of Time not some niche title no-ones ever heard of, its absolutely right it should be reviewed with a large dose of presumption that anyone reading RG already knows what its about. If you happen to love these types of games then you only really want to read a review to find out if its more of the same, what they've improved and changed or if they've ruined it.

If you didn't like it the first time around, bearing in mind its a more or less direct remake of the same game you didn't like the first time around, you're going to fundamentally disagree with any review (by any reviewer) that says its brilliant, at no point will a positive review suddenly make you decide you want to buy it, because you already know you don't like it or that you're not a fan of the genre.
I personally don't really enjoy shmups, particularly those of the bullet hell variety. They often get glowing write ups in RG, to date though I've not bought one of them or 'wasted' money on one on the strength of a review by someone that loves them, because I already know that they aren't my thing.
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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by thevulture » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:18 am

At the end of the day, people going to read into a review or what's on that months cover anything they like.Ohhh wonder who paid for that front cover or how much extra advertising revenue did that review generate, say no more squire! etc etc.

The review in question, for myself, had balance, Darren said at the start it was'nt perfect (no game ever could be) and goes onto explain the niggles.From a game point of view, it sounds like it makes great use of the 3DS hardware be it in the visuals and controls, new game modes etc.You then have a 2nd opinion, all that's 'wrong' is it's given a % at the end of it, to myself, the review text has 'sold' the game, number just meaningless, could have been 92%, 9/10, 5 stars, 99 David Ike lizzard heads or what ever the system used was.

Reviewer has said what works, what does'nt, whats new, whats improved, is it VFM?, enjoyable?, make good use of host machine? surely that's the review critera met?

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by thevulture » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:28 am

Fat Trucker makes some very valid points.

As avid magazine buyer over the years, pet hate of mine is reading a review which opens along lines of:

I was never a fan of this in the arcades or on.../ I've never been a fan of this genre etc-well clearly they were wrong person to give unbiased opinion, let alone decide on what was a fair score, if they were sole reviewer.

I find both EDGE and GAMEStm review stances laughable Game X is praised for being established gameplay (say FPS) with some new tweaks and ideas, yet turn to review few pages on, Game Y slagged for being same old gameplay with just few new tweaks and ideas.Not naming reviewers makes situation worse.Edge claims to be above rest of print industry, yet found guilty of airbrushing Xbox DOA screens, reviewing 360 games in presence of MS Rep.etc, so it's pot calling kettle black.As for Gamestm? anything EDGE can do...we want to copy.

The Zelda 3DS review? 2 pages out of over 100+ of a magazine with a Sega mascot on front cover...

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by Crunchy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:51 am

A review written by a massive fan of the genre is as worthless as one written by somebody who hates the genre. Unless your review is deliberately aimed at one of those extremes. Neither provides a good view of what the game is like except for either a fan or a hater. A review written by a fan is every bit as bland as one written by a hater since there is no genuine insight from the point of view of objectivity. It's worth bearing in mind that most gamers aren't outright fans or outright haters of a game. So who writes the reviews for these people in FatTrucker's paradigm of biased reporting?

If everybody who buys RG is expected to already be familiar with the game under review then there is no point reviewing it. Merely state that the game is available and let the fans buy it and the haters shun it with everybody else inbetween making up their own mind.

If a review is not an indicator on whether to buy a game or not then what is it? Just somebody spouting their opinion for the sake of it? A review should be entertaining and interesting to read but anybody who thinks that's the sole purpose of its existence, or even the main purpose of its existence, has massively missed the point of why it's there. Usually a review is about purchasing, sometimes it's simply about whether you should waste your gaming time on something or not. Either way, the point of a review is to advise first and foremost.

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Re: Official Feedback Issue 91

Post by FatTrucker » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:55 am

Crunchy wrote:A review written by a massive fan of the genre is as worthless as one written by somebody who hates the genre. Unless your review is deliberately aimed at one of those extremes. Neither provides a good view of what the game is like except for either a fan or a hater. A review written by a fan is every bit as bland as one written by a hater since there is no genuine insight from the point of view of objectivity. It's worth bearing in mind that most gamers aren't outright fans or outright haters of a game. So who writes the reviews for these people in FatTrucker's paradigm of biased reporting?

If everybody who buys RG is expected to already be familiar with the game under review then there is no point reviewing it. Merely state that the game is available and let the fans buy it and the haters shun it with everybody else inbetween making up their own mind.

If a review is not an indicator on whether to buy a game or not then what is it? Just somebody spouting their opinion for the sake of it? A review should be entertaining and interesting to read but anybody who thinks that's the sole purpose of its existence, or even the main purpose of its existence, has massively missed the point of why it's there. Usually a review is about purchasing, sometimes it's simply about whether you should waste your gaming time on something or not. Either way, the point of a review is to advise first and foremost.
Maybe on new IP, but this isn't new IP is it, its a remake of an old (pretty much globally recognised) game reviewed with the presumption that people are already familiar with that game. Like I said, if you liked it the first time then the review will be of interest on wether or not to buy it, if you didn't like it then a remake isn't going to fundamentally change your mind and make you want to buy it as its the same game, the review isn't aimed at you, you already know you don't like it.
The whole premise of Retrogamer is revisiting games and systems you've already played, to use your own example, what's the point of buying the mag at all in that case?.
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