GAMEBOOMERS provides you with all the latest PC adventure computer games information, forum, walkthroughs, reviews and news.
GB Reviews Latest & Upcoming Adventure Games GB Annual Game Lists GB Interviews

BAAGS

GB @ acebook

GB @ witter

About Us
Walkthroughs free games galore Independent Games World of Adventure Patches Game Publishers & Developers GameBoomers Store
Big Fish Games Homepage    
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#122378 - 04/23/03 05:54 PM Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
I just finished Ring II, and there is a sequence in it with a spiky wall. You have to walk a certain path (keyboard controls) and do a couple of jumps before the wall gets you. This took an embarassing amount of time to master. In fact, I was actually NEVER able to do it -- I finally got my husband to do it for me.

Today my seven-year-old did it on the 6th try. He did it with very little effort -- the first jump took just a bit of practice, after that it was easy for him. He seemed to scarcely even notice it.

I've seen something similar occur with more traditional puzzles, where some gamers find a puzzle insanely difficult and other gamers breeze right through it. Given this, I was wondering:

Is it possible to say anything at all about a game's difficulty? Would it be more accurate to try to define difficulty according to the type of gamer (keyboard experts or sliding tile lovers or trained musicians or those with fast reflexes or those who speak and understand several languages or those who program code or those who know how to take apart an engine).

Or should you just say that a game is easy or difficult for YOU, knowing that unless somebody knows you really well the information is virtually meaningless?

Top
#122379 - 04/23/03 07:49 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35459
Loc: southeast USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Becky:
In fact, I was actually NEVER able to do it -- I finally got my husband to do it for me.
How many tries did your husband take?

Quote:

Today my seven-year-old did it on the 6th try. He did it with very little effort -- the first jump took just a bit of practice, after that it was easy for him. He seemed to scarcely even notice it.
Kids often do better with reflex-oriented stuff, even if they're not gamers. So don't feel too bad.

Quote:

Is it possible to say anything at all about a game's difficulty? Would it be more accurate to try to define difficulty according to the type of gamer (keyboard experts or sliding tile lovers or trained musicians or those with fast reflexes or those who speak and understand several languages or those who program code or those who know how to take apart an engine).
You could mention that there are sliders or music puzzles. But I don't know of any game that requires a trained musician to solve a music puzzle - or any game that required you to know more than one language. Does Ring II require any of that?

If you weren't able to get past some of the action parts by yourself, you should certainly mention something about the difficulty. Was that kind of thing - difficult action sequences - the norm in the game?

If you're really not sure, let someone else play some of the game and give their opinion of the difficulty. Maybe your husband or son could play more of it and give their opinions.

Top
#122380 - 04/23/03 08:12 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
BillyBob Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 7858
Loc: North Florida
"The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer"..........BOY, does it ever! smile What about those of us who whiz through a hard puzzle and then can never do it again? I had that kind of "ability", or lack thereof, with those Bridge Puzzles in Schizm. laugh
_________________________
I didn't do it......and if I did I'm not guilty!

Top
#122381 - 04/24/03 02:42 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Kickaha Offline
GB Special Events Reporter
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 2434
Loc: Cambridge, England
From what I've read about "Ring 2" I'm not counting it as an Adventure game so it needing Mario style maneouvres isn't a surprise.

Reviews should cover puzzles out of the ordinary. Tone matching puzzles are difficult for some. On the musical line I think of the dreaded drums in "Egypt 2" or the spaceship music puzzle in "Myst". Not tone matching but I found a nightmare the orchestral conducting required in "Zork Nemesis".

I've been unable to finish some games (Sanitarium / Last Express as examples) because of action sequences at the end. Some reviews I've seen of "Last Express" don't even mention it has combat in it.

"Schizm" and "Riven" I would say are hard games for most people.

Regards, Peter.
_________________________
Used to answer to "Peter Smith", now answers to "Peter Rootham-Smith"

Top
#122382 - 04/24/03 04:02 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Betje Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 334
Loc: the Netherlands
Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Smith:
I've been unable to finish some games (Sanitarium / Last Express as examples) because of action sequences at the end. Some reviews I've seen of "Last Express" don't even mention it has combat in it.
The Last Express has a few combat scenes, but they can be skipped. Fortunately, I knew there was a cheat before I started playing the game, because I read it in one of the reviews. laugh But I most certainly agree that all reviews should ALWAYS mention action/arcade stuff in adventures.

Betje
_________________________
The beaded curtain slams shut behind you. There's no turning back now...

Top
#122383 - 04/24/03 05:25 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Kickaha Offline
GB Special Events Reporter
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 2434
Loc: Cambridge, England
No cheat worked in the version of "Last Express" I had.
_________________________
Used to answer to "Peter Smith", now answers to "Peter Rootham-Smith"

Top
#122384 - 04/24/03 10:38 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Witchen Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 22381
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
Me neither, Peter. I still have my copy, but I get depressed just thinking about trying to get past the combat in The Last Express. Technically, NOT an adventure and I surely agree that action requirements should be mentioned in a review!

Top
#122385 - 04/24/03 11:12 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
syd Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/12/99
Posts: 12306
Loc: Body in California/Heart in Ha...
I have to agree that it's nice to read if there are action requirements in a game and what type they are. As far as difficulity, I think that depends on the design of the game. Most action sequences are difficult for me so I generally get my 16 year old son to do them for me. I know it's a bad action design when he gets so fed up he quits in frustration - (can we say duck shoot in Simon 3D?????).

As to The Last Express - I've tried to get into that game a dozen times and just can't. It bothers me to no end that I can "miss" something because of the "real" time aspect. I know, I know, that was supposed to be the big selling point but it bugs me so much that I just don't like the game.
_________________________
Dark Side : Risen
Light Side:

I can only please one person a day. Today isn't your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either.

Top
#122386 - 04/24/03 02:02 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35459
Loc: southeast USA
Quote:
Originally posted by syd:
I have to agree that it's nice to read if there are action requirements in a game and what type they are. As far as difficulity, I think that depends on the design of the game. Most action sequences are difficult for me so I generally get my 16 year old son to do them for me. I know it's a bad action design when he gets so fed up he quits in frustration - (can we say duck shoot in Simon 3D?????).
My brother got that on the first try. Neither of us could believe it. We made preparations, like creating a cross hairs out of 2 strings taped across the computer screen. But still...
He's not an action gamer. He's an RPGer who plays turn-based RPG's. We really lucked out.

Quote:

As to The Last Express - I've tried to get into that game a dozen times and just can't. It bothers me to no end that I can "miss" something because of the "real" time aspect. I know, I know, that was supposed to be the big selling point but it bugs me so much that I just don't like the game.
I only tried it once. I felt the same way you did. I want to be able to see everything on one play-through (as long as I'm thorough) rather than have to worry about being in the right place at the right time. And you can't even save your game. You have to rewind. So you can't try playing from different save points after having witnessed different scenes.

Top
#122387 - 04/24/03 04:40 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Betje Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 334
Loc: the Netherlands
The cheat does work, but the timing is important, especially in the last fight on the roof of the train. Ironic really... there should be a cheat for the cheat.

And yes, you can play from different save points if you use more than one "egg-clock". There are six "eggs".
_________________________
The beaded curtain slams shut behind you. There's no turning back now...

Top
#122388 - 04/24/03 09:23 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
lasanidine Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 05/06/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: WA. USA
I agree that people find different things difficult in a game. For example older people with a little bit of arthritis will find timed puzzles harder to accomplish. People with impaired hearing will not do well with sound and music puzzles. Some people hate mazes and others will wilt at a tile puzzle or a little bit of math. Most people will solve the puzzles if they are logical after a little bit of thinking. I find that if a puzzle fits well into a story and is not made unusually hard to stretch the game it is not too hard for the players.

A reviewer should mention all aspects of the game regardless of what he/she personally experienced while playing. It is the hardest job to review and game that you really like because some of you objectivity flies out the window and other people wonder if are talking about the game they are playing.

Therefore I think it is a good idea to play a game more than once before one writes a review and recount all the pros and cons of the game regardless of how much other people like or dislike the game and examine all aspect of it without a bias.
_________________________
"I am not young enough to know everything."

Oscar Wilde

Top
#122389 - 04/25/03 01:58 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10312
I definitely think many preceived difficulties vary so widely between players.

There are some obvious ones - I mention in a review. Things like keyboard controls, mazes, time sequences, any true action bits, arcade sequences or if a puzzle was off because of the interface or design rather than the logic or lack there of. But it is impossible to anticipate every dislike.

The other thing that can occur is if I blew right through a particular plot turn or puzzle - it won't really stand out in my mind when I review the game. Plus you don't want to detail too much about the game challenges or you spoil the game a bit. Part of the surpirse is discovering those challenges yourself when you play it.

There have been a number of threads around the web recently on reviews, bias and such. With puzzles I do the same as I do when writing about the games other aspects. I try to be as specific as possible as to what I liked, disliked or tolerated and why. That way - the reader can decide if they see things that way and be able to add to their own take on any given game.

Laura
_________________________




Top
#122390 - 04/25/03 06:49 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Thanks for all this input -- I'm trying to lay aside the frustration factor and think more productively about the issue.

I just watched my son beat the spiky wall again, this time pausing mid-stream to casually make Siegfried resheath his sword, even as the wall rumbled ever nearer. I have decided that this challenge is partly psychological -- you blow it each time because you are trying to hurry to avoid the wall, and if you just relax and pretend you're playing hopscotch, whistle a bit as you go then it's a cinch. I think I'll go back in the game and use this new theory....

Jenny100 -- I'm not sure how many times my husband had to try to beat the spiky wall. I had to leave the room because I couldn't bear to watch. I can give you a time though -- a little under half an hour. And you know, I've spent a lot more than a half an hour on certain traditional puzzle challenges (the skeleton puzzle in Timelapse, for instance) so maybe the spiky wall isn't so bad. Maybe it just seems more frustrating because when the spiky wall gets Siegfried you go to the "you have died" sequence over and over.

As for a person's background helping with puzzles -- I think the keyboard puzzle in Myst was a lot easier for those who play the piano. I think the Church puzzle in Obsidian was easier for people who could understand programming. Any puzzle that involves turning the power back on would be easier for a person who has actually worked with power sources, don't you think? I would expect symbolic puzzles (like glyph puzzles, for instance) to be easier for a person who had studied different languages.

No, Ring II doesn't have any music challenges. And as for action sequences -- no, they aren't the bulk of the game. Ring II is pretty much a traditional adventure game,though it does use keyboard controls and it has a handful of action sequences. Only two of the action sequences were (to me) difficult. All of the other action sequences had a strategy that made them easier. I thought of them as movement puzzles. The spiky wall though just seemed to take lots of practice and very calm nerves. There probably IS a strategy but I haven't figured it out yet.

Crosshair strings taped to the computer monitor. I NEVER would have thought of that. Is this a common practice among action gamers?

Peter -- I agree with you that some games are widely recognized as being difficult or easy. Maybe it would make sense to compare difficulty levels to commonly played or recognized games.

My son is so taken with this game that he has been asking me to buy body paint so he can paint himself to look like Siegfried. While playing in the garden, when he thinks no one is looking he removes his shirt and poses with a plastic He-Man sword.

Top
#122391 - 04/25/03 07:16 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Quote:
A reviewer should mention all aspects of the game regardless of what he/she personally experienced while playing. It is the hardest job to review and game that you really like because some of you objectivity flies out the window and other people wonder if are talking about the game they are playing.

Therefore I think it is a good idea to play a game more than once before one writes a review and recount all the pros and cons of the game regardless of how much other people like or dislike the game and examine all aspect of it without a bias.
Lasanidine -- I agree with you that it is hard to be objective about a game you loved (and just as hard to be objective about a game you hated). Some possible influences -- most people tend to like games for which they already understand the conventions. I remember a review of a very well-known adventure game in which the reviewer gave up and went straight to playing from the walkthrough because he hadn't thought to close a door and look behind it. I mean, this is adventure-gamer "duh" territory. (Am I being too harsh?) So unless you crave novelty, I think it's harder to like a game that gives you a stiff learning curve before you even begin to progress.

Your impression of the sound and music in the game will be influenced by the quality of your speakers. Your impression of the graphics may be influenced by the quality of your video card. You may be unimpressed by brilliant dialogue if you don't like reading lots of text on a monitor. If you are an experienced gamer, your enjoyment of a game may be reduced by its lack of originality -- it may feel like just a retread of a previous game.

There are even environmentally subjective factors. Some games look better when played in the dark. Most games are more fun if you aren't distracted by work or children. Some games are more fun if you play them with a partner. Actually, almost any game is more fun with a partner.

Hmm.... Maybe reviewers should just give up and go home! I wish it were possible to be completely objective about a game. Maybe reviewers should just try to take steps to be somewhat more objective with each a review. You know, feel like progress in the objectivity arena is being made.

Playing a game twice is a great idea, especially if you let some time elapse in between. I find that my reviews are better if I forget about them for a month and then rewrite them. Unfortunately, this means that reviews will take a long time to finish!

Top
#122392 - 04/25/03 11:24 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35459
Loc: southeast USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Becky:

As for a person's background helping with puzzles -- I think the keyboard puzzle in Myst was a lot easier for those who play the piano.
The picture in the book in the library shows you which keys to press and in what order. It isn't necessary to know what the names of the keys are that you're pressing or to be able to read music. It does help to be able to match pitch and that seems to be where people have trouble.

Quote:

I think the Church puzzle in Obsidian was easier for people who could understand programming.
Or people who enjoy logic puzzles.

Quote:

Any puzzle that involves turning the power back on would be easier for a person who has actually worked with power sources, don't you think?
Well, we've all turned light switches on and off. Beyond that, restoring power in a game is sometimes done very differently from the way it would be done in real life.

Quote:

I would expect symbolic puzzles (like glyph puzzles, for instance) to be easier for a person who had studied different languages.
I think they might be easier for someone who can draw (and copy the symbols). Usually symbolic puzzles only involve matching symbols, not interpreting them. And some are just a substitution code - like a cryptogram.

The only game I've played where studying certain languages might have helped is Schizm - because some of the sounds you had to match were unfamiliar (at least to this English speaker). Familiar sounds are easier to transcribe into text so that they can be matched in another part of the game.

Quote:

Crosshair strings taped to the computer monitor. I NEVER would have thought of that. Is this a common practice among action gamers?
Not usually. But this particular puzzle in Simon 3D involves aiming your yoyo thingy at the ducks as they appear to knock them all down. So it makes sense to figure out the exact spot the yoyo hits on the screen so you can line it up with a duck.
There is at least one walkthrough for Simon 3D that recommends putting tape on your monitor so you know where to aim. But my brother wasn't about to put tape on his monitor, even though it was an old monitor that was cheap even when it was new.

Quote:

My son is so taken with this game that he has been asking me to buy body paint so he can paint himself to look like Siegfried. While playing in the garden, when he thinks no one is looking he removes his shirt and poses with a plastic He-Man sword.
ROTFL. It sure sounds like they are targeting younger gamers with this one.

Top
#122393 - 04/26/03 12:39 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10312
I was thinking about what Lasanadine said. I do think that the reviews I have written of games replayed have been more thorough then the ones where I am under a bit of a time crunch to get out as it is a new release.

That is the dilemma. Becky is right in that it would take a deal longer to get a review out. When you are doing it as an assignment - you have to get it done well - but also with an eye on the clock. There were only two new releases, that I had the time to replay all or most of them as I wrote the review. And if you have a review copy that you are playing, the publisher or developer isn't expecting that you write a glowing review (hoping is all) but they do want you to write up your impressions, however they happen to fall, pretty fast.

Perhaps it is a good idea to re-visit reviews after a time and add post scripts, where relevant, when the dust has settled and perhaps you have had the chance to re-visit the game.

Laura
_________________________




Top
#122394 - 04/26/03 12:51 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Singer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/04/01
Posts: 2521
Becky, I'm not sure why you'd want to create a purely objective review, because there's no such thing as a purely objective reader.

Most people reading reviews are going in with the question "Am I gonna like this??" It's a subjective question, and there's no way to address each and every diverse individual asking it, so just approach it personally. smile

I'd much rather read that Ring 2 has an action sequence that had you sticking pins into Arxel voodoo dolls while your kid was painting himself in the garden than have you tell me that 60% of a random focus group found the puzzle somewhere between "moderately and exceedingly difficult". At least if you personalize it you give me a point of reference, so I can then decide... "oh man, I sucked at PONG!" or "hey, I still HAVE my He-Man sword! I might LOVE this game!!"

Perhaps a less demented example than myself would have served my argument better, but you get my drift. No, you can't tell me if I'LL find a puzzle difficult, but you CAN tell me if you found it so. And if you breeze through a puzzle and don't think twice about its difficulty, then (no offense to you) it's not likely to be INSANELY difficult for many people.

I don't think playing a game through twice is helpful, either, unless you expect the reader to play it twice to get the same value out of it.

Don't get me wrong. Obviously a reviewer PLAYS games with a certain degree of objectivity, but I guess if there are two principles I follow when I write a review, they are A) know my audience, and B) speak for myself.

Jack
_________________________
Editor, Adventure Gamers

Top
#122395 - 04/26/03 08:22 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Quote:
The picture in the book in the library shows you which keys to press and in what order. It isn't necessary to know what the names of the keys are that you're pressing or to be able to read music. It does help to be able to match pitch and that seems to be where people have trouble.
Sigh. When I played this part in Myst, I thought: GGGREAAT!!! At last a chance in adulthood to actually use all those years of piano lessons! Now you tell me that all the puzzle really required was the ability to hum on pitch?

Quote:
Beyond that, restoring power in a game is sometimes done very differently from the way it would be done in real life.
Now that I think about it, you are absolutely correct. Though some elementary experiences with a fuse box probably would have helped me in Lighthouse.

Quote:
I think they might be easier for someone who can draw (and copy the symbols).
Again, you are right on the money. Had I realized that gaming was in my future I would have abandoned the piano and taken six years of drawing lessons instead.

Is Ring II aimed at a younger crowd? Well, no. You do follow Siegfried through part of his childhood, and this gives the game a "younger" feeling than Ring had. The sequences while Siegfried is a child were my favorite parts of the game -- they had a magical quality to them.

On the whole, though the graphics and the writing are definitely aimed at a more sophisticated crowd. My son likes the combat sequences (you don't actually engage in combat, though you do watch combat in cutscenes). He also likes any game that lets you run around while carrying a sword.

Quote:
Perhaps it is a good idea to re-visit reviews after a time and add post scripts, where relevant, when the dust has settled and perhaps you have had the chance to re-visit the game.

This is a very interesting idea. I don't think I've ever seen a review site do this. It would be unique.

Top
#122396 - 04/27/03 03:52 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Marian Offline
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 20581
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Jack,

I think the difficulty with many reviews (be they computer games, movies, or books) is that they are written in a vacuum on the part of the writer. One of the things that I appreciate in a review is when the writer makes references to other games that he/she personally enjoyed. This gives me a frame of reference by which I can then gauge my likely response to the game.

Just as an example, I have been taken in by game reviews in the past and ended up buying a game that was of no interest to me whatsoever after it had been lauded to the skies; the problem was that there was no indication that the reviewer thrived on incredibly obtuse puzzles that take days at a time to figure out; this would then have been a game that I would have avoided if I had but known this beforehand.

Becky,

Yes, I do think difficulty is an entirely subjective experience. I tend to have trouble with adventure games with a lot of mechanical puzzles, for example. My idea of a useful game review would be one in which the reviewer professes his or her dislikes and likes about a game up front, along with an admission of personal crotchets and prejudices, even; it would then give me a glimmer of an idea as to whether or not we were even on the same wavelength to begin with. So, in my opinion, the more personalized the review, the better. This is of far more importance to me than whether or not the review impresses me verbally. The game reviews that get my attention are the ones where the reviewer gives something of himself to the prospective player. Reviews need that human touch (where are you, Bruce Springsteen?) wave

Top
#122397 - 04/27/03 05:47 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Thanks Marian and Jack. From here on in I'll let my quirky, (even freakish) opinions shine through. Now if I could just get rid of all those parentheses.

BTW, I have officially BEATEN THE SPIKY WALL!!! Yes, all by myself. I confess that I cheated just a trifle and saved the game partway through the challenge. Still, I consider myself to now rank in the creme-da-la-creme of keyboard gamers. Look on me, all you point-and-clickers, and be afraid! Be very afraid.

Top
#122398 - 04/27/03 08:03 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Singer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/04/01
Posts: 2521
Becky, brackets are a quirky writer's friend. smile One of my favourite tools. Get rid of them?? eek eek
_________________________
Editor, Adventure Gamers

Top
#122399 - 04/27/03 08:13 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Marian Offline
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 20581
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Becky, Jack beat me to it (I don't think I could EVER get up early enough in the morning, metaphorically speaking, to change THAT thumbsup

Top
#122400 - 04/27/03 09:44 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
lasanidine Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 05/06/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: WA. USA
I think the review should let people know what they can expect form a game rather than what thrills they found themselves. It was the reviewer’s lot to tell people that if you played Schizm you would find yourself in a situation where you would be in if you went to an alien planet and had only your wits to guide you. That was really the most informative thing you could say about the game. Next to that you really cannot say much without giving away the plot. You can praise the graphics, the sound, the acting, the story and it will not mean much to a person who is lost in the alien ness of the game.
_________________________
"I am not young enough to know everything."

Oscar Wilde

Top
#122401 - 04/27/03 10:03 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Singer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/04/01
Posts: 2521
That's really the point, lasanidine. You CAN'T tell someone what they can expect from a game, and there IS no "definitive" word on any game. There are as many different opinions on games, and aspects of games, as there are people playing them, and it's really reviewer arrogance to think they can speak for anyone but themselves.

I'm sure there are a great many people who would disagree with your assessment of the most informative thing you could say about Schizm.

Jack
_________________________
Editor, Adventure Gamers

Top
#122402 - 04/27/03 10:45 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Marian Offline
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 20581
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Hello everyone. wave

I don't think the reviewer exists who can write a completely objective review; it simply is not possible. Even if the reviewer does not specifically state his/her preferences, they will invariably color his experience.

Let's say for the sake of argument that an exclusively action gamer has to review an adventure game (which is all too common now)--or vice versa--they will already be prejudiced at the outset. A philosopher once said about great books that if an a$$ looks into one, you cannot expect an apostle to look out. The same principle applies here in that everyone is going to bring with him a bias of some sort.

Therefore, all the reviewer can really do is describe what the experience was like for himself, taking the reader vicariously through it along with him. Without giving away highlights or specifics of plot that will ruin it for the player. wink

Top
#122403 - 04/27/03 11:38 PM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Matt Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 02/13/03
Posts: 37
Loc: U.S.A. Maryland
Do not feel bad anyone. I am playing GK3 and it took four months to get Mosely's wallet. You have no idea how elated I was when I did it!!

Matt

Top
#122404 - 04/28/03 01:41 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Advpuzlov Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 06/05/99
Posts: 2027
Loc: USA
I was all set to comment on BECKY's note, but when I dropped down the thread I saw that I would just be echoing JENNY100's reply. But also, I think that a bit of background in mathematics would help one deal with, e.g., base whatever problems such as are found in RAMA.

I have a little battery-operated piano keyboard which I pull out when I need to remember tunes. I can then write them out in musical notation and repeat them at will. That is sometimes very convenient.

I used to regularly use graph paper to draw out mazes, back in the days when it was either R, L, or straight ahead. Now that you can go off at various angles, it is much more difficult for me since my drawing powers are rudimentary, to say the least. As far as drawing is concerned, I am devoted to HyperSnap, which takes pics which can then be massaged to bring out faint writing and figures as well as allowing me to annotate them. I can then print them out and use them to aid in solving puzzles or avoid lengthy copying of documents, to say nothing of adding to the completeness of my game journals. I don't know what I would do without that most useful program. smile
_________________________
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle

Top
#122405 - 04/28/03 05:19 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Matt -- four months to get a wallet? You must be VERY patient. Compared to this the spiky wall seems like child's play.

Umm, it turns out there IS an alternate strategy to the spiky wall (she said sheepishly). I didn't discover it myself, and it is so obvious that I am feeling like an idiot. AAARRHHHGHH. The spiky wall still isn't easy, but it isn't as hard as I was making it either.

Spoiler
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
Instead of taking the long way down the path as the wall starts toward you, just jump across to where the path rewinds.
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
@
Advpuzlov -- wow, you are a professional! I've never used Hypersnap, but it does sound like a great aid to those (like me) who have no ability to draw. Maybe some ambitious entrepreneur will come along and create a website that sells Adventure Gamer aids -- miniature piano keyboards, 3D graph paper, monitor-sized string with the tape already attached.

Lansanidine -- I actually have Schizm on my list to review. I will remember what you said!

You bring up another point that is a problem for reviewers. That is, how to give a sense of the game without giving away too much of the plot or taking away some of the surprise the player wants to experience while exploring new worlds. Some readers don't want anything given away in a review, while others want to feel like they've been given a taste of the game before making a decision to buy. This tension is also difficult to resolve.

Top
#122406 - 04/28/03 09:16 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Kickaha Offline
GB Special Events Reporter
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 2434
Loc: Cambridge, England
I tend to avoid reading reviews for games I'm thinking of buying because they're in a series or have a writer I like or something along those lines. Reviews can be works of art in their own right - rhapsodies about people's favourite games. It's good to see people enthusing about a particular game, to know that gaming can still be fun.

Personally I'd love to see something less than a full-fledged review which would cover does a game have timed sequences, tone matching puzzles, arcade sequences, etc. That would be valuable info when considering whether to buy or not. Yet preserved would be that sense of discovery as you play a game which Becky so cogently mentioned in her previous post.

Regards, Peter.
_________________________
Used to answer to "Peter Smith", now answers to "Peter Rootham-Smith"

Top
#122407 - 04/28/03 11:20 AM Re: Is Difficulty Simply in the Eye of the Beholder?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35459
Loc: southeast USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Singer:
That's really the point, lasanidine. You CAN'T tell someone what [b]they can expect from a game, and there IS no "definitive" word on any game. There are as many different opinions on games, and aspects of games, as there are people playing them, and it's really reviewer arrogance to think they can speak for anyone but themselves.

I'm sure there are a great many people who would disagree with your assessment of the most informative thing you could say about Schizm.

Jack [/b]
I got a good idea of what Schizm was like by reading more than one review of it. I don't bother with reviews by people who don't like adventure games. But when reviewers who enjoy adventure games don't agree about a game, you get a better picture of what the game is like than any one reviewer could give you.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Who's Online
Key: Admin Global Mod Mod Staff  )
8 registered (kjos, Cathy1, scampy, Kaki's Sister, Haroula, Olga, RebKean, 1 invisible), 75 Guests and 17 Spiders online.
Newest Members
Adam_B, Polikolp, efmouse, arlenewilson32, ponycakes
8539 Registered Users