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 2 of 2 < 1 2
Topic Options
#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: 10308
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
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 19754
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
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 19754
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
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 19754
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: 2419
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: 35275
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 2 of 2 < 1 2


Who's Online
Key: Admin Global Mod Mod Staff  )
9 registered (LadyLinda, Redz, Haroula, curly, monbron, CanukDenis, PolloDiablo, aretha, mbday630), 99 Guests and 14 Spiders online.
Newest Members
greacia, Jason_Encore, DeanandKate, RisinGoat, AppyLover
8504 Registered Users