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Vol. 2, Issue 11
February 8, 2000

Thinking Outside the Box:

Reviewing the Reviewers

by Paul Steed



reetings. I bet you’re hitting that refresh key right now because there’s no way this edition of Thinking Outside The Box is a new one. Well for that I have to apologize. You see the absence of updates had been mainly to do with the fact I’ve been pretty busy working on Quake III Arena. Now that it’s been wrapped up I’m on to our next project. For me it’s pretty light work so I’m freed up to start doing regular TOTB columns again. Thus workload is one reason I haven’t updated. The other is just plain disgust.

click to enlarge!

Steed. The man, the myth, the photoshop filter. (60k)

Yep. I said disgust. I’ve been at id now for almost three and a half years. During that time I’ve ridden the roller coaster as I’ve been acclimated to this phenomena called the Internet and virtual community of the Quake-related fan base. At first I dove into the fray like I always do with a smile, a roar, pecs flexed arms stretched wide as I flung myself into battle. I hacked and slashed my way through the dreaded .Plan Wars, bludgeoned my way past the Crackwhore Skirmish and survived the wrath of the rabid horde of Angry Mongol Mod Makers. But alas my extroverted, straightforward, confrontational attitude proved too much for the mainly conservative leadership on the net and my voice at id was squelched. No more Plans for You, Keyser Soze!

Not a problem. Enter loonygames. Let’s do some thinking outside the box for awhile shall we? Editorials and tutorials seemed to work better for those panty-bunchers and people seemed to breath easier knowing that Steed was on a leash (wait...has he cussed yet?). Alas, work caught up with me and I had to suspend and eventually stop updating TOTB. Silence allowed me to remain free of distractions. Then I made the mistake of reading a few message boards. Uh...yeah. We all know how I feel about that. Now I avoid the forums unless I’m led there by the nose to enlighten the unenlightened. Fine, no problem. Disgust didn’t form even then. I now realize the people living on the message boards are simply harmless entertainers who hopefully aren’t reading up on how to make mail bombs or hoarding weapons in their parent’s basement.

Nope. Disgust settled in when I started reading reviews of Q3A. Disgust settled in when in a thunderous smack in the face moment of revelation I realized just how spoiled certain people have become in the community. Now don’t even think I’m going to name names or name sites. It’s not that I don’t have the testicular fortitude, I just don’t have the time to do the research and mention everyone whose opinion I value less than the telemarketer who called me this morning. Maybe one day I will make that list and offend everyone equally. It’s just not worth it, though.

Suffice to say I’m happy so many people decided that another game that came out the same time as Q3A kicked major boo-tay in the gameplay department (read: Congratulations UT). That game’s unsurprising popularity isn’t what filled me with revulsion. It’s the point that I realized NO ONE could be pleased. NO ONE. Think about it. I used to make art with DPaint on a 386.25 and watched the transition from games being on eight floppy disks go to one CD. Those were the days that some people predicted we’d not get past 55 MHz for at least another year...a 486.55 that is. Back then people were easy to please. No hardware acceleration. Sprites were still representing people, aircraft and starcraft. Now today there exists a huge range of sophistication from hardware to software preferences and opinions.

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 2000 Paul Steed. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, bitch.