Outside the Box:
Reviewing the Reviewers
2, Issue 11
February 8, 2000
your average game reviewer. What kind of system do they have?
What kind of knowledge do they have? What kind of experience do
they have? Do they represent the average consumer of ANY game
sold today? Hell, no. They dont. Let me let you reviewers
in on a little secret...you are not normal. You do not represent
any form of normalcy. You are the freak of the freaks. You are
the hardcore. You are the person who (possibly) gets paid to play
games and vomit your opinion of them to the far reaches of the
cyberspace universe. Dont get me wrong. It takes one to
know one. I am anything but normal. Just ask my therapist.
the testing of Q3A I continually shook my head at the seemingly
endless parade of web pimps and crack players who came in to play
test. Dont get me wrong, these are guys I generally think
are cool, intelligent, talented and fortunate people. But does
their opinion really matter when they represent the creme de la
crème? The elite of the elite? These are the people that
care only about one thing: stomping your face into the ground
under the heel of their mighty mouse. They want to hear your lamentations
as you become a red stain in the corner of q3dm1. They are the
subset of the subset. Their opinion should be heard, notes taken
and applied to those parts of the game that rate in an official
want some real feedback? Go to the mall, grab a wide variety of
people running a gamut of age, race and social station, offer
them twenty bucks and a free t-shirt, have them come over to the
big black monolith, set them down in front of a windows background
with a couple icons to click on and tell them to play our damn
game. Then maybe questions like what do I do first,
why do the menus look like this? Why do I have
to type things in at the console thing? And, just
what the heck is a tilde? Could maybe have some impact on
the games development.
are like this as well. They are yet another sub-strata of the
elite gaming bourgeois. When cranking out those well thought,
well written, completely meaningless, steaming piles of...excrement
who exactly do game reviewers represent? The generally computer
illiterate public who doesnt know a motherboard from a skateboard?
I say thee a resounding NAY! They usually represent that sleek
9 percent of people out there who have the knowledge and desire
to tear apart their computer, put it back together again, analyze
the Quake source code, spec out a mod or two, play capture-the-rocket-flag-arena
and then go have lunch.
yeah I am exaggerating and yeah I know many reviews are articulate,
well-written valid examples of criticism...and theyre welcome.
But come on. You know as well as I do too often making a review
is more about making the reviewer famous and the site popular
than making an accurate, useful observation on the product being
reviewed. Most reviewers cant see the forest for the trees.
In fact, many are firmly face-planted into a mass of BARK. Have
some sense of relative comparison guys. Look at things objectively
instead of whatever the flavor of the week sways your opinion
towards. Games are commercial vehicles to make businesses and
individuals money. Get it? Understand the commercial part?
Q3A has its weak points. You dont think we as developers
know that? But nothing is perfect and the game wasnt rushed.
We were sick of working on it and spent five months longer on
it than we did on Q2. Still, we are very happy with what
we accomplished. We took a one sentence game description and turned
it into a pretty damn fun experience...for a normal person who
likes playing computer games. However, as Plebian as you think
the game was dumbed down, at its heart this game was made to make
the community happy. If you think about it, how many other games
are out there that are essentially a game development toolbox
with the quality level of Q3A?
Disgust has prevented me from updating TOTB and I apologize. I
felt the need to just stay away from my web browser period, ruminate
over the source of my irritation and annoyance, form a suitable
body of commentary and jump back on that horse. But venting my
views on this subject has been very therapeutic as I knew it would
and I feel immensely better. But...
to be clear that I dont hate reviewers, I dont hate
mod makers and I most definitely dont hate our esteemed
you feel the need to send me the flames, keep your arguments to
the point at hand and youll get a lucid (yet appropriately
reciprocal) reply: I think most reviewers lack perspective and
objectivity when reviewing games. That is the statement I am making
when your hopefully post-pubescent mind boils all the chaff away,
not that Im unhappy because Q3A was outflanked by
anything...because it wasnt.
for listening and next update will be the first part of a very
long tutorial on creating, animating and putting your own character
into Q3A. Chin up, beer glasses full, bro.
Paul Steed is a 3D artist for for id Software.