|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Jeff Vogel - Why We Need Video Game Critics

Default Jeff Vogel - Why We Need Video Game Critics

November 21st, 2013, 13:14
Jeff Vogel has a new post on his blog about game crtitics, and why we need them.

We've reached the point where video games have a huge place in our culture, and yet most of them are … well, I want to say "terrible," but that's not true. Look at the top of the sales charts, and you'll see a lot of Product. Competently made, bland Product with good production values and a lack of thoughtfulness or creativity or interest in exploring what these odd electronic contraptions can do.

Video games have gotten big faster than they've gotten good. We have fantastic tools at our disposal, but, apart from a few remarkable works (The Last of Us, for example), they aren't being used at anywhere near their potential. I think this is why video games need more and better critics.

Not reviewers. Reviewers are necessary, but we don't need more people to say, "Yeah, Grand Theft Auto V is deeply flawed, but it has lots of polygons and it doesn't crap itself and I don't want to get death threats. 9/10." We have plenty of that.

I was recently in a discussion with some indies where someone commented that too much discussion of the game business was about business, not about the craft of making better games. I agree with this totally. If you want to write games, anything that helps you to make a better game is better for your business.
More information.

"It's quite simple my word is the law around here, and failure to comply means termination."

RPGWatch News Editor & Moderator
Couchpotato is offline

Couchpotato

Couchpotato's Avatar
Evil Potato Overlord
RPGWatch Team

#1

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Potato Land
Posts: 10,693

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 13:14
Can't agree more on his thoughts.

But there is something here:
I know, some people don't care. They don't want more understanding of what they watch/read/play. I really don't understand this, but it's there. If you don't care, I can't make you care. But if you do care, these discussions are how you learn.
Yes you can make people care. Start spitting on DLC, season passes, milkschemes, pay2win falsely advertised and similar crap that needs to be criticized per daily basis. If I managed to persuade friends not to buy a typical milkfraud Bioshock Infinite, you, as a sort of celebrity, can persuade masses on the internet to stop supporting the ongoing decadence.

Toka Koka
joxer is offline

joxer

joxer's Avatar
The Smoker
RPGWatch Donor

#2

Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,430

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 13:15
Does this mean I'm needed?
DArtagnan is offline

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#3

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 15,258

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 14:39
Sometimes I don't care. Does this mean I'm inferior?
Thaurin is offline

Thaurin

SasqWatch

#4

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,447

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 14:42
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Sometimes I don't care. Does this mean I'm inferior?
I don't think you're inferior for that reason, no
DArtagnan is offline

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#5

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 15,258

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 17:07
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I don't think you're inferior for that reason, no
Is it my love of cut-scene-littered JRPGs with overacted angsty teen-children with messed up relationship problems?
Thaurin is offline

Thaurin

SasqWatch

#6

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,447

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 17:11
I listen to word of mouth more than any critics, tbh. What my friends think of a game counts hugely on me spending cash on it, for the most part. Listening to people your own age counts for much in purchasing computer games, I've found out.
Carnifex is offline

Carnifex

SasqWatch

#7

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, CA
Posts: 1,880

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 20:17
I listen to a few select friends whom I know and trust their tastes in computer games. Then there is also this site and it's forum members which guide me a lot in what games to play. Of course then there is also the research I do on my own. I'd say that critics only factor in about 1% of the process of how I buy computer games.
Lemonhead is offline

Lemonhead

Lemonhead's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#8

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: The Great White North
Posts: 676

Default 

November 21st, 2013, 20:31
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Is it my love of cut-scene-littered JRPGs with overacted angsty teen-children with messed up relationship problems?
Basically, you're just not me - and there you have it
DArtagnan is offline

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#9

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 15,258

Default 

November 22nd, 2013, 00:12
This little snippet had me thinking back to the one person I can recall who I would ever consider to be a true critic, and as fortune would have it, her forte was RPGs. I'm talking, of course, about Scorpia, back in the old Computer Gaming World magazine.

I was a big fan. Her writing was good, she had several ground rules that I always appreciated (foremost among them was to play a game all the way through before writing a review), and she was consistently relentless in calling out RPGs that relied on lazy tropes like FedEx quests and killing the Foozle.
Fantasm is offline

Fantasm

Watchdog

#10

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 215

Default 

November 22nd, 2013, 00:23
The one question I have though, is WHY does Vogel not follow his own advice and make something NEW and Exciting which utilises all that modern technology has to offer?!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#11

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,620
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

November 22nd, 2013, 00:36
While I respect his opinions and ideals, I don't think he can always live up to them because of his own constraints.
Thrasher is offline

Thrasher

Thrasher's Avatar
Wheeee!
RPGWatch Donor

#12

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Studio City, CA
Posts: 10,333

Default 

November 22nd, 2013, 00:37
Ah, do as I SAY, not as I DO!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#13

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,620
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

November 22nd, 2013, 00:53
Yeah, I think he likes to keep his business small, low cost / low overhead, and low risk above all else. This of course runs contrary to always upgrading and using the latest (and more expensive and risky) technology.
Thrasher is offline

Thrasher

Thrasher's Avatar
Wheeee!
RPGWatch Donor

#14

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Studio City, CA
Posts: 10,333

Default 

November 22nd, 2013, 13:55
He stayed stuck in the middle of the road.

Gaming turned cultural. It follows that many customers buy games for different reasons than the game's quality.
Some buy to do like their group, some buy to get a conduit to stories, some buy to pass time, some other buy to rule and conquer their little own private game world realm etc

None of them are interested in the gameplay. As long as the product they buy gives them a sense of belonging, remind them of bed time stories, allows them in a power trip, is a cheap time sink, they are satisfied by the product.

They need no critic because they do not come to gaming to play games but for other reasons. What use would be a review revealing that a gaemplay is broken when the product is bought to sink time in it?

The question is about business: how to keep designers who are interested in developping a game with a proper gameplay attached to it.
It is not granted with initiatives like crowdfunding and Steam Early Access.

Game developpers want to stay in business or even make a lot of money of their venture.
Crowdfunding and early access make all the other potential customer targets more appealing as they can be satisfied with minimum effort. The concept selling machine works well for them.
All it takes to make a proper time sink is to fill an engine with enough content to last ten hours and sell the game $20. $2 per hour of time sinking is cheap enough. No big deal these days.

Sooner or later, game developpers, those who are interested in gameplay, are going to be torn apart between hard projects (those that might fail because gameplay is broken) or easy money (time sink, tell stories, power trip, social group token etc)

Critics on gameplay are unneeded because they do not criticize what might appeal to so many potential customers. All these customrers do not care to know if the game is good, if the game mechanics are broken.

What is required is a way to keep game developpers dedicated to provide gameplay, to make games, in business.
And with crowdfunding initiatives, Steam early access, it is not granted.
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#15

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,221
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Jeff Vogel - Why We Need Video Game Critics
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 05:37.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch