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Congratulations to Andrew Barker! RPGfan Editor of the Year and now Chief News Editor!
341029 Posts in 13938 Topics by 2222 Members
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16  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs and the horrible path they follow on: November 11, 2014, 12:31:37 PM
There is an expression I like a lot. It goes like this.

If you meet one a-hole, hey tough luck, you probably just met an a-hole.
If everybody you meet is an a-hole, you are probably the a-hole.

I am not saying you are an a-hole, I am merely suggesting that perhaps you are pursuing the wrong course for fun if your number of negative experiences outweighs your positive experiences. The ol' adage that "insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results", if you will.

Definitely put me in the camp that if you can't enjoy gaming right now, this is probably not the entertainment medium for you - there is more selection and more tastes catered to than EVER before in its history.

Also put me in the camp of enjoying being married, but fully aware it is not for everyone (my wife is a family law attorney for crying out loud, so you get the stark reminders daily that it might not be the best idea all the time).
17  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Halloween on: November 03, 2014, 10:43:06 AM
Was a very slow candy crowd for Halloween - only had 60+ trick or treaters, we usually have twice that by 7 PM. We ended up with over 100 full size candy bars left over. I ended up giving my Little Bro about half of the leftover candy so he could take it to school with him and be a hero (I'm sure the teachers will really appreciate the sugared up kids, whoops). What was fun was this was the first year he helped hand out the candy.
18  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Halloween on: October 30, 2014, 03:14:06 PM
Will be going as Ralph from Wreck It Ralph. I'll be dressed up tomorrow for the handing out of candy and then will wear the costume to my friend's party afterwards. Halloween is one of my favorites right behind New Year's Eve.
19  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: Reviews are sometimes inaccurate on: October 30, 2014, 10:36:55 AM
For my part I'm always up for a chat about things we could maybe do better, so I have no problem whatsoever with your posts or suggestions.

As for extra credit - we do Game of the Year awards annually: http://www.rpgfan.com/features/index_goty.html

We also do a "Reader's Choice" (Ni no Kuni won last year) and we post the results of the voting. One of our favorite parts of the annual awards as well is it gives all the editors a chance to talk about THEIR favorite games - we agree as a group (often with much consternation) on category winners, but then each of us gets our own post to talk about our personal favorites. It's a nice illustration of how the staff has diverse tastes and we certainly don't always agree.
20  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: Reviews are sometimes inaccurate on: October 29, 2014, 09:46:46 AM
So, just to farther illustrate that as reviewers/staff members we all have different approaches and don't always agree, let me chime back in here.

To glassjawsh's comment - I'd say the number is BY FAR the thing I spend the most time agonizing over. Obviously in terms of time spent, no, since it takes longer to play the game and write about it, but my approach is typically to write the review with the score in mind, look back at what I wrote, and think about adjusting my scores. Part of the process of reviewing a game vs. simply playing it is you are FORCED, by nature of the process itself, to really examine aspects of the game that you might not otherwise examine or that you might simply shrug off as not important to the experience. But when you are forced to provide a score and you know that people might be making PURCHASING decisions, sometimes with limited resources - well I take that very seriously.

The biggest trouble I have with scores is that a score can only capture how you feel about a game at that specific moment in time, and that score gets captured by all kinds of aggregation engines (like Metacritic) and that becomes "your opinion" on the game. Obviously we appreciate our readers here and believe they are a cut above the average video game player and we try to write detailed reviews respecting that - but a large number of people will only ever interact with RPGFan through sites like Metacritic. And that can be frustrating.

What's also frustrating about a score is that quite often I look back and think, in hindsight, a game had more/less staying power than I thought it did and should have been adjusted up/down accordingly. For example, take my respective scores for Torchlight 2 (91%) and Ni no Kuni (95%), two games I just loved.

Now, I REALLY DID agonize over that 4 percent difference. In hindsight, Ni no Kuni for me was still an Editor's Choice caliber game, but Torchlight 2 is the game I've sunk far more hours into and still play on a regular basis. For me Torchlight 2 probably scores higher if I'm scoring on my personal scale!

But then, factor in that you're trying to predict whether the readership of the site IN GENERAL will like one game or the other more. I suspect that my burning love for Torchlight 2 might be a corner case and Ni no Kuni may have the broader appeal. I just don't know. You start to see right away how this task can cause a person to lose hair.

EDIT: Another thing about Ni no Kuni is I stand behind my comment in my review about this being as close to the Platonic form of the JRPG as we've gotten in many years - even if I am more likely to fire up Torchlight 2.

Now, on the topic of comments - we've debated quite a bit about this as well. I come down on the belief that we've got a really cool community on the site that resides in the forums, and if you want to talk about a game you can do it there and I kind of like it that way. We are, again, a volunteer staff, and even with our powers combined I don't think we'd be able to spend the energy necessary to keep comment sections on review pages constructive and civil - many sites have entire staff for that. HOWEVER, I do agree with Damacon that there are often some really good points that come out of comment sections on reviews at other sites. So I'm willing to be persuaded on this point. But I'd say the biggest reason we don't have comment sections has to do with the resources/time it would require to keep them reasonably under control, whereas we still get great conversation about the games we all like in the forums, facebook, etc anyway.

Hopefully this all explains a little bit behind my thought process anyway - I don't speak for the other staff members. :-)

EDIT: Here are links to the reviews if you'd like to see what I mean or provide critique on my scoring, but hopefully I've done at least a decent job illustrating a few of the troubles with scores.

http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/Ni_no_Kuni_Wrath_of_the_White_Witch/index2.html
http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/Torchlight_II/index.html
21  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: Reviews are sometimes inaccurate on: October 28, 2014, 05:47:27 PM
Couple things on the way we do grades, because grading systems are something we debate endlessly among the staff.

1) The reviews represent the opinion of the person who reviewed the game, not necessarily the site on the whole. In fact, when there are big disagreements about a game, sometimes we do more than one review (and every once in a while just because). This is obviously terrible for systems like Metacritic that give a single score on behalf of the site. In the case of the two games you're describing, 2 different reviewers did those. That probably feels like a cop out - but since we are entirely staffed by volunteers, it is simply impossible for us to all review every game - our goal as a site is to at least provide SOME coverage of any RPG that comes out, from the perspective of folks who really like RPGs in general, but if you asked different reviewers to provide scores for certain games you'd get wildly different scores.

2) Overall score is NOT an average of all the other scores. An example is this review (I wrote) of To The Moon: http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/To_The_Moon/index.html
In this example I gave scores in the 70s to everything (70 on our scale means it was pretty okay) except Story and Sound, but my overall score was 90%. Overall is not an average, it's a more general impression.

There has often been debate about whether we even WANT to continue providing scores for things like reviews, and I think most reviewers would agree that the scoring is one of the LEAST favorite parts of the job. I'd be interested to hear what you guys think of it. But we're just like you - each of us has different opinions and we certainly don't always agree with each other.
22  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs and the horrible path they follow on: October 10, 2014, 04:23:33 PM
From my perspective, more tastes are catered to now than ever before when it comes to gaming. It's pretty great.
23  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Converting to PC - Need Guidance on: August 06, 2014, 10:24:11 AM
I do all my gaming on Macs without any issue. I use Boot Camp for that purpose of course.

You can certainly get a better gaming machine more cheaply than a Mac though if that's what you're looking to do - but if you still want the design tools you've grown accustomed to in OSX, you can have both. I'm just trying to figure out if there is a reason Boot Camp wouldn't work for you.
24  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread on: July 29, 2014, 11:34:37 AM
Joss is overrated, agreed. But he is also still good. Both things can be accurate. :-)
25  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Converting to PC - Need Guidance on: July 28, 2014, 07:48:57 AM
Is there a specific objection to Boot Camp?
26  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Naughty Dog's The Last of Us on: July 17, 2014, 06:13:56 AM
It is a brilliant, infuriating game that I will never ever play again.
27  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Divinity: Original Sin on: July 11, 2014, 09:15:30 AM
I am basically sitting at work trying to concentrate and find I'm thinking specifically about this game. That hasn't happened in a good long while. Coming off the back of E3 and a whole bunch of bad game buys the last several months this thing has been like an oasis.
28  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Divinity: Original Sin on: July 10, 2014, 09:17:22 PM
I will never ever understand the notion of too much choice/ ability to make bad builds as a negative. Just does not compute.

Edit: I also realize this is an old debate

"I wanna do everything at once by don't have a million hours in the day" sums it up for me at least...

I don't mind building myself into a corner if the combat is fun.  And combat is crazy fun in this game.

Time is a factor only if I consider playing the game a chore, especially these days with time being so limited...
29  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Divinity: Original Sin on: July 10, 2014, 09:08:15 PM
I will never ever understand the notion of too much choice/ ability to make bad builds as a negative. Just does not compute.

Edit: I also realize this is an old debate
30  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Divinity: Original Sin on: July 10, 2014, 04:26:03 PM
Also moving barrels and stuff around to create awesome tactics/enemy funnels is absolutely glorious.
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