Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday afternoon tidbits

Rest well: It's Labor Day! We'll all miss summer, but there are a lot of games to look forward to this fall. To start your long weekend, here are some of the most interesting things I read this week.

-Game Boy "De-Makes": What if you ported today's biggest games onto the original Game Boy hardware? The results might look a little something like this. (Thanks, Jim.)

-You have to read Chris Dahlen's interview with Jonathan Blow in the A.V. Club. Blow is such a fascinating guy. I guess he rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but I think with Braid he's earned the benefit of the doubt. When I read interviews with him, I get the impression that he really has sat down and thought about everything he's talking about. And I think it bothers him that other people don't do the same.

(Also, I'm terrified as to who Blow was targeting with this quote: "By which I mean, there are lots of random blog posters on places like Gamespot or NeoGAF or whatever who show a clearer understanding of the game than people who are all, “I’m all about games, and narrative and meaning, and I write a blog just to tell you about how I analyze all these things.” Those people have the same hit rate as your general forum poster.")

-Speaking of interviews, you may remember that Mike Walbridge interviewed me awhile ago for a piece he was working on for GameSetWatch. At his personal blog, he's posted a longer entry about that interview and others. My suspicions have been confirmed: I am a boring conversationalist. That's why I write!

-Bill Harris wonders what's up with's review scores. I don't know why I thought they were one of the tougher graders out there -- maybe because they do such a good job with features -- but it turns out they're the most lax! I thought IGN had that honor. Also surprising is that Gamespot is the toughest reviewer of the biggest sites, particularly given Gerstmann-gate.

-Tom Chick lists the 10 most ridiculous lines of dialogue from Too Human. Although you could pick any 10 lines at random from the game and it would be equally silly.


Etelmik said...

Bah. I just did a bad job.

As for Blow, yeah, wow--he's a smart guy. If it weren't for me hearing him on Destructoid (he sounds different in person than he does when quoted) I'd think him a bit of an ass.

Either way, though, that quote really makes me cringe. What is he thinking? He could have made friends, wrote some posts in response, but instead he publicly wrings his hands in comments and interviews.

Anonymous said...

He definitely comes off as an arrogant jerk in the comments at this post at The Brainy Gamer.

Telling people to read lectures off your website from several years ago as a reponse to criticism... classy?

I don't own a 360, and am waiting for the PC version to come out (and I'm typing this post from a Mac). But why should I bother supporting this guy? After all, I'm just listening to the words of a bunch of know-nothing intellectual bloggers who are the ones telling me to play this game, nobody else really cares... but your understanding is worthless, right? With this kind of personality, I'm tempted to just not bother checking out if the emperor has no clothes...

Anonymous said...

Regarding Blow's comments, two things occur to me. The first is N'Gai Croal's piece at Edge: "Let Them Talk".

Having Blow vigorously discuss and argue about his game might be disconcerting, but it's also admirably forthright. It's a hell of a lot better than boilerplate, "I'm very pleased with how positively the game has been received" PR statements.

On the other hand, it's both haughty and ridiculous to talk about "hit rates" and criticize the critics for how well or poorly they understand the game. The creator of a work does not get to be the arbiter of what is "correct" to say about the work, and what is wrong. Nor does a creator enjoy a monopoly on understanding his own work.

Travis Megill said...

I have to admit I've been a little bit offended by some of the things he has said, but I can't say that I wouldn't react the same way if something I worked on was in the spotlight like Braid is. I don't that excuses the behavior, but it helps me to sift through and try to understand what he means instead of just reacting to the bits I don't like.

This is probably the reason most game developers tend to stay from direct communication after a game's release, but I appreciate his input, warts and all, because it puts a face behind the game.

I have to wonder, though, if you want the player to experience the game for itself, without any preconceptions, does building a reputation online hurt that possibility? I think that if I played through the game for the first time now, I would be looking at it in a different way, even if I tried not to.

Anonymous said...

I too surprised to see Blow's way of tking things. his quotes are showing his way of charactor.anyways everybody has thier behaviour. nice post. i admire your reading. you really spend time on reading. keep it up