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Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Rydog » Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

We're gonna start doing occasional game reviews, in a two-man format that will look very familiar to those of you who followed my work at GameSpy. Our first review -- courtesy of writers Eric Neigher and David Wolinsky -- is of the Black Mesa fan mod that Valve published by way of Steam Greenlight. Give it a read; I'm very interested in hearing your feedback!
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby darfox8 » Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

I read it because it was pretty short. Unless it's written by someone I know or about a game I'm really interested in I probably wouldn't read it. But I like the idea of more content on Geekbox so I look forward to more.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby TokingMonkey » Sep 24th, 2012 @ 6:33pm

Very nice. I personally prefer the impromptu style of a two man review. It's more of an informal conversation between two peers then an analytical breakdown of a game. Looking forward to more!
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby dakazu » Sep 24th, 2012 @ 10:53pm

I dunno... Ever since gaming podcasts have become the norm I feel like I don't even bother with written reviews because I'd rather listen to these kind of informal discussions.

I do like that the score at the end was a joke.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby kenzo » Sep 25th, 2012 @ 1:18am

I don't want to sound like an asshole, but I did not like this review. To be quite frank, it sucked. Two big issues that honestly feel insurmountable with this kind of review:

1.) The written language is different from the language we use in conversation: This review achieves its goal of sounding conversational. But I hate that - it's horribly awkward to read. Maybe I'm just an old fart stuck in a young man's body? And as dakazu points out, this is the kind of content that feels more at home on a podcast.

2.) Nothing remotely interesting was said during this review, never mind anything remotely interesting regarding the game itself: The bulk of this review wasn't spent addressing Black Mesa, or what to expect from the game, or addressing any technical aspects. The review mostly danced around the subject matter and talked about issues surrounding the game like the nature of remakes or the effects of nostalgia. And it's actually rather disconcerting that I can very easily break down everything said in a paragraph into a single sentence (or even sentence fragment) - it says to me that nothing of substance is being said here. The break down:

Pimp Daddy: "Half-Life feels old... what do you think?"

Master Chief: "I don't understand fan-made remakes."

Pimp Daddy: *Some metaphor about Barack Obama's belly-button lint in space???*

Master Chief: "People are nostalgic. The game was 'fine'."

Pimp Daddy: "Yep." *I don't even know what this joke was about*


I feel like if that's the way you're going, you might as well just make the review into a rage-comic.

Image

Again, I don't want to sound like an ass. More content on the website is great, and obviously this is still a work in progress. Some suggestions:

- This sounds like an email chain sent back and forth. If you're going that route (or paraphrasing an IRL conversation) - spend some time beforehand comparing notes of talking points and attempting to form a rough structure of what you want to have said, and then maybe work on the review as a sort of collaboration rather than just an ad hoc conversation. This review sounded lost, like the two people weren't on the same page and didn't know what each other wanted to talk about. So instead of facilitating each other in a good conversational flow, it sounded like that fact hamstrung each other into talking about nothing important. I know that part of the purpose of this style of review is probably for the sake of ease and this suggestion defeats that, but hey - nothing worth doing is easy, right?

- Jokes are great, but don't try so hard. People read game reviews because they want to know someone's opinion on a game first and foremost, not because they want to laugh. Laughing is a nice thing on the side that might make your review stand out, but these jokes didn't really seem natural or fit into the conversation - they were horribly awkward and pertained to absolutely nothing. The jokes here did nothing except make an already short review even more void of substance. Good jokes facilitate an argument - they help emphasize something you're trying to demonstrate; they aren't there for the pure sake of teh lulz. For example the Plinkett Reviews - all the best jokes are simply Mr. Plinkett explaining/demonstrating something retarded about the movie he's watching, not some nonsense about a random sculpture of Obama made from navel-gunk.

- Put a better lampshade on the ending. The end of the conversation/review ends fairly abruptly (just as the game itself is finally being addressed) and more time is spent making a joke rather than closing out the argument. Let me highlight this a little more:

Color code:
WORDS OF SUBSTANCE
POINTLESS WORDS
Pimp Daddy wrote:Yeah, I’m with you. It’s nothing earth-shattering (or even earth slight-crack-in-the-paint-jobbing), but it serves its purpose: keeping us connected to our gaming past, and maybe, just maybe bringing in some youngsters to the games we loved without having to lock them in a room with an old 486 PC and lying to them about communism actually still working as a viable economic system somewhere in the world.


Also, that tone (saying the game was good and served its purpose) seems in contrast with the message of the previous bits that was questioning the purpose of the game and generally sounding critical. You know, consistent tone issues and what not.

Maybe this style just isn't for me, and this review was awesome. And far be it for me, a total rube, to tell people how to do their jobs (which I know is always obnoxious). But that's just my thoughts on it.

Edit:
Spoiler: show
TL;DR Kenzo is crabby and overly critical about something on the internet.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby manta173 » Sep 28th, 2012 @ 3:15am

Format was ok, but Kenzo is a little right... Didn't seem to be a "review" to me so much as a conversation. The podcast is for conversation... it just works better. I like more content on the site and I wil probably read it. But I think in this case we need to focus on what a reiview is about... is it worth the readers time and money? That wasn't answered in this review. I don't mind the back and forth... but I want to know about the game.

Maybe due to the nature of Black Mesa this was a bad first review. Most of us PC gamers already know about it to some extent and so there is a lot of assumed background knowledge. This left the reviewers open to comment on a different level than in a game that no one has played yet. This gives us just a general conversation instead of a game reiview.

TL;DR I like more content but this wasn't what I would call a review. I need to know is it worth my time and money.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Mr_eX » Sep 28th, 2012 @ 6:15am

I agree with kezno and Manta. I don't mind the format but the review seems to lack substance.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Candle » Sep 28th, 2012 @ 6:49am

I also agree with Kenzo.

This review felt convoluted. It felt like Max and Scott talking to each other on the Comedy Button.

Pimp Daddy. Masterchief. This review is only missing a black background and lime green text. (Why even put those screen names in the review?)

David Wolinsky, Master Chief: I am not making the comparison at all, but the phrase “Duke Nukem Forever” entered my mind a few times as I played Black Mesa. I don’t want to fall into a debate about whether fan-made projects themselves merit existing; let’s just zero in on Black Mesa itself. The fact is, the creators spent years remaking it in Valve’s Source engine, and it should stand on its own. So: Does it?

wut

Eric: It might be hard for me to make a life-size sculpture of Barack Obama out of belly-button lint and then launch it into space to declare his supremacy as the one and only master of America, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to fund the project. I know, because I applied for grants. It’s a very complex process, really, and I feel I deserved the money more than the guy who wanted to invent steaks made of chicken… but, hey, to each his own.

David: Humans love repetition, and — as a collective culture — we have a tough time with just letting stuff go. We’re terrified of death and don’t even want to discuss it openly at funerals, wakes, or brisses (brie?).

Eric: Yeah, I’m with you. It’s nothing earth-shattering (or even earth slight-crack-in-the-paint-jobbing), but it serves its purpose: keeping us connected to our gaming past, and maybe, just maybe bringing in some youngsters to the games we loved without having to lock them in a room with an old 486 PC and lying to them about communism actually still working as a viable economic system somewhere in the world.


A lot of the review felt pretentious. It honestly sounds like these guys only played the 20 minute intro scene (doesn't help that the screenshots are from the official site, not from their experience). No talks of the revamped music. No mention of game breaking bugs like elevator doors not opening. No discussions about the puzzles or enemies in HD. NPCs feel like vacant robots? Welcome to video games.

Really shallow, seemingly rushed review. Feels like a pop culture tabloid article. I would prefer if the Geekbox crew would just talk about playing games and not turn into catty shits when you discuss things like Guild Wars, World of Warcraft MOP. We have to suffer through the Doctor Who garbage so why can't we get 2 hour podcasts with discussions about Guild Wars 2 and MOP, games that people may want your professional advice to buy and play?

Instead, the Geekbox culture turned into "eeeeehhhh bleehhh this is just riveting *heavy, headache-inducing huffs of exasperation into the mic*". Been a fan since CGW magazine, 1up podcasts. Really enjoy all your material, but it feels the Geekbox has gotten less positive and less encouraging.

I give this Geekbox review "1 par for the course in gaming journalism" out of 10
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby flufflogic » Sep 28th, 2012 @ 9:47am

Reminded me of this.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Candle » Sep 28th, 2012 @ 4:26pm

flufflogic wrote:Reminded me of this.


That's a damn fucking shame of an article.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Rodney » Oct 7th, 2012 @ 10:10am

My thoughts echo Kenzo, Manta and Candle on this review. I wouldn't mind seeing a different approach on the next one, though it should be said that I would like to see a next one.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Konanda » Oct 14th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

Posting the writers' names and than their internet handles or w/e is dumb and in a completely unnecessary way instead of a funny way.

Also this really does not read like a review. It didn't inform me about what the product is, why I should try it or not and only gave a vague sense of what the two reviewers think of the product, which is to say they were fairly ambivalent to it. Instead it has a bunch of extraneous pseudo-philosophy about videogames and society, rhetorical questions and half-assed attempts at humour, which makes for dull reading.

The whole review just leaves me feeling confused and bored. I look forward to seeing a future article or review but I hope it's an improvement over this one.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Mr_eX » Oct 14th, 2012 @ 10:07pm

I'm curious which first person shooters they have played that would make them say Dishonored is a "generic first-person shooter"
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Candle » Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:10am

This week's amateur article is brought to you by:

IS CUSTOMIZATION REALLY HELPING CONSOLE GAMES?!?!

http://www.1up.com/do/my1Up?publicUserId=5638731

by savagegypsyloverpimpdaddyericneigher

At least Wolinsky doesn't seem to come off like pretentious stink breath:

OK, I know — I was supposed to talk about how the game is “honorable.” That would require a discussion of what it means to be honorable, which is a big deal and more than you or I or this little review can handle.

You can tweak the graphics for much more than mere brightness: field of view range, anti-aliasing, and even whether or not the rats should have shadows, are all highly customizable. You can easily remap the controls, and with a few tweaks to .ini files, you can delve even deeper. I appreciate developer Arkane Studios giving PC gamers more than a crappy barebones port, unlike many of its competitors.


It still sounds like college freshman trying to get by on a fifteen page paper:

Here is a bunch of fluff that is neither here nor there and I suppose there could be some brevity but what's the point of that? My wit is in my ever expansive knowledge of pop-culture references! By the way, did you recognize that 80's reference I made in my last review? Poop!

Anyways I look at this article and see that if I had made more of an effort and had the connections, I too could be writing for a company with piss standards.

Excelsior!
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby SnakeDude4Life » Oct 16th, 2012 @ 6:19am

Could use more pictures
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Mr_eX » Oct 18th, 2012 @ 11:02am

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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby Mr_eX » Oct 19th, 2012 @ 6:18pm

Generic FPS
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby slinkdickens » Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:08am

Nah dog. That wasn't good.

Tbh, I think you might abandon game reviews altogether. What are you going to add that isn't already out there? I'd rather see you use your resources on adding something to the gaming community that isn't overdone. Like, a twitch feed of you guys playing a game as you talk about your impressions (a.k.a. a Giantbomb Quick Look).

IMO, things to avoid like the plague because they're already done to death elsewhere:
    News
    Text reviews or formal video reviews
    Previews
    Posting game trailers
    Top x Lists

Of course, if you have a really fresh perspective on one of those, go for it. Like your top games of past years you've been doing on the podcast. It's tied to an endearing OCD quality about its author, couple with random backstories of what was going on that year.
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby kenzo » Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

slinkdickens wrote:I'd rather see you use your resources on adding something to the gaming community that isn't overdone. Like, a twitch feed of you guys playing a game as you talk about your impressions (a.k.a. a Giantbomb Quick Look).
But... that's like all Twitch is. It's incredibly overdone, just not necessarily by "professionals."
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Re: Geekbox Game Reviews (feedback appreciated!)

Postby harrypowers » Aug 19th, 2013 @ 10:05pm

I like seeing novel writing getting a chance to be widely read and receive feed back.
I also like familiar structure in a review. Writing in a familiar structure allows readers to act as their own editor and more easily scan the document for pertinent information. People like brevity.
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