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Swainy
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I thought so, yeah, and you're not going to like this, but after the initial "OMG! I AM TEH BRISTOW!!!" rush of playing Alias, I now think it's actually really really boring and annoying, and haven't bothered finishing it. Story schmory - if it's a game you should be spending more time playing it than watching the cutscenes, so those bits have to be pretty good.

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Mark - we're not arguing over that point, so clearly our wires are crossed somewhere along the line, bceause of COURSE reviews are subjective! All reviews aren't equal or other such rubbish.

but to find out if we are or not - here's a simple question:

say, for example, someone had to review Enter the Matrix and they thought it was rubbish. Would they

a/ say so, or

b/ give it a good high score anyway because, hey, it's not all bad, and the audience will like it because they liked the films.

Can we make it "Film License A" instead of Enter the Matrix?

Presuming we can, it would depend on why it was rubbish. If it was badly made, yes it would get a cussing. If it was well made but the reviewer found it dull then it wouldn't get such a cussing.

The license would effect the score, I dare say. Real player names add something to Fifa. That's why people want them in PES. Big name film licenses work the same way and can definitely improve a game. They don't always, but they can.

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I thought so, yeah, and you're not going to like this, but after the initial "OMG! I AM TEH BRISTOW!!!" rush of playing Alias, I now think it's actually really really boring and annoying, and haven't bothered finishing it.  Story schmory - if it's a game you should be spending more time playing it than watching the cutscenes, so those bits have to be pretty good.

I don't hate you Bear, I'm just very disappointed. :(

Nah, not really, it is a bit crappy, but strangely I quite enjoyed it. Which is what I bet a lot of people who played ETM (say a Sun reader) might think.

So saying it's got bad bits, but if you can look past them you'll like it, is a good way to get across to your audience that you warned them the game was bad, but they might not mind that much.

I think...

Bah! I don't know.

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The license would effect the score, I dare say. Real player names add something to Fifa. That's why people want them in PES. Big name film licenses work the same way and can definitely improve a game. They don't always, but they can.

You mean that how the license affects the game would effect the score, right? I'm pretty sure that player names is a pretty unfair example. They add authenticity to a recreation of the sport. To a lesser extent, so do the licensed cars in a driving game, although the use of damage can sometimes make them less authentic.

On the other hand, do film/T.V licenses operate like that? What most licensed games seem, to me, to be doing is restricting the license to operate within the bounds of a traditional gaming genre. Obviously the license can add a lot of atmosphere to the game, but how do you accurately review film license X for the fans of the film?

I've just realised this post isn't going where I thought it was going.

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People want to be Mario more than they do Popeye. Hence Mario Kart> Popeye Kart.

If you have two equally bad games, the one with the license will get a higher score because there is still a thrill to be got from playing as your favorite character.

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I'm not talking about the quality of the game, the stuff that can be measured in some empirical way, I'm talking about the nebulous, subjective stuff.

Most, if not all magazines are buyer's guides, so when you recommend a game, you have to be pretty sure that you are making the right recommendation for your readers. That means recommending things they won't have considered sometimes, but it also means understanding where games fit into their lives and what they want out of games. Changing language, tone etc to fit an audience is a given but when it comes to saying "should you spend your money on this thing?" you have to take into account what your audience's needs and desires are. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and irresponsible with their money.

It's not roleplaying either. A magazine aims itself at a particular market, who actually reads it is a different matter. You pitch your content at your target and let the punter's decide how to interpret it.

That's how I see it anyway. If a game's well designed and well made, I say so. If it's fun, I might not. Fun is subjective.

See, I think Breaksmith's hit the nail on the head there.

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Going back to an earlier point, isn't it more realistic to say that reviewers don't tend to alter their critique based on their target audience, they pick where they work based on their target audience? For example, Cacky wouldn't want to work for the Sun, and the sun wouldn't want to employ him?

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That's how I see it anyway. If a game's well designed and well made, I say so. If it's fun, I might not. Fun is subjective.

It is subjective, but some games are obviously better than others. I would rather recommend a well crafted game over a shoddy one.

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If you think about it, an opinion alone is pretty much worth nothing to any given individual anyway (except for a reasonably high statistical probability that they'll agree with it). There's nothing to say they will/won't definitely agree with it/you. It's the way you justify your stance and the information you pass along with your opinions that will make the reader decide whether or not they'll agree with you and whether or not they consider your points relevant to them and their enjoyment. So in that respect, does it really matter what score/opinion/underlying verdict you give? As long as it's suitably justified, it shouldn't make any difference.

But then again, some people do just like to be told what to think, regardless of justification, so perhpas attempting to cater for that is a solution.

It depends on your viewpoint - are you trying to write reviews and give scores that the majority of your readers will agree with or are trying to simply be honest and hope they can infer from your justification whether to base a purchase on your opinion or not? Presumably, if you do the former, it doesn't exclude the latter anyway, so in that respect I guess there's no disadvantage to doing that.

It just seems to come across a little bit patronising; you have to second-guess your audience and generalise them for the sake of statistical averages. It almost seems like one step away from giving a high score on the basis of "fans will like it"... Well no shit, Sherlock, if they didn't like it they wouldn't be fans! :(

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People want to be Mario more than they do Popeye. Hence Mario Kart> Popeye Kart.

If you have two equally bad games, the one with the license will get a higher score because there is still a thrill to be got from playing as your favorite character.

I wouldn't do that, personally.

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I wouldn't do that, personally.

You may think character and scenario don't play an important role in game enjoyment, but I propse they do. For instance, the Rogue Leader games were just broken, frustrating space combat games who's enjoyment was lifted immeasurably by the use of the StarWars licence.

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Because that wouldn't be one of my criteria for marking up or down, regardless of my target audience.

Well you wouldn't make a very good reviewer then.

This is probably why there are so few hardcore gamers working on videogame magazines.

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You may think character and scenario don't play an important role in game enjoyment or not, but  I propse they do. For instance, the Rogue Leader games were just broken, frustrating space combat games who's enjoyment was lifted immeasurably by the use of the StarWars licence.

I don't think it was the license that lifted the enjoyment, but rather the spectacle of it all.

I'm not exactly a huge Star Wars fan, but I appreciated the spectacle and whizz-bang of the games anyway... I don't think that's really anything to do with the license, though.

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Why not?

And Laine, they were PINK. You don't like being called a babe now?

Bloody women...

LILAC you colourblind fool.

I'm having a slow day, up very late reading the new Jackie Collins.

Maybe I should have said "So, are you agreeing with me then?"

Oh, and call me a babe as much as you want! I like it.

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Why not?

Because you'd spend the first 10 pages of the review forgiving the flaws, stating how they are necessary and the remainder of the magazine bimbling on in enourmous pedantic detail about why its a good thing you can't invert the vertical axis.

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Thinking aobut it, Licences ARE probably a *special* case anyway, and going away a bit from the point that I was poorly making in the first place, because good or bad, they already HAVE a potential audience. Plus, I'm quite enjoying x files, despite the fact it's essentially a rebadged resident evil 2. :(

It's just that I would hate to think that if it was released in this country,something like Katamari Damacy, would be considered too 'left field' for review in the more mainstream specialist press because they *know* their audience won't like that kind of thing. Or maybe I'm just second guessing people.

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You may think character and scenario don't play an important role in game enjoyment, but I propse they do. For instance, the Rogue Leader games were just broken, frustrating space combat games who's enjoyment was lifted immeasurably by the use of the StarWars licence.

For, like, 10 minutes. Then you got so frustrated because they were just so damn broken that you sold it for £14 on eBay and swore never again. :(

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It's just that I would hate to think that if it was released in this country,something like Katamari Damacy, would be considered too 'left field' for review in the more mainstream specialist press because they *know* their audience won't like that kind of thing. Or maybe I'm just second guessing people.

I hope you are. If it gets a western release, it will get coverage.

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This bit would worry me a little.

Alright; to reiterate (and hopefully clarify a little bit).

I would certainly consider changing use of language and avoid mentioning certain factual details that I wouldn't consider applicable if I thought no-one reading it would understand what the hell I was talking about, but I would not use that to change my overall opinion.

For example, if I was writing for a Nintendo magazine/website, and I was comparing two virtually identical (and hypothetical) kart racing games (one with a Mario license, and one without), I would mention the fact that one contained Mario characters and settings and that it might please fans of the franchise more than the non-licensed game, but I would not let it make me raise the score.

It's the difference between knowing your readers standards and emulating them yourself.

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