What makes a product worthwhile? And how can you judge a product based on consumer feedback? notjones and I were discussing this and came to an impasse. We come to you, dear readers to settle this.
To set the scene:
notjones has been working on a puzzle game concept for the last few days, this lead him into researching more on game design and game developers, which eventually led to this conversation.
We start the conversation by looking at game designer and programmer Jonathan Blow and his popular puzzle game "The Witness". Blow defended his game from criticism by saying that the critics did not fully grasp the meaning behind his game and what it was trying to accomplish.
If a game has to be "understood", if it has "meaning" - then it's inherently bad and worthless, that the best games are purely mechanical with no filler. If a game has narrative then it's bad.
He then brings up Dark Souls games as an example. The narrative of the games being purely filler, and that behind that it's an uninteresting game. He claims that games should be mechanically interesting and unique, claims that if Dark Souls games didn't have narrative/art, it would not be near as popular as a purely mechanical game like Tetris or Chess.
And then he finishes with this: If a game requires more than a few sentences to review, it's purely fluff and fake.
He compares game critiques to mathematical proofs, and how shorter proofs are regarded superior and so should shorter reviews. If people can make hour long videos to describe the game, then it's all filler and not worth the time.
In his perspective, you shouldn't try to make narrative or art in games because it has been, and I quote "solved 2000 years ago by the Bible" [sic.]
While I agree that narrative and "deeper meaning" is filler in the vast majority of games and is appealing to lower denominations, I had to point out that the vast majority of consumers do not actually value it over mechanics, and it does not affect the popularity or the appeal of these games as much as notjones purports. Dark souls games are popular because of their mechanical merit more than anything, it stands out. The cream rises to the top. He disagreed on this, I told him we actually actually agree on this point, but he said that he "agrees more".
One also cannot judge the quality of something based on how people are "reviewing" it - as you can't apply mathematical and scientific principles on all matters of life. People will make absurdly long reviews and critiques about anything that's new and has more substance than moving blocks and chess.
notjones claimed that a review is a description of the game, and that long reviews are long because of the games' filler content, but I countered that by telling him that a review is an evaluation of quality and comparison of a product compared to other products of the same type. He lashed out and thought that I didn't know the definition of the word. Unfortunately for him the word "review" is defined as follows:
A review is an evaluation of a publication, product, service, or company or a critical take on current affairs in literature, politics or culture. In addition to a critical evaluation, the review's author may assign the work a rating to indicate its relative merit.
After lashing out and calling me "an animal", he said that he was done with Teamspeak and disconnected.
What do YOU think? Who won the argument? Vote in the poll below.
Thanks for reading, and we're looking forward to hearing your opinions.