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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-03-24 11:38:07
Game reviews have gotten out of hand. Publications like IGN.com use a 100 point scale which lose their meaning - what's the difference between a 7.9 and 8.1? Is that bigger than the difference between an 8.1 and an 8.3? It somehow seems so. 1UP used to employ a 20 point scale (1-10 in .5 increments), and they grew frustrated because nobody seemed to understand their grading system. They'd use the entire scale, giving average games a 5, but most of the industry revolves around a 7 being average. I understand their perspective (how much shittier is a 3 than a 5?), but it was pretty stupid to not expect flak for bringing confusion to the table. They must've seen the beauty and elegance of Direman Press game reviews and come to their senses, although they still employ pluses and minuses. I considered that myself, but thought that the difference between, say, a C+ and a B- was splitting hairs and not really useful.
Game reviews are becoming increasingly problematic. It was one thing when all they did was inform consumers, but they have become an integral cog in the development/publishing/marketing machinery. Aggregate sites like Metacritic and Game Rankings have fundamentally altered the playing field. Developers receive bonus incentives for reaching certain "metascores", which isn't a terrible idea, as long as they're true bonuses and not simply avoiding pay cuts. Worse is that PR and marketing branches are mandated to get games a minimum metascore, regardless of whether they suck or not. They must employ every deceptive measure at their disposal to achieve these goals, from bribery to cajoling. They can withhold review copies from publications they suspect will give lower scores, forcing them to pick up a retail copy, thus delaying the review. They can pull advertising dollars from uncooperative websites and magazines. These tactics are simply not good for the consumer, and will harm any publisher who employs them in the long run.
I based my game reviews on the type of "Ranks" that Japanese games give you upon completion of levels (like Ace Combat or Devil May Cry. They keep it simple and immediately comprehensible, without half-grade modifiers, and a "Shoopah" awesome S Rank for true greatness. Direman Press epitomizes "indie-ness", and we'll have to be careful if our reviews ever get tabulated into those aggregate sites. I promise you that we'll always endeavor to maintain our objectivity and snarkiness, and share our undiluted perspectives with our readership. Fight the power!
David Vargas: (dave-deleteme[at]-deleteme-squishycomics [dot] com) 2008-03-24 12:03:02
Direman Action News, In HD
Long time fans of The Adventures of Dave the Direman will note that I finally got around to changing the look of the Dave the Dire-Anchorman bit. I realized that I've recently been spending a lot of time drawing both the Direman and Squishy strips so they'll look as spiffy as possible. I feel really frayed when I'm done drawing a strip but I'm hoping that, like every new creation process change I make, this gets easier and takes up less time to do the more I keep at it.
Anyway, enjoy the strip.
P.S. After reading Dee's post, I have to say that the ranking system he uses does kick ass due to how easy it is to read. As for "snarkiness", if by "we" he means "he", then yeah, I agree ;).
P.P.S. ===CONTRA 4 (DS)===
I'll leave the actual review to Dee, but this artist's preliminary review of Contra 4 for the DS is an A. It's not an S rank game because it doesn't do anything "new" or "landmark". It's not a B rank game because I don't see any flaws in design, controls, visuals, or sound. It is an A rank game because what it does it does right, which is to say that it brings classic Contra run and gun gameplay along with classic Contra pleasurable pain. It is a hard game, like the classic Contra and other games of that era were, but hard in a good way. If you die, it's YOUR fault. The more you play, the more you learn how to move, sharpening your twitch skills so you can handle whatever comes your way.
If you consider yourself a gamer that seeking a challenge, and you like classic 2D run and gun action, then I highly recommend Contra 4. I'm betting that I had the NES era gamers at "Classic Contra run and gun gameplay".
XBox Live Gamer Tag: Late Customer
Call of Duty 4 (360)
Contra 4 (DS)