Actually, It’s Okay To Complain

By Jim Rossignol on September 9th, 2011 at 12:37 pm.

You are the one in the middle. And that's okay.
I’d been meaning to write a reply to Ben Kuchera’s “In gaming, everything is amazing, but no one is happy” all week, and I’ve finally had enough tea and enough of a break to think about what he said. Go and have a read of it, please, and then come back. I’ll be here, typing away. Read it? So you can probably see why it didn’t sit quite right with me. Yes, games are pretty amazing, and yes we complain a lot. And the implication of Ben’s piece is that… we probably shouldn’t complain? That things are much better than we imagine? That we are too fussy? You know, in this age of fear and fundamentalism, when the media does little to promote satisfaction or optimism, it’s hard to disagree with anyone who says that we should just take a look at what we do have. It is pretty amazing.

The flipside is, well, it could always be better. If people didn’t strive for better then we wouldn’t have all that amazing stuff in the first place. And the first step in striving for better is often the complaint. “This isn’t good enough. Something has to change.” And that is why gamers complain: they are smart, imaginative people, who can quite easily imagine how things could be better. Whether those imaginings are right (or even feasible) is another matter, but no one should say that they are unacceptable.

When we started RPS it was our mission to focus on how splendid the multitudinous things of gaming could be, especially in the realms of my beloved PC gaming. This meant that we, as a hivemind, were going to act as advocates for the platform. We were going to point out that the PC needed its own blog, away from the noise of the Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft circus, and something that took as much delight in big triple-A shooters as it did in scrappy ASCII abominations. What is amazing about the PC is democracy and diversity, anyone can do pretty much whatever they like with the platform, as long as it works within the occasionally constraints of Windows. The problem with this is that people are free to do things badly, or exploitatively, or even rudely. This means that we have to even more vigilant, and even more careful, when we look at what PC gamers are actually getting for their money. More often than not the bigger companies look at the control – and it is so often about control, rather than money or anything else – that the console platforms have, and seek to emulate it on the PC. That has become a key battleground for us, as has shoddy porting, and anything else that is to the detriment of our platform. We are advocates, therefore we must exult the good, and warn against the bad. It’s the only fair way for us to work. To say “games are amazing” is totally true, and we do say that, but when things are less than amazing, we say that too.

And internet commenters? The Angry Internet men? Yes, the same is true for them. They are advocates for a platform or a game, often, but moreover they are advocates for themselves. People want life to cater to their happiness, and they are right to fight for it, even if that fighting is little more than noise shouted into more noise in the noisiest environment ever created. If there are no turn-based RPGs of the old school, it should be your right to argue that there should be. Hell, someone might even listen.

The net result of all this is that that RPS is, and will always be, a champion for ease of use, for polish, for complexity, for innovation and cleverness. And it will always be a bit of a complainy site, because you know what? Sometimes complaining works.

Mr Kuchera’s specific examples of the things people complain about couldn’t have been less appropriate. The bosses are dreadful in Deus Ex, and there’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t decry bad game design. We are gamers. We play games. We talk about games. Should we skip over the bad bits? Are you sure? Because it is best to pretend nothing is wrong? Suppress that dissatisfaction and face the world with a smile? “No, really, everything’s fine.”

Worse, if racism or other prejudices come tumbling out of games, however piecemeal or fragmentary or unintended, we are absolutely entitled to challenge them, too. As for “I wanted Battlefield 3 on Steam” versus “Steam is horrible DRM” being contradictory, well, I suspect those arguments are being made by different people.

Sorry Ben, but actually I think it’s our job, as exciting internet professionals, to complain. Also, it’s absolutely the right of consumers to demand that what they pay for actually be amazing, and not a piece of crap.

Everything is amazing, and sometimes people are happy. That’s how it will always be. And we should probably make the most of it, and then strive to make it better.

[As a footnote to all this, I'd like to point that while you are welcome to complain about things in the RPS comments, actual insults are another matter. Be civil, or be deleted.]

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266 Comments »

  1. Teddy Leach says:

    My tea tasted funny this morning and it WAS NOT GOOD.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I have sent a strongly worded letter to Yorkshire Tea.

    • tossrStu says:

      I made a cup of Yorkshire Gold at work yesterday and the bag was SPLIT, sending bits of loose tea floating all around my brew. I threw the entire box out in disgust for in my eyes they were TAINTED TEABAGS.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      Having you tried patching your teapot to version 1.12a? I found that this Brewfix solved a lot of my issues.

    • RevStu says:

      MY tea was fine, therefore you must be an idiot for complaining.

    • BarneyL says:

      I object to team manufaturers forcing me to use tea in locked bags. I also believe they are deliberately witholding some of their tea so that they can force me to buy it again at a later date.
      Until I can buy loose leaf Yourkshire tea on my own terms I intend to steal it as a protest.

    • Cyberpope says:

      pffff, you scrubs

      Real tea enthusiasts like me prefer twinings everyday. you can check out some of my speedbrew videos on youtube to see how a real pro does it

    • tossrStu says:

      Come to think of it, I think I did read that there are issues with TRM if your kettle doesn’t have a constant internet connection. Presumably your kettle is always online? I don’t see why I should have to make do with a substandard cuppa just because I want to use a travel kettle.

    • royaltyinexile says:

      TRM is bullshit. How am I supposed to brew Darjeeling III when I’m on the train?

      Do these tea developers think all our our kettles have always-on access to wifi on the go?

    • _PixelNinja says:

      I don’t know what you guys are complaining about. My kettle works perfectly in offline mode.

    • JackShandy says:

      Just do what I do and find a torrent.

      If you’re careful not to get carried away by the current you can just dip your head in and drink as much as you want.

    • Birky says:

      I denouce you all as monsters as your Tea was not Fair Trade (and even if it was you didn’t say it was so clearly don’t care about such things).

      Clearly you are sub-human and depraved beings blind to an imperialist culture of greed.

      BAN THIS SICK TEA FILTH

    • JFS says:

      You know, the problem is you’re all victims to Yorkshire’s ad campaigns. They’re spending all their money on those instead of on quality leaves. I have totally turned away from the major tea companies, you know, there is this organic, underground tea firm called Teacraft, and it’s just so much better.

    • pepper says:

      I still have to get the tea, any recommendations for hardware it will brew on?

    • Tams80 says:

      I assume you’re talking about those Indie tea companies? While I do find their tea interesting, it is often more expensive and I find myself going back to the likes of Yorkshire Tea.

      I would never use Typhoo though. Their TRM has scolded me badly.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Consider this my formal request for a new blog; Bag, Creamer, Teapot

    • tossrStu says:

      @pepper: Don’t worry, most kettles bought in the last few years should be able to handle all current types of tea. It’s a side-effect of the coffetards’ drink of choice holding back the current state-of-the-art but at least us tea drinkers no longer have to buy a new kettle very 6-12 months like we used to back in the day.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Between this and the current b3ta compo, it sure is boiled-leaf-runoff-appreciation week.

      I miss the brews of yesteryear, before everything was dumbed-down to appease coffee drinkers.

      (Blast it, tossrStu beat me by mere seconds.)

    • Magnetude says:

      No steam? Not interested.

    • Njordsk says:

      You should have bought the SOLID EXTRA TEA BAG for only £0.99 more, your fault.

    • JFS says:

      I’m still wondering why Teazardry hasn’t shown up yet to tell us how our tea isn’t even real tea (like they had back in ’87).

    • 3lbFlax says:

      “It is bitter tea that involves you so.”

      And Lo as the voice had predicted, the tea was bitter.

    • AmateurScience says:

      My tea is augmented…

    • Evil Otto says:

      Using teabags? Tsssh. I use tea which isn’t constricted to those petty paper monstrosities. It is really quite a lot better. You shoudn’t all be supporting this type of control the tea manufacturers are trying to impose on you. The freedom is what made the err… tea such an interesting platform anyway.

    • Dr I am a Doctor says:

      I hacked my teapots so I could homebrew, is that morally justified?

    • Bob says:

      I suppose someone is gonna say beverages have been dumbed down just coz I’m drinking coffee.

    • Srethron says:

      Oh yes, your tea service sounds wonderful now, but just wait until someone pushes it into Boston Harbor. (I’m writing this from the bottom of the harbor in a time capsule from 1773.) Not only is my tea now too heavy and unnecessarily salty… worse the stuff is most diluted. This is the half not made off with by an otter, mind you. Yorkshire can do better. They certainly never warned me how hard drinking tea underwater is.

    • jonfitt says:

      Tea! Pah!
      I am more interested to constantly argue over whether Coffee 3, or Call of Coffee: Modern Coffee 3 is marginally better.

    • imirk says:

      I’m a bigger fan of the Coffee and Conversation Genre, Eagerly awaiting Coffee Effect 3

    • Vandelay says:

      Tea is too linear and requires no interaction besides brewing. If only we could talk to the tea bags, tea making would be respected as the art form it could be.

    • The Army of None says:

      Valid discussions about the concerns of the gentleman on the go like this are why I visit Rock, Paper, Tea dot com.

    • westyfield says:

      I get my tea from an independent shop called Gillards. You probably haven’t heard of it, because you’re so mainstream.
      Acteavision has you in their pocket, and you don’t even know it.

    • The Colonel says:

      Why is it that all the companies making mainstream (ie. not ‘erbal or fruit) tea now feel that they have to use the same stupid manufacturing mechanics as each other, even though they all produce the EXACT SAME tea drinking experience!? It just waters down the whole market.

    • Dozer says:

      Every now and then I prepare tea on the Thermos portable device but the experience is so far below that achieved with a proper desktop kettle/teapot combination. Granted I can take it with me and keep it in my backpack, and the flexibility is nice, but the controls are awkward and I can only drink happily for the first five minutes before the whole thing becomes a stale, oxidised, lukewarm mess.

    • lith says:

      Teabags suck because they’re not multiplayer! Who uses single player tea anymore?

      Anyway, mainstream tea is old. Everyone knows indie tea is where it’s at. I just had a lovely indie Earl Grey. It’s still in alpha at the moment, but any day now they’re gonna drop the beta and move from old lawn clippings and put real tea leaves in there, and everyone says the 0.1.2.1 version has actual citrus flavour instead of the kerosene used in 0.1.2.0.

    • Bart Stewart says:

      Perhaps we who prefer to choose for ourselves how to brew our tea should form something like, oh, I don’t know, a Tea Party….

    • Dougal McFrugal says:

      Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

      Rock. Paper. Shotgun.

      Finest brew in the land.

    • Ruffian says:

      Well said. though that louis ck clip was awesome. I agree complaints are often the catalyst for change, though they needn’t be nasty. I also have to say that I had no problem with the boss fights in DXHR, I thought they broke up the monotony of fighting the same augmented dudes over and over again in the last half of the game well enough, although the continuity thing with the death sequences was a little odd. you’d figure with the lethal and nonlethal achievements they would’ve included a couple different scenes dependent on how you fought. And also I mean are you guys seriously telling me that you didn’t want to find those f**ks and kit there asses from hengsha to panchea after the intro sequence? not even a little bit? I concede that they could’ve done something better than just trapping you in a room with them until someone died, though, that was rather un-Exy.
      Again – Well said. (just been waiting to say that bout DX lol)

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      Have you tried the sugar & milk DLTs? They’re £1.99 each and add a whole new flavour to your tea drinking experience. Of course, you had better make sure your friends all buy it too, or you won’t be able to drink together…

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      And here I was thinking it was okay to just drink my Tea while it’s hot and good, leave it if it’s gone cold and call it a day at that. I suppose that passivity just makes me part of the problem, right?

    • GBoyzJay says:

      Feh, I prefer Coffee over Tea. After all, with Tea, you’re constantly having to pay for upgrades to your Kettle, whereas with Coffee, I buy one Kettle, and it does all my Coffee until the new Kettle comes out, and even then, it’s cheaper than upgrading the Tea-Kettle to buy a new Coffee-Kettle.

      Although, to be fair, we Coffee drinkers have to go to ebay to get our Coffee cheaper than retail, whereas you guys have much more choice in how you get your Tea… oh, and you can still drink older Tea with your new Kettle, whereas that isn’t always the case with a Coffee-Kettle…

      …Actually, after thinking about that, maybe Tea is better. Also my head hurts. As a Coffee drinker, I don’t tend to think much.

      (Also, better rallying cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxtRGEVsSOc&ob=av3e )

    • nofing says:

      Well, even if you prefer coffee to tea, you will still need a Tea-Kettle, even if you don’t use it for making tea. Granted, you might not need to upgrade it or buy a new one that often. Additionally, while the Coffee-Kettles are cheaper than the Tea-Kettles, the tea bags are cheaper than the coffee, so in the end you might even pay more than tea drinkers.

    • GBoyzJay says:

      Of course, one of the problems is that Tea and Coffee drinkers don’t really get along. Tea drinkers often have a go at Coffee drinkers for being unsophisticated, yelling, adrenaline fuelled idiots (Okay, some are, but remember Shadow of the CoffeCup? Darn fine art game… and, of course, we appreciate the twist in CoffeeShock just as much as you do!)

      And many coffee drinkers, unfortunately, fulfill this stereotype, yelling things like “TEA DRINKING NOOBS, U CAN’T EVEN HOLD THE TOGGLE DOWN RIGHT, TROLOLOL!”.

      To be fair though, Tea drinkers have their bad mannered individuals too, and just as many, if not more elitists as Coffee fans. I mean, yes, Tea is good, but is it necessarily superior? No, it’s just different.

      Btw, thanks for pointing the cost thing out, it might well cause me to drink more Tea. Could you recommend any small, cheap bags to start me off?

      (OOC: God, I love this thread!)

  2. poop II says:

    I’m glad somebody said this, theres this atmosphere in most game sites where if you aren’t keen on a game you are some kind of entitled, rose coloured glasses-wearing baby and it can make reading them unbearable.

    This is also, I think, one of the reasons Deus Ex HR turned out so well, instead of just banning and ignoring criticism or worse, pulling a david gaider and patronising the shit out of critics like some kind of promoted fanboy, they actually listened to what people had to say and the game turned out better for it.

    • Symitri says:

      While this is true, Kuchera is hardly not critical about games with actual problems. As he says at the end of that article,

      “Real problems exist, but we have gotten so much of what we wanted. We have built a grand tower of utterly optional gaming atop our hierarchy of needs, yet we are still distracted by the gnats in our teeth. Everything is amazing, but no one is happy.”

      His point is that people will complain about almost anything and while his example of the Deus Ex bosses is tricky to negotiate around (personally I think that he believes the problem people have with it is that they exist, while it is perhaps more true to say that most people are simply unhappy with how you are able to solve the battles), it doesn’t change that for the most part he’s right.

      There’s a place for criticism on games when there are serious problems with them: Dead Island’s mouse sensitivity being fubar with it having more effect on the menu than in-game on any of the higher resolutions, for example, is something that interferes with the enjoyment of the game and is either laziness or lack of testing. It directly gets in the way of traversing from the start of the game to the end in a way that will directly result in people playing through.

      “Worse, if racism or other prejudices come tumbling out of games, however piecemeal or fragmentary or unintended, we are absolutely entitled to challenge them, too.”

      The recent piece of information to leak as a result of the dev build of Dead Island containing a certain rude ‘sexist’ word is an example of how far people are willing to go to have a whinge. If it was in-game appearance I would agree it might have no place but it feels as if the community and the media that surrounds gaming is more interested in making much ado about nothing than actually solving a problem. The fact they were sensible enough to not include it in the final release shows they weren’t deliberately trying to say anything about the character – it was just malarkey. A far bigger crime is the voice acting but even that’s not worth more than a footnote.

      Heaven forbid if you’re trying to argue that ‘that character’ in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is secretly a token of racism rather than just a result of poor writing. Perhaps poor taste and it’s surprising she made it through but something to actually ‘complain’ about, creating whole flowing narratives about how such evil was wrought upon the gaming community? It’s worth mentioning, sure, but there’s a difference between reporting on news, offering opinions and creating news.

      While I can understand the desire for traditional media, like newspapers, to find and create loose content to pad out their issues, there’s no good reason for this digitally other than to racket up some hits for making mountains out of molehills.

    • h4plo says:

      Heaven forbid if you’re trying to argue that ‘that character’ in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is secretly a token of racism rather than just a result of poor writing. Perhaps poor taste and it’s surprising she made it through but something to actually ‘complain’ about, creating whole flowing narratives about how such evil was wrought upon the gaming community? It’s worth mentioning, sure, but there’s a difference between reporting on news, offering opinions and creating news.

      I don’t know. The whole problem with racism creeping around in games is how subtle it often is, much as it can be in real life (at least, here in the states). That’s difficult – because subtle, mostly-hidden problems are far more difficult to address and correct than those that are out in the open.

      I’m not sure that I would call that character a “hidden token of racism” as much as a “barely-veiled admission of perspective that only black folks are homeless, and only black folks speak ‘street’ And whatever else that means in contemporary, western, white culture”. Throwing up the flag of racism only serves to remind people of slavery and Jim Crowe laws and segregation – and clearly, the woman wasn’t segregated, right? So it’s not racist, right? I mean .. in the Americas (in game), was there anyone else at all that spoke like that? Or .. was it just that single homeless black character? Was it a character that gave a quick, canned speech like the white punk kids in the alleyways, or did you have a prolonged interaction with them?

      While I agree that people should avoid fabricating news where there is none, I think that it’s a pure perspective call on whether or not an issue is present. Saying that it is a non-issue sort of forces it under the rug and denies it the dialogue that it maybe needs. Is that the sort of thing Angry Internet Men should be doing?

    • Srethron says:

      Fellow gamers, the Angry Internet Men need to get organized. Perhaps we should roam around in groups searching for game characters who might be secretly thinking racist or mysogynistic thoughts, as well as those employed by game companies who (a) work on or (b) might work on or (c) create such characters. We need to draw a firm line in the digital sand here: this must extend to anyone who has the potential to even be thinking *about* thinking about such thoughts. We can’t be too careful. When we find such an individual, we need to make a stand, deterring their behavior. By doing so we let these developers know that this is a crime and not acceptable. The first step to ending this is to find out where they live through Mobigames or GameFAQs (depending on whether the individual in question is a developer or a NPC, of course). Then we burn crosses on their lawns through whatever means necessary (suggestions: hiring a cab, modding tools, etc.)

      If they don’t get the message, we escalate to more extreme measures. For legal reasons I’m not officially saying kill anyone, but do what you have to do to help your fellow gamers out. Trust me, they’ll thank you for ending anything and everything to do with racism in their games. Think of it like a new kind of citizen’s watch group, if you will.

      In time, hopefully we can press for Angry Internet Men to be given needed internet police powers to help moderate the discussion on this fair site. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, if people don’t know what racism is or see it depicted, they won’t be racist. Genetically impossible. It’s so simple it’s beautiful. These community moderators could also help with spam, where the same principle applies: too many lovely young children are growing up being assaulted by spam and turning into spammers when they grow up! Having eliminated racism in spam in a mere five years, we can turn our attention to grander matters: pressing for the AIM to be given the authority to make changes to the ESRB rating system regarding racism. Racism thinking in games is a very subtle witch with deep, deep tentacles, but if we have the proper people, we can end it. Who’s with me?

    • Kadayi says:

      @Symitri

      I agree. I don’t believe that Kuchera was saying that games are beyond criticism, more that people should be level headed in their judgement of things.

      Albeit right now I’m having a whale of a time playing through DXHR, there are definitely certain things about the title that do gripe with me (the repeated character models, the poor quality of the FMV sequences are two that spring to mind). However I’m able to temper those criticisms by recognizing that the developers (like it or not) were subject to some strict asset management issues when it came to getting the game down to a size suitable enough to fit on a 360 sized DVD. That is a physical media constraint a lot of developers run up against (the 360s memory limitations being another aspect also), and regrettably it’s a serious problem that impacts pretty much all multi-platform titles, yet is often not even considered by critics of a title: –

      Back when John Walker wrote his Wot I think about Mafia 2 (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/28/wot-i-think-mafia-ii/) he made a big issue about the fact that all the women by on large had the same voluptuous body, and concluded that the developers were somehow reveling in the sexism of the period setting. Plain truth of the matter is though, that the game had very few unique character models overall. A deficit that was plainly obvious when you *spoilers* go to jail *spoilers* and walk past dozens of ident-i-kit Chinese and Black character models.

      Were the developers being racist also? (‘you Chinese all look the same’), or is it simply a case that they only had 6.45 GB of space to squeeze the contents of the game into? I’m inclined to go with the latter. In the same way that I’m inclined to think that the developers of DA2 at Bioware weren’t so much the lazy fucks everyone and their sister has painted them on gaming sites repeatedly, but more likely had to make some tough calls regarding the amount of environmental mapping they could include Vs Sound files etc, and the repeat dungeons was the ugly little compromise they had to make.

      Now certainly none of things make the repeat character models or repeat dungeons palatable (they irk me a great deal as they break immersion), but at least it makes their existence understandable to some degree.

    • PopeJamal says:

      I’ll just leave this here:

    • Kadayi says:

      @PopeJamal

      TBH dude than was cited in Ben’s Article. It’s a good companion to that original piece, but it doesn’t really add anything to the discussion specific to games.

    • Aankhen says:

      Back when John Walker wrote his Wot I think about Mafia 2 (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/28/wot-i-think-mafia-ii/) he made a big issue about the fact that all the women by on large had the same voluptuous body, and concluded that the developers were somehow reveling in the sexism of the period setting. Plain truth of the matter is though, that the game had very few unique character models overall. A deficit that was plainly obvious when you *spoilers* go to jail *spoilers* and walk past dozens of ident-i-kit Chinese and Black character models.

      That seems pretty messed up to me.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Aankhen

      It helps if you explain how it’s ‘messed up’ rather than assume it’s obvious.

    • Aankhen says:

      Unless I’ve misunderstood your comment, there is a high proportion of Chinese and black characters in jail, and they all use a very small pool of character models. In contrast, from what I’ve seen of the game, there’s a fairly large variety of models for white characters, and you don’t meet most of them in jail.

      If you were just saying that those black and Chinese characters whom you encounter in jail all share a very obviously small pool of models, then that’s different.

    • Kadayi says:

      Yes you’ve misunderstood me. I was referencing the location as a point where the lack of ethic character models really stands out (they go for an cinematic cut scene where you’re lead into the jail, but seeing the same faces repeated every few feet breaks the immersion of the moment). Sure the developers do a better job with the white NPCs, but then those are the bulk of characters you’re dealing with most of the time. Saying that though, the stripper you meet in one cut scene looks exactly the same as Joe’s girlfriend from earlier on, but it isn’t actually her.

      The bigger point is though, this sort of thing occurs a lot in games (there’s plenty of examples in DX:HR like the SWAT team leader you meet during the rescue hostage mission whose exact character model can be found later on in the Sarif building) and much of it comes down to asset management. If when MS had developed the 360 they’d had the foresight to commit to HD-DVD and a guaranteed Hard Drive on every 360, we wouldn’t be running up against this sort of thing nearly as much, as developers would have had about 5 times more storage space at their disposal.

    • Aankhen says:

      Alright, not such a big deal then—my apologies for making a mountain out of a molehill.

      Re: the bigger problem, well, I haven’t had a chance to experience it yet as I’m waiting for an upgrade before playing most recently-released AAA games, but I’ll take your word for it. The games I’ve played most recently are, uh, Bastion (distinct models for each class of character, no variation within them), Space Pirates and Zombies (no human models as such) and Mount&Blade: Warband (every face is randomly generated).

  3. pimterry says:

    “Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” – George Bernard Shaw

  4. mjig says:

    Agree 100%. I’m so tired of this idea that we aren’t allowed to complain about anything in the industry, from gameplay to business practices. If I had a nickel for every time someone said “if you don’t like the price of the DLC, don’t buy it”, I would be a rich man.

    Most annoying thing on the planet.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      If I was given a nickel every time, I’d have a fairly unpleasant walk down to the Bureau de Change.

    • Kadayi says:

      “I’m so tired of this idea that we aren’t allowed to complain about anything in the industry, from gameplay to business practices.”

      Did you even read the Ars article?

  5. Anthile says:

    It’s okay to be dissatisfied with things. You have a hard time seeing me play a game where I don’t curse furiously. It’s a different matter with DX:HR. To me, it’s the best game of the year and while it definitely has its issues, it is, much like the first Deus Ex, more than the sum of its parts. Suddenly people nitpick about every aspect to the point that some individuals declare the voice acting of the first game genuinely superior. Excuse me?
    Not to mention that regenerating health is apparently now worse than Hitler.

    • poop II says:

      What makes DXHR immune to criticism and other games not?

    • Jarenth says:

      Anti-criticism augment.

    • poop II says:

      do you get that with dermal armor or enhanced lungs?

    • Oneironaut says:

      I always feel like I want to criticize a game more when I really like it. When a game is complete crap, I’ll just give up and move on to something else. But when that game is a flawed gem, I want it to be polished as closely to perfection as possible. This is more than anything the reason I’ll complain about games.

    • golden_worm says:

      My augments are arguemented.

    • sinister agent says:

      @Oneironaut

      I can understand that. I for one get far more worked up about games that are almost brilliant but screw it all up with stupid flaws/mistakes/omissions/etc than by games that are generally mediocre or just plain bad.

    • The Colonel says:

      I don’t have to spend several hours with Hitler a month if I want to play something new. Empathetic Immediacy in action. Regen health. Grrrr.

    • LostViking says:

      @Oneironaut

      I totally agree. I had a great time with DXHR, but found a million faults with it. The boss fights, the variable graphics, the static world (except for boxes and barrels), the hard to maneuver cities, load times, sluggy UI, yada yada yada…

  6. rustybroomhandle says:

    Definitely complain about stuff. But it’s also important to think before one speaks and not to pad one’s complaints with a crust of hyperbole.

    Also, it’s fine to say “I am impatient at the slow progress of development of Blam Blam Bazooka” but it’s less ok to say “Fritz Camelot (because it’s the only dev’s name you know out of a total of 5 devs on the project) is a lazy bum that gets nothing done and is wasting everybody’s time.” when one has no actual idea of what goes on in the latter’s life.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      ” it’s less ok to say “Fritz Camelot (because it’s the only dev’s name you know out of a total of 5 devs on the project) is a lazy bum that gets nothing done and is wasting everybody’s time.” when one has no actual idea of what goes on in the latter’s life.”

      Yes.

    • JackShandy says:

      Brb, trademarking Blam Blam Bazooka.

    • Wunce says:

      Sorry, I’ve already trademarked Blam as part of my cereal range. I’m afraid consumers will confuse your product with my cereal because of the similarities; these similarities being that both my cereal and your product are tangible.

      I shall have my lawyers contact your lawyers and the result shall be debated by the people of the Internet for a substantial period of time.

    • JackShandy says:

      Very well, sir. I warn you: My lawyers spent five years fighting senator snakeman in his underground Beuracradome during the vietnam war. Blam Blam Bazooka will be mine.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Fritz Camelot is not afraid of your låwyers !

    • Berzee says:

      What about when people criticize a development company? If people criticize Mojang, isn’t that just shorthand for criticizing FIVE people instead of ONE?

  7. Lucidity says:

    Bleh. I put it down to me finally getting old or something as I definitely do think that certain aspects of videogames were better ‘back in the day’… Bioware made engaging RPG’s and Rainbow Six wasn’t a watered down arcadey mess.

    Definitely rose tinted glasses, mind.

    I get the feeling that if you do voice some negativity toward a videogame these days, on message boards or wherever, that people do tend to jump on you, but each to their own.

  8. limbclock says:

    I’m happy with Steam, although i do wish they’d experiment with bitTorrent based delivery systems instead of the current download methods.

  9. sonofsanta says:

    I am loving the back and forth bouncing between you fellows and Ars at the moment. It certainly helps that you are both the most wonderful sites on the intertubes.

    The other thing is – and most people who know me don’t seem to get this – is that complaining is cathartic. When people meet me at first it doesn’t usually take them long to point out that I whinge a lot, which still always strikes me as odd, because it doesn’t feel like I do. If I say (/type) my complaint out loud then it’s out of my brain and can be forgotten about. Complaining helps me purge the negativity, and lets me focus more on the positives left behind.

    When I whinge about a particular level being crappily designed cos I got lost for twenty minutes, it’s because I want to get it off my chest so I can go back to enjoying the other 15 hours – and, as you touched on, because I care. If I didn’t like a game, I wouldn’t bother getting myself worked up over it.

    I realise that this last is not true of 90% of the internet, however.

  10. Dawngreeter says:

    I hereby wish to complain that all those people who complain need to stop complaining. I verify that this is indeed a paradox, but by the power of being on the Internet I take it as granted that my opinion is separate from everyone else’s and is, in fact, sacrosanct. Unlike other opinions. Which aren’t. Obviously.

  11. Essell says:

    Complaining is always lame compared to constructive criticism, and / or trying to do something better yourself. Complaining should also always strive to be at least somewhat informed on the subject, which it often isn’t.

    Or, to put it another way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI

    • poop II says:

      “constructive criticism” makes me think of 12 year olds on deviantart who actually just always want to hear nice things about the garbage they make

    • Essell says:

      You should probably spend less time on deviantart then :P

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s the hyperbole which is the problem. Complaining is fine, but if you want it to be taken seriously it helps to be mature. Sound like a hysterical two year old on the other hand and you’ll be dismissed as one.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Essell

      Well it’s all to do with the framing. Plain truth of the matter is unless a person has an understanding of design process and/or an appreciation of the limitations of a medium then it’s rare they’ll ever come across as anything more than a rattle waver half the time.

      Often times a lot of criticisms of recent multi-platform titles (DA2 & Mafia 2 spring to mind) by on large have more to do with the Publishers wanting to keep the game size down in order to fit it comfortably onto a single 360 DVD (and thus avoid MS punitive multi-disc licensing surcharges) and the asset management nightmare that causes, rather than the developers themselves necessarily nickel and diming the player base. Yes, it’s a shitty reality, but it’s also important to level the blame at the right people in the equation. More often than not it’s the wrong people getting the complaints in the process.

    • Consumatopia says:

      it’s also important to level the blame at the right people in the equation.

      No, it isn’t. Consumers don’t pick individual developers and managers, they pick games that are the product of many people. It isn’t the consumer or critic’s job to determine who screwed up–only what is screwed up. It’s the developer’s job to figure out who’s fault it is.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Consumatopia

      I’m not on about individuals. I’m on about people recognizing the limitation of things. Unless you can frame your opinions through an understanding of the how and why, at best you’re going to come out garbled. As someone rightly points out further on, a lot of the time when people criticize a game they either do so against an unrealistic idealized model in their heads, or they make asynchronous comparisons.

      For example, lovely as it would be the Detroit of DX:HR isn’t really a living breathing City by any stretch of the imagination. There’s no one driving cars around, there’s not thousands of people getting on or off train lines, there’s not even hundreds of buildings to explore. Even an open world game like GTA IV deploys a lot of legerdemain to cover up its deficiencies in terms of what you can actually interact with. Personally I look forward to the day that we’ve game worlds which really do feel like living breathing environments, but we’re are probably a long way off from that ever happening. So as a criticism it’s kind of unfair to mark it down |Vs that ideal. I might look at it however and say compare it to a similar title (for example the Witcher 2) and find it wanting in that regard.

      As regards asynchronous comparisons. In a thread about DX:HR there was a guy bitching it out for the stealth not being as good as that in splinter Cell Chaos theory, and therefore it was a terrible game. Now there’s no denying that the Stealth in DX:HR is not quite as fancy as that in SC:CT, however at the same time SC:CT doesn’t feature any of the other aspects of DX:HR. Can we criticize the Stealth aspects of DX:HR? Yes we certainly can, but is it fair or reasonable to say ‘that game does it better, therefore this game fails’, or is it more reasonable to assess it from a perspective of function, and look at how that could be improved upon?

    • Consumatopia says:

      You WERE on about individuals, you’ve just decided now to be on about something else. There’s a huge difference between a complaint that you aren’t simulating an entire futuristic world larger than our own and a complaint that your multiplatform game targets the lowest common denominator. Do developers do that because they won’t to deal with the added expense of producing platform-optimized code or content, or an “asset management nightmare”? Well, there’s no reason that anyone outside the developer needs to know the answer to that–they’re both problems that could be solved with more time and money.

    • Kadayi says:

      Pro Tip: – Never tell someone that’s not what they said. The reality is you’ve misinterpreted what has been said.

      When I talk about ‘people’ I’m not talking specifically about Bob in marketing, or Sandy in in the Art department. I’m on about the developers, or the publishers, or the people who came up with the 360s draconian multi-disc licencing agreement, etc, etc. I’m on about recognising the reasons why something is the way it is and what (and whom) may have caused it.

      Disliked the long loading lifts scenes in Mass Effect 1? Blame that problem on the fact that some numb nuts at MS decided that the core 360 didn’t require a Hard Drive and thus the entire game is built around the idea of loading everything in a level into system Memory. But, but, but they fixed that problem in Mass Effect 2? No what they (the developers) did was simply re-present the loading system. They also made areas smaller and therefore faster to load.

      “There’s a huge difference between a complaint that you aren’t simulating an entire futuristic world larger than our own and a complaint that your multiplatform game targets the lowest common denominator.”

      Is there? Seems to me both smack of unrealitic expectations as to what modern gaming technology is capable of.

      “Do developers do that because they won’t to deal with the added expense of producing platform-optimized code or content, or an “asset management nightmare”? Well, there’s no reason that anyone outside the developer needs to know the answer to that–they’re both problems that could be solved with more time and money.”

      Great argument apart from the fact that your solutions to all gaming woes are the very things that are finite. If a game is only likely to sell 1.5 million copies given its genre, that dictates the amount of budget that you have available, and your budget dictates your team size Vs development cycle. If you go over your budget you’re effectively cutting into your profit margins, and that means you might well end up having less money for your next project.

  12. Joyo says:

    The whole tone of Kuchera’s article bothered me, because it wasn’t *really* just about gaming, as evidenced by the videos he links to (the first of which I’ve seen before, and chuckled at).

    It’s an attempt to police progress by people who find progressive though *difficult*, in the same tired rhetoric that steals the “guys, lets keep some perspective about 1st-world problems” movement and turns it into “There are starving children in Africa, so finish your bug-ridden DRM soaked piece of £40 software and be *grateful* for it” which is…something else entirely.

    Our “problems”? Made up. Not real. Stop whining.

    When it comes to people who review PC games, that’s not a quality I find inspires confidence :P

    *edited to clarify vaguey vagueness

    • Lipwig says:

      I’m with you on this. I thought it was strange that Jim didn’t once use the word criticism, but a number of Games Journalist variations that play with the same language that Ben does. Heart in the right place and all, but it makes Jim seem somewhat limp-wristed. Ben wasn’t just arguing against idle complaint, but the very thing that helps to make art more wonderful and amazing. Actual bona-fide genuine criticism. A number of commentators tried to engage Ben in a dialogue pointing out the fallacies of his article. It was diplomatic for the most part. Ben responded each time with arrogance and petulance. Not only does he reject criticism, but he rejects communication.

      It was disheartening to see the number of people that said “oh yeah this also applies to books and film and i absolutely agree”. There are people in the world that genuinely think criticism is wrong. That critical thought is too difficult. That the furthering of what makes us most human (art) is unworthy of our attentions and thoughts. Just consume, everything is fine, be happy, say nothing, Transformers 3 is the greatest film ever made because explosions.

    • Joyo says:

      I don’t really agree that Jim comes off as “limpwristed”, I think he is going for a light and playful tone which to me helped underline the point that we can by critical of things we love.

      As for Kuchera’s reactions: I haven’t checked the post since it came up on my feed, but there was one comment that I recall being critical, but not “flaming”. Kuchera’s reaction was disproportionately obnoxious, including making fun of the poster for getting “butthurt” aaaaand that basically put the kibash on any credit I was prepared to give him.

      Also I find it ironic that complaints about “gamer entitlement” are coming from someone who believes they have the authority to dismiss complaints about race and gender representation as trivial just because they write about games.

      NOTE TO POOP II: I used sarcasm quotes! It doesn’t count! Really!

  13. ix says:

    I read the article as a really dumb attempt to try to clean up their discussion threads (on which you can’t go two postd without an ad hominem nowadays). How about actually moderating them instead? (yes, I’m complaining)

    Also, people who never complain either hate everything or like everything. Both of which are psychotic.

  14. sinister agent says:

    I’d say it’s another showing for our society’s habit of turning everything into an overly simplistic binary argument. For or against, yes or no, pro-war or anti-war, labour or tory, gay or straight, us or them, PC or console.

    If you criticise a game, you can’t possibly be in the “yes” camp, so you must be in the “no” camp, so go on, bugger off. Leave us be, go and join your friends who all hate it like you do. We won’t listen to what you have to say because you criticised the game, therefore you must be on the other side. And of course if you do go over to the other camp, they’ll all call you a twat for saying you like the game. And then you end up just stabbing them all and having done with it.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      That’s not a function of society but a function of human nature. We think in pairs. About everything.

      This is why in, say, painting, three trees are more interesting than two. They create dissonance in perception.

    • poop II says:

      also the tendency people have to develop deep emotional attachments to consumer products to the point that they consider an attack on it an attack on themselves.

    • sinister agent says:

      @Dawngreeter

      I was not aware of that. Therefore, using logic and my advanced brain device, I conclude that it must be wrong.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I generally find that almost any question containing the word ‘or’ and presenting a binary choice is best answered “both”. Of course, there’s always situational provisos, but generally any subject that generates enough debate for the question to be asked has elements of both alternatives.

      TLDR: Seeing the world as binary, mutually exclusive alternatives is just stupid. Everything is a gradient.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      So either an argument has more than two options or your answer is “both”?

    • golden_worm says:

      Daddy or chips?

    • Aninhumer says:

      @YourMessageHere
      Even considering it a gradient is kind of simplistic. Things have many different aspects, and the quality of the whole depends on the individual quality of its parts and also how they fit together. This is of course the reason RPS don’t do scores.

    • sinister agent says:

      Not so. RPS don’t do scores because they can’t count.

      Just try asking one of them to lend you £3.20. Odds are good that they’d burst into tears.

    • Alec Meer says:

      £3.20? But that’s the price of forty-eight pints, isn’t it? We couldn’t possibly lend you that much.

  15. yoggesothothe says:

    From Mr Kuchera’s article:

    “Actual criticism is unacceptable; the audience will only accept verdicts of ‘sucks’ or ‘perfect.’”

    Isn’t he doing the same thing…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      That’s just arguing that people shouldn’t be complaining about complaining? :)

    • Joyo says:

      I don’t know, but maybe part of my reaction to the article came from the fact that what you’ve quoted there just isn’t my experience of games critique.

      But then, I realize, I predominantly read RPS for game critique, and talk mostly about gaming with friends who also predominantly read RPS for game critique.

      I don’t know what conclusion I should draw from that…

    • yoggesothothe says:

      He also says “Enjoy a game while still pointing out its flaws? People will get angry. Find flaws in a beloved game? They will call for your head.”

      Wait, so is he saying if we find flaws in what we enjoy (namely, gaming), people shouldn’t get angry about it?

      Why is he arguing against himself? So confused.

    • noodlecake says:

      I agree with him. People shouldn’t be angry. They’re just games. I think if you go any firther mildly frustrated you probably do need to get some perspective! I’m an artist who follows the art world quite closely but I’ve never been livid that someone’s new piece didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Not that I’m saying don’t point out a game’s flaws in a constructive way but there does tend to be a disproportionate amount of anger in relation to the actual issues people are complaining about. I often read comments and think “Were you bullied as a child? Was your dad an alcoholic?” There MUST be some other underlying issue that’s causing all this rage.

    • Joyo says:

      yoggesothothe – Actually I do see what he was *trying* to say, which is that if that you attempt honest critique of a game that has very positive or negative general opinion, then you’ll likely get dogpiled.

      And you can kind of glean an overall reasonable point from the article it’s just…it gets lost in the “When *I* was your age!” kind of tone he’s taken.

    • Unaco says:

      I don’t think he ACTUALLY means it… I think he’s being flippant, and this is the way he sees things, from comments and the like. Slight praise for a ‘Bad’ game means you’ve been paid off… Small criticism of a ‘Good’ game means you’re nitpicking or biased.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Noodlecake wrote: “I often read comments and think “Were you bullied as a child? Was your dad an alcoholic?” There MUST be some other underlying issue that’s causing all this rage.”

      I think it boils down to anonymity in a comfortable environment – the same thing that causes road rage. People are sat at their computer in a nice safe familiar environment and they know they have virtually complete anonymity. I once recognised a friend raging in some hardware forum, I sent him a quick message saying Hi, I know that’s you – didn’t mention I had read that thread – and he stopped immediately and his arguments became calm, rational and he behaved in a way that I would have expected of him in real life.

      But a lot of it is borne from frustration, not with the original issue but how people react to a complaint. We are a very social animal and we like to feel part of the group. Most people complain online to communicate with people who have had a similar experience. When you get a group like that, they will wind themselves up and up losing perspective on the actual complaint OR their complaint will be dismissed, and that is very difficult for some people, especially teenagers, who are only just learning how to interact on an adult level, to deal with.

      I don’t think there’s any problem with people complaining about even the most nit-pickiest point about any game – as I mentioned, it can be frustrating to not be able to vent – but the problem is that in some corners of the internet, those who make their point in the most extreme way are the ones who get listened too, too many people take pleasure from arguing with others and will look to create these situations. The article referenced is not really about the complaints people have, to me it’s more about the lack of social skills some of the louder voices on the internet have.

    • yoggesothothe says:

      I think my point is being missed; Mr. Kuchera’s sarcasm in that particular part of his opinion piece is meant to say that getting angry about constructive criticism is a bad thing.

      Only, Mr. Kuchera is doing exactly the same thing, it’s just he excuses himself from that by painting everyone else’s criticism as overblown and non-constructive. It’s like he’s saying he’s the only one with sincere criticism and everyone else are just being fanboys.

      Or something.

    • noodlecake says:

      You know I haven’t actually looked at the linked article… I probably should if I’m commenting on this this… Maybe after lunch. :)

      The road rage comparison is interesting. I definitely use foul language against fictional AI entities (or mines or traps or whatever) but they can’t hear me and wouldn’t be offended. And I do take the piss out of people who are rude or nasty if I catch a comment on youtube or something when I probably wouldn’t in real life. Like I found a video with some mods for GTA4 and the kid who was talking through it had a silly laugh and someone was like “WHAT THE FUCKS WRONG WITH YOUR FAGGY LAUGH FUCKING FAG!?” only with weird abbreviations and bad grammar which I never bothered to learn how to do when I was a kid growing up with a computer (luckily). I can’t remember what I said but I remember it being purposefully reasonable with a hit of condescension and was probably a waste of both our time really.

  16. noodlecake says:

    I think gamer do whinge a LOT! And the majority of the whinges are unbelievably pedantic. When i read comments I have visions of people playing (Deus Ex: HR for example) and seething! “grrrrr-draaaarrggglefuckarg!! Yellow boxes!! Experience for wandering into a room! Grraaaarggrraaar! Fucking fuck fuck shit fuck!”, like frothing at the mouth and grinding their teeth but continuing to put themselves through this horrible torturous flawed experience which when looked at in a reasonable way should actually be really fun!! I mean it is a fantastic game despite retaining some horrible 90′s gaming cliches from the previous versions.

    It does get me down reading comments on games sometimes… I sometimes just think maybe the people that do all the moaning could just do with a bit of a cuddle and maybe a nice bowl of Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s or something. :(

    Some games are very bad… But people don’t tend to whinge about the bad ones. It tends to be the good ones that haven’t quite managed to be fantastic (like Dragon Age 2)

    • poop II says:

      this is exactly what I loathe about comment threads: some people have problems with a game you like and now they are “frothing at the mouth and grinding their teeth” ?

      and then you go on to be incredibly patronising, all because two games you like have attracted criticism on the internet. gosh.

    • noodlecake says:

      If you actually read the comments out loud in the tone that is suggested then it is all shouting and exclaiming. And I was being intentionally patronising because I do think people need to chill out. It’s amusing. Nobody would actually speak to someone’s face in the way that they rant online. If you metacritic dragon age 2 it has a user score of like 2 out of 10 or something and loads of comments with multitudes of swear words and exclamation marks like they are screaming about how much they hate it with the same level of venom you might give someone that had murdered your dog or something. It’s mental.

    • noodlecake says:

      If I found myself getting that wound up I’d go back to smoking weed all day, I think. Fucking self medicate it away.

    • ix says:

      I think all of the shouting is in your head. At least it’s not on RPS.

    • Jockie says:

      Yeah, the RPS comment whining is in more of an elitist self-righteous tone – imagine Hugh Grant declaiming’ How very dare they!’ in his poshest voice and you’re just about there.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      As a PC-centric site that attracts games with specific preferences, I think it’s completely reasonable to expect RPS commenters to react predictably to games that don’t respect those preferences.

      However, resulting to frothing hyperbole and unrestrained misanthropy, in some vain attempt to try and make your voice heard above the all the noise because you feel helpless, and maintain some illusion of being able to change things if only someone pays attention to you, is an unfortunate phenomenon endemic to the entire internet.

      The anonymous cacophony of the internet is not fertile soil for nuanced or median opinion. It makes liars and sociopaths of us all.

    • ankh says:

      Yeah I agree, noodlecake. POEPLE NEED TO LEARN SOME GAWDAMN MANNERS ON THE INTERNETS!>!?!

  17. CaLe says:

    I could guess what the Ars Technica article was going to read like just by seeing the title in my RSS feed. I also immediately thought of the exact same things that were mentioned in this article. We’re not idealists, we are people with a hobby and we notice when something can be improved upon. To not give that feedback is only to the detriment of the developers themselves in their next venture. Sure some people give that feedback in a crass way but the good developers can see through that and identify the underlying issue, then improve upon it. Improve, improve and improve, I say.

  18. Matt says:

    The thing is, he’s kind of right that there is a vocal crowd that descend on any game that falls slightly short of expectation and treat it like it has somehow defiled some sacred ur-game granted to us by the gaming gods. There is a litany of such games over the past few years that have suffered a similar raging Angry Internet Mans attack and DX:HR is merely the latest. The point “hey gamers, don’t be such entitled Jerks” isn’t an illegitamate one.

    Thats said, its an odd stance to go from that to a position of essentially saying we should be grateful for what we are given and should merely hold our noses over some of the crappier practices or jaring gameplay decisions that game devs sometimes choose to inflcit on us…

    • poop II says:

      entitled, my favorite word

    • ix says:

      That’s just bullshit. You can give the gentlest of critiques of DX:HR and some are still going to call you an entitled, elitist know-it-all. Your inability to stick to the substance of an argument does not make the rest of us entitled jerks.

    • Matt says:

      cor i’m glad i went to the effort of registering just to be flamed. +1, internet.

      I don’t think I wrote that criticising DXHR makes you an entitled jerk (just checked, i definately didn’t), i think I said that there has been a regrettable tendancy from some quarters massively over-react to the flaws in high-profile games that claim ancestry from revered titles. A lot of the criticism of DX:HR is perfectly valid – the Boss Fights being cripplingly stupid is probably the most obvious and indefensible – but you only have to read some of the threads relating to the game on RPS and on other less cordial and civilised sites to see a lack of critque and just some entitled ranting.

      also, the substance of the argument didn’t have anything to do with DX:HR specifically – it just being a handy current example – but to do with the assertion whether we should complain about flaws in games or not. Just so thats clear – i think we should, just not in an angry, shouty “OMG U PEOPLEZ SUCKSZ!!!1!one1″ sort of way.

    • poop II says:

      entitled

    • ix says:

      My point being, Matt, that calling anyone you disagree with entitled is a very easy way to score points, but you’re not actually having a real debate. If someone’s being irrational, by all means call them out for it, but calling them entitled jerks (a term you used and which I was responding to) is just shorthand for “I’m too lazy to form an actual argument”.

  19. Gaytard Fondue says:

    What actually bothers me the most is gamer entitlement. Yes, you’re entitled to get a game that works, but that’s it. You can’t go around insulting devs just because Civ V isn’t Civ IV with better graphics and you hate Bethesda for aquiring the Fallout IP. And being a “paying customer” changes nothing about that.

    • poop II says:

      entitled, my favorite word.

    • Kadayi says:

      @poop II

      What alternative word would you deploy?

      http://thesaurus.com/browse/entitlement

      I mean I’ll be honest, skimming that there’s not a whole heap there of alternatives that neatly and succinctly summarize what people are talking about. ‘Entitlement’ kind of fits the bill.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Half of the people talking about “gamer entitlement” need dictionaries rather than thesauruses–they’re using it to mean I don’t like something that they happen to like. If I say “this thing should be X instead of Y” that does not imply that I think I am somehow entitled to it being X instead of Y. Some things are awesome, some things suck, and that’s got nothing to do with who’s entitled to what.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Consumatopia

      I’ll be honest I think you’re Trolling. However I’d say what Gaytard Fondue states is definitely about gamers perverse sense of entitlement especially when it comes to the whole issue of ownership, Vs the actual financial investment of you having bought a game once. There are people out there who because of their extreme fandom actively believe that they are somehow the mouthpiece of authority on a particular game or genre, even to the extend of them dismissing the opinions of the developers who operate within that genre.

    • Consumatopia says:

      The real issue here is people dismissing opinions as illegitimate, which you do multiple times. I disagree with you therefore I must be capital T trolling. Developers opinions matter, customers opinions don’t. This “whole issue of ownership” is just you projecting your issues on everyone else. If things sucks, it’s okay to point out that they suck–you don’t need to be a games developer for >X years or to invest >Y dollars for an opinion to be legitimate. Most of the time someone says “entitled” in this context is nonsense, and that definitely applies to you.

    • JackShandy says:

      Let me try this out.

      “I’ve had it up to here with gamers and their fucking pre-emptive declarations of dueness!”

    • Kadayi says:

      @Consumatopia

      “The real issue here is people dismissing opinions as illegitimate, which you do multiple times.I disagree with you therefore I must be capital T trolling.”

      Well given at no point have I actually stated or purported that peoples opinions are ‘illegitimate’ I’d say I’ve a pretty strong case for the accusation. This is the second time in this very thread you’ve been attacking me for things that you have imagined I’ve said, rather than what I’ve actually said. You’re the one projecting in the equation.

      My only contention is that people need to temper their criticism from a position grounded in a reality as to what is possible (taking into account the myriad factors that impact games). You don’t need to be a game developer to understand these things, you just need to be prepared to think things through, and weigh up the situation. That’s just common sense.

  20. Jazz42 says:

    There’s complainy and then there’s just plain rude.
    Take a look at the Steam forums for Dead Island, Red Orchestra 2 or Space Marine for just this week.
    Sure those games have serious problems which need to be fixed and they should be pointed out and the devs should respond, but acting like a petulant child won’t help. I recognise that this is the vocal minority, but it really frustrates me. That and the fact I can’t play Space Marine MP without serious lag.
    The more moving parts the more difficult it becomes to program for I suppose.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      I love how people are ingnoring that RO2 is still in beta.

    • Jazz42 says:

      God, just getting the beta released was too much for some people.
      They whined about the fact they couldn’t get there to whine.
      It’s a horrible spiral of whinge
      ENGRENAGES

  21. N'Al says:

    Admittedly, not having read any of the other comments yet, I think the issue is quite simple, really:

    Complaining (i.e. constructive criticism) = good.
    Whining like a little bitch (i.e. destructive criticism) = bad

    Far too often, I fear (PC) gamers get the balance between the two wrong.

    • poop II says:

      whining isnt quite entitled but it’s still pretty good

    • MadMatty says:

      How about:

      Slamming contrary views to elevate oneself in ones own eyes.

    • Jazz42 says:

      Are you saying that some gamers might have self esteem issues?
      Shocking.

    • mike2R says:

      Hmm, forum seems to have eaten my comment, but this one puts it far more succinctly. It isn’t complaining that is the problem, it is the ludicrous overreactions which every game seems to attract.

      Although we do need to be careful not to overreact ourselves. It is easy on a forum with a large number of vocal lunatics present, to mentally put everyone with a complaint into the lunatic category.

      At that point you get the reciprocal crazy fanboy problem, where any criticism gets jumped on and the one who made it insulted.

      Basically we should all just chill out and have a cup of tea or something…

    • JackShandy says:

      Criticism really doesn’t have to help the creator make better games. People are totally allowed to post “I really hated this game” without giving a detailed account on what could be improved- it’s pretty rare that you’re posting for the game dev’s benefit, after all.

    • Archonsod says:

      Yeah, but by the same token why would I or anyone else give a damn that you hated a game? Saying “I dislike X because of Y” at least gives us something to talk about, saying “I hate X” and leaving it at that just begs the response “so what?”

    • Kadayi says:

      @Archonsod

      Agreed. Even then it need to explain itself inself in some form as to the thinking behind it. Here’s a ‘review’ of DX:HR from Metacritic by brand_eins: -

      “bad game. dull level design. mediocre storyline. bad 3rd person behaviour when using cover (which is very important in this game). No multiplayer, bad FMV, bad controlls. bad bad bad. Don’t buy.”

      Why is it a bad game exactly ? Why is it dull level design exactly? What makes the story mediocre? Why do you feel the the 3rd person behaviour is bad when in cover? Did you not read the box and realise there was never going to be multi-player? What is bad about the FMV? What don’t you like about the controls exactly?

      It’s like the poster assumes that his opinions are universally apparent, that no actual explanation is required in order for the reader to emphasize with his beliefs. As far as useful information goes all it does is tell us that ‘brand_eins’ is dissatisfied, nothing more. If you are going to post it need to convey more information than ‘I am disappoint’ or conversely ‘I am joyful’ so that developers can understand them.

  22. AndrewC says:

    Hrrm, this debate isn’t good enough!

    What Ben is arguing against (badly) is the hopelessly entitled attitude of gamers (or Internet denizens in general). It isn’t complaining and it isn’t advocacy, it isn’t constructive and it isn’t nice. It is rather closer to the tantrums of toddlers, throwing perfectly good toys away when they do not get the toy they have decided they want. It just sometimes reads like ‘complaining’ on the net, and sometimes is in agreement with those complaining on the net, but it is perspectiveless ranting, and fostering it will not lead to the improvement of any situation.

    So these two articles are arguing past each other, one arguing against fanaticism and one arguing against complacency, but both arguing for perspective and not quite realising they are argreeing with each other. Sort of.

    My personal gripe with this sort of ‘complaining’ is that it is anathema to community. If, just for example, you constantly call all games terrible that aren’t 20 year old turn based RPGs, you are not taking part in a conversation, you are not even listening to the views of others, and you are undermining community.

    So it becomes a question, when defending such ‘complainers’, as to whether places like RPS can be communities or wailing walls of individual prayers and rants. Progress is often achieved by unreasonable men, but it doesn’t stop those unreasonable men being enormous cocks.

    • poop II says:

      ENTITLED ENTITLED ENTITLED

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Trolling much, Mr. Poop?

    • AndrewC says:

      Poop, Poop, Poop.

    • AndrewC says:

      I think you’ll find people being unable to see beyond their selfish little noses did not start with Minecraft. Or games.

    • Deano2099 says:

      That’s just a case of reducing it to a matter of politeness.

      Essentially it means the same thing if I say:

      “The boss battles in Deus Ex are awful and bad game design”

      And

      “OMG I paid for this and I should be able to go through the whole game without killing I am entitled to that ffs”

      One is more polite yes, but the same point exists regardless.

    • AndrewC says:

      It’s an excellently accurate word.

      And politeness is terribly important. It’s not just the lack of name calling, it’s the actual listening to what other people have to say.

    • AndrewC says:

      And what word would you like to call all the people who have used ‘entitled’ in this thread, Mr Poop?

    • The Hammer says:

      Apostrophes.

      EDIT: Seriously, if you’re going to criticise word usage, at least deploy the shift key and the apostrophe button on your keyboard. Just not at the same time or you’ll end up with “@”.

      On topic: great post, AndrewC. I think that’s my view entirely.

      (Actually, one other thing that irks me about constant complaining is the sheer volume, that isn’t contained in single contexts but becomes widespread. So any time a divisive game receives an article, the same old debates crop up, and often they’re not debates: they’re sly, sometimes insulting criticisms about the product, develop, or even person in question. It’s fine to complain about the state of old-school RPGs, but in -every- Bioware thread? Move on?

      Sometimes these contexts just don’t deserve it, and irrelevant discussions end up hijacking threads. See, on the RPS forum the “Your Less Conventional Views on Games and Gaming” thread, for reference. When it becomes endemic as this, every thread is liable to come a battleground of ideals and interests.)

    • Archonsod says:

      “It’s fine to complain about the state of old-school RPGs, but in -every- Bioware thread? Move on?”

      Yup. The problem with that is it eventually simply becomes parody. Or tiresome. I mean given they’ve not done an “old school RPG” for over a decade, it begs the question of why you’re still expecting it of them.

      WRT the entitlement thing it is silly. You paid £40 for a game and expect what precisely? Because y’know, in the real world that £40 might get you just enough time to do lunch with someone. So unless you’re happy to be playing games someone knocked out in an hour, you probably don’t want to highlight how little you’re contributing to their salary.

    • Urthman says:

      poop is right. Calling someone “entitled” is a stupid, ad hominem argument. A complaint can be legitimate or illegitimate, polite or rude or abusive. Calling the person making the complaint names adds nothing but noise to the discussion.

    • Kadayi says:

      Nicely articulated Andrew. I agree with your assessment. I don’t believe the Ars article was saying that there aren’t legitimate complaints that can and should be made, but that some degree of perspective beyond ‘I’m not happy hear me rage!!’ is required.

  23. Sunjammer says:

    I guess we have a more fundamental problem where people find it more rewarding and responsive to complain than it is to praise. If everyone that were actually happy about something talked as much about it as the complainers, this would be a moot point, maybe?

    There’s something primitively warlike to banding up to tear something to shreds, and i think that speaks to a broader masculine instinct than the sort of feminine, motherly praise. I’m sure that comes out sexist to someone, oh well.

    I think it’s pretty silly to complain about complaining though. That’s like meta-complaining.

    • Jazz42 says:

      Actually that’s an interesting point.
      It’s like mob psychology, yet over the internet..or perhaps just Us vs Them.
      It’s funny how people insist on differentiating themselves from each other, even when they are thousands of miles away and behind a screen.

  24. MadMatty says:

    Good one Jim

  25. MadMatty says:

    I still think Sins of a Solar Empire is an entirely overated piece of mediocrisy- its C&C with a space background, music is dull, graphics uninspired- no sense of actual space!

    • Jazz42 says:

      Don’t get me started on Mario, Zelda and Pokemon.
      How many times can you play the same game people? REALLY?

    • MadMatty says:

      Mario´s a platformer, and Zelda has action RPG style stuff….. ?

      Edit: oh yeah sorry, know what you mean.
      Ive only played Ocarina of Time which was great by itself, super marion land a bit, and super mario 64- pokemon for about 30 mins-

      newer versions must be for someone whos not played the old ones, as theyre basically all the same?

  26. Eddy9000 says:

    I guess what does annoy me is the objective, self centred tone of many of the complaints in internet forums: “Max Payne is ruined”, “the new X-com will be a faliure”. It’s the ‘is’ and ‘will’ words that piss me off, they suggest the writer considers themselves to be the law on what games should and shouldn’t be, and that their opinion represents some kind of objective fact. Sentences like this not only give the opinion of the author, they also intrinsically criticise the opinions of readers that have different opinions. I think it would be more helpful for discussion, and more polite to the audience to place comments like this in the subjective context e.g. ‘I think’, ‘in my opinion’ and ‘for me’.

    It is also far more easy to just complain that something is ‘wrong’ rather than giving any kind of balanced or critical opinion of a game; sometimes I feel that complaints are used as a shortcut for people to feel self important, rather than offering any kind of useful analysis.

  27. Deano2099 says:

    Internet comments and so on are generally more negative about videogaming, but then on the other hand there’s the huge amount of positive feedback we give to developers too. It’s called “buying their games”.

    • ix says:

      I think people are forgetting about all the positive comments too. There’s usually tons of comments on RPS that praise games, express interest or try to be funny. The negative ones just tend to stick in people’s minds.

      And in any case, getting some good criticism from players who are actually playing your game shows that somebody cares. That is definitely worth something.

  28. Unaco says:

    I would like to complain about the lack of any numerical metric used in all the peculiarly named reviews done on this site.

  29. Jockie says:

    I sympathise with Kuchera to a degree, obviously there are times where criticism is constructive, fulfills a function and is progressive and developers who ignore it do so at their peril.

    But there are some lines of debate, that just run and run and infect discussion with minimal overlap and kill any kind of focus.

    For instance, any new EA game that comes out in the next few months and has a few trailers – will the discussion in the comments threads actually discuss the merits and problems of the game, or will every single one end up descending into the mire of Origin/Steam back and forth? (I turned away from the Kingdoms of Amalur trailers comments with a shake of the head, as soon as Origin was mentioned)

    Is it constructive that the actual game ends up secondary to the platform for delivery (especially when there is a complete lack of consensus on the platform – fair enough with UBIDRM as people are universally united in their hatred for it).

    For someone like me, going into a comments thread, wanting to discuss a game and being confronted with a wall of people dredging up the same arguement we saw in the last thread a day ago, is a huge turn-off. I admire people for their unerring to devotion to complaining about a single feature, but at the same time I wonder if maybe if they should like, e-mail the developers, form a Steam Group or something, because there are times when this repetitive regurgitation of righteous frustration ends up detracting or obscuring the discussion on the finer points of game, the kinds of criticism or praise that are actually relevant to the game itself.

    • Kadayi says:

      Agreed. There’s way to much personal agenda stuff that gets posted as well. I just don’t care that someone isn’t going to buy a game because it’s not on Steam/has DRM/once gave them a funny look down the pub/shagged their mum. I care even less when they repeat that personal factoid across every thread and at any given opportunity like some game playing Pharisee in the Temple demonstrating to everyone how righteous they are ad infinitum.

  30. Vexing Vision says:

    I just love how RPS leads the revolution. As a constantly complaining PC Gamer, I am absolutely behind you. No complaints there.

    VIVE EL HIVEMIND! VIVE EL SHOTGUN!

  31. itchyeyes says:

    I’m of two minds about the Ars piece. On the one hand, I do think that online discussion of gaming has devolved into mostly an all out bitch fest. Think of the tiniest most obscure flaw in a game that you can, and I can almost guarantee that there is a thread out there somewhere with people bemoaning how it’s the worst thing since the holocaust.

    On the other hand though, Ben makes one crucial mistake in his article. He assumes that the people doing the complaining are mostly the same people. But that’s rarely the case. It’s usually different people complaining about different things. The problem is that all the people who complain about game X, don’t come back to talk about how much they like game Y, because they’re playing the game instead. So we have this defacto filter where the main reason people come online to discuss games is when they’re unhappy with them, which makes the whole audience look like we’re impossible to satisfy when in fact we all really love playing games most of the time.

    The solution is not to complain less. The solution is when we find that game we really like take a break from it to come online more often to tell the creators and other gamers how much we like it and why.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I think though, that it’s worth noting that just because I could write a long winded rant on the boss fights on Human Revolution or the fact that Game X or Y has a shoddy port it’s not the same as saying that I actually think it’s a huge problem in real world terms. But it has a certain cathartic effect to get it out of the system.

      I think it’s a bad way of deflecting criticism to say ‘But think of the starving people in Africa’ or whatever the current disaster is. Of course bosses in Deus Ex is no where on the same scale. But on a game related site they are entirely valid points.

      It’s important to realise that most people can hold more than one thing in their heads at the same time. Ranting about bosses is not the same as ignoring the kids in Africa. At least for most people.

      And similarly, if I did type up that rant on Human Revolution that wouldn’t mean that I think it’s a bad game. It’s great! I just get very frustrated that cartoon bosses somehow got in my Deus Ex soup.

  32. Tams80 says:

    Suggestions are the new complaints. It’s just that people put far more effort into complaints.

  33. johnpeat says:

    Complaining is fine when it’s for someone objective, quantifiable and demonstrable.

    The problem is that most of the complaining re: games in the internet is just people complaining that a game wasn’t the game they imagined in their head – or something which is tangential to the game like DRM or their brand of GPU or something like that.

    Worse still are the people who then defend the game, not because it’s not guilty of what it’s accused of, just because they are ‘fans’ of the game or the developer or whatever.

    It’s like primary school really – the arguments tend to be not that well made, highly entitled and ultimately pointless…

  34. Shooop says:

    Right on.

    Serious Sam 3 has 16 player co-op. Wouldn’t have 4 been acceptable? Probably. But the devs went above and beyond to make what would have been just great mind-blowing.

    I hear the developers of Overgrowth actively read alpha impressions and fix the problems as they go along.

    Complaints aren’t just YouTube comments that read, “LOL DIS SuXors!” They can be mature, well thought out critiques that point out something that just isn’t working and should be fixed since they’re asking you to pay them for it.

    • Archonsod says:

      Yeah, the difference is whether what you’re getting from it is about the game or the person making the criticism.

    • Shooop says:

      @ poop II:

      True, that’s something this article smartly covered. Something could always be better. So we should push for it.

      But in that specific instance I was referring to things that make a game broken/difficult to even run. Bad Company 2 is a prime example – at launch the full copy was in worse shape then its beta. For a $50 game from a major company that’s totally unacceptable. Everyone had every reason to dog EA and DICE for incompetence because they sold something that did not work. It took them over a month to make it actually run, and several more to get it running as well as their beta did. Think about it for a moment: their beta was better than the official retail release.

      That is what I consider total laziness and incompetence.

      Everyone has even more reason to slam Ubisoft for the From Dust controversies because they attempted to cover up and deny there even was a problem. That’s not good business practice no matter what industry you’re in.

      The Dead Island botched release on the other hand was something people can laugh off because it was handled properly and everyone did get what they paid for in a timely manor – a working game that may or may not have met their expectations in terms of gameplay quality. And of course we can point out those deficiencies as well but not be self-serving jerks in the process.

      Unless you’re a GameSpot poster. Then you’re doomed to be a jerk no matter what.

  35. JackShandy says:

    I’m dissapointed that this is the only post with the “Blatherings” tag. More of this sort of thing!

  36. yoggesothothe says:

    Gah, reply fail (didn’t post under the comment!)

  37. YourMessageHere says:

    I agree with Kuchera only in that the negativity out there can be really sapping at times. However, I really think that moderators of forums and comments threads have a lot to answer for here. There’s lots of places where the mods will kick or ban you for swearing, but leave you to absolutely abuse the hell out of something or someone for no reason other than your personal pleasure, just so long as you don’t use BAD WORDS to do it. There’s also the ones where they’ll instantly brain you with the banhammer if you post links to anything they don’t personally like, or if you post a perfectly ordinary picture that’ll take a few seconds to load on a 56k modem, or even the ones who engage in rampant and blatant factionalism.

    If mods simply deleted posts containing only unconstructive criticism, or replaced them with (whingeing deleted) or something, or maybe had unmoderated areas for people to rant in, I can’t help thinking internets would be more pleasant places generally and the impression people like Kuchera take away would also improve. People love to complain, but in reality, if you try to rant like internet commentators do, you’ll quickly get into an argument. Just letting people spout venom unchecked and thinking people will just ignore it if they don’t agree isn’t really sensible.

    Also, bonus just to annoy poop II: entitled.

  38. goosnargh says:

    Complaint/Suggestion. Complestion:

    Long paragraphs on RPS would be a lot easier to read if
    div#left-column div.block p { line-height: 1.3em; }
    was changed to
    <div#left-column div.block p { line-height: 1.6em; }

  39. Tei says:

    I can’t read everyone comments about this. And only quickly read the OP (maybe I sould not be posting?).

    But I disagree on the general idea.

    I really hate wen everyone is complaining about everything, and It feels like everything I read is a complain. I even feel myself compelled to contribute to that, with my own complains. And I don’t like that.
    I don’t even like how sometimes I feel forced to have a opinion about everything. Sometimes I want to not have a opinion about a game, to have a huge emptiness where I would normally have a opinion. To delay judgement forever, and only talk about impressions, just talk about what I feel on my fingers, or what make a game feel. Excessive analysis separate me from the thing I am supposedly enjoying. Is not what I want to do. I want to enjoy the thing themselves, not analize it.

  40. spruce says:

    The Ars Technica article reads as embarrassing to me. The defensiveness and hostility towards genuine criticism shows how young gaming is as an art form. When you go to art school, your first year is rough as your professors and peers critique your work, taking it apart as a group, with you sitting there, having to endure what feels like a public shaming and attack on your abilities. By the fourth year, it’s old hat and if you’ve got good people around you, it’s something desirable and even if there are people who don’t care for your work consistently, you know who they are and they’re probably just coming from a different place. If they dog your work, you can dismiss it without taking it personally. The video game industry is pretty much in the ‘first year art student’ phase of its development. Look at any other artistic medium and you’ll not see anything like the hand-wringing and outright crying that we get from gamers and devs with hurt feelings when people trash what they love.

    That said, gaming has its own particular awkwardness to overcome, as an artistic medium. It’s one that’s trying to come to terms with the fact that it was originally made, more or less, for entertaining children. It was a toy that adults were supposed to put down when they grew up, but now just as many adults play as children. Children and adults overlap on many games, especially the bigger titles, and sadly, when they comment on the internet, it can be hard to tell them apart due to anonymity (or just stunted social development). What I’m saying is, if you’re taking comments on the internet as serious, well thought-out criticism of anything, you’re probably fretting over the squawkings of a hormonally imbalanced adolescent who is not going to offer anything valid in the way of criticism. Yes, you’re right, people do shit on anything, given half a chance, but you’re a fool for giving any credence to most internet comments. You have to work to find the insightful ideas.

    If you can’t handle legitimate criticism from genuine game critics (though that’s still a very small group of people) then you are just being a baby. People don’t always like the same things you like, and just because they find flaws in what was a perfect experience for you, doesn’t mean they are negative nellies. Calling out something like the lackluster boss battles in Deus Ex is extremely important, because it was a cynical decision, probably made by some dumb suit with more clout than sense. People who give things five stars to everything are just as bad as people who give one star to everything. There’s nothing useful there.

    • Archonsod says:

      Gaming was never invented as toys for children, unless the US has some very lax laws when it comes to employing children in laboratories. And they all got IBM mainframes as christmas presents.

      The point of the article isn’t anything to do with legitimate complaining. Legitimate complaints are fine, what he’s complaining about is the propensity of people to mash out death threats against someone for the simple reason that they disagreed with their review. That’s not legitimate criticism, that’s the kind of behaviour that usually results in a stay in the nearest psychiatric ward.

    • Yzzerdd says:

      What article did you read? He starts the thing off by going off about anyone that is critical of drm and Deus Ex HR’s boss fights and racism. I don’t see anything about death threats over review scores. If you think DRM and thrown in boss fights aren’t legitimate complaints then I really don’t know what to tell you.

    • Urthman says:

      I’ve never seen a game trashed as badly as Duke Nukem Forever.

      I’ve seen hundreds of movies trashed more harshly than Duke Nukem Forever.

      Game developers are absolutely coddled by fans and the press compared with movie makers.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Yzzerdd

      His article wasn’t specific to DX:HR it was talking on a general level. Fundamentally though game criticism is easy as hell when you’re measuring it again a fictionalized ideal. It’s A piece of cake to head into ‘I am disappoint’ territory if your entire gauge is wholly unrealistic regarding what can actually be achieved with budgets, timescales & most importantly today’s technology.

  41. undead dolphin hacker says:

    Brilliant article. The Ars one, that is.

    Review commenters disgust mee and only serve to perpetuate the notion that gamers are petulant, entitled manchildren with seriously unhappy lives that cause them to churn with sexually frustrated anger. And the fact they lack any kind of social skills, of course.

    The circlejerk of DRM hate is absolutely a justification for piracy 99% of the time. Valve made it hard for you to steal and so you cry like it’s some kind of moral violation.

    Modern gaming culture is not a celebration of quality. It’s a pathetic world populated by pathetic male thirtysomethings where hate is hip and appreciation of anything new is lame.

    • Yzzerdd says:

      Where is this massive circljerk over Valve’s DRM you speak of? Has anyone really been mad of it getting in the way of piracy? DRM is usually broken day one so it’s not a problem for pirates it’s a problem is people that buy the game which can and has caused a myriad number of problems. Steam’s DRM has to my knowledge not caused many issues that’s why it doesn’t get called out as much.

  42. Dominic White says:

    I agree that coherent criticism is a good thing, and that some stuff – like oppressive DRM that actually genuinely gets between the player and the game – is well worth complaining about.

    That said, gamers in general have gotten noticably more grumpy and bitter over the past five years. Even RPS started out quite a mellow and happy place and has slowly become increasingly moany and angry. There even seems to be a widening divide beween game critics (who I’ve found tend to be far more inclined to enjoy something, even if it is flawed) and the people who comment on them.

    Perhaps it’s just the internet. It genuinely seems to have become a less pleasant place to talk about the things you like.

    So consider me in agreement with both articles, to a point.

  43. Cinnamon says:

    It’s always a bit funny to see people with a voice who are used to laying down their opinions on people like they were a force of nature get annoyed when other people without a voice try to do the same. How dare they go off message. I just think that sometimes we could all be a little better off if we didn’t take some things so personally and I think that the lighter more positive tone of RPS is something worth keeping in general.

  44. Vinraith says:

    Well done, Jim, I couldn’t agree more. The notion that criticism and complaint are a bad thing for a medium is baffling and, when looked at from a certain angle, somewhat chilling as well. If no one fights the good fights, nothing changes, and the medium (at best) stagnates. If no one complains about DRM, consumer rights continue to erode, and eventually we end up somewhere that even the “OMG entitlement!” brigade finds unacceptable. Complaint in general is a good, and terribly important, thing even if there may be countless examples of it being done stupidly/wrongly.

  45. Betamax says:

    It’s definitely hard to disagree with Jim in principle, although as a (vast) whole I find the gaming community tends to go beyond any pretense of constructive criticism a little too often. One thing I’ve noticed is that quite often certain games get marked for either overwhelming positivity or nigh hysterical negativity, a mark which ends up colouring almost all discourse on that title.

    This wouldn’t be too bad if it merely resulted in an increased flow of reasonable criticism, dissection, and appropriate praise; however it tends to end up bringing various group agendas to the surface which obscure any hope of having a reasonable conversation on the topic.

    Essentially people will ‘pile on’ to a likely target should it receive some harsh criticsm in some areas, resulting in mass attempts to legitimise various gripes both petty and legitimate and often leaving the average poster unsure where they stand. It can work the other way too, with some games getting almost sickening praise across the board for a handful handled features, but it feels more noticable when it’s negative, and no doubt that has caused a bit of a backlash from those people who are fed up of seeing what seems to be overriding negativity of (what are often) quite good games in most respects.

    I find this understandable seeing as how some forums I’ve frequented are so full of venomous sniping, ignorant rants and general hostility (those speaking up for the game as well, but primarily those dissatisfied) that it’s hard to stomach posting there.

    Perhaps that’s how it should be if a release has displeased a great enough quantity of people and come under fire for legitimate issues, but it certainly doesn’t feel like we are getting anywhere constructive waging a war of snarky remarks over the internet.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Betamax

      “One thing I’ve noticed is that quite often certain games get marked for either overwhelming positivity or nigh hysterical negativity, a mark which ends up colouring almost all discourse on that title.”

      Definitely. I think after a certain amount of time particular memes begin to arise with titles and then tend to proflierate without necessarily any real investigation into their origins or their actual validity by those who spread them at times. I’d also say that there’s a case of J’accuse that needs to be brought against certain games journalists who take those memes as a concensus of opinion that they encourage rather than necessarily examining them. For example common opinion is that the boss fights in DX:HR are all horrendous, now that’s certainly not an opinion I disagree with, but there are certainly gamers I know who don’t subscribe to that position at all.

  46. Namos says:

    I think the point Ben is making is that we never seem to stop to celebrate the amazing stuff. There’s always a new game to murder in an exultation of negativity.
    Do we really need such an amazing disparity in the negativity/positivity ratio to drive progress? Frankly, I find the raging bigotry of many commenters on gaming websites to be a much more depressing portent for the industry than any specific flaw in a specific game.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      “Amazing” is ever subjective. Lots of AAA games are “amazing” from a technical perspective as the logical evolution of graphical sophistication from evolving technology, even though they wont be considered amazing ten years from now. The Transformers movies are amazing to a certain type of moviegoer, but some people find different things “amazing” in movies.

      Sometimes you just have to accept that what is amazing to you is not to someone else. For instance, I find Dwarf Fortress “amazing”. I find the graphics in the latest jingoist manshoot “predictable”, and Im never going to stop trying to steer attention to the games I find personally “amazing” at the expense of those I don’t. I’m never going to find a lot of AAA games “amazing, and I’m not going to pretend that I do just because they are new and topical.

      There’s nothing I can say to convince you Im saying this out of sincerity rather than a desire to cultivate an air of elitism, so I wont try. One must remember,though, it is always possible one is not acknowledging an “amazing” game du jour, because they simply don’t find it so.

    • Vinraith says:

      When the game’s amazing, who can be bothered to take time away from playing it to talk about it on the internet?

      Seriously, I do think this is part of the problem. Negative opinion on a game compels comment, frankly it’s about the only thing you can do with a negative feeling about a game. Positive feeling about a game, on the other hand, generally compels playing the game, at least when possible. If negative and positive opinion about something are equally balanced you’re going to see more of the negatives on fora simply because so many of the positives will be off playing the game.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Furthermore, I reject the premise that we never stop to appreciate the “amazing” achievements in gaming. Just a couple days ago on RPS there was a piece for readers to talk about their favorite game environments, and it was a huge, overwhelmingly positive thread, with people speaking earnestly about games young and old.

      The problem is, some people expect us to do the same for games that simply haven’t earned it.

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah, it’s crazy talk to say people never praise games. I’d say the majority of complaints are accompanied by praise for a game that did it better. “Why can’t game X do this? Game Y did it years ago and was awesome.”

      And there are tons of threads and articles at RPS and elsewhere that people go off on their favorite games and why they’re so great.

      I have a huge backlog of great games. So I want every review to be as nitpicky as possible, helping me weed out everything but the very, very best. I just don’t have time for merely good games.

    • Namos says:

      But it’s precisely this idea that subjectivity determines everything which drives the very negative nature of most discourse about games. Graphics aren’t everything, certainly. But that doesn’t mean they’re nothing. At the very least, they’re the product of the work of hundreds of people, in the case triple A games. To the best of their ability, they’ve built a world. And the “graphics are meaningless” crowd happily goes spitting by on all that hard work. Well done! What an affirmation of life!

      I don’t see what gives people the right to ground and hurl that much bile at anything that does not meet their very subjective expectations. I can see the argument Jim is making, but I think the idea that negative dissatisfaction is the only engine of progress is a bit faulty. I’d much rather developers be craftsmen, seeking to improve their work for the sake of the artistry and their own satisfaction, than laborers striving to produce a product that will satisfy an angry mob.

      Sure, there are exceptions that prove the rule. But that’s exactly what they are. RPS is a wonderful site, which is why I’m a subscriber and why I have a giant league of legends ad staring at me right now instead of the smoothness of adblock. And even though RPS also has cases of baseless negativity (the comments made against any game that has an art style that could be even slightly construed as WoW-like or anime-ish come to mind), I still believe in the basic cause of this site, i.e. celebrating and upholding the wonder and glory of PC gaming.

      In summation, does gaming need negativity? Definitely. Does it need the huge amount we have right now? I doubt it very much.

    • Kadayi says:

      ” I can see the argument Jim is making, but I think the idea that negative dissatisfaction is the only engine of progress is a bit faulty.”

      Seconded. All games are built within the frame of ‘what we can achieve’ compromises when it comes to budget, time, (wo)manpower, resources and technological constraints. So that the idea that developers are somehow blissfully unaware of their products own shortcomings and are only likely to learn about them from the ravings of a dissatisfied player base is kind of off the mark. I don’t think any developer out there intentionally plans on making a shit game, sometimes though they hit a limitation in what can be achieved.

  47. Burky says:

    may i just say that poop II’s contributions to these comments are excellent ENTITLEMENT

    • Burky says:

      and also that you can summarise everything that’s wrong with the arse technica article by imagining an art critic from another medium going “hey guys stop criticising, EVERYTHING IS FINE!” and realising what an incredibly baseless and unprofessional statement that would be

    • Jazz42 says:

      ENCHANTMENT?

    • Lipwig says:

      hey poop ii we over at The Internet Forum really value your contributions to this thread and want to see more.

      come join

      http://www.conquerorworm.net/index.php

    • pipman3000 says:

      no ben’s right games should have the exact same positions towards criticism as the people on deviantart.

      games should contain nothingbut rainbow coloured sparkledogs and drm would just be a big ass watermark plastered in the middle of the screen and a disclaimer that says do not steal.

      NOCRITCISM NOT EVEN ONCE

    • Cinnamon says:

      Rose tinted entitlement is standing in the way of the art medium monetisation of the experiences enjoyed by the sort of person you actually find when looking at who buys games in a walmart in America compared to internet comments. That’s why you should only post positive messages on games websites.

  48. Big Murray says:

    Everything we have as human beings comes from someone looking at something amazing and saying “Wow … if only it could be even better …”

    • Berzee says:

      And a good many of the amazing things we still have around today are from people who looked at an amazing thing and thought:

      Oh no! I better shelter this before it gets discarded in favor of something “better”.

    • pipman3000 says:

      Yeah fucking “better” shit fuck your “better” stuff I like my herbal medicine go to heal you damn “doctors”

    • Yzzerdd says:

      That’s why we should always look at it as more and black and white. Sometimes a new thing can be great sometimes it can be complete shit. Whether it’s for the best or not everyone should always ask themselves if they could make it better, even if it turns out terrible there is the chance you or someone else will have a hard look at it and turn into something incredible.

  49. Solskin says:

    I read his point more as there is too much complaining, which I very much agree with. That is not to say that all complaining is bad, but just that too much of it is taken too far. I for one would like to hate humnity less when reading forums/comments.

    I’m not saying there isn’t well-thought, constructive and valid complaints being made by sensible people, I’m saying that they’re being drowned by the countless posts and comments of internet-rage and fury, and I think that’s a shame.
    We can strive for better games, give contstructive critisism and complain when needed in a more sensible way and without making every game developer out there dread checking the forums.

    • pipman3000 says:

      “The ratio of critics to creators is something like 10,000:1. The ratio of good critics to bad: 1:10,000, where “good” means “Helps to advance the art.” ” – a great man

  50. alilsneaky says:

    I usually like ars.
    But if they think high input lag, terrrible framerates, screen tearing, buggy releases, dumbing down EVERYTHING, DRM, 59 dollar releases +DLC etc are somehow awesome then I don’t know what to say to them…

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