Robert Ramnauth, Nightmare Mode: “Characters that Count”
This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do it right. Shadow of the Colossus came out eight years ago, and Robert has absolutely zero interest in spoiling it for anyone who either hasn’t played it yet or hasn’t finished it. As it should be. Nicely done, Robert.
A Post About Spoiler Alerts, for the Easily Confused.
Apparently there’s been some confusion about my post earlier this week concerning Kotaku’s inclusion of a spoiler alert in a republished article about Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. A couple of people - incomprehensibly bizarre individuals with the reading skills of a recently concussed mollusk - read this post from earlier in the week and came to the rather bizarre conclusion that I was, haha, complaining that Kotaku had included a spoiler alert.
I thought my comment in the post made it rather clear that I wasn’t mocking their use of a spoiler alert but rather mocking their inconsistency with regards to posting spoilers - they’ll give readers a Head’s Up on content containing spoilers for games that have been out for a month, but if the game isn’t out yet then their readers can go fuck themselves.
My comment in the original post was fairly simple and rather neatly summed up my feelings on the matter, but as some people apparently aren’t able to parse short simple sentences and require longer, much more detailed commentary, I shall provide it.
Kotaku deigned to include a spoiler alert in their Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception post for two reasons: Firstly, and arguably most importantly, it’s actually a Pop Matters post written by Scott Juster, republished with permission by Kotaku (writing this kind of thought-provoking content isn’t really Kotaku’s forté).
Secondly, as the game had already been out for three weeks at the time of posting, there was no need for them to post a spoiler warning. Y’see, Kotaku makes its money from ad revenue, which is generated by pageviews. Kotaku has three ways of getting eyeballs on its site: Being the first to break news, producing (or republishing) thought-provoking or eyecatching content, or stirring up controversy.
The latter is something they’re quite good at, and they will even commend their writers for stirring up controversy that brings in pageviews. Ultimately they don’t care how they do it, so long as people are looking at their website and, in turn, the ads they run.
I called attention to the spoiler in the Drake’s Deception post because had the post been original Kotaku content, and had a post containing spoilers for the game been published before the game’s release, there wouldn’t have been a spoiler alert. We’d have been looking at a repeat of the Arkham City spoiler kerfuffle.
I wasn’t mocking Scott Juster. If Scott feels I was doing so then I offer my apologies, although we’ve spoken briefly on Twitter and he doesn’t seem like he’s terribly offended.
If anyone misinterpreted my post as deriding a man for including a spoiler alert then, well, maybe there’s a reason for that. Perhaps you’re new here, in which case it can’t be helped. Perhaps you genuinely are a recently-concussed mollusk, in which case I’m astounded you’re able to read let alone put together a coherent argument.
But if you’re not a new reader and you’re not a lophotrochozoa with a headwound, I find myself having to ask: What do you think this blog is for? Because if you think it’s for shitting on people who are doing a good job, as Scott undoubtedly was, then perhaps you’ve misinterpreted not just my post but the purpose of the entire site.
IGN’s Greg Miller has no idea why his Dead Space 2 review sucks. Allow me to explain.
SPOILER ALERT: The review in question contains spoilers for both Dead Space and Dead Space 2, so if you’ve yet to play/finish either game I suggest you give his review and this critique of it a miss.
Have you read IGN’s review of Dead Space 2, published at the tail end of last week? If you haven’t, allow me to offer my appraisal of the work: It’s a terribly-written, poorly-constructed mess of a review that, as many have pointed out, reads like it was penned by nine year-old with a marketing degree.
In the past I have often vomited a link up to a review, said “This is shit”, and then sauntered off to the bank with yet another cheque for one million internet monies. My recent shift in direction prevents me from doing that, not that I would for such a special review, however rather than simply leave you with the link I will provide you with some excerpts. Prepare to have your mind blown:
Dead Space 2 is an amazing game. I’m going to write about its scary moments, cool kills, and how much I dig the main character’s internal struggle, but Dead Space 2 is about more than this. When I beat it for the first time, I sat on the couch with my heart racing and dissected the journey I had just taken. Then, I started my second playthrough, and when that was done, I jumped into a new game for the third time. Dead Space 2 is just that good.
Dead Space 2 is really good. I like Dead Space 2 and after I played it I played it again, and then a third time. Dead Space 2 is my favourite game - Greg, aged 9 and a harf
It’s been three years since the events of the first game, but protagonist Isaac Clarke still can’t catch a break. At the beginning of Dead Space 2, he wakes on a space station known as the Sprawl and finds the place is overwhelmed by an outbreak of reanimated corpses called Necromorphs. From the very first moment of the game, Isaac’s fighting for his life.
I know many game critics get excited about the prospect of seeing excerpts of their review on the back of the box, but they usually stop short of writing their own blurb for the game in the reviews.
The overarching goal is to find and destroy the religious idol (known as the Marker) causing all of this, but the story that makes Dead Space 2 great is the internal war Isaac’s fighting. Unlike Uncharted’s Nathan Drake who can kill a few hundred pirates and never seem worn down by it, Isaac is totally ruined by the events of the original Dead Space. He saw things no man should have to during his time on the spaceship USG Ishimura, but it’s the fact that Isaac’s girlfriend died on the vessel after he encouraged her to work there that really haunts him.
I haven’t played the original Dead Space yet, and now I don’t have to. IGN - Every Little Helps.
Here, Greg can be seen practicing his hand at writing the dialog for a SyFy original TV movie:
Isaac’s losing his mind in Dead Space 2. The guilt is tearing his very sanity apart.
He’s losing his mind and having his sanity torn apart. Those are two very different, very distinct things!
But I have lots of favorite parts to Dead Space 2.
Dead Space 2 is pretty much the best haunted house attraction ever.
You misspelt “bestest”.
As much fun as all that is, the “go here and do this” structure does hamper the overarching story. The part about Isaac wrestling his demons is awesome, but the narrative driving the search for the Marker is a bit flat in comparison. Different characters are just popping up to tell you to go there and do that.
Skip to the end…
Dead Space 2’s single-player is so good, you shouldn’t question picking this game up.
I’m starting to think that Greg’s understanding of the English language is somewhat limited.
I could easily keep going. I could explain in more detail about how the general tone and quality of the writer doesn’t really seem up to snuff, and that I’ve read better reviews written by people who review games in their spare time than I have from this so-called professional. I could quite happily tear into the shift between marketing copy and the “I like clipper ships” style, and the use of and cookie-cutter turns of phrase and clichés.
I could do all of these things, and if the story were simply “paid writer pens amateur review” than I probably would. But it doesn’t end there.
Some time after posting the review, Greg posted on his IGN blog concerning the response that the review’s had from the people over at Reddit. In his post, lovingly entitled “Well, now I know what Reddit is”, he says this:
One of the hot Reddit topics of late has been “DAE think a middle school kid reviewed Dead Space 2 for IGN?” If you missed it, I reviewed Dead Space 2 for IGN and am not in middle school. I’ve breezed through the 470-plus Reddit posts, and I find myself irritated. No, I’m not irritated that people are sourpusses about my review or that they don’t like me; I’m upset because no one is telling me why my review sucks.
Greg then goes on to explain that he thinks - he thinks - that the problem is “people are most upset that I started a paragraph with “but” and that I said the game is scary”. Very much not the case, Greg - the problem is that the entire effort smacks of someone who put very little effort into the review at all.
Presumably at some point after you finished writing it, you sat down and re-read it. You were okay with the review in this form. At no point did it occur to you that at some point someone would read the review and think, “Hang on, did an adult write this? Because if so… damn.” This, I think, is part of the problem.
Of course, that you don’t get what the problem is after having people explicitly tell you in no uncertain terms suggests to me that you’ve either a suffered serious head injury or that you are, and I don’t want to mince words here, stone cold retarded.
Greg didn’t see the error of his ways. Presumably he still hasn’t. Instead, here’s what Greg took from the ordeal:
So, there are two things to take away from this blog post, folks.
1) When something pisses you off about IGN or you see an error, don’t be vague about it. My email is email@example.com. I hate typos and things that make the site look bad. I actually had a typo in the Dead Space 2 review, but readers pointed it out to me as soon as it went live and I got it fixed. I’m human and screw up all the time. I want you to point the flubs out to me. Feel free to go to a message board and bitch about how much IGN sucks, but then drop me a line so I can correct it.
2) Sign up for Reddit. Two years from now I’m going to be on Reddit and hear about XongleBongle.com and go “What the fuck is XongleBongle.com?” and then it’s going to be the next big thing. Get in on the ground floor of this stuff.
This man is a paid professional, folks.