Gamasutra: Josh Bycer’s Blog-The Impact of Video Game Criticism

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For the past eight years at Game-Wisdom, I’ve been trying to raise a debate about the implications of studying game design beyond just reviews. That means digging deeper into whether the game design works, but some still think it’s impossible. We do not automatically judge the design because of the quality of the game. Today, I’d like to dig deeper into what it means to study and critique game design and why developers welcome this level of analysis.

Measurement design

In my last post, I explained the implications of reviewing game design and how it differs from traditional game reviews. We are focusing on the following questions:

  1. What is the developer’s intention?
  2. Are there any elements that get in the way?
  3. Does the game keep investing players to the end?

Our goal is to look at the gameplay to see if anyone has enough to keep investing to the end. In a recent post, I talked about using achievements to track the progress of players in the game, but that’s the growth since then.

Analyzing design requires a specific understanding of UI / UX, game design, and video games in general.I said this before — there are both arts And science Regarding game design. Developers and fans tend to ignore the science part when watching the game. When considering a title design, it doesn’t matter how many copies are sold, how many praises are earned, or whether fans and critics call it the “best game of all time.”

Making a successful video game is not magic, nor is it hoping to shoot blindly and hit something in the dark. When all games with both good and bad titles are released, the pattern of success begins to be understood and can be taken into account when it comes to analyzing the game.

How criticism helps

Another important point time —Your video game is not special.. It doesn’t matter if you have an idea in your dreams, or if it’s the number one game played on Twitch, how long you’ve spent it. Being able to see something objectively is a talent in itself, and there is very little you can do with your work.

That’s why it’s important to do playtests and study game design. In my performance analysis article, I talked about how critics’ loved ones have terrifying play time and completion rates by fans, even though they only get praise.

Here’s a dirty little secret-if you know what you’re looking for, finding game design issues isn’t hard. Even if you can check the quality of the game within 30 minutes, that’s not what I’m conceited about. It’s the time it takes to find these issues.. Problems that keep people away from the game are rarely hidden within the first few hours of gameplay, but appear within the first few minutes of play. By the way, this is why players often drop significantly in the first hour or so of the game. That’s because if the problem is annoying after 10 minutes, it will stay that way for the rest of the game.

In the final section, we’ll look at one of the most difficult parts of assessing game design criticism. What’s the point of that?

Goal of criticism

Part of the opposition to criticism comes from fandom culture. People who value the products they consume see criticism as an attack on them, not as a good thing. Many of my designs for very successful games have been attacked by fans, and a common complaint is “I’m not good at games” or “I just hate popular ones.”

Another problem with fandom is those who see all kinds of criticism as just an attack on their manager or studio. This is a matter of “reactionary” culture on Twitch and YouTube, often turning the debate into a bitriol-fueled rant.

There are many indie games with a very enthusiastic fan base that considers judgments on the title as attacks and insults them. I had a question on my discord channel about these kinds of games. Is criticism important to them too? Is it important for the game to point out the problem if the fan base is very strong and very supportive of the game?

I insist, Yes, And that’s at the heart of why game critique is essential to me and to you. Regardless of the game, there is always a limit to the number of consumers available to buy and support it. All issues, intentional or unintentional in the title, reduce the number of potential buyers. Games with the most enthusiastic fans often have very low Steam sales and reviews. In today’s market, no one suffers from games they don’t like. Anyone who suffers from the game can get a refund within 2 hours. never Watch them buy the game again from you.

If we could make a simple improvement to the game or a title that could double or triple the eyes of the people playing it, it could be huge for indie studios. Our goal is to eliminate as many title issues as possible so that the core gameplay loop is fully visible. Again, this isn’t magic, it just understands what attracts and keeps consumers in the game. So many developers don’t understand or ignore the basics of game design and often confuse why titles aren’t selling.

Being able to examine the game critically regardless of the popularity of the game is an essential feature of game criticism.

Release of video games is always dangerous and it is the developer’s responsibility to do what they can to mitigate those risks. It can be achieved with good design, playtesting of problems, and, of course, proper marketing of the game. Show me a game where developers don’t understand why people don’t buy it. You can solve the mystery within 30 minutes.

Another reason criticism is important is for the developers themselves. Understanding why a game succeeds or doesn’t succeed is essential to growing as a designer. If you’re playing the same game (and the same mistakes) over and over again, “just make a video game” isn’t useful advice. Game design is a craft, and like any other craft, you need to be able to improve it.

Having good criticism that you can learn is worth its weight in money for developers. There are so many games out there today that no one should try to build a new wheel in a talking way. The ability to study design and use that information has been part of the success of studios such as Nintendo and Blizzard. Even being able to objectively say what worked and what didn’t work in the game is an important first step.

The future of video game criticism

In my opinion, criticism of game design is becoming more important year by year. The days when only a few people could hope to find your game organically are over. If you want your game to succeed, not just, you need to understand if your design works.

There’s a reason to see the entire library from the studio, Not only their biggest hit When talking about how successful they are. I often see studios with one good game still out of business. Often, it is due to one of two reasons:

  1. Their first game was an important loved one, but they drove many out because of problems such as lack of a fan base for other titles or not enough fans to keep the studio.
  2. They had a successful game, but didn’t understand why it was so successful, so they chased other designs and burned out in the process (or through their finances).

Again, video games are neither magic nor a mystery to solve. Not everyone will be the next Sid Meier, Hideo Kojima, or choose a well-known developer. The goal is “very simple”. It’s about making a game that you can keep making. As we said, it doesn’t mean that you’re happy with 100 sales on steam, but that it grows as a designer and your studio to become a name you can recognize. .. I hate to point this out, but I need to finish this work. It doesn’t matter if you create the best game ever, even if no one plays it and then goes out of business.

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