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UpInFlames Blog

One Of My Turns

I've mentioned being busy with a hobby/potential business project. Well, I am writing about games for an upstart Croatian website - Gost.hr (Guest.hr). It's not a gaming website, it's sort of a modern mainstream site. I'm running the gaming part of the site (GameGost) - I do pretty much everything - news, videos, whatever. I also thought that having coverage about free and free-to-play games is a good idea since that's the direction the industry is heading. I also decided to cover casual and social games (mostly Facebook). It's only PC gaming coverage for now, but in time we're planning to cover the entire game industry.

I think that the free/social/casual game coverage sets us apart not only from other Croatian game websites, but game websites, period.

Anyway, obviously you won't understand s***, but you can give it a quick glance just to see how it looks.

Your Poision

1UP: Crysis plays better on consoles.

Mods designed to enhance the appearance of the game seal the deal in favor of the PC in terms of graphics, but when you compare the unaltered original to the 360 version I played it's kind of a toss-up.

Kotaku: Crysis on consoles looks just about as good as the (un-modded) PC version of the game.

Is this really necessary? I mean, I'm sure that Crysis on consoles will look and play good, but do you really need to deceive your readers? These articles are designed to feed on the ignorance of people who simply never had the opportunity to play Crysis on PC. Mindless, unsubstantiated hype. It's nothing new for the gaming industry, but how long will we have to put up with these types of attempts at journalism?

But maybe when you suck console gamer c***, Crysis on consoles really looks and plays better than the PC version. Just be wary of mouth deformation.

Becoming Less Defined As Days Go By

I've been in some kind of a gaming slump for a few months now and it seems to be getting worse. I just don't feel like playing anything. I've been literally forcing myself to finish Fallout: New Vegas, but the other day I just quit. It was boring the hell out of me. I don't know what's the matter, really. I don't think I lost interest as I still visit my regular game websites every day.

I've been busier than usual, though. Lots of work lately. The weather's been nice so I've been going to the beach. Going out and having a few beers with friends. Looking for a new car and contemplating getting a chopper. Planning a trip to America. Watching a LOT of The Sopranos. Most notably, though, I've been busy with a hobby/potential business project which is actually game related.

But still, I've been busy before. I just don't feel like playing anything. So I've decided to just go with the flow and simply not play anything until I REALLY WANT to play something. Maybe some time off will bring back the urge. If not...well, so be it.

My Gaming Habits - 2010

Hours Played: 1265

  • Most Played: Forza Motorsport 3 - 177 hours
  • Least Played: Portal / Garry's Mod / Halo 3 (2 hours)

Games Purchased: 57 ( 406€ )

  • Most Expensive: Red Dead Redemption ( 48€ )
  • Cheapest: Chime ( 1€ )

Games Played: 49

  • Highest Rated: Half-Life 2 / Team Fortress 2 / Civilization V (10/10)
  • Lowest Rated: Ancient Trader (1/10)

Games Finished: 39

Steam Suggestion

I posted the following on the official Steam Suggestions/Ideas board:

I'm sure that every Steam user has games that he/she doesn't want anymore for various reasons. Giving users the ability to gift owned games would probably result in the creation of a digital second-hand market which I wager is something that the publishers and Steam would want to avoid at all costs.

So the only thing that's left as an option is to allow users to trade-in games to Steam directly.

How would it work?

Users would receive about 20% refund of either the current or the paid price, whichever is lower (there's no sense in refunding 20% of a 50€ game if it was bought during a Steam sale or if it was bought years ago when its value was higher).

The refund would go directly into the user's Steam Wallet which would ensure that Steam ultimately gets that money back.

The result?

Users would be able to get rid of unwanted games and get something back, but more importantly, it would cause people to open up even further to digital distribution. I also think that people would be more receptive to fully-priced games instead of waiting for deals. This may not be so significant for high profile games such as Call of Duty, but lower profile/indie games would definitely profit from this.

I believe this would benefit both gamers and Steam greatly. Steam's sales/profits should increase as users would be more open to impulse buys and buying a game they're not quite sure about. Most likely people wouldn't be waiting for deals so much knowing that if they hate the game or something, they could still get something back for it. Then they would forward the money for another game - and so on.

Ideally, something like this is already in the works and this is the real intended purpose of Steam Wallet. If not, hopefully you will consider it.

What do you think?

The Art of Using the Coldness of Math as a Measurement of Enjoyment

A while ago, a certain thread in GGD had me question the logic of how I assign scores to games I've played and thus loved, enjoyed, had a pretty good time with or hated. I had a significantly large post all finished that had me talking about how I don't think a game has to be broken to receive a 4/10, how something polished can still be viewed as uninspired, souless and derivative, how a 4/10 still denotes a value of slightly below average, not terrible or broken...but then it dawned on me - how the hell can I say this when the bulk of my ratings are all crammed within a 8-10 radius?

So I've mulled it over, remembering how I was a bit disappointed that GameSpot didn't change their ratings to a simple 10 point scale - and then I just did it. I went ahead and re-rated almost all the games I ever rated on this website using a nice, sensible 10 point scale. To be perfectly honest, my ratings have never made more sense to me. I realized that I kinda hid behind the "competently-made" argument and gave inflated ratings to games I simply didn't enjoy as much to actually justify that rating. I gave BioShock an 8.5. I enjoyed it, but I was also immensely disappointed with it. I replay almost every game I own. I never had the smallest urge to replay BioShock. I never even considered getting BioShock 2. I actually sold BioShock, something I almost never do and I had the very nice metal boxed Limited Edition at that. 8.5? No, that sucker's a 6 - good, enjoyable, but disappointing and shallow. Alright for a one-time romp and nothing more. Don't even look at my Halo: Combat Evolved rating.

I kind of changed my whole perspective of looking at game ratings and brought it closer to how I used to review/rate music and movies when I wrote about them.

I suppose the biggest thing is to actually realize that it's a 1-10 scale. I mean, of course we all know it's a 1-10, but do we really grasp what it means? I had to remember how I used to rate music and movies and drive the point home so that my brain truly comprehends - out of ten. Out. Of. Ten. OUT OF ****ING TEN. A 5 or a 6 doesn't mean the game is devoid of any kind of enjoyment.

This is kind of what I have in my head:

  • 10 - Instant CIassic
  • 9 - Superb
  • 8 - Great
  • 7 - Very Good
  • 6 - Good
  • 5 - Alright
  • 4 - Subpar
  • 3 - Poor
  • 2 - Bad
  • 1 - Awful

That makes sense to me. I mean, if you go and find some of the things I said about BioShock, Gears of War or Halo: Combat Evolved and it's far from a wholly positive opinion - yet they all had very positive scores. And I mean, a 6 is still a positive(ish) score since it's in the UPPER half of the scale. It's just not overly positive for that game. I once totally trashed Yakuza in my blog. So why the hell did I give it a 5? I don't think it's ok, I don't think it's mediocre, if you will. I think it's pretty BAD.

To further illustrate my position, have a look at it in this way.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Tell me that doesn't make sense, tell me that I'm crazy.

So what about you? Do you look at ratings this way already? Did you change your view on this at some point? Do your run with the crowd? Have you ever even given this a thought at all? Do you care?