"I also trust only myself. I believe that the revievers from the multi-platform sites such as IGN, Gamespot, Gamespy, Avault, et al are really nothing more than a bunch of frat boys afraid of their futures.
Seriously, look at any review of a complex game and all they do is whine about how hard it was for them to grasp the basic concepts.
The turning point for me was Homeworld. I bought the game based upon the stellar reviews it received from various sites, Gamespot included and I found it to be a huge disappointment. I never even bothered to play past the 3rd mission and, as a guy who finishes pretty much everything he starts, that's more than a little damning.
I realised then that the reviewers were not intelligent people, well versed in the history of PC gaming. Rather, they were the slack jawed Nintento addicts who would derided a game if it required even a modicum of thought and didn't provide instant gratification.
I knew these people would never speak to me or to the concepts of what I considered to be good game material and as such, I just ignore them. It does bother me that their reviews carry a lot of weight and that by valitating the kind of garbage that appeals to the simplest amoungst us, we will end up with even more shallow garbage a la GTA III and COD, I have accepted the fact that my interests will never jive with the mainstream.
I can only hope that there will continue to be a small, select band of developers who will continue to produce games of quality which require some thought to play and that things won't degrade to the level of Pong 3D with pixel shader 3.0 and bump mapping as the most important features."
These brilliantly misguided words were written by a poster in the pc forum today in a thread regarding the gaming publications' opinions we most trust. A lot of things immediately jumped to mind when I read these words, but I will not choose on this particular day to delve into the fallacious implication that the gaming press is overvalued and underqualified simply because some reviewers may disagree with his evaluation of a particular game. In fact, I will completely disregard the gauche reference to Homeworld, and ignore how using a complex, groundbreaking RTS as an archetype of Nintendo-fanboy bias is ludicrous and completely at odds with this nonsensical point. I will also stifle my laughter at the suggestion that my opinions of various games on several different platforms are somehow swayed by fratboy journalism, ignorant of pc gaming's past and unconcerned with real depth and quality.
Actually, the most preposterous notion in the writer's fascinating treatise is that which states that in order for a game to be good, it must be "complex," a word the poster threw out with such abandon it made me wonder if he truly understands the difference between complexity and depth. Granted, some of my favorite games include highly complex elements: Anarchy Online is still the most complicated MMO on the market, and its system of skills, perks, and implants makes the learning curve steep but ensures an enormous degree of avatar customization; Kingdom Under Fire brought combat and strategy together in an initially perplexing but ultimately satisfying Xbox title; and Rome: Total War followed in the steps of its vaunted predecessors with the deepest, most epic entry in the series.
It strikes me, though, that these complexities would be somewhat meaningless if they did not significantly impact the gameplay experience and contribute to any degree of enjoyability. Take, for example, Republic: The Revolution. Elixir created an overwhelmingly intricate strategy game as sophisticated as the solution to a quadratic equation - and about as enjoyable as explaining it in algebra class. Republic collapsed under the weight of its own erudition. This isn't to say it was too complex; far from it. However, Elixir was so terribly concerned with what was going on under the hood that they forgot to make it fun to drive.
The poster obviously finds GTA3 beneath his delicate sensibilities, and apparently Call of Duty gets the shaft too, so if these games prove to be too simplistic for him (laughable, really, considering the GTA series' obviously elaborate design), I send my condolences to him for missing out on some fantastic games, including many from the respected pc vaults he claims we reviewers have forgotten. Put aside, if you will, relatively simple and dazzling titles like Katamari Damacy, Ikaruga, and Diamond Mine, aka Bejeweled. Instead, take a trip down pc gaming's memory lane, stopping first at the classic text adventure. A lot of us gaming elders hold some of these games dear to out hearts, because they helped our imaginations create vivid alternate worlds in relatively few strokes. They did not, however, feature any kind of gameplay depth as we know it today, and we were left to create the images in our minds, the game itself a variety of goto/gosub subroutines and a database programmed to recognize a limited set of commands. Even my favorite classic pc game of all time, the still-wonderful Paradroid for the Commodore 64, was a load of fun but featured two simple elements: robot shooting and a cool circuit-controlling minigame. I adore the Ultima-brand innovations of yesteryear as much as the next fellow, but simplicity was as much a part of gaming's past as any other element, and mistaking straightforwardness for monotony is as ignorant as mistaking intricacy for excellence.
So if you will excuse me, I am going to roll some maidens and cows into a wayfaring clump. I'll take that over a Derek Smart spreadsheet simulation 8 days a week.