Adventure reviewing/criticism - how?

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Gareth Rees

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May 8, 1993, 9:23:14 PM5/8/93
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When reviewing or criticising a book, it is necessary and wise to refer in some
detail to the plot, events and characters that make up the book. I don't imagine
that there are many people who find their enjoyment of a novel is spoiled by
knowing in advance a broad outline of what the book is about. But equally
obviously a reviewer needs to take care when the plot depends upon tricks
or twists or surprises.

But when criticising an adventure game, everything in the game is a twist or
trick or surprise and even knowing a little of what the game is about can spoil
the joy of having solved a problem all by oneself. I felt able to talk about
Planetfall in detail because it's ten years old and because there are likely to
be plenty of people who will have completed the game (or played it and given
up in disgust) and so won't have it spoiled.

How then, can one go about reviewing a new adventure game?

--
Gareth Rees <gd...@phx.cam.ac.uk>

Marc Sira

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May 8, 1993, 10:59:27 PM5/8/93
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In a previous article, gd...@cl.cam.ac.uk (Gareth Rees) says:

>When reviewing or criticising a book, it is necessary and wise to refer in some
>detail to the plot, events and characters that make up the book. I don't imagine
>that there are many people who find their enjoyment of a novel is spoiled by
>knowing in advance a broad outline of what the book is about. But equally
>obviously a reviewer needs to take care when the plot depends upon tricks
>or twists or surprises.

Actually, I find many book reviews (and worse, film reviews) give away things
that I really would rather not have known. As a result I rarely read book
reviews, and only pay attention to film reviews from one or two people who
I trust not to spoil my fun (and whose opinions generally mesh with mine :).

>But when criticising an adventure game, everything in the game is a twist or
>trick or surprise and even knowing a little of what the game is about can spoil
>the joy of having solved a problem all by oneself. I felt able to talk about
>Planetfall in detail because it's ten years old and because there are likely to
>be plenty of people who will have completed the game (or played it and given
>up in disgust) and so won't have it spoiled.
>
>How then, can one go about reviewing a new adventure game?

It's an interesting point. Basically in much the same way as one would review
a mystery novel or the like, I suppose. You can certainly talk about the
technicalities of the interface in a fairly objective way, and even about the
quality of the writing (assuming there is writing; if not it's some nasty
On-Line thing that I wouldn't touch anyway ;). So you can mention the
relative intelligence of the parser, the presence or lack of bugs, etc. Beyond
that you have to really censor yourself, giving a brief story outline (or just
a setting) and describing how well you think the story fits together, etc.
(pure opinion, obviously). Most writers will inevitably mess this up, which
is why the whole area of arts criticism is 90% tripe.

Pure opinion, obviously. ;)

--
Marc Sira |
aa...@freenet.carleton.ca | "Your god drinks...p-p-peach nectar."
t...@micor.ocunix.on.ca '

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