The Bitmob Mailbag is back and ready for your questions. If you want to be a part of the fun, submit a query to Letters@Bitmob.com subject: “Mailbag” and you just might get your question answered. There’s even a small chance it will be answered correctly!
I thought you guys might get a kick out of the Castle Crashers animal orb coasters my girlfriend and I made. Check 'em out:
Aaron: I played about ten minutes of Castle Crashers and thought it was pretty dumb. However, I don’t find those coasters to be dumb at all — they’re really cool! I think I like the angry-looking Cardinal the best, but the Troll is pretty awesome as well. Thanks for sharing, Alex!
This question always bothered me, mostly because I read so many old reviews of multiplayer games. Why don't reviewers re-review games that have been fixed through patches? Take MAG for instance. many reviews claimed that the game has a lot of potential, but as it is right now, it is not up to par. So, why do they not go back and re-review the game in 6 or so months when a few great updates might have fixed the game and turned it into a 9 instead of a 6 or 7?
I have seen many games launch with a massive amount of problems, and they get the reviews they deserve. Then, through the magic of updates, the game is redeemed, but the review score does not change. This means that potential customers may never know that the game has been vastly improved, and this completely alienates the developers who worked hard to enhance it. I understand it may be hard to go back and review old games a second time when a reviewer has a pile of new games for review rising quickly on his desk. However, today’s technology allows for games to continue to improve, and it should be a reviewer’s job to change a score if a patch significantly improves the experience.
There is no need for reviewers to go back and re-review a game every time a patch is released, but games that have been drastically improved deserve to be examined further.
- Ed Grabowski
Aaron: What about a game that get worse after release? Maybe nobody’s playing, or people have found exploits and the online experience has been ruined. Those games would need to be covered as well, right? I’m not against your idea, but no website has enough employees to keep up with that sort of coverage. I also don’t feel that it’s a reviewer’s job to get the word out for a developer that fixed their game after release — reviewers serve their readers, not developers. I could go on and on about this, but I’ll defer to GameSpot’s Reviews Section Editor, Justin Calvert, for his thoughts on the matter.
Justin: I think the short answer is simply that trying to keep up with every significant update for every significant game would be a massive undertaking. The issue of games constantly evolving is something that we identified at GameSpot some time ago, and it’s the reason we introduced “After the Fact” updates for reviews that, though accurate at the original time of posting, have become less accurate over time (Aaron’s note: Click here for an example). For the most part this is because games have been improved through patches and such, but occasionally we use these updates for other useful information, such as servers being switched off and rendering games’ online components useless.
This isn’t a perfect solution by any means, but it at least gives us an opportunity to both keep our readers informed and to recognize the hard work being done by developers for months or even years after their games are released. Writing new reviews with new scores wouldn’t be a realistic goal for us right now even if we wanted it to be, and while there are a few exceptions, most updates aren’t really significant enough to warrant that kind of coverage.
Perhaps a better question might be “How come so many companies think it’s acceptable to release games into stores, charge people money for them, and only later get around to actually finishing them?”
When you pick older articles to promote to the front page, how do you come across them? Do you make a note of them for later when you see them initially posted, or do you find them by digging through older content in search of quality works to promote?
- Michael Rousseau
Aaron: Very good question, Michael. I have a feeling that the answer involves lots of words though, so I’m going to pawn this one off on Brett Bates. What say you, Brett?
Brett: "Lots of words"? Aaron must be feeling particularly lazy this week, because the answer's pretty simple: All of us editors contribute to a shared document containing links to the Mobfeed stories that have struck our fancy. We try to edit them as quickly as possible, but sometimes one or two will sit in the document for a few weeks. But we never forget! Those stories do receive the editing treatment in time — and get the front-page attention they deserve.
Aaron: Hmm, it’s much more complicated in my head. But yeah, I guess that’s how we do it. Maybe I was looking at the question from a philosophical perspective. I’m deep like that.
I just wanted to drop a note to Shoe and whoever reads this saying that I was really not trying to accuse Bitmob of any wrongdoing when it comes to your Mass Effect 2 coverage and the concurrent ad campaign.
I have been feeling pretty bad lately that you guys even felt like you had to respond to my post, and just couldn't get it out of my head that guys I respect as much as I respect you might be thinking negatively about me because of my comments. I did not at all want to try and put it out there like an accusation.
I know, especially in Shoe's case, that I can expect the utmost care when it comes to faithfully covering the video game business without resorting to many of the tricks some sites use, and was more than anything voicing my concern that it could even appear like there was something going on.
I think my dual complaint about the overexposure of Mass Effect 2 might have clouded the issue some, and (especially in the American Apparel thread) felt like someone else made a comment that made it look like I was bringing up the Mass Effect stuff again, when that was not on my mind at the time.
I completely understand being sensitive about this issue, and honestly feel like an ass that I might have brought up an issue that made Bitmob look bad. I really love the site, and while I am no longer trying to be a professional journalist, I love having your site as an outlet when I do feel like working on something creative.
I hope you guys don't think less of me, and look forward to continuing to be a productive member of the Bitmob community.
Thanks for reading this long letter.
Shoe: Frank, if you ever disrespect us again, we will collectively punch you in the fingers so hard, you’ll never be able to type a bad word about us ever again.
Seriously, you guys should always, always feel free to challenge any media outlet, including ours. Of course, we’d appreciate it if you would do it in a mature, professional manner — and we wouldn’t mind never hearing fanboy accusations of platform bias ever again.
But we serve you, the readers. Well, actually at Bitmob, the readers serve the readers as well with this whole community-posting thing we do here, but never mind that for a sec. You guys should always feel free to say what’s on your mind and what your expectations are. And if you ever feel like something’s amiss, well, let us know and give us a chance to clear it up. We want to be totally transparent here to you all…always.
Concerning Alejandro Quan-Madrid:
What's the deal with your Jay-Zelda: Beat's Awakening project? Hopefully it's still coming out, had some people pretty excited. Keep up the good work.
- Nick Geml
Alejandro: Thanks for your interest! The Jay-Zelda is coming along nicely, but I've hit a snag with a sorta busted computer (don't worry, the project is backed up!) and no funds to repair it. It's definitely still coming out — I just need to find a job first. My current goal is sometime around the end of March and I'll try and release some tracks before then to prove I'm not BS'ing.