Bask!

edited October 2006 in Story Games
Rpgpundit has posted his review of Spirit of the Century and to my immense relief he hates it. Hates it with a deep and moving passion.

I genuinely would not have known what to do otherwise.

-Rob D.

Comments

  • edited October 2006
    Congratulations!

    Edited to add: I picked up "Storm Front" this weekend and teared through it; it's probably the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. I'm very excited to see your Dresden Files rpg.
  • Does someone pay him to review these things? If not, how much spare time does he have? Why can't he loan me some of his apparent infinite Spare Time Resources?
  • edited October 2006
    How the hell does a pdf "crash"? o.O Sounds like Pundit's got a shaky copy of something he's reading files with.

    Damn, now I'm all tempted to shoot him a pdf of FLFS.
  • I've had a PDF be large enough that it strains my system into overheating and crashing. But that's a hardware issue.

    It's a shame to see so much fury be spent on such a relatively trivial topic (sorry, Rob). Surely Uruguay has more urgent problems than gringo role-playing games.
  • Posted By: Joshua BishopRobyHow the hell does a pdf "crash"? o.O Sounds like Pundit's got a shaky copy of something he's reading files with.
    It happens, though I have absolutely no idea as to why. The first (and quickly corrected) PDF version of Shadowrun 4E is pretty much infamous among SR fans because of this, and I heard Redbrick's Earthdawn Classic had similar problems until they ironed them out.
  • While I was reading this seething, dim-witted, mouth-foaming, rant review, all I could think was, "What is this guy smoking?"
    Currently Smoking: Savinelli Autograph + Stockebbye's Proper English
    Ah. Well. Now I know.
  • Oh, and it occurs to me that it may seem I'm being sarcastic or snide, and I want to make it clear that's not the case. Obviously I disagree with his assessment, and I hugely appreciate Andy getting in with the body block but the rub is this. People get excited about stuff they love and stuff they hate, and a hate-filled review is vastly better for our game and our sales than a mediocre one. Certainly, we may lose some specific sales as a result of the review, but that's ok for two reasons. First, those who would be swayed by the review probably _wouldn't_ be happy with the game, and no sale is better than sale with a disgruntled customer. Second, We're just as likely to get sales from people who disagree with the reviewer or are bothered by his review - at the very least it may inspire someone else to look at our product.

    Hate is just another natural resource, like natural gas. Neither is healthy if I decide to internalize it, but recognizing it's there gives me something useful I can take advantage of.

    -Rob D.

    PS - For a really good treatment on the importance of hate, heck out this fantastic article from Creating Passionate Users.
  • Posted By: James_NostackIt's a shame to see so much fury be spent on such a relatively trivial topic (sorry, Rob). Surely Uruguay has more urgent problems than gringo role-playing games.
    Yes - like how hard it is to find certain brands of soda pop there:

    http://www.xanga.com/RPGpundit/542389738/item.html
  • edited October 2006
    Yes - like how hard it is to find certain brands of soda pop there:
    Snipe at Pundit all you want, but leave my country out of it. It won't do you any good going down that path.
  • edited October 2006
    Posted By: Jon Hastings
    Yes - like how hard it is to find certain brands of soda pop there:
    I know! I saw that! Dreadful!

    Someone should design an RPG where your Grail Quest is to find a bottle of soda in a world controlled by rat-bastard union workers and their bought politicians. Your only tools are a packet of Wanker brand cigarettes, and a diminishing stock of Swine Points, which cause 1d4-2 emotional damage to anyone who gives a shit. Every time you see a bottle of Diet Fanta, roll vs. Poisonous Madness or gain a level of Shrill Whinging.
  • You know, not to piss in the punch bowl here, but... reading that review, I couldn't suppress the thought that, after you correct for the Pundit Style, he doesn't come across as hating it. He seems kinda lukewarm.
  • Jong --

    Rest assured that your soda tastes way the fuck better than anything the Canadians or Americans drink, because it's made with sugar instead of corn syrup.

    Fucking corn syrup. Tastes like bee diarrhea.

    yrs--
    --Ben
  • Sounds like someone needs to drink more corn syrup...
  • Yes. It's like Ron Edwards Kool-Aid, but for pure AMERICA.
  • Posted By: James_NostackEvery time you see a bottle of Diet Fanta, roll vs. Poisonous Madness or gain a level of Shrill Whinging.
    You think that's bad? They're also selling a BLUE Fanta (wild berries flavor, or something like that). I'm pretty sure petroleum is safer to drink. *shudder*
  • edited October 2006
    I've had Double Cola in the wilds of the Serenghetti as men boiled tar upwind of me. I've already lost all of my Soda SAN points. And my sense of smell.

    How does the Mail-Order Bride thing work, exactly? Can we fund it for the Pundit? I have 37 cents I will donate to the Cause. He deserves the sweet joy of love in his life. For it is ironic to think that such a huge schmuck will never get laid. The Swine-Master needs his Sow.
  • Can we fund it for the Pundit?
    OMG, time for a musical number!
  • Posted By: misubaYou know, not to piss in the punch bowl here, but... reading that review, I couldn't suppress the thought that, after you correct for the Pundit Style, he doesn't come across as hating it. He seems kinda lukewarm.
    That's actually the magic. If he hadn't couched it so strongly it would be nowhere near as useful from my perspective. Viva la bile!

    -Rob D.
  • Ahhh, Zone of Mediocrity, you will not claim us yet.

    Already confirmed: This review lead to another sale, and likely another review (by MCrow of TheRPGSite).

    Hate sells, sadly, though I'll take the love over the hate. :)
  • Posted By: stack0v3rflowEdited to add: I picked up "Storm Front" this weekend and teared through it; it's probably the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. I'm very excited to see your Dresden Files rpg.
    I've also been stimulated to search out the Dresden books by your mention and I agree, Storm Front is a good read. Darker than I usually like but with a fine sense of humour. I've got the second one on order from the library.

    I take it you're the Fred mentioned in the acknowledgements?
  • edited October 2006
    I don't think the review was a hackjob.

    Well, I do and I don't.

    The reviewer expressed his biases, but
    his appraisal was clear enough for the
    reader to draw their own conclusions.

    The part that I found to be hack-- was
    the RPGpundit's tepid attempt at a cheeky writing style.
  • He's a pretty okay guy except he's wrong about everything.

    (No, not everything, but that's the way to bet.)
  • Posted By: JongWKSnipe at Pundit all you want, but leave my country out of it. It won't do you any good going down that path.
    Oh, on that note (just got back and noticed this thread), I gotta say one thing in the Pundit's favor. Perhaps THE one thing in his favor:

    Before, I had no interest in ever visiting South America. None at all, zero. I dunno if I just swallowed the media image or what; I've been to Communist China, lived in almost-Socialist Japan and regularly walked around at midnight in Tokyo's Kabukicho district where all the Yakuza prowl feeling relatively safe, and even spent a few weeks in utterly exploited areas Thailand where I encountered teenage prostitutes, foreign drug cartels, and even was assaulted by a stranger on the street.

    But for some reason, I thought of South America as this conglomerate of reeeaaaally scaaaaaary countries that are either in a constant state of near-total chaos, or harboring corrupt police ready to steal your Passport or vicious death squads (like the ones we funded in El Salvador) ready to take anyone out at any minute.

    After hearing him talk about Uruguay, and seeing his pictures, and hearing more in-depth information about it... I started looking into the country. It looks like a damned interesting, cool place to visit. I dunno if I will anytime soon, but if we happen upon extra money in the next few years I'm definitely up for vacationing there and checking out the people and the places.

    That was ALL Pundit. Without his otherwise batshit insane blog pockmarked with poignant moments, I never would have known that Uruguay was a beautiful, rich country worth me checking out at some point.

    -Andy
  • Posted By: Call Me CurlyThe reviewer expressed his biases, but
    his appraisal was clear enough for the
    reader to draw their own conclusions.
    Well, that's the thing, right? Rather than a review where I have to read between the lines (and there's a lot of lines to read between), I'd prefer one where I can just read the lines.

    Also: Unless it appears in the book itself, a review of an RPG probably doesn't need to use the F-word.
  • I read Pundit's for commedy value. If I had a bad day, I read some of his ravings, and I laugh so loud that my mood improves. On the other hand, I agree with Andy: he makes Uruguay look like the coolest place to go in South America, and I intend to visit it as soon as I have the cash.
  • I just want to note, by the way that a) Andy is the man and b) My big regret in missing Mace & Semiocity's birthday this year is that he is going to have to remain on my "Damn, I want to shake that man's hand" list a while longer.

    -Rob D.
  • Andy doesn't have hands.
  • True, but by "Shake hands" I of course meant "Kickbox with straight razors in our teeth" so it works out.

    -Rob D.
  • edited October 2006
    Frankly, given the ultralimited tastes of the Pundarg, the review is higly complimentary if read for anyone who knows his derangements. Even his fans admit that you must know his language to get some... something.

    So, when you read that it has mechanics that treat the combat as any other task, you know that you are facing a good universal resolution mechanic. And so on.

    As others have said, the Pundit is a good propagandistic, unwillingly as he may be.
  • The guy's a tosser. Stop talking about him. The more you talk, the more he thinks he's cool and controversial, whereas actually, he's an idiot.

    Graham
  • Posted By: Graham WalmsleyThe guy's a tosser. Stop talking about him. The more you talk, the more he thinks he's cool and controversial, whereas actually, he's an idiot.
    Yup, tosser...
  • edited October 2006
    Posted By: MikeRMPosted By: stack0v3rflowEdited to add: I picked up "Storm Front" this weekend and teared through it; it's probably the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. I'm very excited to see your Dresden Files rpg.
    I've also been stimulated to search out the Dresden books by your mention and I agree, Storm Front is a good read. Darker than I usually like but with a fine sense of humour. I've got the second one on order from the library.

    I take it you're the Fred mentioned in the acknowledgements?

    I'm the Fred, yes. :)
  • Tosser or not, in the last 48 hours, SOTC's preorder total surged upwards by 11 copies -- which is astonishing given that we'd dwindled off to, at best, two a day.

    Negative reviews don't hurt, folks. Neither do flame wars. The fact that RPGPundit "trashed" SOTC (or didn't, depending on whether you speak the secret pundit moon language) has contributed significantly to the continued success of our product.
  • Posted By: AndyPosted By: JongWKSnipe at Pundit all you want, but leave my country out of it. It won't do you any good going down that path.
    Oh, on that note (just got back and noticed this thread), I gotta say one thing in the Pundit's favor. Perhaps THE one thing in his favor:

    Before, I had no interest in ever visiting South America.

    I'm going to ask this, because thus far I've never read anything by the Pundit, and I don't want to, because I know I wouldn't be able to resist responding to the kind of hate he puts out... so would someone please explain how he tied a review of SotC to South America?

    Briefly? Because my mind can't make the cognitive leap.
  • He also has posts about Uruguay.
  • edited October 2006
    Just read the review yourself, Doyce.

    I'd pretty-much never read the pundit either, before this review.

    And I was surprised to find that he's much less a seething Hunter S. Thompson than his detractors give him credit for.
    He's more like a kvetching Paul Reiser or Bob Greene. Schlocky. Cranky. Andy Rooney. Grandpa Simpson with Hugh Hefner pretensions.

    I was also surprised to find that his review gave so much insight into the game.
    Oddly, he's the perfectly-suited to review Spirit of the Century.
    He's so concerned with selling himself as a Joe Sixpack simple man who wants a soft-focus 'simpler time' take on Pulp;
    that he throws into sharp relief that Spirit of the Century is more of an Alan-Moore-20/20-hindsight take on the source material.

    I've heard it said that the biggest fans aren't the sycophants who love something unquestioningly.
    But rather the grouches who sound like they -hate- the material they spend so much time vivisecting.
    The ones who tell you what George Lucas 'should have' done, ad nausea.

    RPGpundit love indie swine longtime.
  • edited October 2006
    Like Nietzsche loves God.

    Mike
  • Posted By: Call Me CurlyGrandpa Simpson with Hugh Hefner pretensions.
    This is now how I will forever describe the Pundit.
  • If he could lose the language but keep the vitriol he could get a second job writing Chick tracts.

    (If you don't know what a Chick tract is, it isn't what you probably think.)
  • Posted By: Graham WalmsleyThe guy's a tosser.
    People who try to imitate Hunter S. Thompson usually are.
  • Posted By: James_NostackPosted By: Graham WalmsleyThe guy's a tosser.
    People who try to imitate Hunter S. Thompson usually are.

    Some of them are awesome.

    They're out, you know, instigating social and personal change.

    Not bitching about random crap on the internet.
  • I've come to realise that as a consumer, I usually get much more out of a negative review than I do from a positive one.

    For example, I collect videogames on old systems. I don't remember all of them from the first time around, so when I see an old Snes or Master System game on ebay, I often don't know if it's worth picking up. So I look for reviews. One of the easiest places to find reviews of old games is Gamefaqs. There are reviews of just about everything ever put out there. So you look up a generic game and there'll be maybe 5 or 6 reviews of the game, by non-professionals. That site gets reviewers to rate games out of 10.

    Many games which are popular as hell play like ass. Look at the Metal Gear Solid series for example, they sell shitloads of copies but have pretty much no gameplay at all. So good numbers aren't really all that helpful, because a lot of opinions are just going to be different from mine. So in order to actually understand about a game, I need to read the actual reviews in order to understand what a game is like.

    If I read a review that gives a game 9/10, usually all it says is something like "this game is teh r0xx0r! Awesome graphics and tons of blood and a soundtrack by Limp Bizcut and you get to play as SPAWN, which is so awesome I can't even begin to describe how effing awesome that is and there's a chick you can play as who wears a rilly short skirt and has a huge gun and..." You get the idea. Not really all that useful.

    But for some reason, people who want to write something bad about a game tend to take a little more time over it. They tend to actually take the effort to tell you why they didn't like it. Which is useful. If someone says something like "The action is relentless and actually gets somewhat boring at times, because there's no let up" then I know exactly what he's talking about. "Micromanagement of resources is awkward and tedious" makes sense. "Aiming is made difficult by the poor camera angles" also tells me something.

    So it seems that by focussing on the negative reviews of a game, I learn more about it.
  • Oh, come now, Rich, you're saying that for every "Roxorz" positive review there isn't one "Suxorz" negative review with just as little info in it? And that there's a greater number of info-filled negative reviews than positive ones?

    Really?

    I think that the quality of a review has little to do with whether it's positive or negative. From my experience with RPG reviews, at least. There are better and worse of both.

    Mike
  • Mike,

    I'm speaking from experience, so yes, I have found negative reviews more likely to be informative and a better way to judge what something is actually like. If (like pundit) someone hates something very passionately because it does a certain thing and says so, that's useful to me. I might like that thing (in this case, yes, I do like a consistent resolution system even though that seems to gall the Pundit immensely). People writing passionate and positive reviews seem slightly more likely to gloss over small "defects" in a game.

    Although the fact that there appear to be a better proportion of informative negative reviews on the website in question than uninformative negative reviews is probably something to do with a moderation policy That is, it's easier for a moderator to kibosh something negative for being lacking in substance. If a positive review is lacking in substance, is the publisher going to get upset?

    Interestingly, if the pundit had written a similar number of words praising SotC in a kind of wooly, pointless and uninformative way ("Thiz game r0xx0rs!!!!111!!one11!" for several pages) does anyone think that would have the same effect on sales? I doubt it.

    Maybe the key is an informative look at the workings of a new game? Anything short of blatantly lying about the game ("Sotc is a 24 page pamphlet that comes with a free care bear!") is likely to help in tht case, regardless of the personal opinions of the reviewer.

    On the other hand, I wonder what the effect of Darren MacLennan's infamous Wraethu review was on sales of that game?
  • I really wish that RPGNet, the standard of RPG reviews on the net, went from 1-10 rankings instead of 1-5. I can say "This is an excellent product! 9/10" and be satisfied. But by the 1-5 ranking system I have to give it a "5", the highest rank... which put me of a little sometimes back when I did reviews.

    I like sensible, detailed but not too drawn-out reviews. It's easy to give a look at a review with an open mind that's rated at 7/9, and it's easy to keep an eye on bias when you walk into one that's rated "1/1" or "10/10".

    -Andy
  • I would just like to note that I have a friend living in Bolivia, who tells me that Uruguay is one of the whitest and most middle-class places in South America. Take that for what it's worth.
  • edited November 2006
    Posted By: droogI would just like to note that I have a friend living in Bolivia, who tells me that Uruguay is one of the whitest and most middle-class places in South America. Take that for what it's worth.
    Yep, that's pretty much true. The US Department of State's Background Note puts it European descent at 93%, African descent at 6%, and mestizo at 1%.

    "Uruguayans share a Spanish linguistic and cultural background, even though about one-quarter of the population is of Italian origin. Most are nominally Roman Catholic although the majority of Uruguayans do not actively practice a religion. Church and state are officially separated.
    Uruguay is distinguished by its high literacy rate, large urban middle class, and relatively even income distribution. The average Uruguayan standard of living compares favorably with that of most other Latin Americans. Metropolitan Montevideo, with about 1.4 million inhabitants, is the only large city. The rest of the urban population lives in about 20 towns. During the past two decades, an estimated 500,000 Uruguayans have emigrated, principally to Argentina and Spain. Emigration to the United States also rose significantly. As a result of the low birth rate, high life expectancy, and relatively high rate of emigration of younger people, Uruguay's population is quite mature. "

    I suggest reading the History section in that web page too. It should give you the basics about Uruguay, sans the humorous gaffes. :-)
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