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Guess the Game by its Metacritic Excerpt

posted on March 20th, 2010 by jackson

Us game bloggers talk a lot about games and play a lot of games but rarely make games ourselves. Well here’s one I just thought of. Below are several portions of reviews excerpted by Metacritic. The goal is to correctly identify the game it’s about.

These are all critically and commercially successful games everyone’s familiar with, so if you know enough about games to be reading this blog then none of these should be unknown to you. Also, don’t restrict yourself to using a game only once. Have fun guessing!

Tutorial: Highlight the gray areas to get the name of the game linking to its Metacritic page.

5 Comments

  1. christian said on March 22, 2010:

    I’m not sure if Jackson was trying to get at this, but this post reminded me of a thought I’ve been having lately – it seems as if gamers are hesitant to approach their hobby with a reasonably critical eye.

    Here’s an example. As a child, you might have loved the GI Joe and Transformers cartoons. As an adult, you may still like them, but not because you find them as gripping or action packed, but because they’re goofy and funny and bring back a ton of memories. You still like them (not ironically either), but you can easily admit that they aren’t the pinnacle of animation in any way.

    As adults, we go through this cycle constantly, taking stock of the things we loved as children and teenagers, and determining which still hold a place in your heart, and which aren’t really worth your time. There’s nothing wrong with it, and in fact it’s rather healthy.

    I don’t feel as if gamers are fond of doing this. We still look back at games of yore with the same amounts of awe and praise that we did years ago. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having loved Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy 7 back in 1997/98. But we don’t have to keep convincing ourselves that they’re still great examples of videogame storytelling. They were crucial points in the evolution of the medium, but we can do better now, should do better now. I don’t think that looking at these games from this perspective puts them in a bad light. Not everything is going to be timeless, and not everything timeless is going to be hugely influential. Both are important for the history of gaming.

    That’s why these reviews bother me. Most of these games are going to look hokey in fifteen years (if they don’t already). Are people going to admit this (while still acknowledging their impact at the time?), or are they going to be writing fresh essays about what we can learn from them?

  2. jackson said on March 22, 2010:

    I wasn’t trying to make any particular point when I made this. My original idea was to try making it a real trivia game where there people could more or less accurately figure out the games. I realized though that most reviews, or at least their excerpts on Metacritic, aren’t especially descriptive, or when they are they’re overly obvious. Then I decided to collect a bunch of ones I thought were extremely vague and generic (such as the GTA:SA one) and make a joke out of their vagueness. I kept a few that were somewhat guessable, or at least I thought they would be guessable, so people could actually have a chance at getting some. And I couldn’t resist adding some that I just thought were funny.

    This post was supposed to be mostly just fun and silly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want anyone to learn anything from it. Usually when I post articles I have an opinion I want to convince other people of, but here I was just taking some information and presenting it in a creative and ambiguous manner so people can draw their own conclusions.

  3. christian said on March 22, 2010:

    That’s what I figured.

    Any thoughts on my post?

  4. jackson said on March 23, 2010:

    I agree with the gist of what you’re saying. I think games attract an obsessive audience far more easily than other forms of entertainment since they require a heavier commitment to actually get into and complete. If you spend 20+ hours in a game, then your brain is probably convinced that the game is completely awesome.

    I wrote a post on my other blog a while ago reflecting on my recent re-playthrough of Myst where I compared it to a place from my childhood (http://gamesarentnumbers.com/archive/my-return-to-myst-island.html). For another example, I haven’t played Link’s Awakening for a dozen years now, but still any time I think of it my train of thought reflects on how great it was. I can’t even remember half of what happened in that game, but it’s been imprinted.

    I hypothesize that a lot of this has to do with the way our brain processes things. We may reflect nostalgically on old cartoons, but we have a much deeper connection to the people and places from our childhood. Games consist of virtual people and places, and we develop a link to them. I’m still convinced that the house where I grew up is the perfect place to live. It was a pretty nice house, but I’m sure other people would disagree on its perfection. There’s not a complete objective answer to that, it’s all our personal biases.

  5. christian said on March 23, 2010:

    That’s some great food for thought. And thanks for linking to your blog – I lost the URL earlier.

    I think you’re correct that the time invested could be a major factor. After all, if you spend that much time with something, you don’t want to feel as if it was a waste (though if you learned something from it all, and had fun, it can’t be entirely a waste).

    As for making connections with the characters within games, I’m not sure what to think. It sounds right, to be sure, and I can remember quite a few games that I connected with as a youth. But unlike my real life relationships, that emotional connection no longer exists in my mind.

    Perhaps a lot of it comes down to the person, rather than the game. I can say for certain that one reason many games stopped resonating with me is because somewhere along the line, each one did something that shattered the illusion. In Grandia 2 it was the gauntlet of boss battles in the finale. In FF7, Aeris’ death rang hollow when I realized I had lost my best mage. While I don’t ignore game stories, I think I’m conditioned to be more concerned with the mechanics and the design. So if either one of those things become faulty, I notice, and whatever spell the story casts on me is shattered. Once that happens, I can observe them from a more objective position, in which case I realize that these stories weren’t quite as good as I thought they were. Of course, if the illusion is never shattered, then the emotional connection is probably a lot stronger.

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