Sections

“All games journos should be forced to make a game,” says Zombie Cow’s Dan Marshall

Tuesday, 13th October 2009 04:25 GMT By Nathan Grayson

dansequel

Game developer by day and PCZone writer by night, “Been There, Dan That” creator Dan Marshall has seen the seedy underbellies of both sides of the gaming industry, and he’s got a bit of wisdom to impart upon us word-spewing quill jockeys.

“I think all games journos should be forced to make a game somehow, see how they get on. It gives you a more rounded perspective,” he told Gamasutra.

“It’s really interesting, because as a developer I think you’re slightly more understanding of the process involved, but as a gamer you know whether or not you’re having a good time.”

We’d take Marshall’s advice, but, well, it’s all in the title. VG247. We never stop writing games news. Ever. No time to develop games, we’re afraid. And we’d sooner have functional social lives and sane sleep schedules than disappoint our loyal flock of readers.

Latest

28 Comments

  1. Michael O'Connor

    STOP WRITING NEWS AND GO MAKE A DAMN GAME, NATHAN!

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Gekidami

    You’d better do it, Dan Marshall used the word “Forced”.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Nathan Grayson

    I was planning on making a game about riding in a truck with Mal from Firefly and shooting things, but then Bungie developed it and called it Halo 3: ODST.

    And while I do think that’s a catchier title than “This is a game where you ride in a truck and shoot things and Nathan Fillion’s there, I guess,” Bungie took my idea. So now I can’t make a game. Ever. Because that was my magnum opus, and now my dreams are crushed.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. G1GAHURTZ

    Yes, you should all be forced to make games, or at least work in QA at a dev for a bit…

    I’m sometimes shocked how little game journalists seem to know about the development process. Stuff like expecting features to be simply added or removed a few weeks before release!

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Nathan Grayson

    @G1GAHURTZ:

    I learned all I know about game development from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbIWN8bufWI

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Gekidami

    And his mom said he would never get ANYWHERE with these games.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. rrod360lol

    “our loyal flock of readers”

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !

    #7 5 years ago
  8. G1GAHURTZ

    LOL!

    Yeah, ‘tighten up the graphics on level 3′ is a classic…

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Johnny Cullen

    “I was planning on making a game about riding in a truck with Mal from Firefly and shooting things, but then Bungie developed it and called it Halo 3: ODST.”

    :D

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Mike

    Every film critic should make a film. Every food critic should try cooking for 150 people in a restaurant…

    #10 5 years ago
  11. SunKing

    Nonsense. Journalists (or critics – whatever) should stick to writing about games. Just don’t be an asshole about it and understand the fact that no-one really sets out to make a bad game.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Gekidami

    I dont think any journo has ever said that a dev team has went off with the intention of making a bad game from the start (maybe a cheap cash-in but not an actual bad game).
    But in the end if a game is crap then its crap, we cant have people throwing roses because real people worked on something otherwise there wouldnt be any need for critics.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Michael O'Connor

    “I dont think any journo has ever said that a dev team has went off with the intention of making a bad game from the start (maybe a cheap cash-in but not an actual bad game).”

    I’d be impressed at any journalist who could even so much as net a job with the kind of attitude you described. That level of stupidity is usually only reserved for the commenting fanbase.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. El_MUERkO

    all game journo’s make a game and all crime journo’s should stab a hoodie… could be the dawn of a golden age

    #14 5 years ago
  15. BraveArse

    I don’t think journalists should have to make a game. What they should have to do is undergo the same kind of very public praise and/or criticism that they have the power to level at games developers. Comments sections like this do the job quite nicely, but it’d be interesting to see it formalised somehow.

    In fact it’d be nice to see that done outside of the games sphere as well.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. G1GAHURTZ

    We used to have a game journo critic here.

    He’s gone now.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Michael O'Connor

    He who shall not be named…

    #17 5 years ago
  18. BraveArse

    Well – one without an axe to grind would be better I suspect. Objectivity and all that ;)

    #18 5 years ago
  19. theevilaires

    oh you mean Mike Bowden? cause surely you don’t mean Shatner

    #19 5 years ago
  20. SticKboy

    Oh TEA, despite your recent notoriety you’re still very much LTTP.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. DarkElfa

    I agree with him to a degree as much as I think that Movie critics ought to make a movie before they area allowed to crit other films. Its like men telling women that Child birth isn’t that hard.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. freedoms_stain

    I think it’s a load of shit.

    In no way do you have to be able to create something in order to criticise how enjoyable you found it to be.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. G1GAHURTZ

    In no way do you have to be able to create something in order to criticise how enjoyable you found it to be.

    No, but that’s not the whole story.

    It comes down to unrealistic expectancy and incorrect understanding. Some reviewers still believe that developers are making the game right up until the Gold Master goes out.

    They think that devs should spend their time ‘fixing’ all of the bad opinions that they came out with in their previews, and that this is how the development process should be.

    They don’t seem to understand that the game is content complete at Alpha stage.

    They don’t seem to understand that most games start out with a scope twice as big as the final product ends up being, and that loads of things usually get thrown out to get the game running properly.

    Reviewers are still in the habbit of slating games for certain points, but then not even bothering to think that there is no alternative. For example, a reviewer marking a game down for looking a certain way, when the way that it looks has been forced by the design.

    If they actually had to sit down and go through all of the head scratching that devs do, they might do a better job of marking games down for the right reasons…

    #23 5 years ago
  24. SticKboy

    Um… G1GA, I hate to disagree old chap, but in many cases games *are* being made right up until GM. It’s just that the the core gameplay mechanics are usually set in stone around the alpha/beta stage.

    Tbh, all reviewers really need is to understand how games are financed, not made. At the end of the day, many of the decisions people complain about are due to a lack of time, money and resources, not lack of creativity.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. G1GAHURTZ

    Um… G1GA, I hate to disagree old chap, but in many cases games *are* being made right up until GM. It’s just that the the core gameplay mechanics are usually set in stone around the alpha/beta stage.

    Well I’m currently working on my 14th game, and never has it happened on any of the games that I’ve worked on that anything gets added/removed after alpha without the game being delayed for at least another quarter.

    After alpha, there generally isn’t time to do anything other than bug fixing and optimisation.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. freedoms_stain

    “Reviewers are still in the habbit of slating games for certain points, but then not even bothering to think that there is no alternative. For example, a reviewer marking a game down for looking a certain way, when the way that it looks has been forced by the design.”

    Then the design is bad? The result is the same, it looks bad.

    #26 5 years ago
  27. DarkElfa

    I think that unless a a critic is talking about a specific bug, something broken about the game that its just an opinion anyways and we all have them. I have to agree with G1GAHURTZ on this one, how can you quantify a game or what you could or couldn’t do if you haven’t done it yourself. Sure, you can say a muffin doesn’t taste good but unless you’ve made a muffin yourself, you can’t really go any further into it than that without guessing. I’ve heard many a game journalist make complaints about things in games that should have been done this way or that but have no idea how those things area actually done or how they could have been done differently if indeed they could have been done differently at all.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. G1GAHURTZ

    Then the design is bad? The result is the same, it looks bad.

    That just emphasises the point completely.

    Devs don’t intentionally go out trying to make a bad game, or an ugly looking game.

    They spend months and months agonising over decisions and coming to compramises to get the best out of difficult situations.

    For a reviewer to come along now, and say: ‘Wow! That looks s**t! I don’t care why… Graphics: 2/10′ shows just how little they know about the game development process.

    I’m not talking about games that look worse than other games in their genre. I’m talking about games that are the best looking game in their genre, way better than any other similar available game, but some muppet reviewer comes along and can’t even recognise this.

    #28 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.