How Do You Tell A Developer To Their Face That Their Game Sucks?

Everyone's got an opinion on everything, but how do you confess straight to someone's face that you dislike something they made? It can possibly be an awkward experience, but in today's Ask Kotaku I dive in to how I deal with those situations.

But let's go through a few other questions you guys sent me first. And don't forget to send more for next week!

Meeting New People That Share Your Interests

Am I hopeless for improving my social interaction? I hardly meet and have time with my friends anymore since I work in a call center and because of that, my availability with my friends were compromised. They are busy with their own jobs as well which is different from the time frame of my work or they now live in far and different places. I'm not that active in social sites such as facebook or twitter, and so are they...

I don't think there's anything else that interests me outside of gaming too. I read your suggestions before on going to events such as museum or gallery events or parties but those things doesn't interest me at all. I can't seem to find a way on how to meet new people that I can get along with in real life. Talking with people feels very awkward to me but I still try, problem is it's difficult to find people that shares the same interests that I do that can help start a bond or a connection. And most of the time when I try to reach out to people, it always ends up in a disappointment or that people I met were actually jerks...or maybe I am the jerk?

Ever since I graduated from college and became consumed by work, it feels like I never meet anyone new, at least outside of my industry. So, you’re not alone and you shouldn’t feel bad about your situation.

If galleries and museums and whatever aren’t your thing, try finding a board game group. They’ll share your nerdy interests and a lot of them will probably be there for similar reasons....AKA to meet people they can bond with. If you’re uncertain of where to look, you can start searching online on places like Meet Up and what not.

Giraffes Versus Hamsters

Lately my daughter, Little Suzy, has been begging for me to get her a hamster. We already have a dog and I don't think a hamster and dog will work well together. I suggested to her that we go to the zoo to get a giraffe instead. I showed her various pictures of giraffes doing fun things...

How Do You Tell A Developer To Their Face That Their Game Sucks?

How Do You Tell A Developer To Their Face That Their Game Sucks?


...but she insists that she still wants a hamster. Should I get her a hamster or surprise her with a giraffe?

GIRAFFE. GO. LEAVE NOW. NO MORE QUESTIONS. JUST GIRAFFE.

How Kotaku Deals With Free Stuff

How does Kotaku deal with incentives? Not just free games, but maybe free merchandise, paid air travel and hotels, or even cash incentives. The gaming journalism business is terribly criticized for being biased (like any other type of journalism of course) for various reasons, but incentives are one thing that I am always wondering how it affects the writer in their reviews for a game.

We have very strict rules about this sort of thing. We accept games only when we need them for reviews, previews, impressions, video content, any kind of work-related needs. We never accept free merchandise or paid trips. I don’t think a single person in the media-covering-games industry actually accepts cash incentives these days.

We also have rules about who can review a game based on if they’ve previewed the game multiple times before. Occasionally we’ll let a writer review a game if he/she has only previewed the game once or so, but we try to stay away from having them see the game multiple times before actually reviewing the final builds. I can’t speak to other outlets’ methods, but I think we do a good job of maintaining our honest perspectives here.

Small Subtitles in Games

How do you feel about the laziness of most video game developers to increase the size of their subtitles or font size in general? I can hear the audio fine, but sometimes I want to read what the characters are saying. Every time I pop in a newer game, that tiny text just drives me nuts and I have to inch in closer from my comfortable position of several feet away to practically a foot just to read on screen text. Just because the graphics are in high definition doesn't make an excuse that text is supposed to be small due to their relatively simple and small dimensions.

That is not a question I ever expected to get! You know, I’ve never thought about that. I always put the subtitles on, because I like to follow along and make sure I don’t miss any dialogue. I definitely recall subtitles being small on some games though, but while it’s something I may have noticed, it was nothing that ever bothered me too much. On the other hand, I definitely remember Tomb Raider text being way too small in the menus. Any time I tried to read a journal or artifact description I had to pull up closer to my TV.

It’s a minor nuisance at worst and I think it mainly has to do with not wanting subtitles to cover up too much of the visuals or, in the case of menus, cramming in a lot of information. There's so much effort that goes into a game that I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of small text if it means the developers get to focus on making the art or game or story better.

Telling A Developer Their Game Sucks

How do you deal with standing right in front of the makers of the a game you think and verbalised to be crap? that has to be the definition of awkward.

That’s a good question! I like to think of myself as being a polite person capable of not embarrassing someone in conversation. I’ll be a bit more candid in reviews and on the site, but if I’m speaking with someone in person I’d be more gentle simply because it’s the nice thing to do. I’d still be honest, of course, but I might offer some praise for their game before dumping the faults on them. I tend to do the same in reviews, as well.

Though, most of the time it’ll be phrased differently so that it’s not quite a matter-of-fact, “this was bad” conversation but more of a, “Why did you choose to go this route?” “Do you think that ended up being successful?” kind of thing. It gives them the space to reflect because, normally, people basically know when something didn’t go right. And if it’s a matter of a difference of opinion, it’ll simply be a friendly discussion where I support my opinion and he/she supports theirs and we both come away learning something or at least learning a new perspective. Or maybe I’m an idealist, but it’s usually my intention to have that kind of a friendly, intellectual discussion.

In general, people understand that others won’t necessarily like something they’ve made. I’m sure plenty of people don’t like some of the things I write on this site. And developers know that plenty of people won’t like every game they make. Being polite about discussing it and focusing on really understanding another person’s perspective and possibly even accepting valid criticisms is the way to deal with that situation. Be nice, be open-minded.

Top image from Shutterstock

To contact the author of this post, write to tina@kotaku.com or find her on Twitter at @tinaamini.