OPINION: Give 'em an inch

Ben Parfitt
OPINION: Give 'em an inch

You are your own worst enemy. Well, probably not YOU. Obviously the vast majority of MCVuk.com readers are of sane mind and valiant heart. And will be rewarded in the afterlife with countless riches and, I don't know, Vimto on tap. Or something.

But there's no escaping the fact that some of you, and some of the wider gaming public, are – for want of a more eloquent description – morons.

Last month we had to shut down comments on MCVuk.com because of this very phenomenon. A tragic and feeble few were ruining the fun for the decent and noble many.

(For the many readers who have asked me over email and via Twitter, comments will be back, with a few tweaks. And in the near future, too).

This same phenomenon can be seen at work right now. Just head over to Metacritic and check out the Portal 2 page.

Now, Portal 2 is currently the highest rated game of the year on the site. And rightly so. I'm in the fortunate position of having completed the single player game last week and I can tell you it genuinely is something very special. It's an all-time great and Valve deserves to be rewarded with great success.

That's why it's currently averaging 95 per cent from critics. So what's the user score at the moment? It's 7.2/10. Last night it briefly stood at 4.5/10.

If this were just an honest and simple reflection of gamers' views of the title that would be fine. But it's not. Instead it's a consumer 'backlash' against a myriad of factors such as the game's (optional) day one DLC.

Other things that have irked the masses are the 'short' single player campaign. Which clocks in at anything between seven and 11 hours. That's more than Black Ops and Homefront and pretty much on par with most modern triple-A releases.

And then there's the Potato Sack pre-release campaign that offered gamers the chance to bring forward the release of Portal 2 if they played a select number of indie PC games.

Personally I thought Potato Sack was a bit crass. But I was also aware it was optional. As in, you didn't need to do it. And if all those who hated it didn't do it then the worst case scenario would be the game coming out exactly at the point when Valve had said it would.

What a disaster.

This contingent of games fans really do need to get some perspective. I've had arguments before with people (not just gamers, either – I'm talking industry members here too) who claim that Activision are 'evil'. One justification for this was the £10 charge for Call of Duty map packs.

Their argument is that it's a 'rip-off' and Activision are just 'money grabbing'. Yeah. That's called capitalism. If you don't like it go to a G8 rally and start reading Socialist Worker. There's no shame in that.

But to label Activision as 'evil' because they're charging what millions of consumers are self-evidently prepared to pay isn't just wrong, it's idiotic. Yes, Activision could have charged £5. Or £3. Or given it away for free with £20 worth of Tetley Tea vouchers. I'm sure their shareholders, to whom the company is completely and utterly accountable, would be delighted.

Oh, no, wait...

There are so many things in this world that the public should rightly be up in arms about. Yet things like child poverty, racial prejudice, genocide and political corruption go unnoticed by most. Yet some of these same people will happily sit at their PC posting erroneous review scores for a game because the developer behind has had the bear-faced nerve to include an optional DLC store.

The mind boggles.

I'll close with this. If a developer or publisher does something you don't like and you want to lash out at them there's a very simple way of doing this. Don't buy their games. That'll hurt them, I promise you. What you shouldn't do is make a big song and dance about it online and give yourself and your contemporaries a bad name.

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Tags: gamers , portal 2 , reviews , feedback , users , comments , interaction

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