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TouchArcade uncomfortably subjective/promotional

08-06-2009, 09:46 AM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 47
TouchArcade uncomfortably subjective/promotional

I have read touch arcade for several months and, while I enjoy the amount of content, I am uncomfortable with the subjectivity portrayed by the authors. Here are the issues I have:

- often it is hard to tell whether an article is a news announcement or a review, especially considering the amount of subjective words ("you have to buy this," "it seems worth the money," etc) in each article

- The amount of positive press you give games before giving them an initial review or even first look is surprising. It's almost as though you are gaining some kind of benefit if any game (even a mediocre one) is bought when clicked through from your site.

- The number of times I have seen that a game is a "must buy" at a certain price, or similar language, is astounding. If I bought every "must buy" game recommended by your website, I would be several hundred dollars in the hole. Why not put games to a higher standard and only recommend those that truly stand out from the pack?

- Reviews seem to be intent only on getting the user to purchase, not helping the user figure out if this is the right game for him/her. For example, in the article http://toucharcade.com/2009/08/06/sp...nd-buy-it-now/ you give a blanket recommendation to buy before discussing the game whatsoever.

Again, while I appreciate the amount of content you put out, I am put off by how eager you are to recommend seemingly almost any game out there. This is exactly the kind of thing that will cause developers to continue developing mediocre, uninspired games for the platform. I hope you change your direction as your site evolves.

Last edited by Jensen; 08-06-2009 at 09:53 AM. Reason: add link to illustrate point
08-06-2009, 10:10 AM
#2
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Coolidge, AZ
Posts: 5,892
Yeah I'll even admit that the article you sited's (Today's Spybot Chroicles) first paragraph did irk me a little. Just seemed a tad unnessisary for the first paragraph. I have seen some other unfavourable material, but for the most part I kind of dismiss it. A lot of the time thier main reviews are generally decent. I usually don't like someone telling me to go buy something vs telling me why I would want to, but most of the time they mix the 2 up a little.. heh

Brave thread though, I applaud that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HelperMonkey View Post
Conservatives hate liberals because they think that liberals think they're stupid.

Liberals hate conservatives because they think that they're stupid.
Win.

08-06-2009, 10:33 AM
#3
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Portugal
Posts: 227
Jensen, You've put into text what's been running around my head for quite some time. And I agree wholeheartedly. Whilst, as you say, there's a good ammount of content, the constant positive press and "Buy it now" attitude is a bit much.

In short, I back everything you've just said, and couldn't have put it better myself.
08-06-2009, 11:01 AM
#4
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensen View Post
Again, while I appreciate the amount of content you put out, I am put off by how eager you are to recommend seemingly almost any game out there. This is exactly the kind of thing that will cause developers to continue developing mediocre, uninspired games for the platform. I hope you change your direction as your site evolves.
We've covered this before. Front page game selection is primarily decided upon by games we like and therefore recommend. The fact that most of the reviews that we post are positive is by design, not by accident. Developers often email us asking us to review their game. Our primary reason not to review a game is that we simply didn't like it.

The exceptions to this are big name titles that tend to get reviews (positive or negative) regardless of whether we like them or not.

If you want to read article after article about games you've never heard of that suck... well, that's a site that no one else is going to want to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensen View Post
Why not put games to a higher standard and only recommend those that truly stand out from the pack?
Yep. that's what we do.

arn
08-06-2009, 11:14 AM
#5
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 4,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensen View Post
I am put off by how eager you are to recommend seemingly almost any game out there.
There are over 8000+ paid games in the store now. TA has recommended under 800. That is the top 10%.

It would help if you linked to a mediocre game that TA recommended. Spy Bot is 5 star game in iTunes. In the Spy Bot review he did write this for people that want to know why buy it. "If you still must be convinced, here's the spiel:"
A number of people here only read Big Albie's rating on a game and don't read his whole review. Why does it matter if the recommendation is the first paragraph or the last?
08-06-2009, 11:15 AM
#6
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 4,491
Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
If you want to read article after article about games you've never heard of that suck... well, that's a site that no one else is going to want to read.
Actually that's called my Twitter feed, haha. The games that request reviews but are completely unplayable or need work usually get a shout out there
08-06-2009, 11:17 AM
#7
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
I wouldn't mind seeing occasional reviews of bad games.

Not only could this be entertaining (i.e. failed American Idol auditions), it could stimulate discussion and most importantly would provide nice counterpoints to the endless reviews of "must have" games. If every article strikes the same tone, it lessens the impact of an actual endorsement.

A good analogy is professional movie critics. They don't go and review every direct-to-dvd movie that churns out, but they present a nice mix of positive and negative reviews, while always making sure to review any "big name" movie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
If you want to read article after article about games you've never heard of that suck... well, that's a site that no one else is going to want to read.

arn
08-06-2009, 11:23 AM
#8
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc99 View Post
There are over 8000+ paid games in the store now. TA has recommended under 800. That is the top 10%.
actually, that's kind of inflated.

There are 11574 games (link) in the app store. The 800+ count is from various TouchArcade article pricing categories including free, but we didn't recommend them all, and a game we cover multiple times gets placed in the categories multiple times.

arn
08-06-2009, 11:32 AM
#9
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: florida
Posts: 104
ok lets look at it like this, this is a blog review site with forums, on a blog, they arent IGN or another gaming website that HAS to or SHOULD review everything. they are a blog by some guys that love iphone gaming, and offer impressions thoughts and reviews on things that interest THEM, you know, how a blog usualy works. just because they are the best and an extremely popular blog does not make them into a full blown review site. they owe nothing to anyone just because they are popular. thats my opinion on it, i enjoy the forums because you get lots of peoples thoughts, you get thier front page reviews of games THEY love, and suggest you buy them to so you can share in the enjoyment they are getting. they have no interest to blog about games that arent great or to help hype something just because a company asks them to.

if you go to www.appshoper.com and look at the last 10 hours, you will probly see about 20 NEW games that have come out without a mention at all, though one like dungeon scroll, whose topic i started would be one of those "missed" games that got a front page article because it's a fun game with a twist. they say go out a buy it because it is a cool new type of word genre game. there are a ton of other topics created for games that people swear are 5 star games that never see the front page, probly because the blog owners and writers didnt enjoy it. they also try to cover news like bubble bobble and upcoming games, which often dont come with the GO BUY IT NOW hype.

just because i'm rambling i'll end with this. i see warpack: grunts as an advertiser all over the site (or used to) and if i rememeber correctly when they reviewed it, it really didnt have that "this game is awesome go buy it" type of review, to me it was more of a "this game is pretty fun, some faults, get it if it interests you" type of thing. maybe i am remembering wrong, but that at least lends some honesty to a blog where they dont owe any honesty to us the readers.

Last edited by silentdante; 08-06-2009 at 11:57 AM.
08-06-2009, 11:35 AM
#10
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 4,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
actually, that's kind of inflated.
I was going by apptism's number of paid games 8939. Just making the point there is a process before games are recommended and there are literally hundreds of 4/5 star games in the store now.