How to Talk About Games #3

burningdragoon

Warrior without Weapons
Jul 27, 2009
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Father Time said:
burningdragoon said:
Father Time said:
burningdragoon said:
Father Time said:
I don't get the last bit. So you're saying that a subjective opinion can be wrong? That sounds like one of those 'people' who says "I can objectively prove that this game/band/movie is bad". No you can't.
Saying "it's just my opinion" is not a Get Out of Challenge Free Card for that opinion.
When talking about whether a piece of art or media is good or bad how can you challenge that opinion.
...by having a discussion about how and why you've come to the conclusion that [THING] is [YOUR OPINION OF THING]. Kinda what the current miniseries has been getting at.
Oh well, I enjoyed playing it so I think it's a good game. Now try to argue against that. Maybe I can't explain why I enjoyed it but you can't argue that I didn't enjoy it. Or do you want to argue that a game you enjoy is a bad game? I can't think of a better metric for a good game or bad than that.

Edit: Unless it's a game that's not trying to induce enjoyment, like say a sad game.
"I like it" and "I think it's good" are not the same thing. Now if it's your opinion that they are the same then it would be my opinion that you are not expressing yourself very well whenever you use them interchangeably.

And if you can't explain why you like something, that's okay, but own up to it being something you can't articulate.
 

BX3

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Mar 7, 2011
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TheBelgianGuy said:
Remember when Critical Miss was about funny comics, not sounding condescending and elitist all the time? Yeah.
No. Most of the time it's both.

Father Time said:
I don't get the last bit. So you're saying that a subjective opinion can be wrong? That sounds like one of those 'people' who says "I can objectively prove that this game/band/movie is bad". No you can't.
As technically true as this is, you can still argue how a game is pretty poorly or sloppily made using relativity or a basic knowledge of functional game mechanics.

For example: Unlike a looooot of people here, I liked Sonic Unleashed. I got a good amount of enjoyment out of it (until near the end, anyway). I felt like the aesthetics were pretty, the music was boss and the boost mechanic a great addition to the series. HOWEVER, the game had a cornucopia of flaws that make everyone else hate the game completely understandable.

The fighting mechanics were lacked the fluidity of the beat-em-ups it was copying, with these wierd animation pauses being forced on you everytime you punched something. The day stages were a test in trial and error and Sonic's feet have way too little traction for the player to realistically control him at top speeds. The Warehog stages were greatly dampened due to being artificially lengthened by its unnecessarily long fight sequences. Also, the difficulty is all over the place; The main stages follow a simple tier system (the earlier you unlocked the stage, the harder it is), but the side missions, which you're required to play to progress, range from dirt-easy to nail-bitingly difficult with no clear pattern.

I thought unleashed was good, cuz I had fun with it, but its development was pretty sloppy and the game's littered with flaws. But because not everyone has the time or interest to go into these lengthy elaborations, and not everyone looks at the words with such a literal eye, we use "good" and "bad" to give a basic idea of the game's functionality. Its less of an issue of proving subjectivity wrong and more of a problem of language.
 

DrOswald

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Apr 22, 2011
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Father Time said:
DrOswald said:
The problem here is that we often misunderstand what we are saying. We have often been told that opinions cannot be
"I did not like the controls." Is an opinion. It claims no objectivity and therefore requires no defense but also cannot be defended. Stating an opinion is essentially telling everyone interested in debate to ignore you because you are not prepared to defend your position.
You mean I'm not prepared to get into a discussion about whether a game is good that will devolve into nothing but contradicting each other? Oh no. One person thinks it's good one person thinks it's bad, hard to talk nuance when they disagree strongly.

You ever try to convince someone a joke they heard was funny? Yeah it's pointless isn't it, unless they don't get the joke but if they do, waste of time. People can look at the same thing with the same mindset and reach different conclusions.
I am not sure what your point is. I hate to be that guy, but your grammar (and possibly word choice?) is so poor that I really don't understand what you are saying. Sorry. I will take a guess, let me know if it is wrong: "It is pointless to debate opinions because they are subjective. Without evidence there will quickly be an impasse."

This is correct. But it is still possible to discuss and compare opinions. A discussion is not a debate. There is no need for one side to convince the other of anything. There is no need for one position to be right and the other to be wrong in a discussion.

DrOswald said:
This does not mean that you are not contributing to a discussion. Often the search for evidence starts by attempting to backup an opinion.
I met a woman who doesn't like gore for the sake of gore in movies. I can enjoy gore for the sake of gore so long as there's more going on in the movie than just that. Basically Tarantino movies would be worse in my opinion if they cut out the needless scenes of brutality (or cut away at the last second). She doesn't like seeing those. Impasse again.
And here we are, a perfect example of what I was talking about in the sentence directly after the one you quoted. What I said was this: "Simply comparing opinions can help people broaden their perspective of a work." Comparing opinions can help people to understand an opinion that they do not hold. This can give them a new perspective on a work. They may not like the work but it may help them to understand the value that the work has despite their own opinion.

Debating opinions is pointless. Discussing opinions is not.
 

Flying Pilgrim

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Apr 24, 2009
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Desert Punk said:
I dont know, I like the idea of being a DOUCHE-TITAN!


Without further delay; Strategy gamers are vastly superior to all other gamers.

For the Douchecanicus, Praise be to the Omnidouchessiah
I actually spent a minute just trying to figure out how the hell you'd even pronounce those words... anyhow, back onto the topic: this was a rather amusing strip. This may seem to be following the popular opinion, but I think I enjoy the notion of being a DOUCHE-TITAN. I would emanate a vast amount douche-e-ness, all from the comfort of my gigantic, armored form. Oh, I can already imagine the confidence I would hold; stomping on any who dare to defy or oppose my opinions -- the law of the land.
 

Yopaz

Sarcastic overlord
Jun 3, 2009
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Callate said:
Father Time said:
IceForce said:
Father Time said:
So you're saying that a subjective opinion can be wrong?
Of course it can be wrong.

Hitler's opinion of the Jews was wrong, for instance. (Yes I did just drop a Godwin's Law bomb on this thread.)
That's totally relevant when talking games.

Although not everything Hitler said about Jews was a matter of opinion.
All right, how about this:

If one were to say "Road to Hell: Retribution" is the best game ever made, because it's the only video game they've ever played, I would say they were wrong.

It could be argued that it was shorthand for "Their lack of experience makes their shallow and unconsidered opinion a worthless reed in the windstorm among the forest of mighty oaks that is the wise and nuanced opinions known as the collected perceptions of their fellow gamers", but saying that repeatedly grows tiresome without a macro.

Or to phrase it another way, not all opinions are of equal value.

If in considering which game to buy, someone accepted the opinion of the hypothetical "played only 'Road to Hell:Retribution' person" as having equal weight with that of the collected opinions of every game critic and virtually every person on game-related message boards, I would think less of their intelligence.

If their reply to my thinking less of their intelligence was to say that was only my opinion, I would feel safe in disregarding anything further they might have to say.
Well, if you were to call any game the best game ever made it doesn't really matter if the game is good or not. It's not an argument in any case. It will always be an opinion. Now here's for my opinion. Tales of Xillia is the game I have been anticipating the most this year. Now this is clearly my opinion, but I am aware of that. It's not a fact, I won't treat it as an objective fact. Is it wrong simply because the majority of the world does not share my opinion?

Saying that a game is good in my opinion isn't a valid criteria for judging the game, but it isn't really wrong to like a game that the majority think is terrible. It's just wrong to present your opinion as a fact which is what your example did. I don't think you'll find many reasonable people who will disagree with you if you say that opinions aren't facts, but if you claim opinions aren't valid in terms of liking something you'll have to explain why we don't all like the same things.
 

burningdragoon

Warrior without Weapons
Jul 27, 2009
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Father Time said:
I can explain why I like it/think it's good but that's not going to convince someone who's played the game and doesn't like it.
You realize the little series Grey and Cory are doing is called "How to Talk About Games" and not "How to Convince People Your Opinion is Correct" right?
 

Mahoshonen

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Jul 28, 2008
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These comics are awesome. I know this is supposed to be the wrap-up, but I highly encourage you to continue the series.
 

xaszatm

That Voice in Your Head
Sep 4, 2010
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Father Time said:
You're overthinking it. Saying "I like it because I like it" is fine. That quote is more meant towards those people who will attack others because they feel the opposite about a movie/tv show/video game. You know, people who go "How dare you like that game!?! You are a horrible person because of it." And when asked why they simply reply "Because I love it."

Like, say you have two people talking to two each other about a game they just played. A likes it. B hates it. A tries to convince B that he has the game. When asked why B has to like the game A says "Because I liked it."

Pretty much "Because I liked it" is not a good reason to convince people to like the game.

OT: I really loved this series. Thanks a lot!
 

Reeve

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Feb 8, 2013
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Whatever you say Grey, I'm still going to go and enjoy my video games anyway... :p

Whether or not something is good or fun is subjective though.

I'm sure there are psychopaths that could explain why murder or stamp collecting are fun, for example. And why the Phantom Menace is a good film. See: Movie Defence Force.
 

StriderShinryu

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Dec 8, 2009
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Tahaneira said:
Not bad. However. I disagree on one small point. there is one opinion which is almost never wrong: whether or not I enjoyed the game. Oh sure, the details why fall under this, but I can't wait to see people try to belittle my enjoyment using this.
I have to agree with this. It's always a good thing to be able to approach discussion and debate like a mature adult, but it's also very important to keep in mind that not everything is put forward as a discussion or debate. Particularly on forums like the one here at The Escapist, it seems like any stated opinion is viewed as an invitation to argue and debate something. Sometimes people don't know, or don't care, why they enjoy a particular experience, they just do. It's just "fun" or "enjoyable" to them and that's perfectly fine.
 

Imp_Emissary

Mages Rule, and Dragons Fly!
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Aug 9, 2020
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Grahav said:
I am having a hard time learning the lesson because I am laughing too much.

Specially with the coke cats.

Also, I still don't know if Carter hates Evangelion or is just self depreciating.
TopazFusion said:
Why is the game fun? Because it features cats snorting cocaine, that's why!
It's not cocaine. It's cat nip.
<..>
Evil Smurf said:
But the last panel is how I talk to women.
That why you haven't been in the Lady Bit's chat for a while? ;D
TheBelgianGuy said:
Remember when Critical Miss was about funny comics, not sounding condescending and elitist all the time? Yeah.
:/ Remember when people were enjoying this comic?
*Looks around at the comments*

:D Oh wait. That's still going on. In fact, it happened to me just a bit ago.

:) Well dang.
 

Callate

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Dec 5, 2008
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Yopaz said:
Now here's for my opinion. Tales of Xillia is the game I have been anticipating the most this year. Now this is clearly my opinion, but I am aware of that. It's not a fact, I won't treat it as an objective fact. Is it wrong simply because the majority of the world does not share my opinion?
Firstly: "Xillia is a game I have been anticipating all year" is clearly a fact- because it applies only to you, and barring mental illness or other significant factors that call into question your ability to be the arbiter of your own taste, you are clearly the ultimate judge of what you like.

Something like "Tales of Xillia is going to be a great game like all the other Tales games" is more of an opinion. If you keep it to yourself, and it informs only your decisions, and you're pleased with the resulting purchases, it's certainly not wrong from your viewpoint.

When one makes that opinion public (save, perhaps, to a group of Tales of Xillia fans who can all be reasonably expected to support one another's love of the franchise), one should be willing and able to defend it. Offering such an opinion to others presupposes that it has a merit that can stand up to scrutiny, that it is capable and deserving of altering other people's viewpoints.

Saying, defensively, of one's own opinion "Well, it's just an opinion!" begs the question why the person chose to offer it in the first place. Saying "It's just your opinion" effectively assumes that "grass is pretty" ranks alongside all other works of criticism without any further consideration of merit.
 

Clankenbeard

Clerical Error
Mar 29, 2009
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So....last panel. When you draw this, is the original image anatomically correct and then pixellated? Or do you simply color the area appropriately? Bottom line, was a penis actually drawn?

The PenIs Mightier! (Adjust spacing if necessary.)
 

Agayek

Ravenous Gormandizer
Oct 23, 2008
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Father Time said:
I don't get the last bit. So you're saying that a subjective opinion can be wrong? That sounds like one of those 'people' who says "I can objectively prove that this game/band/movie is bad". No you can't.
Kinda sorta. Opinions can't be "wrong" insofar as it's your personal take on something and no one can tell you how to think.

However, that doesn't mean that what you think can't be wrong. Maybe you reached your conclusion from a flawed understanding, or maybe you convinced yourself of certain things, or any of a thousand other things that would each invalidate your opinion if yo were made aware of it.

Hell, if you've ever changed your mind about how you feel about something, you have held a wrong opinion.

That said, that wasn't really the point of the comic. The point of those last two panels was less "opinions aren't inviolate" and more "If you retreat from an argument with the statement of 'that's just, like, your opinion, man', you may as well just start masturbating furiously, because that's all you're really doing anyway."
 

jamesbrown

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Apr 18, 2011
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I was arguing with someone because of that last point, they insisted that their way of thinking a game is good is the only way, it was too pathetic to continue; it was almost as sad as when I was talking to someone and they felt there was a right way to play minecraft. Just let the scwableers scwable while the rest of us advances.
 

ghostrider409895

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Mar 7, 2010
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I really enjoyed these series of comics, and I actually recognize times in the past where I did praise the challenge of a videogame without giving support as to why it is challenging. I am not a reviewer by any means, but I think a lot of these points made would make me a more educated discusser on videogames and the medium as a whole. I do also see the point in that complexity dos not always equal more depth. I think the analogy they made with flying a plane makes sense, as whether you can do it with ease or not, you are still merely flying. I think back to some military based strategy games, and other RTS games, where the controls are something really difficult to master. However, some of these games are not that much more deep than a game that has simple controls. Most are simply won by having better strategy than the AI or your real person opponent, and do not hold that much deep story or meaning.

I think the most interesting point that was brought up was how to accept differing opinions, and conflicting views of the game. I really liked the point of how games are not made for every audience. I know this heavily for movies and comic books. I would not suspect all of my friends to like my Punisher MAX comics, as I do not really see the appeal Flash comics. They are made for different audiences. I do not see the appeal of slasher flicks, or Hello Kitty, but then those things are made for very different groups of people than what I am into. Also, you can like a game without liking everything about the game. I think the combat and boss fights of Deus Ex: HR were awful because of how out of place they were with the rest of the game and how the game seemed to be geared more towards stealth and exploration than combat, but I thought the stealth, exploration, and timing required for the rest of the game was excellently done and that is enough for me to like the game.

Basically, I just really liked these series of comics.
 

Lonewolfm16

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Feb 27, 2012
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On the last point, the guy is right. Media exists to entertain in some respect, to be engaging and interesting and, yes, "fun". What exactly people find to be enjoyable varies vastly from person to person, and there is absolutely no objective measure of whether or not something is good. No matter how well you argue your point, you cannot convince someone that they didn't, or shouldn't have, enjoyed something they enjoyed. If you point out flaws that didn't bother other people, you are pointing out things that had almost no effect whatsoever.
 

burningdragoon

Warrior without Weapons
Jul 27, 2009
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Lonewolfm16 said:
you cannot convince someone that they didn't, or shouldn't have, enjoyed something they enjoyed.
That's (mostly) correct. That's also not what these comics have been advocating.
 

Yopaz

Sarcastic overlord
Jun 3, 2009
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Callate said:
Yopaz said:
Now here's for my opinion. Tales of Xillia is the game I have been anticipating the most this year. Now this is clearly my opinion, but I am aware of that. It's not a fact, I won't treat it as an objective fact. Is it wrong simply because the majority of the world does not share my opinion?
Firstly: "Xillia is a game I have been anticipating all year" is clearly a fact- because it applies only to you, and barring mental illness or other significant factors that call into question your ability to be the arbiter of your own taste, you are clearly the ultimate judge of what you like.

Something like "Tales of Xillia is going to be a great game like all the other Tales games" is more of an opinion. If you keep it to yourself, and it informs only your decisions, and you're pleased with the resulting purchases, it's certainly not wrong from your viewpoint.

When one makes that opinion public (save, perhaps, to a group of Tales of Xillia fans who can all be reasonably expected to support one another's love of the franchise), one should be willing and able to defend it. Offering such an opinion to others presupposes that it has a merit that can stand up to scrutiny, that it is capable and deserving of altering other people's viewpoints.

Saying, defensively, of one's own opinion "Well, it's just an opinion!" begs the question why the person chose to offer it in the first place. Saying "It's just your opinion" effectively assumes that "grass is pretty" ranks alongside all other works of criticism without any further consideration of merit.
I think we're on the same page here more or less.

If I say that Tales of Xillia is my favourite game then the sentence would make it clear that I am presenting my opinion and while I could probably give some reasons why that doesn't really matter. If I am to say that it's a great game then I agree that I would need to be able to present a reason other than "it's my opinion". Because I agree that it would be frustrating to go down the line
"This game is so good"
"Why?"
"lol my opinion"

Opinions shouldn't be presented as facts nor be the thing we use when we defend games. If that was the point you were trying to make I agree completely with you.