Temple of The Roguelike Forums

Announcements => Other Announcements => Topic started by: jim on September 04, 2010, 06:21:39 PM

Title: Shilling Games
Post by: jim on September 04, 2010, 06:21:39 PM
Hey guys, I just got an idea. We're all aware of various underrated roguelikes that exist on the periphery, right? And we've been talking about bringing some attention to the deserving examples of good roguelike design, right? Why don't we make an effort at it? (I should say that many of you already do this far more than I ever will.)

What I'm suggeting is a community-generated series of "Let's Play" introduction-slash-promotions to upcoming roguelikes, with each of us as contributors. These wouldn't be formal reviews so much as a means to generate buzz, something for interested gamers to flip through as they cruise the indie game scene. The car brochure rack, if you will. And we'd each of us be writing for our own favorites.

I'm just throwing this out there, but maybe some good ground rules would be:

-Lots of screenshots
-At least 1000 words
-Attempt to explain the gameplay, concept, and why it's fun
-The writing itself should be entertaining, anything from woot.com's storytelling to wry commentary
-Entries should be positive and speak to POSSIBILITY; if you don't like it, don't review it
-Responses to these entries should remain constructive if critical

Anybody think that this is a good idea? I'd be happy to go first. There are at least a few 7DRLs that deserve to be full-fledged.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: Darren Grey on September 06, 2010, 07:33:19 PM
1000 words?  That's a lot - overexhaustive for a lot of games, and overwhelming for many readers.  To remain chipper and positive throughout would also be painful - honesty is important in any game report.  I appreciate that articles should be constructive though.

It's a nice idea overall.  A bunch of players releasing Let's Plays or reviews on a regular basis could bring some just attention to many underplayed roguelikes.

I was actually thinking earlier today that it would be nice to play a different roguelike every week for a year, releasing a blog post description/review about each, maybe with one or two screenshots or a short video demonstration.  But it would be a big thing for just one person.  Having a group of people doing something like this could generate a lot more momentum, making sure that there was something publishable every week.  Everyone could aim to create a piece each month or so, and we'd have maybe 2 or 3 available each week, with some to go on the backburner for dry weeks.  Anyone following the site could find out about new games very regularly, and maybe be inspired to try out a few themselves.

Personally I'd prefer video reviews or reasonably sized blog posts over giant essays flooded with too many screenshots though.  Few people would have the patience to sit through a lot of overly verbose game descriptions, especially if a lot get released.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: getter77 on September 06, 2010, 08:40:54 PM
http://www.roguetemple.com/forums/index.php?topic=458.0  IIRC, a fair assortment got reckoned back in this topic, though that blog one does seem like a solid one if you can assemble a crack team A-Team style.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: Darren Grey on September 06, 2010, 09:30:08 PM
Read through that old thread - seem a bit of a disorganised mesh of ideas.  Some nice stuff, but no focus on important points.

A crack team of reviewers isn't that hard to find considering the number of roguelike players constantly playing new games out there anyway.  Just need to get them to bang out a few words about them.  Also, anyone could submit reviews on an irregular or even one-off basis - if there's enough people submitting we could still keep up a decent flow of content.  It relies on a lot of community support, but with the right level it could be very successful.

With ARRP upcoming I'm not sure I really have time to properly organise something like this, but certainly towards the end of the month and into October I feel I could do something good with it.  Who else is interested in participating?
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: Krice on September 07, 2010, 06:50:46 AM
What's the point in reviews if they have to be positive? Such BS. Btw, I had an idea to start writing reviews of retro games, but maybe I could set up a review page for roguelikes as well. I like reviewing and writing. Only bad thing is that most roguelikes are way unfinished, but there are some good ones also (Frozen Depths, Incursion..)
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: Etinarg on September 07, 2010, 08:02:55 AM
My impression is that many people do not read longer texts, not even forum messages. 1000 words seems for the dedicated, the rest is tl;dr.

Reviews are helpful though, even if they are biased to emphasize what is good about the project, and not so much what is bad. There are just too many game projects, and before I go testing one, I like to have a rough idea what to expect. The usual feature lists and "200 new talents, 50 new levels, and 3145 new spells" don't really draw me in.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: Krice on September 07, 2010, 08:46:23 AM
The usual feature lists and "200 new talents, 50 new levels, and 3145 new spells" don't really draw me in.

Yes, if something is bad advertising then it's that. No regular player wants to read those release feature lists, hell, even I don't want to read them. If you want to make a good impression it must be a short description telling about the game (especially what is good/different about it compared to other games) with couple of screenshots.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: Bear on September 07, 2010, 04:08:47 PM
I dunno.  I think the release feature list has its place in the universe of game shilling.  It's definitely not supposed to be the "first contact" document for new players; it's there so existing players can see what's changed and whether they'd like to upgrade. 

That said?  If I saw a game advertising 3145 new spells, I'd wonder what was up. I mean, seriously, that's either a phenomenal amount of work, or (more likely, sadly) an uninspired mass of crappy undifferentiated plug-together spells.  I'd download it hoping for the former and expecting the latter.

For me the best "first contact" document is players talking about a game.  If someone is raving about "the game where you find the most incredibly bizarre stuff" or "the game where you sometimes get ├╝ber-spells," or "the game where fighters get these awesome combat maneuvers" or "the best stealth roguelike I've seen in years" or "this game is a complete hoot - even the error messages are funny!" or something like that -- something which differentiates it from other games - then I'd be likely to download and play.  The recent "serial killer roguelike" thing was well-differentiated from other games.  People wanted to try it.

Also?  Game logs/recaps by players.  I find these interesting, and they often touch on unique features of the game that I just don't hear about otherwise.  A major part of shilling your game is making sure the game gives your players everything they need to write recaps of their games, because those recaps are pure gold in terms of drawing others in.

Just a few thoughts.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: jim on September 08, 2010, 01:25:29 PM
Well then, 500 words. Obviously we should only write as much as we care to. :P I just want there to be enough room in the text for there to be some actual meat to the review. I want prospective players to get a sense of what the experience of diving into the game and playing was for you, and we need words for that. Or videos. Basically I just want more than "GFX: 5, SOUND: N/A, OVERALL: 7", and the way that I best know how to get there is through writing.

And I'm DEFINITELY not saying that we should have to tailor what we write so that it's positive; I'm suggesting that we review games that we LIKE because the whole purpose of this is to generate positive buzz. If there's something that you'd like to see change about the game you're reviewing, absolutely mention it. I just don't think we're doing the community any favors by lambasting a bunch of roguelikes.

If you want to check out what the "honest" review process can do to an amateur development community, check out the rpgmaker sites and observe the brutality. I think we should steer away from that for now.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: jim on September 17, 2010, 10:06:51 PM
Alright, well, I was going to start with Troll Slayer, but that's on the backburner for now and I wanted to promote an RL that's in active development. I'll probably just try to pick up and extensively play something soon, but in case anyone particularly wants me as a shill, feel free to send a PM. To be honest, ever since I got out of college I've simply stopped writing - it's starting to drive me a little batty. You'd be doing me a favor.
Title: Re: Shilling Games
Post by: corremn on September 23, 2010, 11:33:34 AM
Damn maybe I should of lied about trollslayer, haha :).  Anyway I like reading reviews about rls so write one.  There are some ARRP ones, which are all in active dev.