The Rules of Game Analysis Club

Hiatus Week (Sept 23 to 28)

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The intention is to provide weekly forums for the Polygon community members to come together and discuss one particular game. I want to emphasize "analysis" over "opinion" as much as possible. There will always be grey areas and blurred lines, but try and stay focussed on actual insights into the design or implementation of a game, rather than just your opinion of it.

What follows are a set of rules that we will agree to mostly abide by. The rules can be changed, added to, or removed as the community decides. I will update this post as the rules change. Please provide your comments and thoughts on how the rules and Club should go forward in this post. I will be checking it regularly and updating the rules. If there is near-consensus I will just make the change, if it is more contentious, I will put up a poll to vote on.

The Rules (no particular order)

  1. Every opinion is valid. That's right, you are completely entitled to an opinion on any game. However, opinions don't often contribute to the conversation. Since your opinion will often not be swayed, there isn't much to say back to it. You can state your opinion, but don't expect a lot of useful replies.
  2. We want your insights. We would much rather know what you think about how the game was made, what decisions were good, what decisions were bad, and what the net effect was. If you have different insight than someone else, great! Let's discuss how those insights collide.
  3. We don't hate your game. Analysis is like getting feedback; it might be painful but it is usually very productive. Just because we take a deep look at somethings that could have been better in a game you love, doesn't mean we hate it. We aren't bashing it. We probably love it too.
  4. Flaws are easier to see than moments of brilliance. We will probably find more things that could be fixed than moments that really pushed a genre or game forward. That doesn't mean the game is bad. But we look at a particular element and see how it could be better. That is a good discussion to have.
  5. Step back; don't take it personally. The usual rules of engagement on Polygon apply here. Don't make personal attacks, don't troll, and don't be hateful. One of the best ways to do this is to read what someone actually wrote and not what you think they might secretly be saying. We'll all be a lot happier
  6. Analysis means breaking it down. We will take small aspects of a game apart and look at how they work. You might think this isn't fair, but we will also look at how it fits in the larger work. That is synthesis. First we have to break the game down though. Bear with us.
  7. Wrap it up, folks. On the last day we are analyzing a game, we will wrap up our thoughts. I would encourage anyone that has had their opinion of a game to contribute. Or if you have any insights into "how it all comes together" this is a good time for that.
  8. Spoilers are fair game. I don't expect a ton of spoiler tags. If you don't want to be spoiled on a game, this may not be the place for you. I will try to stick to games that are several months or years old.
  9. One comment, one topic. To keep the discussion easier for people to follow, please only discuss one topic per comment. Rather than make sub forums, I would like to see comments clustered around one topic. If you have thoughts on two or more topics, just make 2 or more comments.

Schedule

I am going to suggest the following weekly schedule:

  • Sunday: poll or announcement of game for the upcoming week
  • Monday, Tuesday: Time to play, replay, catchup, or read wiki entries on the game
  • Wednesday: Forum post goes up for the game. We have at it.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: the Game Club proper.
  • Sunday: Wrap up, synthesis, and final thoughts on the game are emphasized.

UPDATE 1

As an indicator of what tone I think we should aim for, here are two video series that I enjoy in the same vein:

Imagine these shows but you get to contribute to the conversation.

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