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The complaints that make you want to buy a game

Sorry to tell you this, but the pizza has meat on it


Recore is the latest game to receive middling reviews that sound wonderful to me.

"When it’s working, Recore is a game that feels evocative of a different era of action games," our review stated. "But in its final half, Comcept and Armature let collect-a-thon structure and a poorly realized open world drag the whole thing back down to earth."

There is some criticism in there, but otherwise that sentence made me perk up my ears.

Another editor on Twitter referred to Recore by saying it "feels like a gimmicky '90s combo action game." He didn’t mean it as a compliment. But I’m kind of in the mood for a gimmicky ‘90s combo action game?

I have bad news, Ben Affleck is directing a Batman movie

This sort of thing happens all the time in gaming, if not in pop culture. People will tell me things that they think are bad that make me want to play the game in question.

"It had a great story, but the game is really short. You can beat it in like five hours," they might say. They may think that’s a poor value, but I’m over here thinking it means I’ll actually see the end.

I asked other people on Twitter for some examples of things that a complainer thought of as negatives that drew them to certain games. "It’s clearly aimed at children," was one answer.

"You have to play as a woman" was another popular answer for a complaint that ended up highlighting an attractive aspect of a game. The phrase "walking simulator" was brought up more than once as a positive that was presented as a negative.

One interesting answer said that people on both sides of the turn-based vs. real-time strategy game debate did this to each other all the time.

One fun answer was "all you do is manage inventory!" I personally don’t like to manage inventory, but someone else might. I know other people may find it very satisfying. I don’t understand those people, but I know they exist. They’re out there.

This was one of my favorite answers:

The "sorry to tell you this, but all the pizza has meat on it" statement referenced at the top of this article was actually said to me at an event one time, and I mean. I can see how that would be bad news to some, but from my point of view that's an apology I don't mind making. When I don’t like something about a game, I like to try to remind myself that there are likely many people who adore that same something.

What’s interesting to me is that so many people had an answer ready on hand; large groups of people had some pet issue that caused some players to lose interest and complain, which merely publicized things that caused the listener to gain interest.

I’ll often hear from someone on social media who disagrees with a negative article I wrote about this topic or that feature, and they tell me they’re more interested in the game because of it, and how does that make me feel? To be honest, it makes me happy to be useful. You don’t have to agree with me, but if I write about some aspect of a game that lets you know that it fits your tastes, my writing is still of use. That big "opinion" branding is up there for a reason.

I’m not going to argue there’s no such thing as bad press, but often we complain about things only to help others find games they like. Nothing could make me happier.

The next level of puzzles.

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