Ok, it’s Friday night and I’ve had a bit to drink, so I thought I would opine on something that I’ve seen over the last couple of days (hopefully in a non-offensive manner).
I watched the Dice Tower “Testing Tuesday” playthrough of Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein by Plaid Hat Games (designed by Dan Blanchett with art by Mikhail Palamarchuk and Tony Sart).
I’ve been anxiously awaiting this game since I saw the awesome “how to play” from Girls Game Shelf and all of the accolades on Twitter from people like Meeple Lady (an awesome follow on Twitter if you aren’t already). It’s sitting in a pre-order right now, and apparently Plaid Hat has said that there’s been a production delay and it may be a month or longer before it’s available via retail (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
Anyway, Tom, Sam, and Zee played the game, and it’s clear that this is not their type of game. It’s too macabre, and it is longer than the box says that it is (numerous complaints have been made about that, so much so that Plaid Hat has said they may be releasing a variant that will quicken play soon).
While Tom kept on insisting that he did like the game, but it’s just too long (as the game play time rose to 3+ hours and then to 4), it was clear that they weren’t having that much fun with it.
Since I haven’t played it, I obviously can’t comment on the play time and whether it harms the game. And I can’t comment on whether the game is fun, though it does look great from what I’ve seen.
However, to me this video gave a disservice to the game that I’m not sure is warranted. They were playing slow as it was (cracking jokes, making fun of things in the game like you are wont to do if you aren’t necessarily enjoying it) and I could see why it was dragging to the 4 hour mark.
Others have been raving about the game, and it’s very possible that a review from the Dice Tower (I don’t know who would do it) would be a positive review but talking about some of the faults that they found in the game during the playthrough.
What bothered me was that there were people in the chat talking about how they had been looking forward to the game, but watching this video had shown them that the game was too long and boring to actually get.
How many sales did this cost Plaid Hat?
I don’t know, but I do know that the general feeling about the game in chat was negative.
The video didn’t turn me off of the game. In fact (and maybe this is the alcohol talking right now), it made me determined to show that the game is good despite their experience in the game.
But it brought to mind something that I hadn’t really thought about.
Are these types of videos detrimental to games?
I’m not talking about playthroughs in general.
The Heavy Cardboard stream of Planet Steam was amazing to watch. They seemed to be enjoying it but at the end, the general feeling about the game was “eh.”
And that’s fine! It’s an older game for one (so maybe it wasn’t as bad), but the playthrough itself was entertaining and they saved the negative opinions about the game until they were actually done.
I just think some of these videos that come out prior to an actual review can be unfairly detrimental to a game when really there could be any number of reasons for the bad experience. Maybe they got rules wrong? I can’t say that’s what happened this time, but it’s possible for this or future videos.
I think they played a couple of rules wrong, but this was also just a first play of the game. They had to consult the rulebook at some point, which also slows things down.
There’s no way to know whether it would grow on them or not (their feelings about the theme in general makes me think that it won’t change in this particular case).
I haven’t watched any of the other “Playtest Tuesday” videos, so I don’t know if it’s an ongoing problem with them or not.
But this one stuck in my craw.
Who knows? When I finally get the game, maybe my opinion will be similar to theirs.
But to me, it’s sad that so many people’s opinions were seemingly shaped by what might be a subpar gameplay experience by three prominent personalities in the games industry.
I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
What do you think?
Let me know in the comments.