Welcome to the first in what may be a series (or at least a semi-series) of Friday night posts that are at least partially inspired by Canadian Club whiskey (that we tend to drink on Friday nights).
Tonight’s topic is the idea of negativity in response to reviews.
My good friend (well, I consider us good friends, but I am at least an avid reader if nothing else) Dan Thurot recently tweeted about the extreme response he received to his very lukewarm (if not downright negative) review of Jamey Stegmaier’s Tapestry.
Wowza. Apparently there was a five-page BGG thread about my review of Tapestry that I missed from November. The good news? I now have a New Year’s goal.
I’ll be reading fewer of the comments.
— Dan Thurot (@DanThurot) January 2, 2020
He tweeted about a thread on Boardgame Geek about his review and the garbage fire that the thread became very quickly.
I’m not going to go into the details of the review or whether or not I disagree with it (though I don’t, for many of the same reasons my friend (actual friend, not just in my mind) Katanan mentioned on the BGG review post).
What I want to get into is why people who enjoy a game have to trash almost any negative review that comes out about that game.
Sometimes we enjoy a game so much that when we see somebody dissing it, we get very defensive. It’s almost like this negative review is trying to nullify our love of the game. Almost like it discredits it.
We have to “prove” that the person who doesn’t like our game must be “wrong” somehow.
How can an opinion be wrong?
I get it. It’s very natural to want to respond to something negative that somebody says about your favourite game.
But you have to do it with some thought and consideration.
A reviewer like Dan plays a game a bunch before writing a review, or at least has enough experience to know how a game works with a minimal number of plays. Maybe you won’t agree with the review, but you can see where they are coming from.
Obviously, if somebody tries to post a review saying “oh, we tried this game last night and I just couldn’t get it, so it must suck” then it’s legitimate to say “hey, maybe you need to play this a couple more times in response to it.
Otherwise, if somebody just says “I’ve played the game a few times and it just doesn’t grab me for this reason or that reason or whatever” then fair enough. Not every game is for everybody.
There are plenty of reviews of Tapestry out there that are positive and will verify your world view if you’re that much of a fan of the game and have to have your feelings reinforced.
But if somebody comes in with well-reasoned arguments stating why the game, in their opinion, isn’t very good, then just let them have their say.
Maybe you can discuss it with them, give reasons why you like it and see if you can have a nice, civil discussion about things.
But to trash a review or a reviewer because they’re trashing your game?
That’s just lame.
You are a lame Internet user and you just reinforce why people think other people on the Internet are idiots.
Sure, not every fan of a game reacts like this. I’ve seen some really civil threads on BGG in response to negative comments (not necessarily negative reviews, but negative forum posts).
But things like this Tapestry thread are ridiculous. Accusing Dan of not playing the game enough? Really?
Surprisingly, when I first looked at the review on BGG, the only two comments had actually been removed by BGG moderators for being “antagonistic.” Since then, the comments on the thread aren’t necessarily too bad.
Maybe Dan calling them out on Twitter actually had some effect?
Really, though. If you like a game and somebody calls it the worst game ever, just let it slide.
Your opinion is not invalidated because somebody else hates your favourite game.
I’ve heard lots of complaints about one of my favourite games, Clank in Space. Some of them I consider pretty annoying.
But I don’t trash them for it.
Ok, I might write a post about it, but that’s mainly a post stating why I don’t understand their point of view.
I don’t call them idiots or anything.
Give reviewers a break. Their opinions are valid too.
It might just make the world a better place if you live and let live.
Try it out.
We need it in this day and age.