From The ATVG Bunker: Review Scores, Article Comments, and the Ataribox

Screenshot from Gods of Rome

Review Scores

I’m not a big fan of trying to give a numerical value to something so subjective as a work of art. Whether it be films, music, games, or anything to which words and reasoned critique can shed light. (Did I just call games art? I believe I did).

Review scores don’t promote readership. How often have you thumbed through a gaming magazine or scrolled through a site, glanced at the game’s title and the attributed score and decided you know everything you need to know? But what do you know? A number.

At ATVG a review is an opportunity to talk about a game freely; simply describing it, its component parts, why it was enjoyed, and aspects of it that may have been improved, possibly with ideas as to how. It goes without saying that reviews are opinions, not science, and so a numerical value detracts from the reasoning, descriptors, and subjectivity that art inspires.

As a concession to the tl;dr crowd (too long; didn’t read) you’ll find an In A Nutshell section at the end of every review, below the trailer. It acts as a sort of verbal score – one or two sentences that hopefully boil the review down to its essence. Time is short for some, and that’s fair enough. This way, both those who enjoy the journey, and the tl;dr crowd are catered for. We’re nothing if not inclusive here at ATVG.

Article Comments

Some sites have article comments and some don’t. You’ll have noticed that ATVG doesn’t. This goes back partially to the same reason there are no review scores – article comments don’t promote readership.

There’s a trap I’ve found myself falling into when reading other sites at times, which is that compulsion to read the first paragraph of an article, then skip straight to the comments to get the gist of the rest of it, even if that gist is filtered through other people’s opinion of the article. At the same time having done so for the added thrill of some popcorn entertainment, hoping for some incendiary Internet cannon shots.

Meanwhile the effort that someone went to stringing the various sentences together has gone largely unnoticed.

Rolling Stone’s offshoot website Glixel – which focuses on gaming – doesn’t have article comments. While I’m not comparing ATVG to Glixel in any way as far as quality of writing goes (Glixel is fantastic and you should check it out), I found the effect of not having the comments refreshing in that the articles are there to enjoy without the baggage the Internet can bring to them. More akin to a magazine than a website.

Having said all that, the hope is that over time ATVG will still foster a sense of community with feedback from readers and two-way communication. That’s what social media is for though, and if you mash the Facebook link up in the middle of the ATVG banner on top of every page, you’re more than welcome to leave feedback on Apple TV gaming, review opinions, what you’ve been playing and why, thoughts on the future of ATV gaming and so on and so forth.

Something for everyone.

And that’s that for now. Mystery solved.

What are we playing right now? A hell of a lot of Forma.8 is what. Damn that’s a good game. Big too, so a review might be a ways off, but we’ll check in on our progress every so often, maybe in a future From The ATVG Bunker post.

The small taste we’ve so far had of Framed 2 has revealed a solid follow-up to the original, with a “more of everything” approach. A review of that will find its way on site in the near future too.

In other news, Kill Shot Bravo from Hothead Games landed last week as well, so we’ll check that out too.

WWDC 2017 turned out to be a bust as far as getting a glimpse into the future of Apple TV gaming, so we’ll wait patiently for bandleader Tim Cook to reveal what he promised on stage would be “a lot more about tvOS later this year.”

In non-Apple TV gaming news, did you hear Atari is getting back into the hardware business?

Ladies and Gentlemen…The Ataribox is an actual thing. Here’s the teaser:


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