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Memfis

Commenting on wads: do you still have new things to say?

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I used to comment on wads here and on /idgames quite often, but I think most of my comments were rather similar and I guess you could predict what I would say about a certain wad by reading some of my other texts. I also would often use same word constructions over and over again. I just ran out of new things to say, so I thought "How many times I can say 'nice nonlinear layout' or 'the balance is a little too tight' before my Doom brain stops functioning due to not having to come up with new thoughts and sentences?". Or, "Do I even have a taste anymore or am I just looking for certain tropes that I can praise and bash? Like, oh look, a totally linear map, so I can write that this is baaaaaad. Listen to my clever and totally original critique". So now I usually abstain from writing cliched comments and only sometimes make random notes like 'cute crate there' or something. Is any of this familiar to you, and if so, how do you deal with it?

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Reviews / comments / words of feedback are not a work of art themselves. They don't need to be 'good', they don't need to be 'original', they don't need to be 'awe-inspiring'. They only *should be* honest and constructive, in order to fulfil their purpose.

I don't see anything wrong with the things you mention, like predictable or cliched comments, as long as they're appropriate in the place you use them - that means, they inform the reader about your opinion and possibly help the author. I don't know why do you want to see more in it. I don't.

I'm not a writer at all. I'm often terrible at expressing myself with words. I might do a lot of mistakes, or repeat myself often, or repeat other people's words, or use 'cliches', or don't get to the point as I wanted to. But that has nothing to do with commenting on wads. Who does comment on wads with the purpose to impress readers with his own articulacy and inventiveness? That's not the point, really. I don't think this way. I don't care too much if I express myself poorly or 'unoriginally'. Once again, the point of feedback is to inform readers about one's opinion and possibly contribute to the author's (and not only his) improvement.

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I like to play around with my negative reviews of pretty much anything:

"Plays like being hit by a freight train covered in razor blades, 0/5"

"Looks like the bastard child of my shit and an explosive car crash whilst also playing like EA's dysfunctional toilet cubicles, 0/5"

"Reminds me of the time absolutely nothing interesting happened for 40 minutes, 0/5"

"Plays like a high velocity brick to the face and looks like the aftermath of a dodgy 10 week old curry, 0/5"

"4 hours in and after all the extensive research I have done I still can't figure out what the fuck is happening or why anybody in the world actually cares at this point, 0/5"

"About as fun as a swing set with no ropes which is located behind Hitler's chemical shed, 0/5"


But other than that I bring nothing useful to the table or nothing new to the sea of shit.

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I spend too much time thinking about doom that I've almost completely solidified my checklist for things to look for to evaluate if a map is something I would like. Unfortunately as things are becoming more and more concrete, the amount of unknowns and uncertainties in doom is quickly diminishing. So when playing maps and having a positive or negative response occurs, the mystery of trying figure out why is usually answered pretty quickly by the the mapper doing or not doing something on the checklist that made it enjoyable or not enjoyable for me.

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i hope that after writing almost 400 reviews totaling more than 3000 maps that i am still saying something worthwhile for the people that bother to read them.

granted a lot of what I write tends to be something like a trip report. this is what the level style is like, this room has cool architecture, i really liked this fight. I try to keep away from detailed critiques (like i would compare to playtesting data) or the metaphysics of mapping. it sneaks in from time to time, tho.

I would ask myself why I am leaving comments on idgames. is it feedback for the author, to tell them what you liked or didn't like? Is it information for prospective players, drawing them in or turning them away? if I was going to write a comment nowadays I would try to pump people up to play it because I think that doom wads are pretty unique among a vast ocean of user-created content for games. it's a sweet spot with a low barrier for entry and an incredibly high ceiling for how far you can take it and I want other people to share in the experience. part of that informs how I write my longform reviews.

so I guess I would try to figure out your goal for leaving a comment on /idgames before changing anything to "better" your approach.

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It's a fact that most people who look at a thread don't comment. (Just check out how low the view to comment ratio is on many threads here and on any other forum really) Some of those will not have played the WAD so don't say anything, but many people do and don't say anything. I feel in part because it's effort, and when you look at something en masse, the more effort it takes to do something the less people will do it. I've been participating on forums for well over a decade now, spending several years working my way up a moderation chain on a fairly large gaming site (which I don't do any more thankfully!), and I know just how difficult it is to get people's thoughts and generate activity. So when I play through an entire WAD, I give my thoughts because I would definitely like feedback from people if it was something I had put the sort of time some people in here have put into things.

I'm not an experienced mapper, but I can still comment on how it plays. Naturally the author is free to ignore any comments anyone makes, but I try to do my bit if someone has made something I've enjoyed playing. (Or even if a map is frustrating as hell) I suppose in places I will repeat comments and that's inevitable, but I can still drop a reply or two to say I enjoyed it. Everything I've ever commented on here so far seems to have been welcomed. Sometimes the authors have made modifications based on things I've said, sometimes they haven't, but I'm sure they appreciate someone has taken the time to comment. (As long as it's constructive - going "omgz this sux" doesn't really help anyone)

Of course if it happens to be a particularly popular WAD then you may get a lot of people saying more or less the same things if a map, or section of maps, has particularly taken everyone by storm. I'm not sure that's really a problem if a comment is repeated a lot.

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Make a new oblige or obhack megawad every day. Write a minimum 500 word review for each map in notepad (after highlighting and Ctrl-x-ing all the reviews you made for the previous day), and never making any other humans aware of their existence.

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If a bunch of other people have already commented, unless it's a WAD I really want to put my 2 cents in, I usually don't comment. There are so many old WADs on there without a single comment or vote, my goal for a few years now on and off has been to meake sure every WAD has at least one comment and vote :)

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I rarely feel I have anything in-depth to say; more often than not my analysis doesn't go any deeper than "I enjoyed it"/"I didn't". As such, I don't leave many reviews on idgames. Though I'll make an exception for longtime favorites (Mordeth), new WADs with few ratings that I really loved (20 Years of Doom), or old WADs that I feel are underrated (NDCP1).

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