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1995-2000
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Ethics in Videogaming

hi - isn't it abit irresponsible to have a game that promotes tagging? I wonder if a kid spray painted your car or fence how happy you would be? A bit of a no brainer that spoils what looks like a potentially good game - just remove 2 stars off the rating for promoting vandalism.

Regards
Adrian

Adrian,

Thanks a lot for writing, and I think you have a valid concern. At least, you have a concern I'm sure many other people share. It's indicated by the warning screen that pops up in Jet Grind Radio anytime you start a game that reiterates that grafitti and vandalism are wrong, the game is fantasy, and Sega doesn't condone the practice in real life. But, ultimately, you're just
wrong.

Jet Grind Radio doesn't promote grafitti in real life any more than Quake III Arena promotes blowing people away with rocket launchers. And smuggling weapons grade plutonium is pretty bad, so should we dock Smuggler's Run for that, too? Oh, and beating up people isn't right, so maybe we should knock some stars off every review of every fighting game we've ever done? No. That's just silly. What you're complaining about is the best thing video games have to offer -- they allow us to do those things that we never should/could/would do in real life. Video games are about escapism, fantasy, and gutteral stimulus-reward behavior. If you believe that Jet Grind Radio is going to cause a massive rise in tagging around the world, then you believe that Doom caused Columbine and that you can become an excellent assasin in real life by playing Perfect Dark. I'm sorry, but I just can't agree. Blaming real-world problems like these on video games is a knee-jerk reaction that isn't founded in either research or conventional wisdom.

If anything, Jet Grind Radio allows kids and adults to live out a fantasy, and perhaps prevents some grafitti. And, it's a pretty big jump to say that all grafitti is bad -- just check out stories about the Auckland, New Zealand First Night 2000 festival if you don't believe me. They were proud of their grafitti artists.

Thanks for reading and for writing. While we disagree, I appreciate your opinion.

Take care,

Shawn

A Word From the Creator


Thank you for your kind words, and excellent review. Reading stuff like this makes it all seem worth the effort. I hope you (and other gamers) will enjoy my future efforts as well.

Tuomas Pirinen

It’s always good to get letters from the people who make the games. Check out our review of Pirinen’s latest project, Warhammer Sixth Edition.

Spidey Sense

I think you are a complete prat and should be sacked. The review of Spider-Man you gave was complete rubbish.In England in the official mag., it got a whopping 9/10 and lots of mags. rated it high and said it was the best super-hero game out. I agree and would like to explain some points you said in yout need-to-be-updated review.The camera angle can be flicked behind spidey in a press of a button, eliminating problems there; As for aiming, like duh, there's an aiming button to erase awkwardness and can be combined with the firing button in a second for quick locking on shots; and there are 4 difficulty levels, each one not only changes difficulty of men but can even change lengths of the levels by changing the causes and so to fully complete this game is gonna take more than one weekend. I hope you realise your stupidity and understand (in that tiny brain of yours) your mistake and probable causing for a drop in this games sales. I feel sorry for the producers of it who've worked so hard.

Mesh Customer

Dear Hooligan:

I’m glad you like Spiderman, but I’m sorry you want to sack me. I would agree that Spiderman is the best superhero game out there, but that’s not too hard to do when you consider some of the crap that comes out with a superhero logo on it. Superman for the N64 comes to mind. That said, 9 out of 10 seems a bit excessive to me. Most reviews of Spiderman were running around seventy percent of the available score, which is roughly what three stars is equivalent to. While I admire your enthusiasm, I disagree with your conclusions.

I believe Neversoft faced an enormous obstacle trying to program a workable camera system to account for Spidy’s 3D movement. The terrain often included air vents, ceilings, ext, and given the nature of their challenge, their effort was superb. This does not change the fact that the camera was imperfect. I found that it was often slow to relocate, or relocates too wide, during combat. As a result, many of the longer battles, or those consisting of many opponents, can require of a great deal of running in circles as you try to get the camera behind you so that you can come at the opponent at the right angle. You may also have noticed the occasional problem with the zip line. This infrequent but often fatal glitch comes about when you zip to the ceiling, and the camera mistakenly inverts your position. As a result your controls are reversed until you reorient yourself to your surroundings. So while I agree that the camera was good, it did have issues that inhibited game play. As for the aim, during combat Spiderman already requires many buttons to use. The aim button is handy, but imperfect. From the sounds of things you found the combat more enjoyable then I did. I found the aim to be awkward. The basic problem is that Spidy likes to come to a rest in about eight different directions while opponents are capable of attacking from three hundred and sixty degrees. Unless you focus on Spidy’s feet, you may not start going in the exact direction that you think you’re going to. All in all, these complaints were relatively minor and Spiderman would have been a four star game if these were the only issues I had with the game.

What ultimately bumped the Web Slinger down to 3 stars was the game play. There were moments when the excitement dwindled and gameplay ground to a near halt. The best example of this is the scene highlighted in my review in which Spidy is racing up the building while helicopters shoot at you. I found this to be, well, boring. There was no real test of skill, and ultimately I felt that I was forced to play and replay this level for the sole purpose of memorizing where the helicopters would shoot, so I could avoid those areas. And it was long. That is one tall building, and I didn’t enjoy that type of gameplay at all. In short, the action was inconsistent.

The final and deciding complaint I had with Spiderman was the length. You point out the replay value of the changing difficulty levels. In my review I also indicated that Spiderman had significant replay value. Finding enough amusement to replay a game several times is basically a matter of individual taste. I prefer a longer game to a shorter one with a few different incentives to coax you into playing again. This is particularly important to an adventure game, which usually offer less replay than a multiplayer game. I agree with your statement that if you want to complete Spiderman four or five times it will take you quite a bit longer than a weekend. This is common sense. If you play through the game ten times it will take even longer then if you only beat it five times. If you play if fifteen times, it will take longer than if you only beat it ten times. From beginning to end Spiderman can be finished in a weekend, without working too hard, and this is ultimately what bears the most significance in my consideration. This is especially relevant considering that the game can be rented for a few dollars or purchased for about forty. There are a lot of games competing on a lot of different platforms for gamer’s hard earned money. I find it impossible to give a hands down recommendation to a game which many people will be done playing a few days after purchasing it.

As a final note, please keep in mind that a three star rating should not be considered a "do not buy" sticker. It simply means that the final product was flawed in one or more significant ways, and that the game will not have universal appeal. As with any game, audience is everything. Many games are best suited to fans of a specific genre. Spiderman is this type of game, and I indicated such in my review. I always assumed that there were people who would like Spiderman very much, and I’m pleased to find out that this is so. However, I also contend that my overall assessment of Spiderman was correct and I stand behind the three star rating.

 Jeff

Letters Archive

October 8, 2000
August 27, 2000
July 23, 2000

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