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There was a Polygon article on HN recently about how the audience has no idea what it wants. It used Flappy Bird as the example, mentioning how it was an overnight success, but repeatedly slammed it:

"Not only is the visual language of Flappy Bird almost entirely re-appropriated from early NES games, but it seems to be engineered and designed by someone still learning how to create games. There are frequent slowdowns and animation glitches in the Android version but, more importantly, Flappy Bird has absolutely no sense of what indie game developers call "feel."

The hitboxes are ridiculously large, which is the source of much of the game’s difficulty. The flapping mechanic, while serviceable, is entirely ordinary. It looks and feels like a game design student's first project in their intro to programming class."

In other words: "Well, this product is a turd, but it look how many idiots are buying it!" If that was your pet project, how would you feel? Imagine if every news article covering your game did so by giving you backhand compliments. It would crush you very, very quickly.




That's bad journalism, of course. If people are buying something in droves, and classical analysis suggests that that should be impossible, then there's something wrong with the analysis. A proper article would start with what we know -- "people love this game" -- and then try to figure out why.

You see the same backwards approach to journalism everywhere there's a scale in how much work things take to produce. Critics appreciate things with a complex process behind them. People, meanwhile, value mostly nostalgia and super-stimuli.

The wine most popular in blind taste-tests of people who haven't developed a "palate" for wine, is basically equivalent to grape juice with some vodka dumped into it. This isn't a bad thing! But critics hate it, because there's nothing to talk about there. It's grapey, and it's alcoholic, and that's all people really want. Until, that is, they're immersed into the whole culture of oaky this and tannins that, and start thinking about what went into the wine instead of just whether they want to drink a lot of it.

And because of this, critics generally don't serve the people. People want to find the best-tasting grapey alcohol. Critics, meanwhile, just want to talk about how long something aged in a barrel, and don't even have words to differentiate grapey alcohols.


That isn't how Polygon works. They and their writers absolutely despise their readers and gamers, in general.


Agreed. I think many people (myself included, probably) aren't equipped to deal with constant streams of criticism and abuse.

It's a shame the internet had to react this way. The guy seems really humble and deserving of the success. But I think he chose happiness over the money, and I think that speaks of great integrity.


A good point. The gamer crowd is the most self-entitled, abusive audience of all. A popular game is going to receive plenty of trollish abuse if it doesn't run perfectly, the abuse running up to and including threats of rape and death.


Good point, I read that article before trying the game thus never realised how insulting the author was. And he's a drama queen about the hitbox. The game is smooth on my 1½ years old S3 (FWIW).


The game's physics, visuals and sound actually seem to be thoughtfully designed. It has an open yet secluded feel that can be compared to Minecraft or other historically successful games.


Very true. Also, it's SNES games. Not NES games.




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