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Some opinions matter more than others

December 9th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Media

I was wavering on getting The Movies. Despite the generally respectful reviews it has been getting, all the discussion of the tedious tycoon part of the game gave me the impression that this is a game best left for the bargain bin. Many of the movies uploaded to the Lionhead site at this point are pretty silly and more in the lines of trailers or in-jokes than actual movies.

But two recent opinions have provoked me to put this title at the top of my Christmas list.

One of these opinions was a 3.5 star review. The other opinion was an IM out of the blue.

The review was from CGM’s Steve Bauman. Besides being my sometime boss, he’s got decent taste in games. Still, 3.5 stars is not usually enough to instantly add a game to my list. But he says a couple of things that make my heart flutter. First, the interface gets rave reviews from his pen. Frequent readers know that interface is very important to me, and anything that makes my life easier and manuals less necessary is fine with me. Especially if it gets me through the tycoon part of the game. Second, he mentions that you can make a musical (actually, a lesbian zombie musical) and I’d love to have been Rodgers and/or Hammerstein.

The IM was from my friend Kevin who hates everything. Well, not everything. But he is not easily enthused. He goes in phases, too. But when he gets enthusiastic about something I generally take notice. So when he IMs me saying that The Movies is the best game he has played in months that means something to me.

Now his idea of “best” is not necessarily one with an objective hierarchy. If he really thinks that this is a better game than Civilization IV, then The Movies must be some kind of miracle. “The best” for him generally means that this is a game that allows him to feel like he is in control. He likes options, he likes managment, he likes novelty.

Reviews from people you know always matter more than an enthusiastic review from a site where you may not know the reviewer. I haven’t met most of the reviewers I trust, but I’ve gotten to the point where I trust bylines more than sites. People who “I don’t trust Gamespot” sometimes seem to miss that some very trustworthy (in my opinion) people scribe for the leading game review website from time to time.

But, having met Steve and Kevin (only once each oddly enough), I can put a face to the review. Even a review score that Gamerankings puts at the bottom of their Movies listing is not enough to drown out the good things that Steve has to say. And Kevin’s occasional crankiness about buggy AI is not enough to prevent me from picturing the joy on his face when he finds something to be excited about.

So, brother-in-law, if you are reading this, buy me The Movies. Some people I know say it’s pretty good.


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