Stolen Pixels #251: Everyone Else is Wrong

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Stolen Pixels #251: Everyone Else is Wrong

You can't apply math to art. Unless it's good math, in which case, go right ahead.

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Danny Bilson:
you can't apply math to art

What's this I hear? It sounds like the devil quoting scripture.

But Bilson, who's been the driving force behind the game since he joined THQ in 2008, is pretty happy. "A million units in a week on an original IP coming out of nowhere I think speaks a lot to the concept and the marketing of the game," he told IGN. "I think we really captured people's imagination with the IP. I'm very proud [of] what the teams have done with that game."

The goal, he continued, was not to beat modern shooter behemoths like Call of Duty but just to get THQ "in the conversation" and in that regard, he described it as mission accomplished. "Everybody's talking about Homefront," he said.

"Do I prefer that it's controversial? No, I'd prefer if everybody in the world loved it," he continued. "But there are 20-plus reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a 71. You can't apply math to art."

Uhmm... what I took away from this section of the original article is that Bilson says he's pretty happy with how Homefront was received. I can't find anything in the entire article suggesting he's pissed because "it's only a 70, not a 71" (Or, of course, higher).

He's even saying they're looking through these reviews to see how to improve on the game. That might all be lies to save face, and it does sound strange considering he says math is not applicable to art a mere sentence later, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I don't see him condemning the reviews, scores or general reception of the game.

My question to you, Shamus, would then be: Where do you see it?
Maybe I'm not that good at reading in between the lines, but it seems to me you went into this one with a great deal of pessimism toward Bilson and Homefront.

I'd also score it lower. a 50 is more like it. Mediocrity at its best :D

To be fair, Metacritic treats a grate of 3 stars as a 60, a B as a 70 and a one thumb up as a 5.
Until there's a standardization of review scores, Metacritic is humbug.

I think videogame scores work like grades these days. 71 is a C-.

Did the game deserve an F? If it doesn't crap it's pants every 30 minutes and cause your RAM to catch fire, that should at least be a passing grade these days, right?

I've never played homefront and nothing has made me regret that.

I agree that you can't apply a mathematical score to art. Personally I'd score the game a "Haven't we been here before in another, better (despite still being a gigantic pile of dysfunctional crap) game? Namely MW2? If that shit wasn't good, why would "knock offront" be?".

...That's... A lot lower than 71, I can tell you that.

Sennz0r:

But Bilson, who's been the driving force behind the game since he joined THQ in 2008, is pretty happy. "A million units in a week on an original IP coming out of nowhere I think speaks a lot to the concept and the marketing of the game," he told IGN. "I think we really captured people's imagination with the IP. I'm very proud [of] what the teams have done with that game."

The goal, he continued, was not to beat modern shooter behemoths like Call of Duty but just to get THQ "in the conversation" and in that regard, he described it as mission accomplished. "Everybody's talking about Homefront," he said.

"Do I prefer that it's controversial? No, I'd prefer if everybody in the world loved it," he continued. "But there are 20-plus reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a 71. You can't apply math to art."

Uhmm... what I took away from this section of the original article is that Bilson says he's pretty happy with how Homefront was received. I can't find anything in the entire article suggesting he's pissed because "it's only a 70, not a 71" (Or, of course, higher).

He's even saying they're looking through these reviews to see how to improve on the game. That might all be lies to save face, and it does sound strange considering he says math is not applicable to art a mere sentence later, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I don't see him condemning the reviews, scores or general reception of the game.

My question to you, Shamus, would then be: Where do you see it?
Maybe I'm not that good at reading in between the lines, but it seems to me you went into this one with a great deal of pessimism toward Bilson and Homefront.

"What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a 71. You can't apply math to art."

I think that could be seen as arguing against the recieved score. Honestly, I don't trust any site that has members who actively bomb a game just because the devs didn't cater to their every whim.

Hold It!

The Wykydtron:
They're right, Homefront is definately not a 71... It's more of a 50, 55 tops...

Pro Tip for the next game you guys make: Make it longer than 4-5 hours, try to elevate it beyond a mediocre CoD clone and make better characters, cuz i thought the most interesting character in that game was the Korean Sentry Towers

There now i don't have to rewrite it

Sennz0r:

But Bilson, who's been the driving force behind the game since he joined THQ in 2008, is pretty happy. "A million units in a week on an original IP coming out of nowhere I think speaks a lot to the concept and the marketing of the game," he told IGN. "I think we really captured people's imagination with the IP. I'm very proud [of] what the teams have done with that game."

The goal, he continued, was not to beat modern shooter behemoths like Call of Duty but just to get THQ "in the conversation" and in that regard, he described it as mission accomplished. "Everybody's talking about Homefront," he said.

"Do I prefer that it's controversial? No, I'd prefer if everybody in the world loved it," he continued. "But there are 20-plus reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a 71. You can't apply math to art."

Uhmm... what I took away from this section of the original article is that Bilson says he's pretty happy with how Homefront was received. I can't find anything in the entire article suggesting he's pissed because "it's only a 70, not a 71" (Or, of course, higher).

He's even saying they're looking through these reviews to see how to improve on the game. That might all be lies to save face, and it does sound strange considering he says math is not applicable to art a mere sentence later, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I don't see him condemning the reviews, scores or general reception of the game.

My question to you, Shamus, would then be: Where do you see it?
Maybe I'm not that good at reading in between the lines, but it seems to me you went into this one with a great deal of pessimism toward Bilson and Homefront.

"THQ Vice President Danny Bilson says you can't apply math to art but when it comes to Homefront, it's "clearly" better than a 71."

He says you can't apply math to art, and then turns right around and tries to argue that they have the wrong numerical answer. He even suggests the answer is "clearly" wrong.

Normally I'd point out that its my belief that a game being a "71" or whatever being called "bad" is a show of a broken scoring system for games. Normally I'd agree that review scores in general are silly.

... but yeah, with this guy it sounds like he's making excuses

Metacritic uses an oddball scoring system, right? And a 71 is closer to an actual 80?

That said, I didn't play Homefront, and it kind of sounds like an extended MW2 Ranger campaign, and I didn't particularly care for MW2.

"THQ has not taken a principled stand. It has simply looked down in the bed it has made, and announced it prefers sleeping on the couch."

Awesome metaphor is awesome!

Captcha: not Meutsa

What then?

Shamus Young:

"THQ Vice President Danny Bilson says you can't apply math to art but when it comes to Homefront, it's "clearly" better than a 71."

He says you can't apply math to art, and then turns right around and tries to argue that they have the wrong numerical answer. He even suggests the answer is "clearly" wrong.

That's what it says in the article's blurb, yes. But none of Bilson's quotes in the rest of the article say it's clearly better than a 70. Yes, I agree upon reading the article in a different light you could argue he's saying that. Maybe I was reading Bilson's words in a way that made him sound more at peace with the review score because the statement was preceded by him saying he was happy with the game's reception by consumers and was not at all being negative about the received review scores.

I will however say again that I completely agree with the controversy in his statement of not being able to apply math to art and then proceeding as if the scores were relevant. I also agree had the scores been better he would've pointed to them as proof of THQ having released good art.

I agree that the game isn't a 71 ... I'd score it lower.

Homefront is the videogame equivalent of Battlefield Earth; it's so awful you just HAVE to play it.

How the hell can you act surprised that the North Korean's found your "secret base" when you built it 100 yards from their base!

Wait... wait... you make a comic called "you can't apply math to art." and you use a robot to do the art? Megaburn.

Shamus Young:
I agree that the game isn't a 71 ... I'd score it lower.

Me too.

You can apply math to everything.

Homefront was shit, 4/10 normally, 7/10 with video game industry standards. Such is the life of unprofessional reviewers.

Grey Carter:
Wait... wait... you make a comic called "you can't apply math to art." and you use a robot to do the art? Megaburn.

Are you telling us Ry-DELL isn't a computer?

Eleuthera:

Grey Carter:
Wait... wait... you make a comic called "you can't apply math to art." and you use a robot to do the art? Megaburn.

Are you telling us Ry-DELL isn't a computer?

Computers can draw hands.

Ima' have to agree with Shamus on this one. 71 for Homefront is... generous.

Grey Carter:

Eleuthera:

Grey Carter:
Wait... wait... you make a comic called "you can't apply math to art." and you use a robot to do the art? Megaburn.

Are you telling us Ry-DELL isn't a computer?

Computers can draw hands.

Ima' have to agree with Shamus on this one. 71 for Homefront is... generous.

And now I know the difference thanks ;)

Haven't played it myself, but generic shooter looks generic...

You know, i think i'm going to do my best to ignore review scores from now on. I usually don't look at them anyway, having a good idea about weather i want a game based off of what is released about how it plays or occasionally i'll hear an interesting story primes. Then when i look up the games i like, to see what reviewers think, i end up seeing other games that i would never play (cause i don't like the genera or i'm not going to spend $60 on Mediocre Shooter XIV or i genuinely think that the game concept is bad) scoring higher and i feel like they're pretty much saying that i have bad taste in games. That's the thing too. It's ridiculous to try to compare the entertainment value of a game, especially when you disregard its genera. Comparing an RPG to a sports game is pointless because they appeal to two different types of players.

I could maybe accept a genera specific score but not this "universal" score that these places are using now.

In any case I've seen some good reasons for not scoring games, particularly from Yhatzee. And I would like to see scores done away with if only so the lemmings have to actually consider if they think the game will be fun, rather than having someone else decide for them.

(BTW i'm not saying that reviews aren't valuable, but they should rarely sum up in a single "buy this game" or "I'd rather eat my own feces than play it again" like the number does so well)

Sennz0r:
Uhmm... what I took away from this section of the original article is that Bilson says he's pretty happy with how Homefront was received. I can't find anything in the entire article suggesting he's pissed because "it's only a 70, not a 71" (Or, of course, higher).

He's even saying they're looking through these reviews to see how to improve on the game. That might all be lies to save face, and it does sound strange considering he says math is not applicable to art a mere sentence later, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I don't see him condemning the reviews, scores or general reception of the game.

My question to you, Shamus, would then be: Where do you see it?
Maybe I'm not that good at reading in between the lines, but it seems to me you went into this one with a great deal of pessimism toward Bilson and Homefront.

Shamus Young:
"THQ Vice President Danny Bilson says you can't apply math to art but when it comes to Homefront, it's "clearly" better than a 71."

He says you can't apply math to art, and then turns right around and tries to argue that they have the wrong numerical answer. He even suggests the answer is "clearly" wrong.

I guess the key question here is what is the real quote? Google tells me it's this:

"What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a '71'. You can't apply math to art."

That's very different than the one you mention with him saying "better," Shamus. If indeed he does not say better, than I would agree with Sennz0r in that he's not contradicting himself.

He's saying it's NOT a 71, which to me, means you can't just feed #'s into your machine to pump out a score, and that ultimately, numerical values should not be applied to games, period. Why not? Because you can't apply math to art.

However, I haven't played the game, and I've heard it's so-so at best, so who am I to say you're not justified in not giving him the benefit of the doubt? ;)

Homefront, for me, falls into the same category of Medal of Honor
I enjoyed the stuff at the core such as the story and the ideas
but the execution and actual gameplay just fell a bit short

or in Homefront's case, more than just a bit

Escapist seems to be becoming the FOX news of game reporting. Sensationalize or Die I guess.

illiterate:
I think videogame scores work like grades these days. 71 is a C-.

Did the game deserve an F? If it doesn't crap it's pants every 30 minutes and cause your RAM to catch fire, that should at least be a passing grade these days, right?

I've never played homefront and nothing has made me regret that.

We should go with the North Carolina grading system. A 71 is a D-, and 2 points lower it's an F.

I'm not interested in Homefront. It's another bland seeming FPS in a world glutted with them.

Did it actually do anything new? I know there's a story, but did it actually come up with some new game modes, concepts, or ways of doing things? If not, I'm pretty sure that 71 is generous.

Shamus Young:
I agree that the game isn't a 71 ... I'd score it lower.

Funny, that's what I heard most people say, even Russ hinted that way. So they actually got off lightly, especially with a Escapist quote in the main advert.

Sounds to me like he just can't take criticism very well.

The "you can't apply math to art" stuff is actually just inherently gibberish, aside from being a stance of pure convenience on THQ's part. There are all sorts of ways you can apply math to art.

I think there just trying to save face here. As was stated there just rolling with the punches and saying if they scored bad then scores don't matter. Funnily enough the truth is that scores actually are complete bullshit as Art is essentially a meaningless reflection of cultural ideals and values rather then an objective system of measurements and standards.

Apparently the multiplayer is somewhat enjoyable, which is the only reason it got as high as a 71. Because the single player game is just cliche crap. And short cliche crap ('Oy, this food tastes so bad - and the portions are so stingy!').

The_root_of_all_evil:

Shamus Young:
I agree that the game isn't a 71 ... I'd score it lower.

Funny, that's what I heard most people say, even Russ hinted that way. So they actually got off lightly, especially with a Escapist quote in the main advert.

Five bucks says the quote was from John Funk.

Grey Carter:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Shamus Young:
I agree that the game isn't a 71 ... I'd score it lower.

Funny, that's what I heard most people say, even Russ hinted that way. So they actually got off lightly, especially with a Escapist quote in the main advert.

Five bucks says the quote was from John Funk.

It was.
He really liked the Multiplayer.

Alright, I had to edit this post twice to satisfactorily make my point.

Shamus is a guy with opinions, but he's also a contributor to the Escapist and I'm sure his ideas are welcome among the local staff. I take issue with Shamus taking THQ to task for their disappointment with how critics have judged their product.

Where this is coming from was the high-profile "disagreement" about the quality of Bioware product Dragon Age 2. Critics rave about the game, but players are less uniform. Opinions about the game have greater diversity...

http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/dragon-age-ii

The critics put the game at 79, players put it at 45. the Escapist put it at 100. the Escapist put Homefront at 60.

Here's my question: How much did DA2 coming from Bioware inflate that game's score? How complicit was the Escapist in hyping this game beyond its genuine quality?

Did Homefront receive a more honest judgement because THQ isn't as popular a company - the Escapist can be harsh on them because no one's going to rush to THQ's defense.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

I get it - the THQ guy is making the company look bad by bitching about bad reviews. What I'm saying is, it's not like groups like the Escapist have been very honest themselves about the quality of some games.

It could very well be that Homefront is just a mediocre game. But the questionable ratings that the Escapist has given in the past indicates a bias, and that maybe the professional opinions of this website aren't to be taken so seriously. How do you reconcile giving DA2 a perfect 100 and Homefront only a 60? None of the problems in the THQ game can be found in the Bioware sequel?

The.Bard:

Shamus Young:
"THQ Vice President Danny Bilson says you can't apply math to art but when it comes to Homefront, it's "clearly" better than a 71."

He says you can't apply math to art, and then turns right around and tries to argue that they have the wrong numerical answer. He even suggests the answer is "clearly" wrong.

I guess the key question here is what is the real quote? Google tells me it's this:

"What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a '71'. You can't apply math to art."

That's very different than the one you mention with him saying "better," Shamus.[/quote]
The original interview was in IGN, who quotes it as this:

Do I prefer that it's controversial? No, I'd prefer if everybody in the world loved it. But there are 20+ reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a "71." You can't apply math to art.

I find that to be a wholly consistent statement. Although it might be a bit of sour grapes, he's saying "some people liked it, that's something, don't deny them what they like by averaging the reviews." Which honestly sounds a lot like a position Shamus himself has taken multiple times.

The comic was amusing but as news or commentary I think it's inaccurate.

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