Double Helix QA Lead Hurls Obscenties at Game Media

Double Helix QA Lead Hurls Obscenties at Game Media

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There's controversy brewing over some obscene and insulting remarks about game review sites posted on Twitter by the QA Lead at Silent Hill: Homecoming developer Double Helix.

Guy Selga, who goes by GuyFNC on Twitter, was apparently unhappy about Eurogamer's decision to re-review Grand Slam Tennis last week and award it a higher score. In its initial review, the site scored the game 5/10, but the second time around awarded it a far friendlier 8/10.

GuyFNC wasn't happy. Linking to a MediaWhoreNetwork report of the review score change, he Twittered, "Eurogamer magically changes review score. All these fags are the same. F--k #Kotaku, #Joystiq, #Gamespot, etc" And while angry outbursts on Twitter may not be unusual, it's a bit more complicated for Guy because according to his blog he's currently the QA Lead at California-based game studio Double Helix Games.

Because of his position at Double Helix, Selga's comments have earned some swift and negative reactions. Alexander Sliwinski of Joystiq responded with a Tweet of his own, saying, "When you're a QA Lead at Double Helix climbing the corporate ladder, it helps not to call media outlets 'fags'," while Kotaku's Brian Crecente wrote, "It shows just how far some in the industry have to go to be mature."

The review score that got Selga so worked up was in fact changed, but according to the Eurogamer Editor's Blog there was a very good reason for it: Eurogamer.de discovered that the Wii MotionPlus works considerably differently on "Wii debug kits," which Eurogamer used for the review, than it does on standard retail Wii consoles. The team tested the game on a standard Wii and found a "substantial, immediately noticeable difference" in its responsiveness and thus decided to re-review it. The original review was left online, with links to the replacement, so people would be aware of the situation.

All of which seems completely reasonable and transparent, and makes Selga's quick rant look even more ill-considered. But the real issue is far simpler: Should someone who broadcasts his affiliation with a game developer be blindly hurling obscenities at videogame sites? We've asked Double Helix about it and will update when we can.

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What a putz, still... I doubt he'll get anything more than a stern talking to, really.

Eurogamer seems to piss people off for some reason. Either way this guy should have known a little better and reacted with some class.

This leads me to a question that should be asked. Why are reviewers not using retail consoles in the first place? I have heard this excuse more times than I can count now and it doesn't make any sense. If you are reviewing a game you should be using the same hardware and software the people who you are reviewing it for. This kind of stupidity hurts thier credibility even more.

And he should have used words like morons or idiots. Fags doesn't cover it.

he r baby

I have not seen many Eurogamer reviews, but seeing FEAR 2 getting a 5/10 put a bad taste into my mouth. I mean sure yea FEAR 2 was little more then a console version of the original FEAR with some fancy new visuals but a 5/10? Comon! Some reviewers are just snobs.

Forgive me for being cynical, but why are the angry tweets of some QA twerp, even one who happens to work at Double Helix, newsworthy?

I mean, if he published 10 page essay discussing his disagreements and objections with the actions of the gaming media, that might be news. It might even be interesting. But a tweet cussing them out?
Seems on the same level of intrigue as this tweet: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

Maybe we just thrive on drama, and can't resist watching our fellow simians jump around flinging poo.

HeartAttackBob:
Forgive me for being cynical, but why are the angry tweets of some QA twerp, even one who happens to work at Double Helix, newsworthy?

I mean, if he published 10 page essay discussing his disagreements and objections with the actions of the gaming media, that might be news. It might even be interesting. But a tweet cussing them out?
Seems on the same level of intrigue as this tweet: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

Maybe we just thrive on drama, and can't resist watching our fellow simians jump around flinging poo.

I am going to 1up you sir and ask why any news media cares about tweets at all. What someone has to say using 150 whatever characters hardly seems relevant in the first place. Unless it is OMG the aliens have landed.

squid5580:
This leads me to a question that should be asked. Why are reviewers not using retail consoles in the first place?

Demos and other pre-gold builds generally do not run on retail consoles (and may be simple a burned DVD-R). Unless the reviewer is reviewing a retail copy - which is unlikely if not impossible if it's a pre-release review - he likely *has* to use a dev kit.*

HeartAttackBob:
Forgive me for being cynical, but why are the angry tweets of some QA twerp, even one who happens to work at Double Helix, newsworthy?

A QA Lead is a step (or several) above the standard grunt tester - frequently if not usually a full-time rather than temp employee, and closer to the management/production side of game development than the testing side.

I'm sure this guy is going to get a good yelling-at from his boss... if he doesn't get fired outright.

*That's not to imply he's reviewing an unfinished game... even if the game has gone gold, it may not be in production/available as a retail item yet. Reviewers want to post their reviews ASAP (preferably first among the review sites), so they're probably not huge fans of waiting for a retail copy.

Why did he call them cigarettes? That just makes no sense...

On a more serious note, fag makes whoever says it look even more stupid than just calling something gay. Which is saying something. Because of this, I can't shake the feeling that Homecoming has a QA that is eight, and that colours my view of the game far too much to want to buy it now.

Hardcore_gamer:
I have not seen many Eurogamer reviews, but seeing FEAR 2 getting a 5/10 put a bad taste into my mouth. I mean sure yea FEAR 2 was little more then a console version of the original FEAR with some fancy new visuals but a 5/10? Comon! Some reviewers are just snobs.

but 5/10 is an average score surely?, middle of the road, blase, hum drum and so on. fear 2 seems to slot into that mould quite nicely, the first Fear was great but the sequel was a lazy more of the same kind of game. therefore average therefore 5/10

That is almost as good as people twittering about how they skipped work and then having the bosses as a twitter friend.
I do agree though that the review system that most sites use is flawed alot can be different from the copies they get to the copies that the actual customer gets. Which is where renting or word of mouth from friends and people who have actually played the games comes in. Would love to make a site of game reviews of actual games on actual hardware with at least 2 reviewers on each game, but that market is so flooded already it would be a waste.

coil:

squid5580:
This leads me to a question that should be asked. Why are reviewers not using retail consoles in the first place?

Demos and other pre-gold builds generally do not run on retail consoles (and may be simple a burned DVD-R). Unless the reviewer is reviewing a retail copy - which is unlikely if not impossible if it's a pre-release review - he likely *has* to use a dev kit.*

HeartAttackBob:
Forgive me for being cynical, but why are the angry tweets of some QA twerp, even one who happens to work at Double Helix, newsworthy?

A QA Lead is a step (or several) above the standard grunt tester - frequently if not usually a full-time rather than temp employee, and closer to the management/production side of game development than the testing side.

I'm sure this guy is going to get a good yelling-at from his boss... if he doesn't get fired outright.

*That's not to imply he's reviewing an unfinished game... even if the game has gone gold, it may not be in production/available as a retail item yet. Reviewers want to post their reviews ASAP (preferably first among the review sites), so they're probably not huge fans of waiting for a retail copy.

Correct. In order to have a game early enough so that you can have a full review ready the day the game releases, you almost always have to have a debug unit. The review copy will not run on a retail console. In rare cases, the developer will let you know that the version you've been sent contains specific known bugs, but by and large, what you get is identical to the retail version.

In Eurogamer's case, supposedly the Wii debug they were using did not have the current firmware, which meant the Wii Motion Plus controller wasn't not functioning as it should. It's an entirely plausible explanation.

Sure he overreacted but the fact that he cant have a tiny little rant on a social networkig site without people getting up in arms about him being unprofessional is completely ridiculeous! Yes he is a lead game dev, he is also a normal human being, give the guy a break!

squid5580:
This leads me to a question that should be asked. Why are reviewers not using retail consoles in the first place? I have heard this excuse more times than I can count now and it doesn't make any sense.

To add onto what Susan said...

The games that get sent to review outlets, particularly major ones, are often just burned DVDs of the final version of the game. They're almost always the same code as what is being pressed onto retail discs - if they aren't, the developers tend to be very clear about what's different. (The last thing a developer would want is for a news outlet to start saying the review copy they were given was different than the retail and they didn't know - the dev and game would be crucified)

The burned copes are used for many reasons. First, because it's a lot faster than waiting for retail boxes to be manufactured and shipped - that could save weeks of time by giving the burned copies. Second, because it's just a burned disc, it's a lot cheaper to send out than the retail version. Third, because it's not signed, it can't be run on a non-development console, and is that much less likely to end up on eBay. Finally, because they're burned copies, it's quite possible for the developer to embed unique identifiers in each version to track leaks.

That doesn't mean that all reviewed games are dev copies, or that all outlets get them, but it's pretty common. Most of the games we review here are the retail version, but we also have a Xbox 360 dev kit in the office to review the occasional pre-release game.

In the end, this was a simple mistake on Eurogamer's part - they simply didn't keep the firmware up to date - and they handled it well once they discovered the error.

Virgil:
To add onto what Susan said...

The games that get sent to review outlets, particularly major ones, are often just burned DVDs of the final version of the game. They're almost always the same code as what is being pressed onto retail discs - if they aren't, the developers tend to be very clear about what's different. (The last thing a developer would want is for a news outlet to start saying the review copy they were given was different than the retail and they didn't know - the dev and game would be crucified)

The burned copes are used for many reasons. First, because it's a lot faster than waiting for retail boxes to be manufactured and shipped - that could save weeks of time by giving the burned copies. Second, because it's just a burned disc, it's a lot cheaper to send out than the retail version. Third, because it's not signed, it can't be run on a non-development console, and is that much less likely to end up on eBay. Finally, because they're burned copies, it's quite possible for the developer to embed unique identifiers in each version to track leaks.

That doesn't mean that all reviewed games are dev copies, or that all outlets get them, but it's pretty common. Most of the games we review here are the retail version, but we also have a Xbox 360 dev kit in the office to review the occasional pre-release game.

In the end, this was a simple mistake on Eurogamer's part - they simply didn't keep the firmware up to date - and they handled it well once they discovered the error.

Thank you for this glimpse into the sausage factory.

As a second third-rate reviewer, I don't get pre-release copies. When I'm lucky enough to get review copies at all, it's on release day and it's just a boxed copy like everyone else gets. This is actually a lot nicer since it becomes part of my personal collection. (Even better when the game doesn't suck!)

It seems like the downside for reviewers is that using a pre-release copy means you can't take your work home with you. I just realized I would last about ten minutes as a real reviewer. The profane curses I levy against annoying games would melt the ears of the more reasonable people around the office, and probably end up with me being sent to a Workplace Sensitivity and Political Correctness Labor Camp.

Virgil:
Finally, because they're burned copies, it's quite possible for the developer to embed unique identifiers in each version to track leaks.

Pardon the double-post, double quote, but I also wanted to comment that I am VERY glad they are doing this. It seems like such a simple step, and it's far more effective at dealing with leaked copies than just about anything else you could name. I've heard about leaked review copies before, and I always wondered why the developer didn't tag them.

Shamus Young:

Virgil:
Finally, because they're burned copies, it's quite possible for the developer to embed unique identifiers in each version to track leaks.

Pardon the double-post, double quote, but I also wanted to comment that I am VERY glad they are doing this. It seems like such a simple step, and it's far more effective at dealing with leaked copies than just about anything else you could name. I've heard about leaked review copies before, and I always wondered why the developer didn't tag them.

While it's definitely possible, I don't know for sure if anyone is actually doing it with review copies. It would be hard to be sure unless you were the one sending them out, since you'd have to compare multiple pre-release copies to see a difference. I do know that I havea n old pre-release copy of a game from nokia that has a serial number on it though, and that the others had different numbers on them.

From what I know, most leaks of pre-release games (and movies) these days are actually happening somewhere in the manufacturing process, and those are the final retail copies of the game anyway. It's not too tough for a copy of a game to disappear from a Chinese factory days or weeks before it's supposed to show up on store shelves.

While sometimes game review sites can be suspicious, it's generally not a good idea to throw around insults willy-nilly about them when you're in a high position at a development studio. If you think that the sites are biased, then say so without blowing your lid. It's really not that difficult to restrain yourself from committing such antics.

Besides, the reviews they post are their opinion. You can find other sites that will say completely different things about the same game.

Virgil:

squid5580:
This leads me to a question that should be asked. Why are reviewers not using retail consoles in the first place? I have heard this excuse more times than I can count now and it doesn't make any sense.

To add onto what Susan said...

The games that get sent to review outlets, particularly major ones, are often just burned DVDs of the final version of the game. They're almost always the same code as what is being pressed onto retail discs - if they aren't, the developers tend to be very clear about what's different. (The last thing a developer would want is for a news outlet to start saying the review copy they were given was different than the retail and they didn't know - the dev and game would be crucified)

The burned copes are used for many reasons. First, because it's a lot faster than waiting for retail boxes to be manufactured and shipped - that could save weeks of time by giving the burned copies. Second, because it's just a burned disc, it's a lot cheaper to send out than the retail version. Third, because it's not signed, it can't be run on a non-development console, and is that much less likely to end up on eBay. Finally, because they're burned copies, it's quite possible for the developer to embed unique identifiers in each version to track leaks.

That doesn't mean that all reviewed games are dev copies, or that all outlets get them, but it's pretty common. Most of the games we review here are the retail version, but we also have a Xbox 360 dev kit in the office to review the occasional pre-release game.

In the end, this was a simple mistake on Eurogamer's part - they simply didn't keep the firmware up to date - and they handled it well once they discovered the error.

Thank you for the insight.

I understand that waiting for the retail copy could leave the reviewer with little time to review it. Although I am sure they could live without the fancy case and could survive with a little piece of paper with the instructions which would speed up the process. Pirates seem to get copies no matter what anyone does so giving them retail copies I doubt would impact piracy either way.

Here is where I see the problems being an average consumer who tries to keep abreast of the industry. First when a hiccup like this happens it discredits the reviewer. Who knows how many sales that could have cost the game. Then they do the right thing and say we screwed up but it is kinda late. Especially for a person who just may have googled X game review (I am gonna have to reread the article since I have no idea what the game in question is other than it is some tennis game) seen the low score, said forget it and bought another game. Not realizing that the real reviews are different. Also throw the fact that games seems to come out on the same day (always Tuesdays here) and rarely is it just 1 game. It almost seems to give the competition an unfair advantage even if it is an unintentional one.

There is also the blame game as I will refer to it. Here is my example (although I have seen other examples indirectly). I was on a different forum discussing Sacred 2. The retail version came with this nasty little bug that deleted saved characters at random. Ign gave the game an early review and reported said problem with the game. A poster who claimed to be a developer (he did have it on his gamercard so it gave him some credibility) told us that IGN doesn't use retail copies and dev kit 360s and that was the problem. That the retail version would not have this glitch. Long story (and level 14 character vanishing mysteriously) short they patched it and fixed the problem a couple weeks later.

It is getting harder and harder to lay down 60 - 70 bucks when we consumers can't seem to find reliable information. Especially when you can wait and then go to a GameStop or now BestBuy and buy the game used (or sometimes still new) for cheaper with a better understanding of all the issues the game has.

It'd be one thing if he blew-up on Eurogamer, but why did he feel the need to hurl insults at completely unrelated Kotaku, Joystiq, and Gamesp- (actually nevermind, Gamespot kind of does deserve the thrashing, even if it was from outta left field). It makes him look like a child.

Chipperz:
Why did he call them cigarettes? That just makes no sense...

On a more serious note, fag makes whoever says it look even more stupid than just calling something gay. Which is saying something. Because of this, I can't shake the feeling that Homecoming has a QA that is eight, and that colours my view of the game far too much to want to buy it now.

On the bright side if the QA is indeed eight years old ten Double Helix are trailblazers.....of sorts

Wow, I would expect this sorta thing from the immature types that frequent YouTube, but not from a QA lead for a major developer.

See, this is the problem with twitter, facebook, myspace, etc. It allows you to speak your mind immediately to the entire world without thinking about it. It was bad enough when you only didn't think before speaking in private.

Shamus Young:
***Snip***

There are two Wii devkits, one has a flash drive that stores the games onto a solid state disk (I believe it's integrated). The second type is a typical disk reader version that has a green faceplate if I'm not mistaken. The aforementioned flash drive version has a red faceplate.

The 360's devkit's only visual difference is that the hard drive on the top seems much larger. Of course there is dev firmware installed and you connect to a separate developer's version of X-Box Live known as partner.net or something of the sorts.

The PS3 test kits I've seen are just regular old PS3s with different software installed.

On an interesting note: The PSP's dev kit is very different then the standard PSP. You get a standard PSP, but the hardware is not inside of it besides the screen and the controls. A rather thick wire runs from the PSP unit to the actual dev kit which looks like a miniature PC. The PSP dev kit runs standard DVDs.

I don't know about dev kits but I do know that when he put his affiliation with Double Helix out for the world to see, he also accepted responsibility for representing Double Helix even when he's acting as a private individual - such as with Twitter. Fair or not, it's the way of the world and a guy in his position should have known that.

Soooo, Yeah that fun word, 'Fag'. Wow. anyone can disagree with whatever rating anyone gets, or even changes, but 'Fag'? Really?

Ok, so, Me figures the upsets are not so much someone saying Oopsy! I didnt review this to the best of my reviewing ability, its about a respected industry employee just being ignorant. Twitter may seem at times just a way to say something, but really folks, its to the world. And if thats all your vocabulary can handle, even if you can crunch numbers with your pulse, you need a rude awakening.

Learn some words that actually describe your frustrations eg: Ridiculous. how ridiculous is that? Stupid. Like jumping off of a cliff because you heard your mom call you in for lunch and your house is reached faster by drawing a straight line down the hill.

How does a word like Cigarette such as mentioned above, or poor slang for same sex oriented person(which really folks, is what the word 'fag' is really used to describe now-days) manage to describe your frustrations?

Great at some things im sure he is, very poor at explaining his inner feelings. He should meet someone that he might share these deep emotional troubles with, and become a better man.

Awesome, the American Itagaki has raised his head.
While he MAY of been more "pc" about it, sometimes cutting loose and ranting from the heart is better and cathartic. If more people would be willing to jump on the bs that game devs and review sites pump out, there would be less of it.

 

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