Hands-On Gaming

To the Editor: How many best of issues are you guys gonna put out? This is getting a little ridiculous here. Do it once a year, not once every few months for christ’s sake.

– Ryan

Editors’ Reply: Thanks for dropping us a line (and for being so honest with your feelings). We appreciate all of the feedback we get, even the negative stuff.

First, allow me to suggest the possibility that you’re confusing our Issue 60 “Editor’s Choice” with a “Best Of” issue. The two are actually very different. Issue 60 was all-original content from our various contributors – it just didn’t fit into any one category. (We have more of those coming up, so prepare yourself.)

A “Best Of” is what we published [last] week, and it is, in fact, a reprint of material previously published. But it is only the second such issue we’ve ever published, and we don’t publish those lightly. The fact is that we’re determined to provide our readers with fresh, original content every week, but sometimes we just can’t.

The last time we published a “Best Of” Issue was in May (Issue 45) while we (and everybody else) were attending E3. This time around, as Julianne Greer describes in her Editor’s Note, we had planned to do an issue that didn’t pan out, and decided coincidentally that this would be a nice time to give some of our staff their first vacation in over a year. So we did.

The most ironic part of all of this is that the most frequent criticism we receive is that we produce *too much* content, and most readers simply can’t keep up. Clearly, you are not among them, but rest assured that we will be presenting a full issue of all-original content next week, and that we have no immediate plans for another “Best Of” anytime soon.

Thanks for reading,

– Russ

In Response to “Gran Turismo: Game Not Included” from The Escapist Lounge: I think the idea of micro-transactions for that much content is one of two things: retarded or complete genius. If it were to come in large packs for cars and maps for example – all the rally stuff for 5 dollars, supercar 5 dollars etc. – and there was a clear price difference where it evened out to the price of a full game I could deal.

– Lex Darko

In Response to “Gran Turismo: Game Not Included” from The Escapist Lounge: Disclaimer: I bought a PS2 to play Gran Turismo 4. I also bought the Logitech Racing Wheel. You could say I’m a fan.

A micropayment strategy for online games is still novel in the US; compare that to Korea, where developers have created a bustling market for add-ons purchased online. Many of the games eschew subscription fees in favor of allowing no-payers to play, but be significantly handicapped through game-mechanics (didn’t buy that turbo boost?), or socially handicapped in the world (their avatar isn’t decked out in the latest sprite fashion).

It is my understanding that alternate forms of payment, like gamecards or charging items to your mobile phone account makes billing less painful (and more impulsive). The bottom line is that this model is appropriate for some types of online games.

– Steven Rokiski

In Response to “How Do You Read Game Reviews” from The Escapist Forum: I only read reviews once I’m actually playing the game. When trying to decide what I want to play I go to gamerankings.com or metacritic, look up the game, discard the highest and lowest scores and then find the mean of the remaining scores. Then I’ll see if I like the game’s subject/style/genre. For instance, I’m not a huge RTS fan so an RTS has to be pretty freakin’ awesome to interest me. Alternatively, I really like horror based games so I know something like Call of Cthulhu will be of more interest to me despite mediocre reviews.

Of course, if I can get a game for $2 brand new like I did with Max Payne 2 from Gamestop.com a couple weeks ago, I’ll play it no matter what unless I’ve heard that it’s really really terrible.

– DrRosenRosen

In Response to “Microsoft Reimburses first-run Xbox360 Buyers” from The Escapist Forum: It’s nice to hear that MS is going to take a bit of a financial bite to assuage the complaints of costumers who got a lemon from the first run, but what about some of the inherent design issues? Namely putting a hot, power-hungry system in such a small poorly-ventilated case?

I know it is quite a challenge to satisfy customer design expectations with the real engineering constraints inherent in computer design, but until they get more efficient components inside the case, the 360 will still have problems.

– heavyfeul

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