Link to beta/blog post for Comment #1: https://kianaspaige.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/going-afk-back-online/
Link to beta/blog post for Comment #2: https://jmayfarrington.com/2019/09/20/prototyping-the-lets-play-shuffle/
Link to beta/blog post for Comment #3: https://abearinthere.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/evolution-of-board-games-beta/
Ah, time for another one of these. Another round of looking at other people’s work and their progress on it so far. As far as I’m aware, it seems the order has shifted from last time – now I’m reviewing new people’s work compared to the previous one (that link should take you to the set of comments and reflection I did on some BCM215 pitches).
The first beta I took a look at was about the nature of online gaming and its relation to cyberbullying. Overall, I thought the video was at an acceptable level of production value and of a reasonably high graphical fidelity. However, the actual content of the beta was where most of my issues with it were present. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the idea was a good one and it presented itself succinctly – but in total, I felt it was lacking in referencing and stronger argumentation. It seemed that much of the discussion in the video and blog post was based entirely on anecdotal evidence and not supplemented by anything stronger like an academic article (this is not even considering the lack of referencing of any kind in the blog post itself). This lead to my decision to suggest recommendations for improvement, mainly by providing an academic source which delved into the effects of online play in relation to children. As always, I ended this comment, as I did with all of them, on some words of encouragement.
The second beta stood out to me for a few reasons. For one thing, it provided some useful information to me on how I could improve my own beta. On the other hand, it planted itself firmly in the category of ‘Let’s Play’, a particularly saturated media form in the gaming community. But what stood out about it was the concept of combining three different remasters and remakes of the same game into one playthrough. Having not seem this type of Let’s Play be carried out anywhere else at the time of writing this, I found it to be immediately intriguing. It almost helped matters that the beta had a clearly defined analytical framework. This explicitness of the analytical approach is the major aspect of my beta that, in frustratingly obvious hindsight, was severely lacking so I’m actually quite glad I got to critique this beta as it allowed me to see significant flaws in my own. In terms of faults in the rest of this second beta, there were a few minor niggling little things: some odd choices in the video editing department and a lack of popular media sources – which I provided, pointing towards websites like the LP Archive. In its totality though, I really enjoyed this beta, mainly for its high degree of originality and novelty.
The third beta was, again, unique and interesting. But unlike the previous two, it was about board games, particularly taking a look at board game nostalgia. But I’ll be honest. When I first saw the two board games this person wanted to look at, Monopoly and Cluedo, I got a bit nervous. In my mind, I was considering the ‘newbie-ness’ of them and how board game design has involved substantially since these two games came out. To be frank, they’ve been talked about to death and I struggled to see an interesting way you could talk about them that would grab people’s attention. And it’s hard for me to say, but my suspicions were (sort of) confirmed. Despite much of the feedback from Reddit users suggesting that they look at other games besides those two, the person behind this third beta chose to use them anyway, seemingly ignoring the feedback that they were given or merely deciding to go with what they had regardless. I concurred with the broader community and said that they should look at other board game titles instead, referencing sites and creators like BoardGameGeek and Shut Up and Sit Down. I also referred to them to course content like the history of Wargaming and how that’s involved into games like War of the Ring, Root and other board games with militaristic tactics and themes. I finished by agreeing on the potential of the topic as well as recognising its differentiation from other betas I had seen thus far.
Looking back at all three of these posts, I’m impressed mainly with the variety of their approach and especially how they helped me to see particular flaws in my own beta (mainly the second one’s choice in presenting their analytical approach in an explicit and triangularly-shaped manner). I think maybe next time, what I could to improve my engagement when I need to provide feedback for my peers, is to try and provide more positivity. While I think ‘negative’ criticism is usually more constructive than blindly or insincerely praising someone, perhaps a bit more focus on the positives would be bolstering for that person’s confidence while still reminding them of what they need to do to grow.
In all, it’s only one way of going about things, but learning from others on how to do what you’re doing better is a good place to start.