Most of the time, I love writing here. At least while I am doing this, I can give my opinion about which games I love and which ones should not have even been made in the first place. It is the standard life for a game critic, and I do tend to enjoy it. However, there are certain individuals out in the gaming community that can make my time here a living hell. Usually it occurs when I give a harsh review to a title where many people feel otherwise.
My recent football report has garnered more hate mail than any other review I have done in my seven years at GiN, and without a surprise, they all come from the ESPN NFL crowd. The following is an example of the hate that is felt towards me:
"Are you retarded or something? Your review of ESPN NFL 2K5 is a complete joke. If you look at gamerankings.com you’ll see you’re the only one to give ESPN NFL 2K5 any less than a score equivalent to 80%. You gave it 2.5/5 (50%). And that actually counts towards the main score for the game on gamerankings.com. Are you kidding me?
You make too big a deal out of the celebrity thing of the Crib. It’s just an extra! Some will like it, some won’t, it’s not a big deal. Also, you complain about receivers dropping the ball too much. Are you sure you were playing ESPN NFL 2K5 and not ESPN NFL 2K4? I’ve played this game extensively and it’s not a problem for me. Maybe you just suck.
You also talk about ESPN being desperate. Please. They had to do something to close the gap. They’re smart, not desperate. They’ve closed the gap big-time in number of units sold so far. The idea was to get more people exposed to the game and they’re succeeding. Many people now realize that ESPN NFL 2K5 is better than Madden 2005. It’s at least as good. But I suppose that’s just my opinion. Many agree with me. One thing I do know is that Madden is not twice as good as ESPN (as your scores for the games would indicate). You’re clearly just a Madden fanboy and unable to be objective. I guess any moron can get a job (do you actually get paid for that crap?) at your website."
Talk about harsh. But when you read the body of this email in detail, it follows the typical hate mail formula, labeling me with such terms as retarded and being called a moron. At least this guy was pretty literate. Most of the haters out there aren't.
I know my 2 1/2 out of 5 rating does skew the Gamerankings.com scoring curve, but there are several reviewers such as myself, that if they posted on the web, and were recognized by Gamerankings' scoring system, you would notice a trend towards a bell curve.
As for my "making a big deal" out of the Crib, I do know that it is just a feature. I just find the idea of playing against B-actors such as Steve-O to be just ridiculous. How much do these people really know about football? I would prefer to play against those who know football best, and that would be real NFL players.
What you might not understand, Mr. Hater, is that Madden is the de facto choice of the NFL. Players play it, coaches use it as a teaching mechanism, and don't you find it a bit ironic that when ESPN broadcasts their NFL Match-Up, who is sponsoring it? That's right, it's EA Sports, NOT Sega or ESPN Videogames.
I have been very harsh towards the ESPN football series because of the passing game. It has been like this since NFL 2K2. That game got three GiN Gems because of the same thing, and I have mentioned to Sega officials a million times that they need to fix the catching ability. That same problem occurred with NFL 2K3, and seemed to have been fixed somewhat with ESPN NFL 2K4. However, ESPN decided to go back to their roots with ESPN NFL 2K5. I made sure that the Human Catching AI slider was set to the highest setting, and for a wide receiver to be completely open, and have the ball bounce out of his hands, that is inexcusable.
I do not suck at football games. I may have more experience in the field than Mr. Hater would have, as I have been playing since Tecmo Bowl on the NES. I know when to throw, how fast to throw, and to make sure the receivers are wide open.
Lastly, in terms of the ESPN debate, I made a comment that Sega is "desperate." Some people would disagree with me, but I'm sorry to say the comment is true. Face it people, Sega was losing money. They stopped Dreamcast development because of this, and they started releasing their products for $20, which puts them I the budget games category with PC jet ski racing titles. Still, that was not enough to combat EA. To have a chance, releasing ESPN NFL 2K5 three weeks early was the only chance they had to make a profit. Sounds a bit desperate to me.
Sadly all that didn't even work. Even with a $30 price drop ($40 if you consider the Collector's Edition), ESPN couldn't compete against Madden.
That isn't bias, its called reality.
Speaking of which, I really enjoy the accusations I get from readers when I write reviews. Being accused as a Madden (or EA) fanboy and being "paid off" for my reviews is old hat. Believe it or not, I used to be a SEGA fanboy, and I had a burning hatred towards EA, but I learn from my mistakes, and treat every game I am given to review equally.
As for being "paid off," I'm going to tell you something that you will find shocking. I PAID FOR MY GAMES THIS TIME! I spent $70 of my hard earned money to buy both Madden AND ESPN because ESPN did not want to send their title and there was a big mix-up with EA sending their review unit in late, as I wanted to have the review up in time for football season.
In the end, it can best be said that the hate mail I received was nothing more but a vent of anger by a steamed ESPN fanboy, and Mr. Hater, if you believe that any "moron" can write for us, then why don't you just send us your resume? I'd be more than happy to crumple it up and eat it.
CURRENTLY PLAYING: Fable, NBA Live 2005 (Xbox)
MOST WANTED: MGS3: Snake Eater