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This post is as much to help me remember what I’m doing as to promote the panels i’m appearing on at PAX East 2012. that said, if you want to watch me up on stage at the show, here’s when and where to do it.

Friday, April 6

Metacritic’s Standardization Problem (And How To Fix It)
Friday, 11:30 a.m., Arachnid Theatre

Metacritic has been criticized for a lot of things over the years, but one of its biggest problems is how it tries to standardize different scores from different outlets. An 85/100 from a site with tough grading standards is very different from an 8.5/10 from a site that gives good scores out like candy, and both scores are extremely different from a “B” grade from a site that doesn’t even use numeric scoring. Yet each of these scores becomes a simple “85” in MetaCritic’s calculus.  This presentation will lay out a new system, dubbed “Percentwise,” which converts scores using a percentile rating based around how outlets actually distribute their own scores across the entire scale. Under the Percentwise system, a game is judged based on an outlet’s actual average review score, rather than what that outlet says should mean “average.” Under the Percentwise system, 50% really is the middle-of-the-road!

Stuff Your Criticism, I Want A Review!
Friday, 3 p.m., Wyvern Theatre

Is there a difference between a game review and game criticism? Do you expect reviewers to talk about why a game is important in the annals of development or do you just want to know whether it’s worth your $60 or not? Should game reviewers even CARE if you’re going to purchase a title? As the video game media matures along with video games themselves, the purpose of a review isn’t as clear as it once was. Come hear what a panel of experienced reviewers and games media pundits have to say about these questions, and then let them know what *you* want out of your game reviews.

PANELISTS: Dennis Scimeca [Freelance Writer, G4, The Escapist, Gamasutra], Chris Dahlen [Freelance Writer, Kill Screen (co-founder), Pitchfork, Onion AV Club], Susan Arendt [Managing Editor, The Escapist], Mitch Krpata [Video Game Critic, Boston Phoenix], Kyle Orland [Senior Gaming Editor, Ars Technica]

The Blankety Blank Panel!
Friday, 6 p.m., Manticore Theatre 

Get ready to match the stars! Join a hilarious collection of writers, pundits, and comedians for PAX Game, the live version of classic TV game show Match Game. Members of the audience will be selected as contestants and challenged to predict how the panelists will answer excessively silly questions. Whoever matches the most answers wins! For a raucous evening of raunchy fun, stop by – and bring your sense of humor.

PANELISTS: Susan Arendt [Managing Editor, The Escapist], Graham Stark [Loading Ready Run], Kathleen DeVere [Loading Ready Run], Bob Chipman [Escape to the Movies, The Escapist], Kyle Orland [Senior Games Editor, Ars Technica], Mike Wehner [Tecca], Dan Amrich [Activision], Russ Pitts [Features Editor, Vox Games]

Saturday, April 7

How Not to Succeed as a Freelance Game Journalist
Saturday, 7 p.m., Arachnid Theatre 

Making a successful go at being a game journalist involves more than just good ideas and proper grammar. Join experienced editors (and former freelancers) Susan Arendt (The Escapist) and Justin McElroy (Vox Games), Kyle Orland (Ars Technica), Andrew Hayward (MacLife), AJ Glasser (Inside Network), and Rob Rath (freelance) as they discuss the common pitfalls, gaffes, and mistakes that give potential employers the wrong impression of you. Think it’s all common sense? Think again. If you’re interested in game journalism, this panel should not be missed!

PANELISTS: Susan Arendt [Managing Editor, The Escapist], Justin McElroy [Managing Editor, Vox Games], Kyle Orland [Senior Games Editor, Ars Technica], AJ Glasser [Managing Editor, Inside Network], Rob Rath [Freelancer], Andrew Hayward [Editor, Mac|Life]

 


Making social games that are more than the casual, strategy-free clickfests many people assume come from the space is nothing new for Kabam, the creators of Facebook strategy titles likeKingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis. The company says it’s trying to perfect that strategy with today’s wide release of Global Warfare.

“We were looking to utilize our engine in a much better way, to branch out into new themes and continue to augment our success in the strategy genre,” Kabam general manager Bryan Bennett tells Gamasutra.

That new theme for Global Warfare is a more modern take on an often fantasy-soaked genre, set in a militarized world that’s been thrown into chaos after widespread economic collapse. While that story is told through short Flash animations, the rest of the tile-based strategy game was built entirely with Javascript and a PHP backend, Bennett says.

“Javascript is actually a pretty powerful front end programming tool,” he explains. “We don’t even make use of close to all of what Javascript can really do. … Flash [would] make things a little easier, but there’s nothing we can’t do with just Javascript.”

(full article)


Without a doubt, Xbox Live Arcade’s Limbo is an instant classic. The reviews are near-unanimous in their praise. Limbo is “bleak and beautiful.” It’s “haunting.” It’s “elegant and minimalistic.” It’s “clever.” It’s “gorgeously constructed.” It “will stay with you for a very long time.” Some are already calling it “a masterpiece.” Others are breaking out the dreaded a-word: “Art.”

But there’s one other thing Limbo reviewers are almost equally unanimous about. Some seem almost reluctant to bring it up. Others seem proud that they were able to find some flaw to balance out an otherwise glowing review.

Regardless, the critical consensus seems to be that Limbo is excellent but, well… it’s kind of short.

(full article)


Advergames on Facebook are nothing new — there are Facebook games marketing everything from cars to the distrubingly wholesome power of milk, and practically everything in between. But so far there hasn’t been a Facebook advergame that markets the field of marketing itself. Until now!

PoweRBrands is a creation of Reckitt Benckiser — the parent company of brands like Clearasil, Lysol and Woolite — that invites you to “use your innovative sales skills and marketing ideas to outperform your rivals, and work your way up to be President of the company.” Along the way, you’re told you’ll learn to “think and act like an RB person” and “learn something about global FMCG along the way” (that’s “fast-moving consumer goods” for those of you who aren’t already marketing professionals)

(full article)