You take games too seriously.

Ropeburned Redux

So my response to You Have to Burn the Rope got a little attention.

After getting word back from people like Brian Crecente, N’Gai Croal, and the game’s creator, though, I feel like expanding my point a bit, and offering a few apologies and caveats for my overly incendiary tone.

Hardcasual is a new blog, and a blog still in search of a voice. Look only to our many half-formed feature ideas (Turkey Sandwiches? Sunday Discussion?) to see that we’re still figuring this racket out. We have, though, been gamers and media obsessees for a long time, and what might have passed for fair analysis over IMs and personal discussion turned out to be, well, pretentious and oversimplified when it came to a blog post.

I, and I think my original blog post supports this, do really enjoy You Have To Burn The Rope – not just as a thought exercise, but as a witty and smart piece of satire. Like Rock Paper Shotgun says in their response, though, the game’s points are straightforward and immediately rewarding, and better experienced through play than a hundred essays. 

I came to the post through a feeling of frustration with the gaming media. I felt that part of the point what I saw as a game that was funny and truly intelligent was being missed by a meme-heavy media push. At the same time, I was watching Owen Good edit his first weekend at Kotaku with a style I found juvenile and goofy to a fault.

Since then, Softcore Gamer posted a far calmer and deeper take on the game’s humor and joys, and Owen Good has done a damn fine job of editing his second weekend’s worth of Kotaku. You Have To Burn The Rope has gotten no less funny and no less smart, and it is still worthy of discussion, far better than I gave it the first time around. 

In my rush to be clever (by my own definition), I was pretentious and obscured my message. I hope to avoid falling into such traps in the future, and to create work that will trigger discussion and thought, not annoyance and hard feelings. Thanks for sticking around, and we hope you continue to read, enjoy, and even be annoyed by Hardcasual.

Thank you, 



Filed under: Commentary

9 Responses

  1. ndef says:

    For the record, I’m a fan. I like the offbeat approach that HardCasual takes toward analysis and the way that you treat games like a form of literature. I even like your inclination to make controversial statements, especially when they lead to the kind of conversation that leaves us all with a better understanding of this wonderful medium.

    You may feel that you’re still searching for your voice, but I think your approach to game journalism already says a lot. Keep up the good work and I, for one, am eager to keep reading.

  2. Sam says:

    Controversy is cheap and easy. And so it can be difficult to distinguish between people who genuinely have something to say and those who simply court attention.

    Being able to say that you overstepped the mark and apologise with good grace points to the former.

    Good show sir.

  3. Don’t worry, man. You’ll find your own way. I wouldn’t have linked to it if I didn’t think it was worth putting our take on it.

    Generally speaking – and I know unsolicited advice is really rude – you’ll probably be better off just following your own road rather than doing the Games Journalism Journalism thing. Yeah, people fall beneath the possibility of the form, but the best riposte is always showing them how *you* think it should be done.

    Er… sorry. That was poncy.


  4. Cooper says:

    For what it’s worth, I read your post from an RPS link, and I found myself agreeing. Though the jibe on others was a bit uncalled for, and even though the conclusion might not have been what the makers intended, that though YHTBTR (and also recently ROM CHECK FAIL) revel in a bit of self-deprication and celebration of classic game mechanics, I couldn’t help but feel that they both made it too-apparent-for-comfort that there has been little widespread innovation in game mechanics, and even more fundamentally what games /are/

    But now I’m just sounding over-analytical too…

  5. […] De igazából nehezebb olyan blogot találni, ahol nem volt róla szó. A Hardcasualos srác itt hátrál ki a vitából. A dal pedig letölthető a zenész blogjáról, csak ezért nem kell újrajátszani a […]

  6. Zed says:

    I respectfully disagree with Sam. Your initial post showed fire and cojones, but this follow-up seems like a weak mea culpa prompted by some people reading your post who you didn’t expect to read it. Frankly, now it seems like you pussied out, and defended yourself with a weak “I’m new at this” explanation.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t apologize when you realize you’re wrong. But going forward, maybe try the measure twice, cut once approach when it comes to your writing. Make sure what you say is truly what you want to say, and then stand behind your words if people disagree. Your credibility will thank you.

  7. Sam Ryan says:

    Your second paragraph is exactly what I’m saying I want to do from now on.

    Almost 1500 people have read the initial post, but when I wrote it only 30 people were reading the blog each day. The situation changed a lot with that growth, and I’m not at all embarrassed to say that the post wasn’t as well-reasoned or mature as it should have been. If I had felt that the people who questioned the post were entirely wrong, I would have stood by it unequivocally.

    But since I didn’t like what I had shown to the world, and it was too late to change it, I apologized. I’m pleased for the attention that post got, but I look forward to having the chance to prove that I still have the fire and cojones – and that I can use them more intelligently and incisively.

  8. ctplante says:

    I don’t want you to feel singled out by the writers, but you raised an interesting point.

    Personally, I think it takes more cojones to admit your wrong in the video game blogosphere than to write a controversial post. I think it’s peculiar to disagree with an apology. An apology should never ruin someone’s credibility, only bolster it.

    I think our (Americans) culture finds failure as a weakness, which is silly; we learn best from experimenting, failing, and applying what we learned. As gamers, our joint hobby’s best feature is the chance to fail and learn in safe settings.

    But I do agree, measure twice, cut once is usually the best route.

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this is a blog about video games by chris plante, sam ryan and chris littler.

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"BEST OF HUMOUR... Hardcasual is the magic mirror for gamers who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, and each other."
- Gaz Deaves, Video Games Records Manager, Guinness Book of World Records

"I liked Hardcasual when it was serious. Then they made a joke about me and turned into a comedy site. Now I like them even more... These guys are like The Onion of video games."
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