Out of curiosity: does CoG actually read anything submitted to them before releasing it?


#1

from the heroes rise trilogy, to that same author’s subsequent release (VERSUS), which may i add, were both as well-written as an off-brand of an off-brand suzanne collin’s knockoff, to the vast assortment of 1-2 star aggregate rated (app store & google play) hosted games titles, i can’t help but wonder what criteria a submission has to meet in order to be published? is the actual quality of the content something that’s considered, or just the projected profits? granted, CoG, to my knowledge, has never claimed to source only Actually Good or even satisfying content, but you have to admit there’s a huge dissonance when it comes to hosting precedent-setting interactive fiction like zombie exodus, tin star, or lost heir, to hosting nearly universally panned content like raids of the divided, or literally every other title in the hosted section. i just really don’t understand this business model, but i suppose it’s possible i’ve already answered my own question re: projected profits. but even that doesn’t seem to be panning out as well as y’all would have hoped, considering that barely anyone is purchasing these terrible, terrible games… because, well… they’re terrible. any feedback?


#2

Just a head’s up - many Hosted Games authors read/post here. You’re certainly entitled to your opinions about the quality of games (heck, that’s encouraged here!) but I’d suggest that you avoid painting with a super broad brush by saying things like “literally every other title in the hosted section” is universally panned.

ZE, Tin Star and Lost Heir are certainly not the only Hosted Games to receive a positive customer response.


#3

Different strokes for different folks.

Not everyone is going to like all the stories. I don’t like them all but there are some which have made me a serious fan! And subsequently urged me to write.

Throwing a large vague terrible rating at everyone is not a good idea. By the by.


#4

I wont be talking for you, but most of the games published by CoG/HG are very well written. There are games that maybe weaker comparing to others but they are still good. Also it is all about personal preferences, so you shouldnt speak for everyone just for yourself. That is just my advice.


#5

For as far as I know ChoiceofGames only checks prospective Hosted Games based on a few criteria. The game has to pass both randomtest and quicktest, must be written in English, must be a minimum of 30000 words (code included) and must’ve undergone Beta testing on the forum. (That last rule was added after the release of one of the Hosted Games because the writing of that game was hardly readable because of bad English.)

So yes, they don’t check Hosted Games on the quality of the story itself, and yes, things do go wrong there from time to time. But I don’t think the company is doing that for those ‘projected profits’. I doubt it does any profit projection for those games at all. In fact most of those ‘terrible games’ might end up costing them more than it’ll earn them, and they know it. And I honestly respect them for taking that risk, because it gives prospective writers like me a chance to be able to publish something one day, though my work might not be as good as that of the professionals. And I will sure try to rise up to their standards, though I might not be judged by them.


#6

We do review each Hosted Game–in fact, I’m the one who does it, usually. To correct @Cecilia_Rosewood below, HG need to be at least 30,000 words in length. We do check for quality, in the sense that we’re not going to publish racist content, and we take a hard look at graphically violent games, or games that depict sexual violence, etc. But the idea is certainly to provide a platform for authors who want to publish a game. I can’t comment on our company’s profitability around HG, but needless to say I think it’s an important part of our work to provide this platform. I also think we’ve published some pretty stellar work under that label, and it remains a place for games from established authors (like Heather Albano) who create games which don’t fit with the COG line, like for instance a genderlocked game.

My first game is going to come out on HG, in the early spring, I hope!


#7

@polycrypt

I actually enjoy several of the Hosted Games more than many of the CoGs and I think it’s ridiculous that you’re saying virtually all of them are terrible. You must not have read Way Walkers, Steampunk, or Life of a Wizard, just to name a few.


#8

@Polycrypt, is that a hint of jealousy I hear? If you’re jealous of the hosted games authors, just say so.


#9

Any chance that one game that @Cecilia_Rosewood mentioned can get an edit pass and re-publish (I believe everyone knows which it is)? I didn’t get very far with my play through due to the on-the-fly-editing-in-my-head was detracting from the story itself.

I won’t mention the games name publicly as I’d rather not direct potentially negative attention to someone that doesn’t deserve it.


#10

@polycrypt
Speaking from my experiences with the editorial process for the “main” CoG line, they do.

There’s some pretty intensive QA that comes in at every step of the process, from the pitch, to the continuity testing, all the way down to the beta test and the last home stretch before release. With Mecha Ace and The Hero of Kendrickstone, they were with me at basically every step of the way, checking for bugs, awkward writing, egregious gameplay design errors, even down to making sure that the cultural biases implicit in my text were the ones that I wanted to be publishing. In my opinion, and in my experience, CoG checks everything it can without actually putting arbitrary restrictions on our creative freedom.

What they can’t check for, is opinion.

You don’t like Heroes Rise: that’s fine. I’m not too big a fan of it either. Yet there are thousands of people who are. Zachary Sergi has a substantial fanbase, one which is large enough, and dedicated enough to come up with fanart, fanfiction, and make sequels financially viable. Those are thousands of people who, subjectively, say that the series is good just as you can subjectively say that it’s bad. Those people aren’t necessarily “wrong” to enjoy a thing that you dislike, any more than you’re “wrong” for disliking a thing they like. CoG’s role in this isn’t to make sure that the works that are published under their name are liked by everyone, but that they’re enjoyed by the people the author meant to enjoy them, and in sufficient numbers to make it worth our time and effort.

In that respect, they’ve certainly never let me down.


#11

oh yeah, there are definitely more games than the ones i listed on the hosted games section that are praise-worthy, but they typically are from the same authors (lucid, jim d, etc.). and tbh heroes rise & VERSUS are both objectively bad… like… here’s an excerpt, probably: “you’re walking down the street with your best friend since childhood. then, suddenly, all of a sudden, they unzip their Best Friend costume and appear to be… none other than your arch nemesis: Murderous Psychopath. you hear a ticking. could it be…? a bomb! it detonates. you scream. then everything goes dark…”

where are my thousands of fans


#12

Sorry, but that niche is filled. You might want to try writing a novel about sparkly vampires…nope, someone already did that.

(Yes, I compared Heroes Rise to Twilight, because that’s about my opinion of it. It’s a popular game, regardless of our opinion of its merits.)


#13

@polycrypt
"Objectively bad" by your subjective standards?

Considering that “good writing” and “bad writing” are based on a broad and often-challenged consensus delivered by a collective of subjective individuals, there is no such thing as “objectively” bad writing, only writing which is accepted as bad by a vast majority of people. There is no scale of what qualifies “good” and “bad” writing based on some criteria not subject to human opinion: a person judges writing to be good when it performs its intended purpose effectively (whatever that may be), a person judges writing to be bad when it doesn’t. This isn’t scientific theory we’re talking about here, but a social construct entirely made up by human opinion.

Mind you, I’m not saying I disagree: I don’t consider Heroes Rise’s writing to be particularly strong, but the fact is that there are plenty of other people who would disagree, and their voices are just as much part of the consensus that judges the quality of a written work as ours.


#14

I don’t know the exact process I just know the majority of games that come out as CoG’s or hosted game I enjoy. Also there are some real gems…


#15

Lol, Heroes Rise and Versus “objectively bad”? Two of one of the most popular and praised games on the site you call “objectively bad” you have a very strange sense of reality then. Just because you don’t like them doesnt mean calling them “objectively bad” makes any sense.
Also making a fun of someone elses game the way you try to do (although completely not relevant to actual writing in those games) i think is very rude, and i’m not sure if it isnt against some forum rules.

Your question (although made in accusatory tone) was i think answered. So you want this topic now to be venting your subjective opinion on the games you don’t like and bashing them?


#16

uhh yeah, and family guy, the kardashians, and donald trump are all largely popular with devoted fanbases, but i suppose it’d be in my blood pressure’s best interest to not concern myself with which brand of garbage people choose to ingest, provided we don’t have to have any manner of extended interaction


#17

@polycrypt
Why yes, people are allowed to like things considered subjectively bad by broad consensus as well, probably because that consensus isn’t shared by everyone: humans are allowed their own opinions, ones which can’t be “objectively wrong” unless they actually contradict the laws of the universe (disputing that “The Earth goes around the Sun”, for example). You may not agree with that opinion. You may, in fact, insist that from where you’re standing, that (to use an absurd colloquialism) “their waifu is shit”.

That still doesn’t mean you can make any claim that your opinion is an objective truth.


#18

Sure, Heroes Rise is hardly the most original story, the writing of the first part isn’t all that good compared to the best Hosted Games titles out there, but it is pretty enjoyable if you’re looking for something to waste a few hours with especially because it’s pretty superficial. You can enjoy it without having to think about difficult things like ethics and gender inequality for example, which are pretty big themes in some of the more popular Hosted Games, which for that purpose is actually a plus. And unlike your little example of before, the author did put a substantial amount of work into it. It might not catch your fancy, but that doesn’t make it bad, let alone “objectively” bad. At most you didn’t like it because it doesn’t suit your tastes or because you thought something less plot oriented like for example the balancing of skills was done badly.


#19

Could you try to explain to me what do you mean with “objectively bad”? And please, try not to make an example like:

because I don’t get it.

If the games had terrible grammar and bugs, I could see why it would be “objectively bad”, but the actual content is very subjective.

For example, the game “Creatures Such as We” may be a great game, but I don’t like it. At all. For some reason I can’t bring myself to finish this, even though I tried a few times, yet I don’t believe it’s “objectively bad”.


#20

I thought about this more, and I wanted to add the following…

Although some folks like @Cataphrak, @Lucid, @JimD have essentially developed their own “brands,” I think most HG authors are, for better or worse, lumped in with other HG authors. After all, the official brand IS Hosted Games. Hosted Games are lumped together on the main page tab, and they’re lumped together on the platforms. So to some extent, I think it’s in the interest of ALL HG authors to support other HG authors in making the highest quality games possible. So I REALLY like the new “tested on the forum” rule, because I think that’s the single biggest factor in a game reaching a certain level of quality.

So this is my long winded way of saying that many HG authors recognize that to some extent, “we’re all in this together,” and that we all benefit when other HG authors write higher quality gamebooks. None of us want ANY customer being so disappointed in a HG release that the customer says, “Okay I’m done with HGs - I don’t feel I got my money’s worth here.”

And while we’ll all disagree about what makes for “good” writing, I think some elements are almost universally agreed upon. So I’d really encourage everyone to consider feedback when you post your HG on a WiP thread.

  1. We can all point out typos. Easy enough.
  2. Most of us can point out poor grammar.
  3. We can all point out bugs like continuity errors.
  4. We can all give the “higher level” feedback CoG likes to get, such as a reader’s thoughts on pacing, character development, etc.
  5. We can all suggest avenues for improvement.

And we can do these things in a positive way that actually encourages the writer to consider our opinions. So be honest and be direct, but make your feedback constructive, and tell the writer about the things you like about the story. “Three stars and a wish,” if you will. “I really liked how you wrote the conversation between Characters X and Y. I wish there was more of that.”