Friday, December 10, 2010

App O' The Mornin': App Store Reviews Review

Since this is my 100th app post, I'm going to do something a  bit different and review the reviewers; that is, the reviewers in the app store, who range in quality from quite cogent and literate, to almost bone-shatteringly stupid.

I'm not going to get into the thousands of poorly-spelled reviews that say things like "wont run" or "crashed evry time a started it u SUCK" or "fix this dostn work." There are, in fact, some games that crash because they are badly programmed or have show-stopping bugs, but not that many. I would put hard money down on the fact that the vast majority of people screaming about crashes and failure to run are working with about 8MB of free memory. Dear App Gamers: Your device is not a Nintendo DS. It's a tiny computer, which means it needs free RAM to run. Spend a buck on the FreeMemory app and quit yer bitchin'.

I'm also not going to belabor the countless reviews that say something like "sux" or "lame" or "4 loosers only." There's just no point.

But somewhere between the well-done reviews and the one-word grunts of disapproval are reviews that are merely puzzling, such as "Looks good but I didn't play it because it crashed before it installed." I've seen variations of this one more than once, and I'm always wondering: What looks good? The icon on the App Store page?

Maybe that is what they mean, since some people take their icons very seriously. I saw one review that said something like "Good update but the new icon is ugly so I deleted it." It makes me wonder what exactly they're doing with icons? Do they just sit there and stare at them?

Reiner Knizia's High Society gets this curious comment: "Not deep but cute." It's a game entirely composed of images of currency. I cannot think of anything less cute.

A mysterious one-star review of the classic Plants vs. Zombie says only "Give us more gametypes." Obviously, this is a serious font fan.

I guess that's better than the one-star PvZ review that whinged "It's an awesome game but you might Wana lower the price make an awesome update."  Hmm, you get pretty much the same game that costs $20 on every other platform, only in handy portable form for a mere $5, and you're complaining .... why?

Cut the Rope gets a one-star review with the comment, "Why does this app turn on my GPS?? totally not needed." I can commiserate. Nobody wants to get their GPS all turned on. Next thing you know it will expect you to take it out to dinner.

Nothing is more entertaining than reading a negative review of a hugely popular game. You can almost feel the superiority of the negative reviewer radiating off the screen. These are the people who totally loved that band before anyone else ever heard of them, y'know? But now they're popular and they SUCK.

Some poor soul titled his Cut the Rope review "Special Ed," and remarked "De de deee. [?] Stupid is as stupid does. No challenge at all for people interested in later birds or Iolo from NES," thus proving that there is nothing on the face of God's green earth more insufferable than a Nintendo fanboy geek. Run Forrest, run!

One caustic critic of Angry Birds gave it a 1-star review and said "make the full version free then ill consider a 2-star review." Hey Chillingo! If you can take a moment from rolling around in your mountain of Angry Birds cash, maybe you can make the best-selling game in app history free so some 14-year-old in Schenectady will hate you a little less and maybe consider bumping your review up by 1 star. I knew that was all the incentive you needed.

Someone took Revolt's rather silly sci-fi premise as an opportunity to vent his militant secular/atheist spleen: "Anti-intellect [sic] propaganda. Here's the setup: - 98% of the population was eliminated by the rapture (I'm serious)" [So icky icky Christians should stop making games and report to the nearest Richard Dawkins Reeducation Camp? Duly noted. Besides, the "rapture" described in Revolt has nothing in common with the "rapture" beliefs of certain Christians.] "-Scientists and educated people are evil" [So science-run-amok stories are out now? Good luck getting that one to stick.] "-Violent, armed, and stupid fringe militias are heroes." [Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Your point being?] "-Deal with issues through violence." [Methinks he's missing the point of an action/shooter. I think they tried to have Guy running around hugging the angry robots and playing with cute li'l kitties on the side, but it failed to grip. Also, as the bumper sticker says, "Except for ending slavery, fascism, Nazism and Communism, war has never solved anything."] "Nice worldview." [Thanks! It works for me.]

Then there are the people who like to practice their comedy routines in the review sections. Also found under Cut the Rope:  "Didnt do what it said  So i bought this app with the intention of cutting rope but was sadly disappointed. It failed on several occasions to cut various types of rope. [protracted attempt at humor about not being able to cut rope has been mercifully redacted] please don't buy this even if you need your rope cut." Ha! It's funny because see, the iPhone can't cut rope. Comedy gold! After he finished, the author hit the post button, chuckled quietly to himself, paused for a moment, and then sat at his computer wondering why he was so very lonely.

And although I'm grateful for the many capable App Store reviewers who take the time to share their insights so people can weigh a purchase intelligently, I think I'm ever more grateful for the trolls and junior high students who spill their bilious hatred of an unfair world into reviews of games that cost less money than a soda. I'm a big believer in catharsis, so here's hoping that someone's Two Minutes' Hate against Harry Potter Lego proves to be a cheap and effect alternative to psychotherapy. 


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