Hate mail - How do you handle it?

I catch some hell sometimes over my reviews. I’m apparantly unpopular for giving Vampire a 65%. Especially since people apparently made multiple accounts to tell me I suck with.

So, to the other reviewers and editors here, do you answer or ignore?

I never got any hate mail for any reviews I did (though so few people read them that that’s no surprise). I did, however, get some hate mail back when I wrote Force Monkeys. Still do, even though the comic has been dead for over a year now. I usually just ignored it, though I took the time to mock some in my news posts. I think I came off looking like a jackass and an idiot though, so I wouldn’t advice doing that. I’d say just ignoring it is the best course of action, but that’s just me.

Sometimes we ignore it, sometimes we pass it around and laugh at it, sometimes we put it on the air. Usually I just find it amusing that anyone would take the time to be bothered by what number some guy somewhere assigned to a game.

If you think your viewers don’t care about review scores, why have them?

The main gist of the mail I’ve received is that I must have a really shitty pc if it had problems with Vampire. Heaven forbid that the game have bugs. I mean that Troika has a perfect track record for releasing bug-free games. I also think that some people don’t get my sense of humor and that some of my jabs come off meaner than intended. Oh well.

You upset thr Troika fanbois? What do you expect? Thank your lucky stars it wasn’t handbags at dawn.

If you think your viewers don’t care about review scores, why have them?[/quote]

I don’t think that. They care very much about it, obviously. I just don’t understand why scores are so universally obsessed over in the game industry.

I don’t want to be confrontational but I didn’t like your review. It’s sad that people would waste their time (and yours) registering just to abuse you but I can understand some fans being frustrated with the approach you took.

I’m ok with that. I’ve received a few emails that said just that basically and it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, the hate mail doesn’t really bother me I just find it kind of funny sometimes.

I honestly didn’t like the game. Too many bugs and a basically poor execution of the Source engine killed it for me. It really is a matter of personal oppinion, but the art direction was boring and typical.

The funniest thing is that you rarely ever hear anything about the other reviews. I’ve received one or two emails that have said “I liked your review” compared to the ton I’ve received about this game and one or two others.

Remember: they never write when they like you, only when you piss them off.

I caught a lot of flack for my Asheron’s Call review back in 2000. I just ignored it.

I didn’t get much hate mail for my game reviews back in the bubble era, mainly because nobody read them. People only read hardware reviews back then. Really though, every voodoo/voodoo2/tnt/tnt2/etc was goddamn identical so there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot of controversy. Any time they deviated from reference hardware I experienced a (usually) dry mini-orgasm because I got to review something different.

However, now that I’m interviewing DBAs on a daily if not weekly basis, you’d be amazed at the racist hateful vitriol they throw at me. In broken english. Every one involving “the dust beneath their feet” for some reason. Some even through the postal mail. Those, I hang on the wall of my office.

HR isn’t amused.

That brings up an interesting question though… I just got Vampire after Christmas, so of course I downloaded the patch immediately on doing so. I’ve not had a single problem, not even a hint of one. Now, assuming the patch fixed your problems, how much of a difference would that make to your review score? How easy is it to review games in a way where bug issues (which can be patched out later) don’t condemn a game to “mediocrity” perpetually? And should they be reviewed in such a way (given, of course, that we seem to be well beyond the point where expecting bug-free releases is likely to ever bear fruit these days)? Should “easy” to fix bugs be weighted less because they’ll likely be patched out (typos and the like come to mind based on what I recall reading of the vampire thread initially).

Threaten to sue them! Have you learned nothing McMaster?

Ignore/occasionally laugh. And I guarantee you any MMO developer can trump the hate mail collection of any reviewer.

Since there seems to be nothing posted in their near empty forums, was it an email? What did they bitch about? Because you probably do deserve some flak for starting your review off by saying the target audience for the game is a bunch of lonely losers. I mean not from me, but I could understand that getting under someone’s skin.


I don’t see Bloodlines that way at all – but the point of a review is to share your opinion, so that’s not really the problem I had. I thought you were way off base comparing Bloodlines to LARP (I thought one of Bloodline’s strengths was not presenting a bunch of angst-ridden goths) but that is just opinion. What I didn’t like was reducing all the roleplay elements to one sentence with the single description of “OK”.

I don’t get it. You’re interviewing database administrators? Seeking a job I presume? And they abuse you?

I used to work for a tabloid. Hatemail was par of the course and having an unlisted number a necessity.
Then I moved to this industry and a really family oriented mag - let’s just say that my one angry cancelled subscribtion is framed and on the wall…

It was email. I meant that people made several hotmail accounts. Yeah, I can see where that would bother people, but they didnt complain about that. You know it was funny, though.

Not that much really. The bugs dragged it down but I was also massively unimpressed.