Though the ∞ Android release of Taming Dreams ∞
hasn't got much exposure just yet (because I haven't actively promoted it), I was really happy to see that what few ratings and reviews it had were highly positive! Almost everyone gave it five stars, leaving it with an extremely high average that I hoped might allow it to be successful one day. It wasn't long, though, before the 1-star ∞ "it's different so it sucks!" ∞
reviews began. These bother me, since I really wish there was something that I could do or say to encourage such people to enjoy the game for what it is rather than shooting it down for what it's not.
I do understand that a lot of people might have been waiting for MARDEK 4 in the same vein as the original three, and that they'll be disappointed that Taming Dreams is quite different to what they might have had in mind.
However, perhaps it's like, I don't know, eating a few slices of bread, looking forward to being able to have another, and instead being given a chocolate cake. Does being different make it worse, or bad, or wrong? Perhaps if you gave it a try, you'd find that it's actually better than the bread you might have been used to and waiting for.
I do know that human minds don't exactly work this way, though. We're very resistant to new ideas in general, and very attached to familiarity. It's difficult to innovate because of this attitude, which loudly shows itself whenever a popular website changes its design even slightly. Because it's different, people - I hope it's just a loud minority, though I fear it's more - immediately assume that it's somehow worse than before, that it's ruined
, and, well, such a cognitive fault is the bane of every designer, I suppose. If it were up to such people, we'd probably still be living in caves and wearing animal skins.
It's likely related to the ∞ Big Five personality trait of Openness to experience ∞
, which determines how readily accepting certain individuals are of novelty and abstraction. Interestingly, Taming Dreams' overall style and purpose emerged from my own fairly high openness to experience, so those with a low score in that quality would be even more likely to misunderstand and reject it.
I don't mean to suggest that it's possible for any work to be absolutely better than another in every way. Preferences are indeed subjective, and those who like familiar, fighting-based RPGs like MARDEK might dislike the introspective, spiritual themes of Taming Dreams. But that wouldn't explain the knee-jerk outright rejection that leads to 1-star ratings with no exploration of the actual factors that led to that conclusion.
I know there's not really anything I can do about this. I desperately wish I could convince such people to at least give the game a go with an open mind, since they might be surprised by what they find, and they might change their ratings so then my game wouldn't be condemned to failure simply due to rigid resistance to progress. I suppose it helps me emotionally to vent about it a bit, though.
I do wonder how much their ratings will drag down the average, though, over time. I just wish reviews could be based on the game's actual features and merits (or lack thereof), because I'd be okay with that. I know it's not perfect and that it won't please everyone. It's just the unfairness of it all that gets to me, I suppose. Hating it by comparing it to a concept in their head. A fantasy.
Also, I wonder what such people hope to achieve. Do they feel that if they shoot down my work, I'll make the MARDEK 4 they might have wanted? Or do they not really think about their actions at all? If Taming Dreams suffers, I'm not going to make MARDEK 4; I'm going to stop making games altogether. If Taming Dreams succeeds, then perhaps one day I might return to MARDEK 4 (though don't get your hopes up). It's better to encourage than to condemn, since you can't threaten someone into producing good art; I just wish more people could see that.
I am glad though that the majority left positive reviews and ratings. That at least gives me hope! I just hope you wonderful people can drown out these bitter ones.