Personally, I don’t care half as much about getting ratings as I do about getting comments. And not just the positive ones, but any constructive comment. The comments I get on my game are mostly constructive, so that’s amazing.
It isn’t always easy coming up with something to say about the game you’ve just played and rated, but everyone has spent hours and hours on their game over the weekend, and we didn’t do it just because we were bored. Perhaps we wanted to learn, perhaps the theme inspired us, perhaps there was something we just really needed to say with the game, but there is always a reason, and because of this, there is always something to say. And if there isn’t, perhaps we havn’t given the game enough time.
Why are we rating each other’s games? The first reason should be that we’re interested in what other people have done over the weekend, but if I’m honest, for me that’s only part of it. I’m also rating other peoples’ games because I want my game to be played and commented on as well. I can only expect that other people rate games for that same reason.
The voting system makes games with less ratings, by people who rated a lot of games more visible. But what this system measures is ratings, not comments. I have been playing games, I have been rating them, and I have been thinking of something to say for every single one of them. Sometimes I said what I liked and didn’t like, and sometimes I just commented on the way the theme was used, if that’s what stuck out for me, but I left a comment either way.
I was going through this proces of rating and commenting on games, and noticed my game had appeared on the front page again. I was happy, waiting for karma to do it’s work.
5 people rated my game, and then my game left the front page again. I was excited! What did the people who rated my game think of it? I clicked on my game and scrolled down for the new comments.
No new comments.
Of the 5 people who rated (and presumably played) my game, none of them left a single comment. Needless to say I was disappointed. Was my game that uninteresting? Did it not work for them? I’ll never know, because they didn’t leave a comment.
And just like that, the sense of community I always feel when entering Ludum Dare, got just a little bit less.
I don’t know if leaving a comment should be required. I can understand some people are perhaps too shy to leave a comment. But leaving a comment should be encouraged! With the way the system is now, your game is only on the first page for a minute at most. Sometimes you’ve rated and commented on quite a lot of games to get there, and to see that your game is once again practically invisible between the 1400 other games, without having received even a single comment was a bit depressing.
Perhaps the system should check for comments, and not just ratings?
(to clarify: 32 people rated my game, 20 commented as well. More than 1/3 did not comment.)