Debated Disliked

Bad Konami

Email received, Thursday, 2:55 AM:


To: Remy

Subject: Konami Insider: Take the Konami Customer Survey

Dear Remy,

Thank you for being a Konami Insider.

Please visit our survey so we can continue to make the games YOU want to play.



I am not naive enough to believe that my feedback to any web survey will provide enough weighted guidance to allow for the things *I* want to be made. But I am naive enough to think that such a survey would have the reasonable illusion of trying to solicit my feedback.
Question one of this four question survey:

Common sense violations encountered in this question:

– The acronym “NGC” has never been in widespread use. While I know what it’s supposed to expand to, the average Joe will not. (I suppose I should be thankful the survey did not use “GCN”, as I’ve seen a number of places.)
– There are no listings for any now-current gen consoles: the PS3, the Xbox 360, the Wii.

Question two:

Common sense violations encountered in this question:

– The code name “Nintendo Revolution” has not been in use since the console was renamed the Wii on April 27th, 2006. This is over six months ago.
– No one – and I mean no one – refers to a “DS” as a “Nintendo Dual Screen”.
– The Gameboy Micro, as far as I know, is not being made any more, and bombed fairly badly compared to all other Gameboy Advance versions, never mind both versions of the DS.

Question three:

Common sense violations encountered on this question:

– Why is Super Mario the example given for “Platform Games with Cartoon Characters”?
– Why is Gran Turismo the example given for “Action Racing Games”?
– Why is there even a category of “Mission Based Driving Games”? And, again, why GTA, which has classically been defined as a “sandbox game”?
– Why do you offer such specifics as “Life Simulation Games”, “Fishing/Hunting Games”, and “Wrestling Games”, while you simultaneously neglect genres that Konami has at least something of a reputation for – such as Stealth Action Games (e.g. Metal Gear Solid), Music Games (e.g. Dance Dance Revolution), Adventure Platform Games (e.g. Castlevania), or Shoot-em-ups (e.g. Gradius)?

Question four:

Common sense violations encountered on this question:

– This question does not contain the phrase “you, yourself,” unlike the previous three.
– Why is an example needed for “Renting game from a video store”? Or for “Visiting the game publisher’s website”? Or, hell, even “Seeing advertisements online”?
– It’s obvious just from the depth of this question and the 76 radio buttons that the point of the survey is not to actually make the sort of games that *I* want to play, but instead to refocus their advertising budgets appropriately to hit more “top influences”. It’s not the dishonesty of the survey that bothers me – it’s the principle of being so willing to take advantage of your customers. To lure them in with the half-empty promise of listening to them, and then blatantly try to suckle effective advertising channels out of them.

This, by the way, is the thanks you get for completing the survey:

I am baffled as to how anyone could think a survey like this provides anything remotely useful.


Free Advice For Online Street Teams

*A foreword: I am not against advertising. Advertising can inform, entertain, and drum up interest. I believe in the power of properly directed advertising. The problem with advertising, of course, is that it’s never targeted properly.*

Back in the days before the rise of the internet – oh woe, how far back 10 years looks! – bands would hire street teams. Groups of rabid fans would disseminate as much info about their respective band in hopes of bringing in more fans. These street teams, of course, still exist – trying to leave any show in NYC always leads to hands full of quarter cards and freebie CDs.

However, the idea has migrated online and mutated into a new, somewhat frightening idea; organized groups of (take your pick here) “agents”, “marketdroids”, or “opinion leaders” who will try to subtly drop your product into the consciousness of the world. Up to now, my closest run-in with one of these was when [Creative Commons partnered with BzzAgent](, and Suw, valiant disruptor that she is, [picked a fight]( Eventually, CC and BzzAgent parted ways, thankfully.

In any case: I’m not against street teams, even online ones. But there’s a certain degree of finesse required, a bit of *savoir-faire* needed to make yourself blend in a little better into the landscape as you try to get your product out there.

Yesterday, I received an email that was, well, lacking the subtlety such a campaign requires:

>**From:** Lauren
**To:** Dan Dickinson
**Date:** Nov 29, 2005 7:53 PM
**Subject:** Spartan Total Warrior

> Hi,
I just found your The Warriors blog entry: and I think you may be of some help to me. I’m reaching out to you on behalf of M80 & Sega regarding Spartan Total Warrior. This award-winning game is the first console title from the Total War series. Since you are a fan of The Warriors, I thought that you might be interested in posting the press release or a review of the game on your blog? You seem like a reputable influencer, so I think you’d be a big help to us.
Please let me know if you’re interested!
Lauren, M80

Before I get going on what’s wrong here, let me make clear the following:

– I have not played Spartan Total Warrior.
– I have no intention on playing Spartan Total Warrior, sheerly because it’s not on the list of immediate must-have titles.
– Were someone to email me offering a product that I might be interested in and presented it in an appropriate way, I would most likely take them up on it.
– What follows should not be considered an attack on Sega or the game itself. It’s not an attack at all, merely a dissection of the tactics M80 is taking in trying to spread the message.

That said, here’s why the message failed to entice me.

## Misrepresenting My Post

The referred to “Warriors blog entry” does indeed contain references to Rockstar’s recent release of The Warriors; unfortunately, it was literally three sentences:

> The Warriors, while not a perfect game, is probably the most enjoyable beat-em-up I’ve played since Final Fight. I just tore through the movie tonight, and Rockstar really has got it down to an almost uncanny degree. Full review coming in the near future.

The remainder of the post was largely about my vacation. While I am all in favor of having my ass kissed about my eloquent writing prowess (including using terms like “having my ass kissed”), I also appreciate having my posts actually read, rather than skimmed.

## Lose The First Person References

Look at the language: “help to me”, “I’m reaching out to you”, “I thought that you”, “help to us”. If you’re coming to me as a new contact, your reputation sits right in the middle of the neutral land. You may not have any strikes against you, but you also aren’t owed any favors. Why should I be helping you?

## Don’t Assume

Yes, I am a fan of The Warriors. This makes me want to do certain things, but posting press releases isn’t one of them. Especially press releases for games that aren’t The Warriors. Especially when *that* game came out over a month ago.

## Is That What The Kids Are Calling It These Days?

“You seem like a reputable influencer” is the weirdest, back-handed hybrid compliment/appraisal of my worth that I’ve ever gotten. If you’re trying to emphasize that I seem to have sway over other people’s opinions, could you please try not-talk-ing-like-a-ro-bot?
So please, online marketing teams: just try a little harder. If you’re going to reach out to someone, take a little time to learn about them before you send that email. Give it that human touch.


Industry vs. Artistry Braindump

Tonight, at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the [Carnegie Hall Notables]( (of which I am not a member) presented their first event of the 2005-2006 season, entitled “Artistry vs. Industry”, with four musical artists from a variety of genres speaking out about their experiences in these modern times. The panel included:

– **[Natalie Merchant](**, of 10,00 Maniacs and solo artistry fame.
– **[RZA](**, of Wu-Tang Clan.
– **[Lou Reed](**, of Velvet Underground and his own solo artist fame.
– **[Leila Josefowicz](**, a violin virtuoso.
– The panel was originally scheduled to be moderated by DJ Stretch Armstrong, but was instead taken by WMYC’s [John Schaefer](

What follows are the few notes I was able to jot down after the whole affair ended.

– Lou Reed is a bitter but terribly funny man. He has huge disdain for music press. He was also wearing Nikes, which I’m not sure why I found interesting but at least made a mental note of.
– Leila seemed a bit shaken by the company, and said “Dude” a lot. She is, it was noted, one of the very few classical artists with a recording contract.
– Natalie was very relaxed, as was RZA.
– John Schaefer was wearing socks with flags on them. Again, not sure why this stuck in my head, but there it is.
– First mention of iTunes occurred about 2 minutes in.
– During some lamenting about the death of college radio and the gradual Clear Channelization of the airwaves, Natalie laughing mentioned that when she worked at her college station, she once on her show laid on the floor of the studio, totally high on something, and played Joy Division’s *She’s Lost Control* 75 times straight.
– Each artist had their own fair share of stories about getting dicked over:
– Natalie was locked into a contract for 18 years, which shocked Lou and RZA to a great extent.
– RZA got dicked on royalties early on in the Wu-Tang career.
– Lou brought up [Metal Machine Music]( and what is now known in the music industry as the “Lou Reed Clause”, where artists have to release work “representative of the artist”.
– Leila mentioned that she can’t afford to buy her current violin, its on loan – it costs $3,000,000.
– Copyleft was brought up briefly, but both Natalie and Lou like to keep full control of their music. Nat brought up that she wants to keep control in case a group she objected to co-opted her song; Lou just seemed to want to keep his music locked down out of distrust of the music industry.
– Lou’s advice to new artists: “Keep the copyright, keep the publishing.”
– Lou is a big fan of satellite radio, and named dropped The Verbs as a band he discovered by listening to it.
– Natalie went independent not because she has a great desire to be The Man, but because she wanted to spend time with her son.
– RZA has a mountain in ohio he goes to for songwriting. It’s called Wu Mountain. I am not kidding.
– There in fact is a connection between RZA and Lou, in that RZA sampled *Venus In Furs* for a song on the Blade: Trinity soundtrack. Lou admitted that originally he denied all sampling request – what changed his mind? “I started liking some of the tracks.”
– All the artists lamented know-it-all engineers and producers.
– RZA and Natalie both use drum machines at home for starting work, but use real musicians in the studio for recording.

Sorry this is so scattered, it’s hard to take notes after the fact.