Discussion point: What kind of game deserves a high score in Dialogue and Acting?

By The TAG Team

Dialogue and Acting

(No, we haven’t forgotten E, we are just leaving it as the last category.)

Although the name of this category mentions acting, it is just dialogue most of the games have so far offered. Indeed, from the very beginning of the blog reviewers have considered also the quality of the prose, when evaluating this category. It is simple to say what is bad writing - misspellings are usually one good sign. But when it comes to deciding what is good writing, we are inevitably led again to the discussion how subjective such evaluations are. After all, we all like different styles of writing and these preferences inevitably affect our views - a pun-infested game is regarded differently by a reviewer adoring puns than by a reviewer hating puns.

This game will separate the pun haters from the pun lovers

Despite this subjectivity, can we still find some general criteria to follow when reviewing dialogue and other writing? Other questions you might consider:
  • Since acting is mentioned in the name of the category, should we leave the highest scores only for games with actual acting (voice or full)? Or is this a nonsensical restriction and should we take the acting into account in evaluation of this category, only if the game contains it?
  • Just like with almost all categories, we can ask whether we should regard dialogue in isolation from all the other elements of the game or whether we should consider how well the dialogue enhances the other elements of the game, such as the story and the general feel of the game. For instance, could an otherwise good dialogue be considered bad, if it doesn’t fit in with the style of the game?
  • Should we demand good English of all games? Or should we be lenient, if the developers are not native speakers? 
  • We’ve often considered characters when evaluating this category. Indeed, dialogue is something closely connected with characters, since it is the characters who are speaking, but is there an alternative? For example, should we consider characters when reviewing story and setting?

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