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Rare Opportunity Unlocked - AMA

By , on April 26, 2011

I must regretfully inform my loyal readers that I am currently home sick and as such I'll have to delay some rather groovy reviews while I recover. However this does give me an opportunity to do something I've been meaning to do for a while now - an AMA (ask me anything).

I do tend to get a lot of questions that repeat themselves now and then, but not everything is stalkerish enough to read absolutely everything I write ;) It should go without saying that I'd like to keep things clean, so do be considerate of others

Hit me up on our Twitter (@appspy) to ask your questions (and to see my responses to any questions asked) - though if you don't have an account with Twitter you can always leave a response on our site in the comments ;)


Comments

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hugechaseman 3 years, 6 months ago

You should really make an appspy app

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zacardinals 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey Andrew, why did you never do a review for Mission Europa? You did a preview for it, and you seemed to really like it. The game is really fun (I have it) and the dev is a really nice guy. Thanks for your great reviews.

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Hennako 3 years, 6 months ago

Just want to say, I love your site, love your work, and I check in for news every day :) I love that your site track price drops, good way to get great games for free :D Thanks ! 

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dund17 3 years, 6 months ago

What games have you kept on your phone/iPod even after reviewing them?  Any specific examples?

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gvcdkg 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey Andrew,
   Love your videos and your site. I hope you feel better soon.

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triksR4rabits 3 years, 6 months ago

Andrew- huge fan, your trusted reviews are the reason I frequent the site.
How do you select what games to review? And how do you pump them out so quickly!
Great top picks btw. I would tack Sword & Sworcery on that list- its become one of the most memorable apps i've played.
Keep up the great work.
 

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GiHubb 3 years, 6 months ago

Out of curiosity Andrew, how old are you? Where do you live? Is AppSpy your only job? I know these might be questions that are too personal, you don't have to answer :)
Cheerio for the great video reviews, even if I don't agree with all your scores (I think you're a tad too generous at times), I enjoy watching the gameplay footage and your good humor.

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm just under the big three-zero - born almost literally with a C64 in my hands ;)
 
As I mention below I live in Queensland in Australia - more specifically South East QLD.
 
For now AppSpy is my only job - if things don't pick up I may have to spread my wings a bit further, but I'd prefer to keep my focus on the site :)

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ColeDaddy 3 years, 6 months ago

Andrew,
You have such a distinctly cool accent and you mentioned having studied at "University" in one of your responses, which lends me to believe (and forgive me for stating what may be the obvious) that your origins are around Europe?  Where are you from exactly?
Also, when choosing games, given that your purchases (while reimbursable at month's end) come out of pocket, do you tend to lean towards purchases that appeal to your personal tastes or do you venture out of your "comfort zone of interest"?  If it is the latter, what are some of those games?

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mrhappy1 3 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever played a game that you did not review that would be over a 1 or a 2? Like, a 3, a 4, or a 5?

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

To be honest I bought my first iDevice just prior to taking one of the reviewer positions for AppSpy and as such almost all of my purchases were influenced by the reviews done by myself and others on the site. Games like The Creeps! (currently showing as Free - worth grabbing if it is) weren't reviewed by me, but I ended up buying them because of the review it was given.
 
Outside of this I've reviewed every game I've played barring a select few that ended up on the cutting floor - sadly I don't have a list of these games to provide specific examples :(

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ColeDaddy 3 years, 6 months ago

Andrew,
You have such a distinctly cool accent and you mentioned having studied at "University" in one of your responses, which lends me to believe (and forgive me for stating what may be the obvious) that your origins are around Europe?  Where are you from exactly?
Also, when choosing games, given that your purchases (while reimbursable at month's end) come out of pocket, do you tend to lean towards purchases that appeal to your personal tastes or do you venture out of your "comfort zone of interest"?  If it is the latter, what are some of those games?

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm from Australia - Queensland to be more specific, though that doesn't mean a whole lot (accent-wise).
 
As for selection of games, I don't pick based on personal tastes; if this was a site about me, then yeah I'd probably go down that route, but AppSpy is focused on providing useful reviews for our readers which means choosing Apps that cover a broader set of interests.
 
At times I will postpone some reviews so I can cover genres that get less of a spotlight (certain puzzle/board games, word games, young age, etc.) just to make sure we're not just covering popular trends.
 
There are times where I have to fight my initial instincts on a title in order to give it a fair chance and I've been rewarded for it (one such title, Pathpix, went on to become one of my favorites) - though the feeling never really leaves me. Having to put your money on the line for a game that's presented in a questionable way never feels entirely comfortable.
 
With that said, some companies are very good at making a bad game look good thanks to cleverly edited screenshots, trailers and PR forged descriptions. I feel more upset when I'm burned by a game that spends more effort on its publicity than the game itself :(

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advisory 3 years, 6 months ago

Hello andrew, love your reviews.  please answer this, ive always wondered how you  get all your apps?. is it a group effort and all chip in or do you get them freely from developers. or what. thanks in advance
 

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

When I was working for the previous company they had an account setup with a business card for purchasing games - we would make use of codes from developers and publishers as well, though I phased that out once we were able to cover the costs as a sort of thanks to some of the smaller developers (giving them a chance to spread the word to others without wasting a code).
 
These days I have to pay for games out of pocket, however I am reimbursed for my purchases at the end of the month. Codes will be used if they're available, though my previous policy will apply where possible. I believe it's hard to truly understand the value of a game if you're handed them on a silver platter ;)

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teserut 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm finding that your gaming preferences are quite similar to my own, but I remain curious as to your tastes outside the iOS, so that being said, my question is, what are your favourite games outside the iOS? :)

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

Ohhhh hell that's a huuuuge list :)
 
I've been a PC gamer most of my life, though I have been console gaming at the same time - it's just that the PC always seemed to dominate things for me.
 
RPGs and Strategy games were my choice go-to's - I loved 4X titles and whenever a decent JRPG managed to break through I considered them to be a tasty treat :)
 
These days I've sort of spread myself out - I'd say it does have a lot to do with being a reviewer, but I started branching out a while ago and I've never really looked back. Good RPGs still manage to absolutely absorb me, so whenever games like Mass Effect/Dragon Age (Bioware represent!) come along I'm literally dead to the world until they're conquered.
 
Lately I've found myself playing a lot of League of Legends - I used to play a lot of WC3 mods (hence my love for TD titles) and of course I spent my penance in DOTA (though thankfully I managed to escape). Finding LOL was like some new super drug of fun online gaming - competitive teamplay with RPG elements, casual learning curve and challenging ranked play.
 
I did try Heroes of Newerth, but sadly it's too much of a DOTA clone to enjoy - having things like needing to consume trees, creeps that tether weirdly etc. just felt archaic and I feel they missed a trick in attempting to evolve the MOBA genre. Don't get me wrong, they were able to add elements that give it a modern feel (improved shopping system in particular), but that seems more like an interface tweak than a gameplay one - I should give it another go, but one MOBA is enough for me atm ;)
 
Erm... Of course I've played Portal 2 (who hasn't) and loved the heck out of it and now I'm slowly making my way through Crysis 2. I'm enjoying it a lot more than the original, though it does have its questionable issues that pull me out of the game.
 
I used to play a lot of Flash games as well as they were a great way to enjoy Indie titles and the amazingly unique concepts coming out of college students etc. though I find I don't have the time for it anymore.
 
And yes... I watch a lot of streaming e-sports - I need to buy an NASL ticket before things start ramping up in that competition.

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tempest117 3 years, 6 months ago

I only just recently found appspy and have been wondering why some of the older games are reviewed by a different person.

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

Ah that's part of the early history of AppSpy. Initially Dave Flodine led the way for the project as the voice of AppSpy while other peons (including myself) slaved away at writing the reviews. Dave did write quite a few himself, though it was very much a team effort during the first 6 months that AppSpy was live. After Dave left I applied for the position and I've had to take the reigns without backup ever since. To be honest it'd be awesome to have other writers, but the pressure of keeping deadlines was quite exciting :)

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arifandi 3 years, 6 months ago

Do you have any journalistic background or some kind? I find reading your review pleasant. 

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

I've studied Journalism in University, though my first degree was in Information Technology (my time in that industry was not quite so interesting :D).

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Scrim 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey Andrew, just thought I would say your reviews are the reason I follow AppSpy as my resource of app info. What are your thoughts on 'Gameloft', do you think its reasonable for them to rip-off games from other platforms for profit? Also will we being seeing an AMA from you on 'reddit'?

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

Interestingly I answered something like this on the twitter feed so I'll copy my response from there as it sums things up for me.
 
"I think a lot of Gameloft games tend to fall under the second question (ed: this was a question regarding any games I felt I had high hopes for but ended up being disappointing). It's understandable that some people are upset about their lifted game concepts, but I'm usually more disappointed that they invoke a particular game without seeming to understand the core features that make it so good. Given the circumstances I'd really like to see the devs working for Gameloft being given an opportunity to spend more time on a project; they definitely have talent being squandered :)"
 
To add a bit more detail, I have to throw in with the crowd that believes it's better to have a poor copy than nothing at all. Gameloft are usually fairly careful to choose titles that are unlikely to get a decent release on the App Store and as such they fill a niche that would have otherwise gone overlooked. At times it's successful, but other times it's less appealing and sometimes indie developers step in to give gamers what they're after.
 
With that said, they do tow the line awfully close between repackaging concepts and having no real creativity of their own, but that's the business model they've chosen and as such they'll never really escape the criticisms that come with it.

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh and I may consider an official Reddit AMA in the future - for now I'm giving our readers a unique opportunity :)

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ColeDaddy 3 years, 6 months ago

What are  your Top 5 games for the iOS?

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

My personal top 5 is fairly eclectic, but without any particular order: 100 Rogues, Tilt to Live, Solomon's Keep/Boneyard, Pathpix (and its sequels), Game Dev Story. Given that I tend to finish most regular titles in the course of my job I'm somewhat limited to games that provide me with decent replay value or some sort of challenge I enjoy :)

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Apolitik 3 years, 6 months ago

I won't go wild on this one topic-wise, so I'll ask more than one: Since it's your job, do you actually play iOS games for fun in your spare time? If so, which games are your all time favs? Which are you currently playing? Do you play any games with online multiplayer? (Modern Combat 2, Nova 2, Rainbow Six, RPGs?) 

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andrew 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't tend to play many online games as I prefer to play them with friends and not many of my gamer friends own iDevices ;) Most of the games I play in my downtime tend to be less serious and more distraction based for when I need to kill some time (public transport, queues etc.). 100 Rogues is my fave distraction, though I bounce between a bunch (see above)