Help with Nintendo Players.

Discussion in 'Console Games' started by GFLPraxis, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #1
    I'm torn as I really don't know whether to put this under Console Games or Web Design. If I mention it on Web Design it becomes a double post :( But the Web Design guys don't read this section most of the time. Argh.

    Admins, would it be possible at all to move this thread to the Web Design section in two weeks or so, so that everyone gets a chance to see it? Sorry to bother you guys with it but I really need the feedback.





    Anyway, there's some pretty major restructuring going on behind the scenes at Nintendo Players, but I feel the site has finally gotten in a good position. After this E3, we finally have recognition; other press know about us, the big companies know about us, etc, etc. Heck, Reggie Fils-Aime has our business card.

    We get significant amount of viewers, but for all the site offers, I (we) really feel like it's growing at a much slower rate than it should. We get spikes every time we get linked to, but we can't seem to get users to stay; the active memberbase increases at a very slow rate.

    Sites like Joystiq have been around for about a year longer than us and they are gigantic. And honestly, while we are only Nintendo specialized, we do have bigger features to offer than they do in many ways. Has anyone seen our database? We have a listing of every game released on every Nintendo platform, as well as the publisher, developer, release date, how many players, ESRB rating, etc, etc on every single one, as well as boxart and screenshots on a number of them and reviews.


    So, why isn't our userbase expanding? Well, nobody knows about these features; not even our members. lol. More importantly, we've been failing to provide a regular stream of content; updates are sporadic, sometimes a lot in one day and other times several days can run completely dry, mostly due to staff schedules.

    To improve this, I'll be taking on board several Contributors, people who would like to write articles and reviews and not be locked in to a schedule or have to do any site maintenence. Raggedjimmi is the first; if anyone else wants to, feel free to email me a writing sample/application :)

    The second thing is that our forums suck. They're not integrated with the rest of the site and they're buggy and they seem to be automatically banning over 50% of new members (every week I see over two dozen new IPs in the ban list that nobody added).



    But there's got to be more to it than that.


    Everyone here, look at my site. Critique it. Look over it. What would you want out of a dedicated, specialized community? What can we do to improve?


    I WANT FEEDBACK!


    Thanks guys. :D
     
  2. AppleGuy2 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    #2
    Hey GFL, i sent you a PM...couldn't find your email!
     
  3. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #3
    Hey, I'll go check right now. chardin[at]nintendoplayers.com though if needed in the future!
     
  4. pcypert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    Bangkok
    #4
    Hey,
    I'll give you a full review later on. I'm studying this stuff in Uni right now so might have something to say. Plus I buy almost every Wii game out there so maybe I can contribute sometimes...already up over 13 games :) .

    I'd never visited your site before reading this post so I just clicked over. First impressions would be that visually it might need some fine tuning. There's nothing that holds the eye and forces you to move around in an ordered fashion. There's loads of stuff jumping and dancing and colors that seem a bit all over the place. So you don't feel settled when you first load the page. I know right now it's the two ads you need to have or whatever but the two shaky ads take all the visual weight and I find myself jumping back and forth between those and can't lock in on the content.

    Color wise there are some nice choices more or less and it's a good play off the original blue and red that we associate with Nintendo...but not as much these days. There are loads of players who never played the original and don't have those feelings. Things are white and clean now...maybe something to consider or deny...if you want to hearken folks back to the NES that's fine, but maybe you could still clean things up a bit. Too many deep colors that are similar in contrast (you'd definitely lose any color blind viewers). If you converted them to gray I think they'd all be about the same. Also it seems like every color is a gradient...maybe pick one or two to do that with.

    I don't really like the play it like you mean it motto.

    I'll actually delve past the first page later. I need to go eat breakfast right now but those are my quick and dirty observations on the front page. Maybe I'm overly critical...but I just finished a Visual Communications class, a color theory class, and a web class for the third time through (long story just taking classes again for a visa in Thailand). So this stuff is more on my mind. The casual viewer probably won't notice as much, but I think they'll sense some of these things....

    Paul
     
  5. sikkinixx macrumors 68020

    sikkinixx

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Location:
    Rocketing through the sky!
    #5
    well i'm not a huge Nintendo guy so unfortunately your site wouldn't be on my surfing list, the basic news from IGN or whatever is enough for me.

    but

    I do agree with pcypert that visually it's not that eye-popping. Some sort of stylish logo for Nintendo Players (the one you have on your forum is pretty sweet actually) and a new colour palette would be a good step in my mind. The black and red feels very.... NES crossed with a hard rock kinda deal, it's hard to explain :eek: My feeling of Nintendo is open, happy, bright and your site doesn't quite feel like that.

    The breakdown of each system is cool when your click on them, I like seeing the specs and a pic or two of it. But the side bars coupled with the ads on top make the layout feel very constricting.

    While your data base is robust, it's not something that the average user is going to need to hit up every day so it's not a huge drawing point.

    There is nothing really poor about the site, the reviews are pretty well written, lots of stuff in it and it's organized a lot better than some sites out there *coughKotakucough* but at the same time nothing really pulls me to check back in daily.

    One thing you might want to consider is adding a little thumbnail pic of the person who wrote the article/news/review/whatever. It can be some stupid picture like the guy wearing a Mario hat or whatever, in fact funny is probably better, but I like seeing the person who wrote something so it feels a bit more personal and less just reading some nameless article.

    It's too bad your site is on Nintendo stuff or I would be all over writing some occasional stuff for it :D I have been tryin to get into doin some game media (stupid university newspaper already has some dude doing it...who doesn't seem to know jack all about gaming)
     
  6. pcypert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    Bangkok
    #6
    Could the staff maybe use real names or something? There's no continuity to their nicknames and it makes it feel pretty shoddy.

    Now that I've had a bit more time with it it seems to suffer from not knowing exactly what it wants to be. Maybe you guys do, but the layout doesn't. The visual weight makes it seem like an archive database...not something people will use daily. You go from the top down and then to the left naturally in the West with web pages. So we see the title bar and then the horrible ad. Then you start to drift left and that stupid other ad is jangling to the right and you glance quickly there and then back to the left.

    You don't need the about and all that immediately. Hate to say it but folks don't care why you have a nintendo site at first and don't care who you are...they want to get into the meat first and if they like it they'll look around for you. So move that stuff.

    Then your left with what looks like an archive. The Wii and DS links go to relevant info, but it doesn't feel like it because they're locked in with all the other stuff. You have to fight to view the middle and that shouldn't be the case if you want people checking the daily info bits. Make that easier to get to and more of a pull. Forums are really hidden on the left. There's a login up top but nothing that would make me think more about there being a forum. Maybe as simple as changing the wording to something like discuss with other nintendo players or some other thing. As it is if someone isn't coming here off these boards I don't think they'd initially notice there's a forum.

    People go to gaming sites more for previews and reviews. Highlight that. Maybe create a new section where there are different reviewers with different personalities. They review games in more of a biased/personal way. People can figure out who they relate to and check reviews based on that. Like pcyper is an 27 year old gamer who plays casually and uncritically we know he likes platformers and doesn't mind kiddie stuff...joebob is a hardcore gamer who reluctantly came to the Wii and worries it's going to stay too kiddie. Something that gives some personality and connection.

    Since you're not super highly established you need to link out quite a bit more. That will help your search ranking. Also be good about posting daily if not more than once a day. So a blog feature would really help your stats.

    Sorry just realized I'm basically saying redesign and try to make it something different :) . I think some simple stuff with color and layout could get you most of the way there...but some content changes are probably needed long term too. At the end of the day you're still pretty early on if you are getting contributers from online forums and all that you know? I think you've done well for a small start up to this point. A little over a year on using free reviewers and stuff...don't expect too much.

    Paul
     
  7. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #7
    Yeah, once we make significant income we'll start paying reviewers. Once we can afford that, we'll also have MORE content as people will be extremely motivated to review :) But we're not making significant income yet. 2500 viewers a day on average at this point.


    I really appreciate your input. Sadly, at this point a full-on redesign is not really plausible as the staff member who developed the site will soon be unable to do further work for a while...not that we can't change anything, just that our PHP expert will be out of commission so a huge redesign is not a viable option, at least temporarily. And before he goes out, we want to get the new forums done, as we're in the process of building our own.

    The content stuff you talked about is the most important. I like the idea of showing the reviewers face with articles, we'll look in to implementing that.

    We want to get big enough that advertising revenue increases so that we CAN afford to pay reviewers- but for that, we need to establish something that makes us unique and keeps viewers.

    A blog feature is a great idea, we just discussed that with the staff this morning. We'll probably have a big collective staff blog with entries showing up on the front page.

    Keep ideas coming, I'm doing my own brainstorming as well :) Thanks!


    Names are to the right of the pic on the staff page, nicknames are beneath. Real names are used on all articles.
     
  8. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    mi
    #8
    Code:
    <!-- ValueClick Media 728x90 Leaderboard v1.4 for nintendoplayers.com -->
    
    That's absolutely KILLING the look of your main page. Your entire color scheme and theme is thrown out the window with the types of banners that you're being served.

    Look at the banners here on MR (if you're not a contributor) - they're basic, non flash, non animated gif, basic color advertisements - and because of that, they don't intrude on the design of the pages... everything keeps it's continuity.

    Compare that to this:

    [​IMG]

    (keep in mind, it's flashing and changing colors).

    I didn't even realize there was a consistent theme until I hit a page without the banner. I had to go back to the main page to see if the theme was actually there or not!

    Also, a few of the articles really feel forced - like you were just trying to add posts to keep things fresh :eek:.

    Last thing... and I've thought this since the old (green and blue, was it?) site - the reviews realllllly put on the kid gloves for Nintendo. While I admit that I haven't kept up with all of the reviews there, I don't remember more than 1 negative review, and everything seems capable of at least an 8...

    Get tough on the games - look for the flaws, not only the strengths. That's what you'll really need to do to make the website more than just a fanboy homage to Nintendo (sorry, but that's what some of the reviews really feel like to me, and I consider myself a Nintendo fanboy...). Be honest if a game sucks, look for problems with the gameplay - and then take points off of the review for them.

    Again, I haven't read all of the reviews, and it has been a month or two since I've really read any from your site.

    Sorry if it came across as rude, just really want to help...
     
  9. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #9
    I think the biggest problem is that, at least initially, everyone wanted to review their favorite games. Thus, you just see the positive reviews. I've written a number of negative reviews myself (see King Kong, you'll get a huge laugh), but most of the staff haven't been and I'll make a point about this to them, to review games they hated too or found flawed, and to bring out negatives.

    Also, Adam's "Sonic & The Secret Rings" review is pure gold. One excerpt:



    My King Kong review isn't the best I've written but that game was terrible for DS. Gave it a 4.0...I kept accidentally falling out of the game world because the corners of the stages weren't properly seamed, the game had 3 different enemies total and you couldn't even die on some of the stages without doing it intentionally.

    Also see Garfield, Shaq Fu, Cartoon Network Racing, Garfield, Legend of the Dragon.

    We have done a few negative reviews, but you are right that there is a strong tendency to review games we like, and I'll bring that out.


    Definitely appreciate the feedback.
     
  10. pcypert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    Bangkok
    #10
    I can get bad games on the cheap here so if you need a contributor to review the likes of Avatar or Chicken Shooting just let me know :) . Just wish I knew Japanese as I was about to pick up Eternal Waters today...anyone know if it has an English option?

    Paul
     
  11. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    Try spicing up your layout and fonts/template for the pages with actual content on it. It seems too plain.
    Biggest gripe. Take away those RED links to other pages. I keep thinking that they're broken and that's why they're red (ala wikipedia)
     
  12. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #12
    After the big multiplat sites, and the blog sites, there seems to be a ton of Nintendo only sites, gonintendo being the most well known. Between GAf and there that about does me for video game news.

    Taking a look at the site:

    Positives
    -The site design is really good, everything is well laid out.
    - News seems up to date.


    Negatives
    - Those flash ads, kill the look.
    - Very few reviews
    - Those ContentLink ads annoy the stuffing out of me.
    - Some reviews read like GameFAQs reviews.
     
  13. zero2dash macrumors 6502a

    zero2dash

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Fenton, MO
    #13
    Since Joystiq covers all the platforms and is a part of the network with other popular sites like Engadget...well that's why they're larger than your site.

    good luck though :)
     
  14. sb58 macrumors 6502a

    sb58

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Hades
    #14
    there's not much about your site i'd change, cept the ads.
     
  15. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #15
    I agree with the others here that the ads kill the site.

    Obviously you need income, but could you get rid of the animated ads? And that Content Link stuff, I'm with Sky Blue on that. That would annoy me enough to not visit your site. :eek:

    The layout is good, the colors work. A Wii-esque design would be nice, but the old school feel is good too. Maybe put the "About", "Staff", etc... block at the bottom instead of the top like pcypert suggested.

    Make the ads less intrusive, get rid of that Content Link rubbish and work on the reviews. I don't have a game site I frequent, so I could definitely see myself using your site as a source of news.

    Overall I think you did a great job with it. But get rid of that Content Link! ;)
     
  16. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #16
    Really, what I need to do is find better advertisers altogether; Advertising.com is good, and IIRC Nintendo advertises through them, but they require 1 million pageviews a month; I'm about 1/10th of the way there.

    I was thinking of Tribal Fusion. Anyone heard anything about them?
     
  17. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #17
    Anyone heard of eGameLogic?
    http://www.egamelogic.com/clients.php

    An gaming-only ad network with Sony, Ubisoft, EA, Square Enix, etc publishing. Sounds good...will probably greatly increase click-through rate if I actually have advertisements people care about! :D
     
  18. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    I can't really give you much feedback but I'll tell you what kind of stuff I'm looking for when I go to a site like yours.

    I own a Wii and every now and again I want to buy a new game. I'm not a big buyer, I've only bought Wii Play for the remote (man that game sucks), Zelda and recently Trauma Centre: Second Opinion with that Brain Training game on order. Now generally when I go to Wii related sites I'm basically looking for a suggestion on what games to buy. I'd like things like a 'must buy' list or a 'top rated' list. Maybe a 'top rated all time' or 'top rated games released in the last month'.
    I can't be bothered to sift through lots of different reviews about lots of different games to try to find something. I want a list of the best games and then I'll read the reviews on the site of each of these games and decide what I think I want. I don't want to even bother reading about the crap games.

    So many gaming sites seem to drown you in content. A lot of people like this kind of stuff, more hardcore gamers than me probably. I'm not really one who would join the forums. I am one that would read articles linked to a top rated or must buy list. Right now I have to judge my basis on games on a game that people suggest and then I do a google search for "wario ware smooth moves review" for example and see what I get, always ending up on different sites. If I knew of a site that always gave good recommendations then I'd just go back there, look at the list and read the reviews on that site. I'd come back.
    I'd also suggest for the Wii section, if you do something like this that you may want to split up Virtual Console games and have similar lists for those and if you want to, make it region specific. Things like "wait for this game, its going to rock" would help too. I just want to get good, intelligent suggestions on which games to buy. Pure and simple.

    Two other things I noticed on the Wii page, firstly the wii specs seem kind of irrelevant but take up loads of screen space that could be put to better or more interesting use - a feature picture from the latest review maybe. Secondly, having the score of the reviews next to them would be more useful than a date. As it is, it looks a bit like the date is a rating, all be it a very weird one. Thirdly, the reviews seem a bit void of imagery. Long spurts of test aren't all that interesting if you're glancing over. Simple things like having quotes from the review in bigger text might help make people that scan through a review read a section more because the quote sounds interesting.

    I hope my ramble helps!! Sorry if I've gone on a bit!!

    Spanky
     
  19. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #20
    Hehe, sorry, haven't been around here much lately - real life been taking its toll on me and my time!! As much as I've been away from MR as a whole, I've been away from the games section for even longer! Its had a whole re-design in the time I was away!!
     
  20. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Location:
    In a cup of orange juice.
    #21
    You can't really get around the banner advertisement. :) But they do draw more attention than the main content.

    Under the Featured Articles and headlines, this section seems to blend together. The red on gray is a bit to subdued compared to the rest of the page for the links. Toning down the UI's colors, or punching the FA & H section with something bolder, which would be a good idea regardless, because of the attention-grabbing-banners, might help. The separation is good, it's just too subdued in this area. If you look at a busy site like Gamespot, even though it's obnoxious with its design, it does a decent job at holding the eye in one cell long enough to get the info.

    I like the Metrod banner, but even though I figured it was a link, it's always good to put either a button (preferably) stating read more, see it now, blah blah, or even a read more text at the end with a simple underline.

    In areas where you use the red text in a header, like "gameinformation" it works well. The links are just too light on the main page.

    Anyway, it's just my opinion as design is subjective. ;)

    <]=)
     
  21. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #22
    And what are the names of these games without having to click on the image?
     

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  22. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #23
    The more I go to Nintendo Players the more I like it.... ;)

    One big thing: I just saw Trauma Center when I was on the Altlus article and the box art looked super pixelated and squished. :eek:
     
  23. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #24
    I've applied for Tribal Fusion; they're extremely picky about sites though. They only take what they consider high-quality sites, which is why they pay so well and why all of their ads look good. They've got a gaming-specific network too.

    We just meet their minimum requirements, so we've just got to wait for them to review our site. I'm hopeful :) It'll mean an end to the flashing banner ads and easily several times the income (considering that ValueClick is paying us $10 a month for 2500 unique viewers ;) ).
     
  24. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #25
    I just got accepted by Burst Network. I've replaced the top banner with one from Burst...if I like them, I'll replace the sidebar tomorrow.

    So far all the ads look more professional, no flashing CONGRATULATIONS sign, and they seem to be paying like five times more than ValueClick, so I'm liking. They're not gaming specific, but Burst will occasionally run targeted campaigns when advertisers ask them to so occasionally the ads will switch to all-gaming.
     

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