Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reading Video Game Reviews, The Silly Way

The Dorkly brings us a very amusing comic strip on 'How to Read a Video Game Review.'

"The important thing to remember about review scores is to get extremely angry about them, even though they're completely arbitrary and allude to a one-size-fits-all scale to judge games[.] [B]ecause being obsessed with numbers that don't mean anything is what the internet's all about!"

While tongue and cheek, the humor of the comic does bring up a very valid point regarding gaming reviews. The numbers mean nothing. The same with film, tv, and book reviews. 5 Stars. 2 Thumbs Up. 10/10. 20/20. Green light or red light. There is no single, solitary system for reviewing a product for public consumption. Every newspaper, magazine, and website makes it up. And while I appreciate a website like Metacritic that compiles reviews into one, central location, most people just look at the numbers on the top right of the webpage. "What is X item's score?" That is the biggest determining factor to compel someone to buy a product.

Should it be that way? I realize that it's an easier way to digest a review when you see a number so you don't have to read the rest of the words, but if numbers held any meaning, why wouldn't everyone vote a 9/10 for Assassin's Creed: Unity? Recent reviews for the game have been very mixed and range from one extreme to the other. Even user reviews follow this trend. Why? Because the numbers hold no purpose. They don't accurately reflect true thoughts or responses because there is no one, overarching system, to define what the hell those numbers represent. What I may see as a 5/10 as a tolerable game, you may see that 5/10 as an awful title, or person C may think 5/10 is a great score thus a great game.

The bottom line is don't focus on the numbers. Every review is going to be an opinion piece based on the writer's perception of the game. Take their words into consideration, but don't take them to heart. Add them into your catalog of suggestions and make the decision yourself on whether or not to purchase the product. Be a responsible, informed gamer.

See also 'Do you have to play games well to be a good reviewer?'


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