Let's work through an imaginary exercise. I'm Gamer A, and Iím tired of all the games that I have. My friends havenít picked up anything good enough for me to leech off of them, Iím in the market to make a New Video Game Purchase. Thatís right, a New Video Game Purchase. Not a borrow or a rent, but an exchange of money for goods.
Where do I start? Well, let's say Iíve had my eye on Samba de Amigo
for a good while. I never did get to pick up the Dreamcast version, and Iím a sucker for music/rhythm games. You canít go wrong with monkeys in sombreros, especially those who dance to songs that were previously in Dance Dance Revolution
(El Ritmo Tropical, anyone?).
BUT Ė the mere fact that I am interested in the game, have prior knowledge of what it offers, and am planning on buying it based on the fact that I enjoy the genre, I'm gonna pass it up. You know why?
Because on Metacritic (and this is just an example) it received a 67. It must be absolute garbage. In fact, why doesnít Nintendo fill about a million trash bags with every manufactured copy and chuck them out into the ocean, Dexter
-style? I mean, I havenít even really tried the game out for myself at all. Why would I even need to? Itís obvious from reading these reviews that itís a waste of everyoneís time.
So, Iím going to go with LittleBigPlanet
. It got universal acclaim, after all. Obviously, I'll enjoy it more even though Iíll need to go out and purchase a PS3 with my nonexistent extra cash, the reason Iím devoid of the system in the first place. Everyone likes this game, it seems. I should too. Haha, yeah. Sackboys are probably the cutest mascots Iíve ever seen
! Better go with that. Even though I really want to play Samba
. Oh well!
Exercise over. And that's just an example -- I've actually got a PlayStation 3 obviously and I have Samba de Amigo
as well. The above was dripping with complete, unabashed sarcasm. However, the instance that I described is terrifyingly real, only with different games and different people. Yes, there are people out there who base every buying decision solely on reviews that others have written. Rather than using reviews and secondhand opinions to get a feel for what theyíre getting into, they believe that someone elseís thoughts about a certain title must be commandments.
And that's just a little frustrating to me to see. Reviews are fantastic, and there are amazing critics out there whose opinions you should absolutely trust. But don't limit yourself in such a manner. Renting games is affordable, and doing actual research on a title youíre interested in doesnít take too much time. Reviewers are asked to provide their opinion -- just like movie critics. It's subjective. You'll find a score at both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes, you just need to jump in and take the plunge.
Itís up to you to decide whether or not to play a game based on what you heard, or what you worked out yourself. Despite the fact that I write them myself, I only really recommend reviews as guidelines and not bibles, as it were, for which games are worth your time and which aren't. If I tell you that Monster Monpiece
is good and why it's good, you should take that as a baseline upon which you should build your own opinion. Take some risks. Have fun.†
Did you ever really stop to think about what it's like for those poor souls who never take chances?
"Hey! Breathing 2: Lung Capacity just came out. The graphics suck, and itís unoriginal. I'll probably stop breathing now since everyone else says itís disappointing."
Far-fetched a bit? Yes. But really, itís the same premise. Give games a chance, even if it seems the whole world is against them. Who knows? Thinking for yourself might actually be a worthwhile exercise. Then again, donít think too hard. We wouldnít want anyone to hurt themselves.
Brittany Stormborn of House Destructoid, Queen of the Weeaboos and the First Otaku, Khaleesi of the Great Plains, Breaker of Bust A Groove 2 Jewel Cases, and Mother of Niche/Rare Games