A strange predicament is hitting the video game industry as of late. According to many “fanboys” and a few developers, a review score of “8 out of 10” has been deemed equal to mass murder. The trend is called “h8 out of 10” and it’s completely insane.
I remember a time in my life when I used to care about review scores. I was 13 years old. I was contemplating how a friend of mine couldn’t enjoy a game I loved, especially when reviewers were giving it universal praise. I was 100% wrong in that view.
The thing I’ve come to learn over the short existence of my life is that everyone has an opinion. The only time you can justifiably complain about someone else’s viewpoint is when they fail to back up their claims. No review I’ve read in the last few years has done such a thing.
Destructoid’s Jim Sterling has come under some controversy for giving some of this year’s biggest games scores that most people don’t agree with. There are many problems with other’s viewpoints, but the most shocking is how people complain about Sterling’s extremely positive reviews.
Since when did Jim ever state in his “Batman: Arkham City” review that he disliked the game? He went on to score it an 8.5 out of 10 and that suddenly isn’t good enough? Is it truly important to your being that you see a reviewer give out 10’s like they’re Halloween candy?
The mentality I see on display within the online gaming communities I love is appalling. I started frequenting Screwattack because it was a bastion for friendly gamers online. While I still visit their site, I no longer participate in their community as the fans are insane.
Destructoid is starting to get to that point. There are a few trolls within the comments section and a lot of people are getting so upset over scores that have no bearing on their life. It’s not as if Jim Sterling, Jonathan Holmes or Hamza are rating your family. They are simply giving their impressions and evaluations of games mixed with their own personal preferences.
As Mr. Holmes said in Sterling’s blog
on Uncharted fans, “People love the characters of Uncharted, and love = insanity.” Does that excuse the behavior we get online? Absolutely not.
The most disheartening to me, though, comes from CliffyB. I’ve never liked the game, though I’ve respected his creative ability as the Unreal series is a favorite of mine. When he began complaining about how reviewers didn’t score “Gears of War 3” higher than its predecessor, I didn’t know how to feel about him.
Thankfully, Insomniac Games were very professional and understanding of the few criticisms they received for “Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One.” If we could have more developers respond in an adult fashion, I do believe the games industry will grow into something worth respecting.
At the current rate, though, we gamers are going to be dragging our own industry into the gutter. We all know that games are a great way to escape hardships, experience adventure and relax. Why do we show the world differently?
While I can possibly sympathize with people who have an intense love of a franchise, what do the implications of an 80 have on a game? Is there anything real negative that an 80 will do to a game? What I’d ask for you to do is compare gaming to the films industry for a second.
Do you see any producers or executives getting grouchy over low TomatoMeter scores on RottenTomatoes? Do you know why they don’t? Some of the highest grossing films of all time have scores lower than 40% approval and it’s all due to marketing and word of mouth.
This movie's current rating is 54%. It grossed $1.1 Billion Worldwide.
My other point of interest is how little a 9 or 10 really means. Sure, lots of games get sequels canned if they don’t produce high review scores, but what about the titles that are critically acclaimed and get nothing? One of my favorite games ever, “Grim Fandango,” scored 90’s and still has no sequel.
Other titles like “Deus Ex” were loved by critics and gamers alike and nearly collapsed as a series until recently. Even “Max Payne” is making a comeback after 8 years and it has nothing to do with its review scores.
On the flip side, “Kane and Lynch” saw moderate scores and was given a second chance. The Need for Speed series is still around and most of the games during the 2000’s weren’t too well liked by critics. As long as gamers buy something, review scores won’t matter at all.
Still, where is the stigma with an 80? The only place you can justify anything lower than an 80 being bad is in medical school. I certainly wouldn’t want a C rated doctor operating on me and I’m sure you wouldn’t either. But during any other facet of life, how is a great score considered bad?
A comment I made on one of Jim Sterling’s posts sums this up very well. “If I got more 80’s in school, I’d be somewhere in life.” I think it’s time for developers to stop complaining about good scores and start thinking of ways to improve their titles.
So what you don’t agree with a review; why not take a look at the criticisms brought forth and try to improve your title? Better yet, if one person is in the minority, why not just ignore them? There’s a strange concept we humans have called free will and exercising it properly is a skill you could desperately use.
And that’s simply it. If you can’t be civil about something you don’t agree with, don’t share your thoughts. When I see a score I don’t like, I usually contemplate why the reviewer gave it and see if I can justify it from my own experiences. If I can’t, I walk away and continue to play the game that “I” personally enjoy.
We gamers need to stop being protective of our own likes and start accepting that people don’t enjoy everything we do. As with anything else in life, using respect will get you very far.