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aborto thefetus avatar 10:01 AM on 11.12.2009  (server time)
Aborto Rants: or how the problem with game reviews doesn't actually exist.

Why hello there fellow Dtoiders. Why don't you sit down right there. Yes, next to the fireplace should be fine. Now, are you comfortable? Good. I have invited you hear to discuss something that has been discussed quite a bit right here on the internet. Something that I guess you can argue is very important to the videogame industry. That, my friends, is videogame reviews. People have argued about this here numerous times in the past. What is wrong with them and what can be done to fix them. Well my friends, I would like to take a difference stance here today. I would like to argue that there is in fact nothing wrong with todays reviews. That the problem is with people.

Let me ask you a question: when was the last time you opened up a magazine or a newspaper and looked at a review for a movie? Did it get 2 stars? Did it get 3? 4? And after looking at that did you immediately think "wow, that is an arbitrary and bullshit way to rate something" ? This seems to be the common argument people have when talking about videogame review scores. That the review scale that websites and magazines use to rate games make very little sense and can be confusing. Now, I have to admit some ways of reviewing work better than others but when it comes down to this I don't believe what people say. I guarantee somewhere on the website or in the magazine they have something to explain how their reviews work. what each rating means and how each rating corresponds to one another. So there really should be no reason for somebody to be confused by what a reviewer means by a 7 or a 5. Yes, each website has different ideas of what each number or rating means but if people actually take time to read the website this shouldn't be a problem.

There is also a problem with the fact that people look at that number and automatically think that is the review when it fact it isn't. That little number after all that text is meant to be a summary, something that puts everything said in the review into perspective. A score is something that is meant to accompany a review, NOT replace it. What you should be looking at is the actual review, something that seems to escape a lot of people. Somebody took the time to write all that for a reason, and if that review really is going to affect whether or not you are going to purchase said game then the very least you can do is take 5 minutes and read the damn thing. Hell, if you are really that lazy at the very least you could read the last paragraph of the review and look at the score. That should give you a better idea of the jist of the review then just looking at the score.

But when you really get down to it the problem is people look at all reviews. They head over to metacritic and rotten tomatoes or whatever website throws together reviews all in one place. You should not be doing that. You should be reading one or two. The beauty of all these reviews floating around is that there will always be someone who has an opinion that is close to yours. You should be going to websites, reading reviews and figuring out who you trust the most, and when you need help on deciding whether or not to buy something than you can go look at their review. After all the time I have spent on Destructoid, I trust Jim's and Grim's reviews the most and I will look to them when I can't decide whether or not to buy something. This is because after reading all their reviews I realize their taste in games are closest to mine. Scrolling through reviews on metacritic isn't going to work because for all you know, those people don't like the type of games you like.

I also think that a large part of why people think this problem exists are the incredible numbers of comments of people complaining about the score on the front page of Destructoid or on other sites. But the fact is you shouldn't pay attention to people such as that and they should not affect how you feel about review scores. People who get upset about a number being put next to the name of a game they like are going to get upset no matter how somebody reviews a game. The way games are reviewed should not be changed on their account.

The problem with game reviews today have nothing to do with the reviews today but with how people choose to perceive them.

And before I leave you today I would like to give you one more important piece of advice:

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