Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Dear reviewers, we need another word for 'experience'

11:00 AM on 03.02.2012 // Jim Sterling

There's a grave problem facing videogame reviewers today. No, it's not the rampant backlash over numerical scores. No, it's not corruption and publisher pressure. It's something far more deadly to our entire industry ... we've run out of things to call videogames. 

One of the biggest challenges when writing a review is keeping the words interesting without falling into repetition. You can only write a game's title or refer to it as "the game" so many times before people catch on. Hence, I know I'll typically toss in another word to spice things up, and that word is almost always "experience."

The reviews for Journey, however, have exposed a simple truth -- we're all in on the same racket and we're in desperate need of something else. 

Currently, Metacritic features twenty-two Journey reviews, each with sample paragraphs of review text. In those sample paragraphs, the word "experience" is used fourteen times. 

"Journey isn't a game -- it's an experience," wrote Eurogamer Sweden, valiantly trying to make the word mean something but failing to realize it has no impact anymore. After all, Digital Spy used the word twice in a single paragraph

XGN agrees, saying, "You can hardly call Journey a game, it's more of an experience," while Videogamer calls it an "expertly choreographed experience," and Joystiq believes it to be an "unequivocally transcendental experience." Then there's this jerk from Destructoid who said Journey was "a flowing, seamless, influential, and utterly exhilarating experience."

Reviewers really can be pretentious little turds. 

Anyway, I think I use the word "experience" at least once per review, and there are doubtless many other reviewers who do the same. Of course, that's fine until a game like Journey comes along, and you want the word "experience" to mean something less banal -- an impossibility due to how overused it's been. 

Unfortunately, there are few words that can replace it. Once you've written the game's name enough times in a review, and once you've referred to it as "the game" and "this title," there's not much else to reach for. Even cracking open a thesaurus fails to bring a more perfect word. 

Perhaps, rather than stop using the word in reviews, we can simply come up with a better, more special word for titles like Journey. That way, when we want to look clever by claiming it's more than a videogame, we'll not look silly by referring to it with a word we've used to describe a hundred other videogames. Maybe we can say something like:

Journey isn't a game -- it's a fabula nova crystallis. 

Or really, any suitably pompous, quasi-invented term from a Square Enix game. I am certainly down for calling Journey a "birth by sleep."

That's my proposition, anyway. If we're going to use "experience" to the point of mundanity, we need to make something new up for Journey. I hope my fellow reviewers take me seriously; otherwise, I'll tell the nice readers how many times you've referred to a combat system as "visceral."

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

  Jul 25

Sony spills gamescom lineup, Journey for PS4, then deletes listing

Oops we didn't announce it at the right time, let's act like nobody noticed

  Feb 24

Journey was composed on a $50 crappy Casio keyboard

You'd think Austin Wintory would have better tools

  Nov 03

Journey, Unfinished Swan might be coming to PS4 (Update)

Sony Santa Monica creative director teases potential releases

  Jul 01

New thatgamecompany title will relate to a wider audience

'It's a natural evolution of everything we are doing'

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

I Haz Kickstarter!

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Parismio avatarParismio
Went snowboarding for the first time in years. Crashed a lot, many times into trees. All that training in FF7 didnt do squat!
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
If I were to get Age of Empires II HD to play with you all, do you all have the DLC?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I am relieved to know Creed is a Rocky spin-off and not a feature-length documentary about the band.
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
the worst thing about that jesssica jones program is i keep getting "basketball jones" stuck in my head
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Been playing Gears of War 3's campaign on Xbox One. Looks great on there, and Sam's voice actor is Chloe's voice actor in Uncharted 2/3. Hell yeah!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: With all the controversy surrounding review scores, what do you personally consider a "bad" score versus a "good" score? Is there a game in particular that was panned by critics that you nevertheless enjoyed? Or vice versa?
TheVeganGamer avatarTheVeganGamer
Finally got around to playing Diablo 3 with some friends, holy smokes! That game is rad!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Public service announcement: Marry an orphan. It makes the holidays so much easier when you don't have to deal with pain in the ass in-laws.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud! [youtube][/youtube]
NYCpunk avatarNYCpunk
you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube][/youtube]
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.
Lawman avatarLawman
Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....
Shinta avatarShinta
Wii U, top selling black friday item on Take that you anti-Wii U people.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -