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Portal 2, Fanboy Psychology, and Review Scores


So last night I received this text message from a good friend of mine. He asked why I gave Portal 2 an 8/10. I replied that I thought it was a great game and most of my reasoning was contained within the review, if he wanted to give it another look. He responded, telling me that the score just seemed low.

Now, when I reviewed Portal 2 I was in the midst of finishing up my senior thesis for my undergraduate degree. So I played the game, wrote the review up, sent it off to my editors, and really pay much attention to many other outletsí reviews or the response my review received. I was more concerned with getting my diploma rather than what people on the internet thought about my opinion.

I took a look last night and I found out the review was one of the lowest scores on Metacritic and garnered a pretty negative reactionÖat least from the people that commented. Funny thing is that most people didnít seem to respond to much of anything I had to say Ė but the score at the end of the review.

I guess I shouldnít be too surprised. It seems as if most people really only read reviews to see if their opinions match those of the reviewer. People love both Valve and the Portal franchise and I was one of the people shitting on their new favourite gameÖexcept that I wasnít I was saying it was a pretty damn good piece of software that could have been a tad better.

I find it incredibly interesting that people have such loyalties to companies. Unless you work for one of those companies, or own stock I donít really get that sense of fervor. Why is it that fanboys love the PS3 and hate the Wii (or vice versa)? Is it because they think that the PS3 has all good games and the Wii doesnít have any? Well, I doubt that. I own both consoles and have a decent number of awesome games for both. I grew up playing games on a Nintendo console but eventually broadened my horizons because you just canít get all of the fantastic experiences the industry has to offer with a single console. I think Iíd get a Xbox too if I had a little more disposable income, and didnít have thousands of dollars of student loans hanging over my head, but I digress.

I suppose one of the only aspects of my life I can sort of relate with that mindset is in the realm of sports. I like the Dodgers because Iím from LA. I like baseball and I have some sense of civic pride for my city so thatís pretty natural I suppose. Then again, I donít really understand it when people heckle me, or donít want to be friends merely because theyíre Giants or Angels fans. It doesnít make sense to me, but maybe itís comforting for people to buy into or identify with something on a really extreme level.

Another interesting thing to note is that people think 8 is a low score. Thereís a full ten point scale and people seem to think 9 or 10 is good, 8 is mediocre and 7 is bad. Iím probably preaching to the choir here at Destructoid, where people are more or less reasonable, but by my way of thinking a 5 would be mediocre or middle of the road becauseÖitís in the fucking middle.

And come to think of it, I almost gave Portal 2 a 7. That middle bit was really shit. It was kind of like a sandwich that had really gross fillings, but this bread that was fucking awesome.
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About Kyle MacGregor Burlesonone of us since 1:40 PM on 02.16.2009

I used to work here. Now I just hang around and make a mess.

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