Monday, November 28, 2005

Reviewers are always right

Reviewers have the very important task of giving game developers feedback and consumers recommendations. It's nice to know that they use their position of power wisely and don't screw over either consumers or developers. Let me enumerate some of the great things reviewers do.
With so many games being ported to multiple platforms, it's great that reviewers don't take the time to review each platform individually. Oftentimes, one may be significantly better than the other, but why waste the readers time with a careful evaluation and comparison of the different versions? Let's use “X-Men: Next Dimension” for PS2 and GameCube as an example. Both reviews on IGN said "The textures on the character models also appear to be using too many shadows and are a tad on the blurry side." The GameCube version has higher resolution textures, so they are significantly less blurry. Same line in both reviews, but different textures. The GameCube review even mentions the menu options in the PS2 version, but the GameCube version had different names.

It's also nice that reviewers are so aware of all the finer points of games. They always claim things are at a high framerate when they are smooth regardless of the actual framerate. So, any effort to get your game to run at 60 fps is wasted if it drops down below 60 on occasion. Sometimes, they make conjectures on how the technology of a game works, and they are completely wrong, but at least they make an effort, right? Isn't that more important than accuracy?

Reviewers are NEVER biased by past successes or failures. If Blizzard were to release a real stinker, I'm sure it'd get EXACTLY the same reviews as if some small developer that has a history of failures released the same game. It's very difficult for people to be unbiased, but reviewers are able to overcome all of these. Likewise, reviewers are never influenced by other reviews out there. There definitely isn't a tendency to conform to other reviews either... People have a tendency to trust a reviewer with an average review, but reviewers aren't afraid to alienate themselves based on their own personal feelings.

Since reviewers are so accurate, reviews are becoming increasingly important to game developers. Warner Bros is going to punish its licensees if they didn't get good enough reviews. So, I applaud Warner Bros for taking the initiative for making the true authorities on game quality the determining factor for developer's financial rewards. They are trying to prevent bad games, which sell based on a license, which I think we can all agree is a good thing. As a game developer, I think Warner Bros idea is reasonable. Developers of bad games that sell well just because of the license shouldn't be rewarded. But should reviewers be the ones with the power? As this article proves, they clearly are the authorities on games, so they are a great choice.


Anonymous SoulBrotherRool said...

:/ I review games.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous jubal_harshaw said...

soulbrotherrool, pretty much everyone in the industry has reviewed games at some point. Almost every entry-level job in the biz, for instance, used to require you to submit a review of a game you liked or disliked. Not sure if it's the case now. I assume not because all the entry level people I've met recently are functionally illiterate.

Writing reviews to get a job requires skill, an understanding of underlying game mechanics, a grasp of language, knowledge about the game's developer and a critical mind that can suggest easily-implementable improvements.

Writing for a games magazine or website, however, requires only one skill: petulance. You don't even need to play the game for more than 45 minutes.

Now, here in the UK, there was a bit of a scandal some years back with some Amiga and PC titles that were owned by a large publisher. It seems that the reviewers were being given bribes to make their reviews of certain games more 'favourable.'

Rather than being stopped, however, this behaviour spread until some publications wouldn't even publish a review unless they were compensated.

Imagine, being paid twice to do your job! Truly, this is an industry of opportunity.

This also gave rise to two notable (and well known phrases): "The magazine mafia" and "Games journos are scum that will turn up at a launch party, drink everything in sight and then expose themselves in front of your investors."

5:48 AM  
Anonymous The bigger G said...

"Reviewers are never influenced by past failures" wtf are you on?

Reviewers are ALWAYS influenced by past successes and failures. Look at the Minish Cap. That game was one of the worst Zelda games I've played, yet it got five star reviews down the board just because all the other Zelda games have been good. Same with Pokemon. The Pokemon games are retarded, yet they get good reviews.

Then there are people on the forums that are like "Revolution will suck ass!"


"It just will"


"stfu fag"

(Quoted from a conversation between myself and Nintendoperson)

In other words, no soild evidence or even a plausable opinion, he was basing his opinion off the fact he loves Microsoft and that GCN suffered last generation.

1:59 PM  
Blogger The BIG G said...

The Smaller G:
Did it ever occur to you that maybe you are wrong and the reviewers are right? Maybe you just didn't see the hidden awesomeness that those games hold... Maybe you missed the point of the awesome games!

I must say, I salute you for being the master of the non sequitur. I have no idea what people on forums saying Revolution sucks has to do with this article at all. This article was about professional reviewers being completely unbiased. It has nothing to do with fanboys being stupid. Also, did it ever occur to you that this fanboy might be right?

-The BIG G

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Parry Aldon said...

Whether he was right or not is not the point. The fact is he was ranting about Nintendo's intense stupidity based on how it did last time. He knew SQUAT about the Revolution. He thought the controler had two buttons and no attatchments or anything else, we had to go tell him before he knew that.

And in case you're wondering, this has a LOT to do with your post. Your post is on reviewers basing their opinions on past performance. This person was submitting a personal review on the Revolution, and he was basing his opinions on the Gamecube.

I've even got a few copies of our comversations saved, as well as a link to where they happened if you're interested.

The point is, your article is wrong. End of story.

5:45 PM  
Blogger The BIG G said...

That person wasn't a professional reviewer, so I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about professional reviewers in this article... Everyone has an opinion, and most people's are quite uninformed and biased (like yours towards Nintendo)... Reviewers are getting paid for their opinions, so you'd think they should be objective.

-The BIG G

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Parry Aldon said...

When did this turn into a "professional reviewers" thing?

According to your post, reviewers in general never have their opinions swayed either way by past successes or failures.

A VERY good example of how this is dismally wrong are the Harry Potter movies and the Video games.

The movies are a freaking nightmare to get into, and the games sell out quick. Is it because they're good? Hell no, they suck horribly. They sell so well because the books were good.

And to top it off, reviews are often writen with the previous version in mind.

Most of the movie and game reviews for that reference how close it is to the book, and give it high points for that.

6:22 PM  

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