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07/20/2006

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hoshimaru

Since I only own a Gamecube and a Dreamcast, the vast majority of gaming reviews I read are about games that I will never actually play.

Mostly I read game reviews in the way you discuss yourself reading movie reviews -- I am just curious to learn a bit about the state of videogaming.

I wouldn't necessarily conclude that game reviews don't serve the same function as movie reviews just because you don't happen to read them that way.

undercoverrabbit

As a long time gamer I have read many reviews of games. When I was younger I used the reviews to help make a decision regarding some of the more obscure titles. After I got a job at a game store I stopped reading reviews since I had access to every game for free. I proceeded to leave gaming for a while and returned when the dreamcast launched. I bought a few games and ended up with some stinkers so I started to read reviews. Up until a few years ago I used reviews to help me from wasting 50 bucks on crap. Now I have aged and play games for different reasons. I buy what I want not what some magazine or web sight tells me to.

As far as critics are concerned. Well, they are just people who get paid to tell you their opinion. The key word is opinion.

As I have said before I understand what critics do is simply a job. I can respect that. I can not respect critics that belittle other people for enjoying something they don't deem satisfactory.

Kind of like that Scott guy. Nothing is wrong with those people Scott. They are simply going to a movie that they want to see. It's there money and last time I checked America is a free country. So to the Scotts of the world and any other obnoxious critic out there, kiss my ass and all the other people's asses who don't agree with you:)

Bret

Actually, Scott's "What is wrong with you people?" was referring to a question asked of the critics, not the public. "How could you critics pan a movie that turned out to be so successful?"

Tallest

Critics are more for entertainment value sometimes. They give you a glance into what a particular piece of media is about, kind of like reading the back of a book, CD or DVD case if you are on the fence about spending your money.

Dead Man's Chest was well-worth the 10 bucks I spent to see it. It was an entertaining movie, well-written and avoided a heavy-handed approach. I knew I would see it before the critics started telling me it sucked and, per usual, my willingness to like a movie succeeded.

With games I tend to look at the trailer, note the developer and keep a skeptical eye since it's 50 bucks a hit instead of a movie or book's $10-20 plus they tend to take up a lot more time. I can finish a book in a few evenings, a movie in under three hours (unless it's a super-extended version) and listen to a CD while I do more-productive activities.
Conversely I have been playing World of Warcraft for 2 years, spent $50 on the game, $13 per month and several consecutive weeks in playtime in total for all my characters.

Game critics are vital to justify a purchase in some instances. Movie critics are important to give us a broad summary of the experience for our assessment. Book critics are needed because books generally have no marketing campaign and it's the only way for us to hear about certain titles.

Leopold

Critics also get into a position where they (consciously or subconciously) consider their opinion to be more...not quite superior, but...erm.. educated, let's say. The problem with that is it does put you out of touch with the public.

I don't know about with game reviews (though I imagine it applies to a certain degree), but in books critics are trying to maintain this 'superior opinion'. If you just promote what's popular (which is not always good, lets face it) then what's your use as a critic? In some ways, if you don't put yourself above your readers, you're not worth reading - in a weird way.

I find it both perplexing and satisfying when the masses completely ignore critics - not infrequently to their own intellectual detriment! I usually agree with critics, but often mind them just as prosaic and cliquish (reviewing films/games/books as good or bad just because all the other reviewers are) as the general public.

dosboot

It's weird. Almost everytime I see 'Pirates' talked about casually on the web (blogs, forums etc.) it is negative to the point of being a matter of fact; they don't even think readers could possibly have a different opinion. I liked the movie quite a bit, so its nice to see an article like this.

I don't trust video game critics more than movie critics though. It seems to me like there is a universal understanding to do all game reviews on a 7-10 scale. The content of game reviews are no different - if some part of a game is horrible, they may reluctantly say it's bad but then downplay the problem in the next breath. Most of a game review is irrelevant and when they do talk about something important it is like they are afraid to unequivocally make a negative statement. Maybe they can't bring themselves to do so if they know in their minds that they aren't giving the game a score worse than 7.0?

If the role of video game critics is to give opinion then they aren't succeeding when games are graded on a 7-10 scale. What's bad is good, what's horribly bad is passable, and the only things that are really good are the titles that are so over hyped you expect every critic go into a spasm loving it.

If the role of video game critics is to give information then they aren't do it either. Exactly how long a game is, exactly how hard a game is, how much depth it has, and so forth is never given except maybe in a passing sentence if you are lucky.

ArC

I agree with Bret; Scott's essay wasn't aimed at whining at the audience.

That said, he was aggressively bad on the Matrix commentaries (the ultimate DVD set invited three critics to do commentary tracks for all 3 movies); I'm not sure whether he missed the point of the movies or was playing up being negative, but either way I think he came off badly.

Tetsuo

It's got to be said, game reviews at the moment aren't criticism, they're product rundowns, by and large.

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