When I launched this website a few days ago I said I wanted to fix game journalism. The main problem I want to focus on, however, are the reviews my fellow reports do every week. Game after game gets 7.8 or 9.2 or 4.9, as if that is the only thing that matters about the game. My problem arises with why games are reviewed.
During the NES days fewer games were actually given a formal review than there are today, and yet kids managed to find good things about even the shittiest of games. Take Battletoads for instance, it was one of the hardest games in the world and yet there was a certain want to finish it. Instead of breaking your controller and giving up, you would break your controller, go get a new one, and try again.
Why would someone do that you ask? Because when you get right down to it was an interesting game. It may not have been super fun to play but you wanted to finish it. Sure, some of that was because it was the only game you would have for the next 6-12 months, but there was also that hint of a good but hard game. There were very few if any reviews for this game, and yet people still bought it and had fun with it, even with the difficulty.
Another game you take as an example is the most recent Thief game. Thief is a reboot/sequel to the classic series of old that reception was all over the map. Some hated it because of the mechanics and others loved it because of the gameplay. However, most agreed that while it might be a good game, it certainly wasn’t a thief game. And yet people bash the game left and right all because it isn’t like the old thief, so to them it is a shitty game.
But why should we compare old games from the 90s and early 00s to a modern game? Well to be perfectly frank we shouldn’t. This was one of the worst problems with the reviews for Thief. Instead of realizing that it was fun to play, explore, steal, ghost, and kill, people compared it to the old games expecting it to be just as good if not better. Thief is a good game, one that everyone should play. Not because it is like the old games, but because it is different. It has evolved to fill a more modern era. And that’s not a bad thing. It is fun to play so we as gamers should enjoy the game for what it is not compare it to something it obviously isn’t.
This leads me to my point about game reviews. Many reviewers review on a 1-10 point scale. They reduce a game down to simple numbers. No taking into account that the game could be fun for others, that just because it had some bad story or multiplayer and was fun to play, it must have a lower score. This is unacceptable to me.
Gaming has been reduced to waiting anxiously for a review to come out and then after finding out it has a low score, refusing to buy it. The game they are waiting for could have been one of their favorite games of the year. Just because a game has a low review score does not mean no one should buy it. When an individual refuses to buy such a game they support the current system of reviews and game scoring.
Under the Sun.
Now I am not saying you should buy every game under the sun or that you should buy a game that doesn’t appeal to you. What I am saying is that if you want to buy a game, take reviews with a grain of salt. People have other opinions than you and they should not dictate what game should and shouldn’t be bought.
Now let me talk about how I am going to try and fix the review system. This process will be long, hard, and probably go through several revisions, however that does not mean it won’t work. My Idea is to score things based on the level of fun of the game, not of whether it has a good story, graphics, or even repetitive gameplay. I would rather do one fun task over and over again than several mind numbing tasks. I will be scoring things on a 3 color scale as well.
What is a color scale you ask? Basically I will have three colors: Orange, blue, and black. Each will represent certain things. Orange will be very little fun but still some, wait for a sale to buy. Blue will be a moderate amount of fun, buy it if you can afford it. And Black will be you must play this game, it is seriously fun!
During the review I will address such aspects of the game such as story, gameplay, graphics, and such but I will not be taking any of those into account when I review the game. Instead I will simply go into detail about my thoughts of those sections. My first review will be next week and once you see it in action it should be much easier to understand my ramblings. I will do my best to help the state of reviews but I cannot guarantee anything, if you have any feelings about my content please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me, I will answer any and all questions.
Update: This post scale is no longer valid and has been fixed, please check Revision number 1.