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Topic: Does a professional reviewer have a mandate to bring personal political biases into a review?

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DefHalan

21. Posted:

Sleepingmudkip wrote:

I just hate it when they take off like 10 points off because its to hard(most of the time its a FPS fan reviewing a JRPG)

It helps to know the reviewer's personal taste when it comes to things like this.

http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/44243746261/nickels-dimes-and-quarters
http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/why-console-specs-dont-matter
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200271/Video_Don_Daglow_on_nextgen_transition_traps_and_treasures.php

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garywood

22. Posted:

GuSilverFlame wrote:

I think being professional is lame.... I think if you're going to work in something you have put your heart into it even if others disagree with your point of view!

I agree with that on almost everything in life. This is one of the handful of issues where I'm more sceptical.

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CanisWolfred

23. Posted:

garywood wrote:

Well we seem to be agreeing on some issues but not on others. Maybe I do just have an unrealistic expectation of what game reviewers SHOULD be doing.

Take an example: Mass Effect 3. That ending just completely ruined it for me. It really did guarantee that I'd never play it again. (I have no idea what the extended cut added). So if I were to follow the kind of 'anything-goes' logic you're putting forward, I really would give it like a 4 or something like those nutters on metacritic.
However, I recognise a different aspect to the appreciation of art. I have a sensitivity to the fact that some things are more dependent on my personal disposition than others. And I predicted (I think correctly) that while most people would agree it was a terrible ending, I don't think it would completely ruin it for most people the way it did for me. So if I were a professional reviewer, I'd be trying to write a review for what I assume to be the average gamer and I'd probably give the game an 8-8.5.

So is that a mistake? That's not even a political bias, just one that I recognise to be very subjective.

No, I wouldn't say that's wrong. Nor would I say it's wrong to do it the other way, either. That'd just be your style of reviewing it, just as it would be their style to review it from a very personal perspective. Personally, I think the best reviews are the ones that get across how the person feels about certain aspects of the game and why. And scores, while I'm kind of against those in general, should at least be somewhat reflective of how much they enjoyed a game in my opinion, since that's really what most people seem to look for from those things, anyways.

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DefHalan

24. Posted:

garywood wrote:

6ch6ris6 wrote:

in the end even "professional" reviews are just personal opinions when it comes to stuff like story.

if someone is thinking the violence in a gta game is wrong or too much then i probably wonder if that person ever played a gta game before

Well exactly, and the same for the portrayal of the characters I would've said too! I'd assumed the stereotypes that I'd see before I'd played it. Like someone reviewing a mario game and deducting points for the fact that he's a bit of a silly Italian stereotype.

If it affected the reviewer's enjoyment of the game then why can't they mark it down? I won't agree with them but they should be able to mark it down if it affected their enjoyment.

Edited on by DefHalan

http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/44243746261/nickels-dimes-and-quarters
http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/why-console-specs-dont-matter
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200271/Video_Don_Daglow_on_nextgen_transition_traps_and_treasures.php

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CanisWolfred

25. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

No. You can review it however you want.

If we take that reasoning too far, it'd render game reviews almost useless (worse than they already are). That really does seem to be a fundamental difference of opinion if you'd support ANYTHING connected with the game. I suspect the review sites would disagree if it was too personal and uncommon an issue.

What's wrong with that? Review sites already disagree. Because every review is by a different person, both in and outside of any one particular site.

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theblackdragon

26. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

Sleepingmudkip wrote:

I just hate it when they take off like 10 points off because its to hard(most of the time its a FPS fan reviewing a JRPG)

It helps to know the reviewer's personal taste when it comes to things like this.

pretty much this. in no way do i let my purchasing decisions hinge on one single review, i'm usually reading everything i possibly can from people who have played the game. heck, half the time i'm asking my friends how they felt about something instead of consulting a proper write-up about a game to see if i'll like it, because i know my friends' tastes and who to trust the most about this genre or that genre. it's very helpful to understand where a person is coming from in terms of a game review, and if she as a woman had a problem with the way women are depicted or treated in-game, i'd almost expect for it to come out through her review of said game. doesn't bother me a bit since she's one voice among many.

if game reviews and reviewers weren't a dime a dozen on these great wide interwebs, maybe you'd have more of a point with all this ruckus-raising, @garywood, but I just don't see the problem.

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garywood

27. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

Sleepingmudkip wrote:

I just hate it when they take off like 10 points off because its to hard(most of the time its a FPS fan reviewing a JRPG)

It helps to know the reviewer's personal taste when it comes to things like this.

I completely agree with that example. I certainly don't want to forward the view that I think reviewers should only play games they're somehow predisposed to agree with. I think it's important that people of all opinions get to contribute so we can actually have things like metacritic be meaningful.
The only areas where I'm cautious of that is on subjects where I see very common evidence of politically correct issues turning into a kind of groupthink. Most people base political and social opinions on their emotional response to a subject, a pretty commonly understood fact in psychology. And while I'm liberal on nearly every issue, it's only ever the left wing that use emotional taboos to forward an agenda.
Hence the worrying. If there wasn't such an emotional environment regarding the issue, I'd have no issues.

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garywood

28. Posted:

theblackdragon wrote:

if game reviews and reviewers weren't a dime a dozen on these great wide interwebs, maybe you'd have more of a point with all this ruckus-raising, @garywood, but I just don't see the problem.

Allow me to phrase it in a way that I think illuminates the potential problem. Lets assume this sort of approach catches on, and is used quite often to criticise games (sites that contribute to metacritic scores especially).

If in 10 years time, it becomes customary to (for example) deduce points if a female character has bigger boobs than is realistic, do you think it will become problematic if someone who doesn't see that as much of a negative feels socially pressured into giving a lower mark, despite their personal opinion.

We can debate whether that will in fact happen. I'm not saying it definitely would, but I think it's possible. And it's very specifically addressing only the issues where people feel the burden of social pressure. It wouldn't apply to the other 99% of opinions people can have about games.

Edited on by garywood

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PrincessSugoi

29. Posted:

garywood wrote:

I personally think this specific issue is a bad one to focus on, given that it's such a hugely popular game that it makes no difference what 1 reviewer thought. It's more the concept I'm arguing against. Perhaps the Dragon's Crown example is better?

I just feel the Gamespot review is a not a good example in this case not because of the game itself but because she mentioned a couple other things that likely effected the score, maybe just as much or more so than the misogynistic tones. Perhaps a different review where it is more clear that the sole issue the reviewer had with the game was something that went against their beliefs would be more appropriate for this discussion.

To answer the topic: Yes. Technical aspects are focused on and certain expectations are held with the product being reviewed but overall, a review is merely a person's experience. I see a score as a numerical summary of that experience. Experiences can vary depending on a person's mindset and beliefs so if something that went against one of those things deterred from their overall experience, then I see no reason why it shouldn't be accounted in their score.

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garywood

30. Posted:

CanisWolfred wrote:

No, I wouldn't say that's wrong. Nor would I say it's wrong to do it the other way, either. That'd just be your style of reviewing it,

Well the massive difference between critic and user reviews on certain games like ME3 suggest that nearly all reviewers are doing what I described (it'd be statistically impossible to get that disparity otherwise). Which is exactly my point, they ARE following a kind implicit set of rules.

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DefHalan

31. Posted:

garywood wrote:

theblackdragon wrote:

if game reviews and reviewers weren't a dime a dozen on these great wide interwebs, maybe you'd have more of a point with all this ruckus-raising, @garywood, but I just don't see the problem.

Allow me to phrase it in a way that I think illuminates the potential problem. Lets assume this sort of approach catches on, and is used quite often to criticise games (sites that contribute to metacritic scores especially).

If in 10 years time, it becomes customary to (for example) deduce points if a female character has bigger boobs than is realistic, do you think it will become problematic if someone who doesn't see that as much of a negative feels socially pressured into giving a lower mark, despite their personal opinion.

We can debate whether that will in fact happen. I'm not saying it definitely would, but I think it's possible. And it's very specifically addressing only the issues where people feel the burden of social pressure. It wouldn't apply to the other 99% of opinions people can have about games.

That could happen and what if it does? If a reviewer gave Dead or Alive a super low score for the female parts being over exaggerated, no one would take them seriously. If they knock off half a point because it disturb them then why is that an issue? Reviewers want to stay relevant with their reviews and that is why it will not become normal practice to attack great games and lower their scores super low for these reasons, but if someone shaved a couple of points off a game for something that disturbed them then isn't that a good reason?

Edited on by DefHalan

http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/44243746261/nickels-dimes-and-quarters
http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/why-console-specs-dont-matter
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200271/Video_Don_Daglow_on_nextgen_transition_traps_and_treasures.php

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garywood

32. Posted:

PrincessSugoi wrote:

I just feel the Gamespot review is a not a good example in this case not because of the game itself but because she mentioned a couple other things that likely effected the score, maybe just as much or more so than the misogynistic tones. Perhaps a different review where it is more clear that the sole issue the reviewer had with the game was something that went against their beliefs would be more appropriate for this discussion.

Very true. I tend to think that people only reacted because she put it on the summary of negative points. For all I know, she could actually agree with me and just couldn't think what else to put.

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CanisWolfred

33. Posted:

garywood wrote:

CanisWolfred wrote:

No, I wouldn't say that's wrong. Nor would I say it's wrong to do it the other way, either. That'd just be your style of reviewing it,

Well the massive difference between critic and user reviews on certain games like ME3 suggest that nearly all reviewers are doing what I described (it'd be statistically impossible to get that disparity otherwise). Which is exactly my point, they ARE following a kind implicit set of rules.

And honestly, that's part of a major problem with the Industry...I'd explain more, but my head's starting to go...damn Moon...

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garywood

34. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

That could happen and what if it does? If a reviewer gave Dead or Alive a super low score for the female parts being over exaggerated, no one would take them seriously. If they knock off half a point because it disturb them then why is that an issue? Reviewers want to stay relevant with their reviews and that is why it will not become normal practice to attack great games and lower their scores super low for these reasons, but if someone shaved a couple of points off a game for something that disturbed them then isn't that a good reason?

But you've deliberately avoided the main part of my question. It's not the fact that someone could have a personal dislike of a game and criticise of it for that reason, it's specifically the fact that some issues carry such an emotional weight that it can force people who don't agree into pretending they do as to not be labelled as "sexist".
I just observe the way language is used when it comes to discussion and it often seems to be the case that actually accusing someone of being sexist or racist, seems to kind of win the argument, even if your point was complete nonsense. Because people respond better to emotions than reasons.

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DefHalan

35. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

That could happen and what if it does? If a reviewer gave Dead or Alive a super low score for the female parts being over exaggerated, no one would take them seriously. If they knock off half a point because it disturb them then why is that an issue? Reviewers want to stay relevant with their reviews and that is why it will not become normal practice to attack great games and lower their scores super low for these reasons, but if someone shaved a couple of points off a game for something that disturbed them then isn't that a good reason?

But you've deliberately avoided the main part of my question. It's not the fact that someone could have a personal dislike of a game and criticise of it for that reason, it's specifically the fact that some issues carry such an emotional weight that it can force people who don't agree into pretending they do as to not be labelled as "sexist".
I just observe the way language is used when it comes to discussion and it often seems to be the case that actually accusing someone of being sexist or racist, seems to kind of win the argument, even if your point was complete nonsense. Because people respond better to emotions than reasons.

Welcome to the human race. We are controlled by our emotions more than our logic and that is what makes us so BRILLIANT!

http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/44243746261/nickels-dimes-and-quarters
http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/why-console-specs-dont-matter
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200271/Video_Don_Daglow_on_nextgen_transition_traps_and_treasures.php

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theblackdragon

36. Posted:

garywood wrote:

theblackdragon wrote:

if game reviews and reviewers weren't a dime a dozen on these great wide interwebs, maybe you'd have more of a point with all this ruckus-raising, @garywood, but I just don't see the problem.

Allow me to phrase it in a way that I think illuminates the potential problem. Lets assume this sort of approach catches on, and is used quite often to criticise games (sites that contribute to metacritic scores especially).

If in 10 years time, it becomes customary to (for example) deduce points if a female character has bigger boobs than is realistic, do you think it will become problematic if someone who doesn't see that as much of a negative feels socially pressured into giving a lower mark, despite their personal opinion.

We can debate whether that will in fact happen. I'm not saying it definitely would, but I think it's possible. And it's very specifically addressing only the issues where people feel the burden of social pressure. It wouldn't apply to the other 99% of opinions people can have about games.

Society has already changed quite a bit over the past ten years, twenty years, thirty years. Social tastes change, new realizations have us constantly evolving into the people we are today. As I said in the last thread, you're digging in your feet and not wanting things to change, but it's inevitable, it's inexorable. It's going to happen whether you like it or not, my friend, and nothing you can say or do will stop it from happening.

That said, I'd say then what I'm saying now — if someone wants to mention something in a review, more power to them. If someone doesn't want to mention something, i'll still probably have read the other review that does mention it, so I'll still be as informed a consumer as possible. In no way do I expect all reviewers to mention the same thing, but I do not expect one reviewer to be silenced because they're bringing something up.

Gaming today is already different from what it was ten years ago. I choose to look forward to how it will be ten years in the future as opposed to trying to hold on to what it is today, and I don't say that because I hate games today or anything, nor did I hate games that came before now. I am enjoying the ones I'm playing now and genuinely looking forward to what is to come, what opportunities the future will hold for me personally as a gamer. .

As for your example, how's this (it's not socio-political or anything, but it may as well be for all intents and purposes of this discussion) I once reviewed a game that had a serious bug that I was able to successfully reproduce on another console. It completely wiped out all my save data, forcing me to start new, thus I was never able to complete the game. Had that bug not have been there I may have rated the game higher, but as I had experienced it twice over I could in no good conscience give the game anything but our lowest score possible, a 1, based on my own experience with it. Should I have been silenced just because no other review (save one that I know of) brought it up as a problem? Should I have been forced to rate the game positively despite knowing that someone else out there could experience the same glitch I had? I'm glad I was not silenced, but by your logic I should have rated it based on my experience with the game itself and not based on the glitch that I knew was there and could affect other players.

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garywood

37. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

Welcome to the human race. We are controlled by our emotions more than our logic and that is what makes us so BRILLIANT!

Haha at risk of getting too philosophical, I'd suggest that our logical sides are just as important and unlike emotions, don't come naturally and therefore need to be defended. Which is pretty much why we sat around killing each other for thousands of years until some nice logical people came along and came up with this thing called science.

It's almost if you haven't seen star trek!

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DefHalan

38. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

Welcome to the human race. We are controlled by our emotions more than our logic and that is what makes us so BRILLIANT!

Haha at risk of getting too philosophical, I'd suggest that our logical sides are just as important and unlike emotions, don't come naturally and therefore need to be defended. Which is pretty much why we sat around killing each other for thousands of years until some nice logical people came along and came up with this thing called science.

It's almost if you haven't seen star trek!

Actually I am a big Sci-Fi fan. My two big favorites are Stargate SG-1 and Doctor Who (Classic and New series). Both those show that no matter how smart or how logical something can be you can never replace Human Emotion.

http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/44243746261/nickels-dimes-and-quarters
http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/why-console-specs-dont-matter
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200271/Video_Don_Daglow_on_nextgen_transition_traps_and_treasures.php

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theblackdragon

39. Posted:

aaaaahhhhh don't even go there with the sci-fi, @garywood, haha! i'm probably the hugest Trekkie here, plus I love me some Stargate and BSG. DefHalan is right about that regarding human emotion, all of these series seem to pride the human element, our sense of intuition, our emotions over all else (not so surprising since we're all human here IRL, but y'know ;))

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garywood

40. Posted:

theblackdragon wrote:

Society has already changed quite a bit over the past ten years, twenty years, thirty years. Social tastes change, new realizations have us constantly evolving into the people we are today. As I said in the last thread, you're digging in your feet and not wanting things to change, but it's inevitable, it's inexorable. It's going to happen whether you like it or not, my friend, and nothing you can say or do will stop it from happening.

That said, I'd say then what I'm saying now — if someone wants to mention something in a review, more power to them. If someone doesn't want to mention something, i'll still probably have read the other review that does mention it, so I'll still be as informed a consumer as possible. In no way do I expect all reviewers to mention the same thing, but I do not expect one reviewer to be silenced because they're bringing something up.

Gaming today is already different from what it was ten years ago. I choose to look forward to how it will be ten years in the future as opposed to trying to hold on to what it is today, and I don't say that because I hate games today or anything, nor did I hate games that came before now. I am enjoying the ones I'm playing now and genuinely looking forward to what is to come, what opportunities the future will hold for me personally as a gamer. .

As for your example, how's this (it's not socio-political or anything, but it may as well be for all intents and purposes of this discussion) I once reviewed a game that had a serious bug that I was able to successfully reproduce on another console. It completely wiped out all my save data, forcing me to start new, thus I was never able to complete the game. Had that bug not have been there I may have rated the game higher, but as I had experienced it twice over I could in no good conscience give the game anything but our lowest score possible, a 1, based on my own experience with it. Should I have been silenced just because no other review (save one that I know of) brought it up as a problem? Should I have been forced to rate the game positively despite knowing that someone else out there could experience the same glitch I had? I'm glad I was not silenced, but by your logic I should have rated it based on my experience with the game itself and not based on the glitch that I knew was there and could affect other players.

Ok dude, I don't think any of that addressed my point! You're mistaking me for some kind of dusty old conservative who just wants things to be the way they were when he was young. I've tried repeatedly to reiterate that that's not what I'm doing, although I can see why I could be misunderstood as such.

I agree things will change no matter what, but that doesn't mean you can't try and direct them in the least destructive directions. I think I probably want roughly the same outcome as you do, I just want it to be done fairly- and without the brain-melting phenomena that is political correctness, which is a complete cancer of independent thought.
And I'd also question your kind of faith in the fact that society will somehow always improve for the better if we just let things unfold naturally. I hate to stereotype you in return (you did start it) but I think that's a very typical westerner's view that's symptomatic of the fact that the last 60 years have been the most peaceful and progressive in the west's history. Well in the grand scheme of things, that's not enough to warrant throwing the oars out of the boat.

garywood