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

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garywood

61. Posted:

SkywardLink98 wrote:

Deducting points might be a little harsh. Maybe just a warning of how the women were portrayed, because obviously it doesn't bother many people and I would be annoyed if the reviewer deducted points for a reason I disagree with or let biases blind them to the quality of a game. Of course, my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt in this case because I have yet to play a GTA game.

I agree with the first half and disagree with the second half. I want to know from people who disagree with me- I just think there's been an almost universal tradition of implicit agreement that political and social biases are the sort of thing you need to be able to see past in journalism. It's certainly held up as an ideal in regular journalism (except in the US).

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skywake

62. Posted:

@SkywardLink98
Well the thing is you can't read into a review summary in that way. The review in question mentions a bunch of positives then says "politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic, character behavior is sometimes inconsistent" as the negatives. Gives it a 9. Clearly they thought it was good enough to get a 9 but just because one of the negatives was "misogynistic" doesn't mean that the one point was taken away purely for that.

Also if it was, so what? We apparently agree with the point they're making and agree that it's not something we like to see BUT we panic about the idea of them possibly deducting some fraction of a point because of it? Would the same people have been equally as outraged if it was listed as a positive?

garywood wrote:

I just think there's been an almost universal tradition of implicit agreement that political and social biases are the sort of thing you need to be able to see past in journalism. It's certainly held up as an ideal in regular journalism

Reviews are an opinion piece with a number at the end, there is an implied requirement to take a stance on whether it is good or not. If they did this in a general gaming news article and took a very one-sided stance on a new game then there'd be a problem. Like if they did a story about the announcement of GTAV with the title "misogynistic crime simulator #5 announced" you'd be right to complain. In a review it's expected and there's an understanding that what the reviewer says isn't gospel.

Edited on by skywake

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garywood

63. Posted:

skywake wrote:

Also if it was, so what? We apparently agree with the point they're making and agree that it's not something we like to see BUT we panic about the idea of them possibly deducting some fraction of a point because of it? Would the same people have been equally as outraged if it was listed as a positive?

Haha if profoundly misogynistic was listed as a positive?? Yeah I think people would probably me more outraged!

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CM30

64. Posted:

I do have to say one thing here though; why should we care about whether games feature 'mindless' killing or whatever?

Games are dictated by the gameplay not the story.

Do games even need a story in all cases? Arguably not, and I think part of what might be hurting gaming is how many companies and individuals are seemingly more interested in 'movies' with some game bits mixed in rather than just the more pure 'gameplay'.

Also, I do have to say any complaints of 'sexism' in the Mario franchise or Nintendo as a company is absolutely laughable regardless. Yes, the series in which pretty much ever female character except Princess Peach is portrayed as a competent, strong minded, individual character with few to no stereotypical traits is 'sexist' because exactly one character is used as merely a mcguffin. And apparently some people seem to think Peach and Zelda in their NES forms represent every female character in a Nintendo franchise, ignoring the many interesting, well written counter examples in the Donkey Kong Country, Pokemon, modern Mario and Zelda franchise.

As for GTA... isn't that the series where the main character is pretty much a gangster anyway? You could probably argue that the type of people the series protagonists happen to be are the type to see women as merely objects, the kind of sexist idiots that people complain about. Maybe that could be arguable seen as realistic in the setting...

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garywood

65. Posted:

skywake wrote:

@SkywardLink98
Well the thing is you can't read into a review summary in that way. The review in question mentions a bunch of positives then says "politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic, character behavior is sometimes inconsistent" as the negatives. Gives it a 9. Clearly they thought it was good enough to get a 9 but just because one of the negatives was "misogynistic" doesn't mean that the one point was taken away purely for that.

Also if it was, so what? We apparently agree with the point they're making and agree that it's not something we like to see BUT we panic about the idea of them possibly deducting some fraction of a point because of it? Would the same people have been equally as outraged if it was listed as a positive?

Reviews are an opinion piece with a number at the end, there is an implied requirement to take a stance on whether it is good or not. If they did this in a general gaming news article and took a very one-sided stance on a new game then there'd be a problem. Like if they did a story about the announcement of GTAV with the title "misogynistic crime simulator #5 announced" you'd be right to complain. In a review it's expected and there's an understanding that what the reviewer says isn't gospel.

Yep, as I said. GTA5 is really a bad example because it makes no difference at all when you've got a 98 metacritic score. It was really just the principle I'm arguing with.
And I don't think much of what you've said is addressing the specific point I'm making, while it IS explaining why reviewers should be free to comment on almost anything else. I'm really only concerned about the areas that are backed by social movements, which I tend to be skeptical of in the modern day. They just so easily brainwash people and are susceptible to corruption. And personally, I don't think women are really portrayed any worse than men in video games. There are plenty examples of both that look terrible.

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garywood

66. Posted:

CM30 wrote:

As for GTA... isn't that the series where the main character is pretty much a gangster anyway? You could probably argue that the type of people the series protagonists happen to be are the type to see women as merely objects, the kind of sexist idiots that people complain about. Maybe that could be arguable seen as realistic in the setting...

100% correct. That's the problem with political correctness, it makes it a taboo to just accurately represent reality if it's a part of reality that people dislike. If you're going to comment on the male/female balance in a game like GTA, you should maybe do so in the context of the real world statistics. Cos I hate to say it guys, crime (and especially violent crime) is almost an entirely male phenonmenon.

Edited on by garywood

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shingi_70

67. Posted:

garywood wrote:

CM30 wrote:

As for GTA... isn't that the series where the main character is pretty much a gangster anyway? You could probably argue that the type of people the series protagonists happen to be are the type to see women as merely objects, the kind of sexist idiots that people complain about. Maybe that could be arguable seen as realistic in the setting...

100% correct. That's the problem with political correctness, it makes it a taboo to just accurately represent reality if it's a part of reality that people dislike. If you're going to comment on the male/female balance in a game like GTA, you should maybe do so in the context of the real world statistics. Cos I hate to say it guys, crime (and especially violent crime) is almost an entirely male phenonmenon.

This kind of boils down to my main problem most of the reviews of GTAV in a whole. They seem to boil down to the double standard of Violence in movies is acceptable but put some degree of interactivity behind it and suddenly its a crime against god. The thing is is Grand Theft Auto V your playing three individuals of varying horribleness. I haven't played the game yet but I've watched a fair bit of the story part and it seems like people forget that while the narrative in general has taken a more serious turn that its still satire. You can't complain about Trevor's wife/daughter being spiteful non independent characters when the whole point of the series is too poke fun at modern day America. If this was the case why haven't I seen any complaints about Michael's Son being a sterotype of gamers everywhere.

I do understand where most reviews are coming from but it seems like a double standard when Hotline Miami, Breaking Bad, and Pain and Gain were al recently praised and they suffer from arguably the same faults.

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RancidVomit86

68. Posted:

Reviews are all about opinion. If you don't like that person's opinion of the game then oh well.

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Relias

69. Posted:

No.. I don't think it is a mandate really.. (Mandate being you have to do it or your ordered to do it) However I think if they want to.. and make a personal choice to do it.. then so be it... and if they knock a game a few points then also so be it... I read on another site... how people were reacting to this.. and someone said that maybe she should try living in the real world.. were Gangsters and Criminals actually do treat women like that... and that she had no right to do it... well welcome to the real world.. were women actually have a right to a opinion and reviewers have the right to knock or praise and as thus score games according to those opinions... it's been that way for years... and there is plenty of people that have knocked movies, music, books, etc. do to personal and political beliefs... and reasons... and it has never actually caused this kind of outrage... you don't have to like it... you can get angry about it.. but the thing is.. it is a right.. so you have to respect it...

Actually the funny thing is.. everyone keeps talking about how video games are better.. and are getting closer to Hollywood movie... and when they start getting treated like that.. all of a sudden there is a huge uproar... (This part is a little off topic but is here to make a point) it kind of makes me either want to laugh... or cry... because of how gamers are reacting to this... it saddens me greatly that we have people reacting like this... and even greater that we are all bunched together as a group..because of the way this will most likely be used to insult all of us)

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garywood

70. Posted:

Relias wrote:

and that she had no right to do it... well welcome to the real world.. were women actually have a right to a opinion and reviewers have the right to knock or praise and as thus score games according to those opinions... it's been that way for years... and there is plenty of people that have knocked movies, music, books, etc. do to personal and political beliefs...

I don't think the fact that it's a women who reviewed it isn't really that relevant to the point, same issue if it's a man. And yes she has a right to an opinion but if it's based on reality, I think we need to point that out and actually have some standards for what people can judge. I think we'd all accept that you can't just lie in a review. So where exactly is the line? I thought my example of WW2 was quite potent. If a game showed nazis murdering jews, it might well upset the player and detract from their experience but do they really have a right to deduct points for the accurate representation of history? That's the history that's the issue, not the game.

And I think maybe there's so much outrage because people are noticing that it's a double standard. But every single issue online seems to just call out the hoards of morons who just insult people and ruin things. I'm the first to disown them even if I happen to agree with them.

Edited on by garywood

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DefHalan

71. Posted:

garywood wrote:

I'm really only concerned about the areas that are backed by social movements, which I tend to be skeptical of in the modern day. They just so easily brainwash people and are susceptible to corruption. And personally, I don't think women are really portrayed any worse than men in video games. There are plenty examples of both that look terrible.

So you are worried that someone can talk about a issue they had that you disagree with? If someone feels something needs to be said, why should we stop them? If a single person read that review and decided not to get the game for that reason, isn't that good? Is it better to not bring it up and have that person discover for themselves what happens? People have been using GTA as a scapegoat for many issues throughout the years, how does this review change that? If every review focused on that and scored it at a 8 would it really change anything? The game would have still be made, and available for people to buy. Reviews are opinions from the people that play them. You can google search GTA5 Review and find at least 1 review where the game got a 0/10 because the person hates the GTA series. If your defense is that it makes it more realistic does that mean it has to be that way? I would rather know something bothered the reviewer and disagree with them than Reviewers be unable to speak freely about their experiences.

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garywood

72. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

So you are worried that someone can talk about a issue they had that you disagree with? If someone feels something needs to be said, why should we stop them? If a single person read that review and decided not to get the game for that reason, isn't that good? Is it better to not bring it up and have that person discover for themselves what happens? People have been using GTA as a scapegoat for many issues throughout the years, how does this review change that? If every review focused on that and scored it at a 8 would it really change anything? The game would have still be made, and available for people to buy. Reviews are opinions from the people that play them. You can google search GTA5 Review and find at least 1 review where the game got a 0/10 because the person hates the GTA series. If your defense is that it makes it more realistic does that mean it has to be that way? I would rather know something bothered the reviewer and disagree with them than Reviewers be unable to speak freely about their experiences.

If every review focused on that and scored it an 8, instead of the 10s it's currently getting. My very point would've been made and a politically correct movement would've succeeded in blackmailing developers into what they can or can't put in their games. The difference between an 8 and a 10 is an awful lot of money.

And I've said about 10 times that I think it's important they DO put it in the reviews, but that they shouldn't use it as an official negative point.

garywood

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DefHalan

73. Posted:

garywood wrote:

I thought my example of WW2 was quite potent. If a game showed nazis murdering jews, it might well upset the player and detract from their experience but do they really have a right to deduct points for the accurate representation of history? That's the history that's the issue, not the game.

And I think maybe there's so much outrage because people are noticing that it's a double standard. But every single issue online seems to just call out the hoards of morons who just insult people and ruin things. I'm the first to disown them even if I happen to agree with them.

If the act of watching people, the represent real people in WW2, be murdered distracts the reviewer from enjoying the game why shouldn't they mention it. If it affects the deeply why shouldn't they mention it? If it made them stop playing the game and research where their family was during that time because of how the scene was presented why shouldn't they mention it. Video Games are a truly amazing form of art, not only c an they make people feel certain emotions but they can male people act on those emotions. If a Video Game affected someone in any way, I want to know and their are others that want to know also. We are just starting out as an industry, nothing is off limits for Video Games, how could we limit what people get to talk about in Video Games?

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skywake

74. Posted:

garywood wrote:

I'm really only concerned about the areas that are backed by social movements, which I tend to be skeptical of in the modern day. They just so easily brainwash people and are susceptible to corruption. And personally, I don't think women are really portrayed any worse than men in video games. There are plenty examples of both that look terrible.

That's the problem with political correctness, it makes it a taboo to just accurately represent reality if it's a part of reality that people dislike. If you're going to comment on the male/female balance in a game like GTA, you should maybe do so in the context of the real world statistics. Cos I hate to say it guys, crime (and especially violent crime) is almost an entirely male phenomenon.

I really dislike the fact that you took it there, I really do. Can I just quote this bit from the actual review because I'm pretty damn sure you're way off the mark. It wasn't complaining about the fact that the game lacked female protagonists. I don't think the reviewer would have made a point about it if it was purely a matter of balance. Did you even read it? Or did you make this thread based on your rage about a certain youtube feminist? Let me quote part of the review right here:

On a less positive note, it’s deeply frustrating that, while its central and supporting male characters are flawed and complex characters, with a few extremely minor exceptions, GTA V has little room for women except to portray them as strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humorless girlfriends and goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at.

Characters constantly spout lines that glorify male sexuality while demeaning women, and the billboards and radio stations of the world reinforce this misogyny, with ads that equate manhood with sleek sports cars while encouraging women to purchase a fragrance that will make them “smell like a b**ch.” Yes, these are exaggerations of misogynistic undercurrents in our own society, but not satirical ones. With nothing in the narrative to underscore how insane and wrong this is, all the game does is reinforce and celebrate sexism. The beauty of cruising in the sun-kissed Los Santos hills while listening to “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood turns sour really quick when a voice comes on the radio that talks about using a woman as a urinal.

Do you really think this is equal treatment in this particular game? Do you really think that someone making that point is simply being brainwashed by a passing fad? Do you really think the complaint here is that there aren't enough female protagonists in GTA? That somehow she is wrong in being a little bit annoyed, but not that much because she still gave it a 9/10, purely because of real world crime statistics?

Now if it's satire then that's fine and I think the reviewer would have also been fine with that. However after she played it she thought it was a bit too heavy handed to be taken as satire and she criticised it for that. Which she is more than entitled to do given that she is paid to give her opinion on the game. If this is me being politically correct and brainwashed then I'm going to be damn proud to be accused of it.

Edited on by theblackdragon

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DefHalan

75. Posted:

garywood wrote:

If every review focused on that and scored it an 8, instead of the 10s it's currently getting. My very point would've been made and a politically correct movement would've succeeded in blackmailing developers into what they can or can't put in their games. The difference between an 8 and a 10 is an awful lot of money.

And I've said about 10 times that I think it's important they DO put it in the reviews, but that they shouldn't use it as an official negative point.

Even if it negatively impacted the reviewer's experience? GTA has been attacked for years, why would Rockstar change now? You say money but didn't the San Andreas Hot Coffee Mod cost them a lot of money? People still paid for the game. Maybe people aren't the sheep we make them out to be, maybe Rockstar understands their target audience better than you or me.

Edited on by DefHalan

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garywood

76. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

I want to know and their are others that want to know also. We are just starting out as an industry, nothing is off limits for Video Games, how could we limit what people get to talk about in Video Games?

Because I think that very act would result in limiting what video games were made when it's a current political issue. And once again FOR THE 100th time, I don't want people to avoid talking about it. But I think there's a distinction to be made and I think the current establishment agrees that it'd be unprofessional to actually base the game scores on that sort of issue.

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garywood

77. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

Even if it negatively impacted the reviewer's experience? GTA has been attacked for years, why would Rockstar change now? You say money but didn't the San Andreas Hot Coffee Mod cost them a lot of money? People still paid for the game. Maybe people aren't the sheep we make them out to be, maybe Rockstar understands their target audience better than you or me.

You're making my point for me though. GTA has been attacked for years. For all kinda of cultural and political matters. But reviewers, almost without exception, have gone along with the approach that you just kind of accept that side of the game and review it in that context. Which is why it's on 10s not 8s.

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skywake

78. Posted:

garywood wrote:

And yes she has a right to an opinion but if it's based on reality, I think we need to point that out and actually have some standards for what people can judge. I think we'd all accept that you can't just lie in a review. So where exactly is the line? I thought my example of WW2 was quite potent. If a game showed nazis murdering jews, it might well upset the player and detract from their experience but do they really have a right to deduct points for the accurate representation of history? That's the history that's the issue, not the game.

Going to Nazis then, right. Well if the game had Nazi's killing Jews then I think it could well be done effectively. A fair amount of reviewers could even react favorably to it. Worth nothing that Schindler's List is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time and it does precisely that or more recently Inglorious Basterds which turned it into a comedy at the Nazi's expense. If however a game somehow glorified it or made it into a sport then you could understand why someone would complain. There's a reason why most games from WW2 have you fighting against rather than for the Nazis.

With GTAV and the review in question I think it's very clear that the complaint was in the tone rather than the appearance of male dominance. It's one thing to show it and ridicule it or have the player step back and think, it's entirely another to have the player take part or laugh with the game world.

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Philip_J_Reed

79. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

I want to know and their are others that want to know also. We are just starting out as an industry, nothing is off limits for Video Games, how could we limit what people get to talk about in Video Games?

Because I think that very act would result in limiting what video games were made when it's a current political issue.

It doesn't limit what movies, television shows, music, paintings, sculptures, plays, poems and novels are "made," so why would it limit games?

Political / social / economic / spiritual / etc. climates all shape art. They don't limit it; they drive it. Reviewers taking this into account aren't being biased...they're experiencing a work of art through the filter that shaped it.

It's not a problem unless one hypothetically powerful reviewer uses some massive, unexplained power to prevent people from making up their own minds. Wake me when that happens, because otherwise they're just doing their job.

Edited on by Philip_J_Reed

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garywood

80. Posted:

skywake wrote:

I really dislike the fact that you took it there, I really do. Can I just quote this bit from the actual review because I'm pretty damn sure you're way off the mark. It wasn't complaining about the fact that the game lacked female protagonists. I don't think the reviewer would have made a point about it if it was purely a matter of balance. Did you even read it? Or did you make this thread based on your rage about a certain youtube feminist? Let me quote part of the review right here:

Well I think you misundestood my implication. I wasn't suggesting she was complaining about mere numbers. I'll try and be explicit in my reasoning in the future but I was implicitly suggesting that when you're talking about a criminal culture that's completely controlled by men, you DO get women treated like this. It's entirely realistic.

garywood