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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

81. Posted:

garywood wrote:

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.

And now some reviews aren't going along with it. Maybe their opinions changes, maybe our Industry expects more from our games now, maybe it took time before people started asking these types of questions and now is that time. Who are we to tell people they aren't allowed to question?

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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skywake

82. Posted:

garywood wrote:

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.

Please read my posts again and the part of the review you're complaining about that I quoted before you accuse me of misunderstanding your implications.

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garywood

83. Posted:

Philip_J_Reed wrote:

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.

Well I'd argue that the person who plays the game and allows themselves to adjust to the particular narrative and then to see it in that context is the person who's experiencing a work of art through the filter that shaped it.

Whereas to criticise that aspect of it is to just try and break the filter.

garywood

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skywake

84. Posted:

garywood wrote:

Well I'd argue that the person who plays the game and allows themselves to adjust to the particular narrative and then to see it in that context is the person who's experiencing a work of art through the filter that shaped it. Whereas to criticise that aspect of it is to just try and break the filter.

Then you don't have a very sophisticated understanding of what art can do. Art isn't just a mirror that reflects back to us the world exactly as it is. Even documentaries which generally try to do that have to be more than that because of the lens of editing. Some parts of reality are exaggerated and other parts are diminished in a way that shows the viewer a different aspect. It doesn't just present the world it tries to say something about the world.

Now when a game like GTA tackles a subject like crime and male dominance it might well be true in the most blunt possible way. However it also has to say something about it if it's tackling it as an issue. If it ridicules it or makes it look horrible then I don't think anyone would have much of a problem with that. If however it's a bit ham-fisted and maybe pushes it a bit too much then maybe it starts to say something else. If a reviewer plays it and thinks it has taken it too far then they should write about it in their review.

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garywood

85. Posted:

skywake wrote:

Please read my posts again and the part of the review you're complaining about that I quoted before you accuse me of misunderstanding your implications.

Well I'm not sure which part I missed so you'll make to point it out for me. And in return, if you're asking for some debate etiquette, I'd ask that you actually remain on the topic instead of inferring things about people's character simply because they disagree with you. I have no idea what the youtube femist is, or who it is.

garywood

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garywood

86. Posted:

skywake wrote:

Then you don't have a very sophisticated understanding of what art can do.

Once again, I think maybe personal inferences should be considered unsuitable for civilized debate. If you can't make a point without relying on a flaw in someone's character, you're better off not speaking.

Edited on by garywood

garywood

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skywake

87. Posted:

@garywood
Again, read my posts before you go accusing me of attacking your character rather than your argument

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garywood

88. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

And now some reviews aren't going along with it. Maybe their opinions changes, maybe our Industry expects more from our games now, maybe it took time before people started asking these types of questions and now is that time. Who are we to tell people they aren't allowed to question?

Well yeah, I'd certainly accept that if it's the way it's going to be. But you can't really deny that it's an inconsistency at the moment, and that's all I was really pointing out. I think if there's a constructive direction the debate could move in, it'd be to start people discussing why we've never really criticised games for being too violent, or any other kind of behaviour that we consider immoral in real life. That might actually start to move the industry away from mindless action, which has come to dominate the AAA world, for ill effect in my opinion.

Edited on by garywood

garywood

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DefHalan

89. Posted:

garywood wrote:

Philip_J_Reed wrote:

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.

Well I'd argue that the person who plays the game and allows themselves to adjust to the particular narrative and then to see it in that context is the person who's experiencing a work of art through the filter that shaped it.

Whereas to criticise that aspect of it is to just try and break the filter.

Under the right filter any game can be seen as a 10/10. It isn't the viewer's job to change their filter to allow a certain type of art. If someone dislikes that type of art then why should we stop them from stating it? Why should they have to accept something they don't like? If I do not like Rap Music and I review it poorly why would it matter to anyone? If I don't like nudity in my video games then why should I not be able to explain why nudity in GTA caused me not to like GTA? If someone doesn't like the way women are treated in any game why should they not be able to express themselves? A review score is not separate from the review it is there as part of the review. To say it cannot affect one means it cannot affect either. So why shouldn't reviewers be able to express themselves?

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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DefHalan

90. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

And now some reviews aren't going along with it. Maybe their opinions changes, maybe our Industry expects more from our games now, maybe it took time before people started asking these types of questions and now is that time. Who are we to tell people they aren't allowed to question?

Well yeah, I'd certainly accept that if it's the way it's going to be. But you can't really deny that it's an inconsistency at the moment, and that's all I was really pointing out. I think if there's a constructive direction the debate could move in, it'd be to start people discussing why we've never really criticised games for being too violent, or any other kind of behaviour that we consider immoral in real life. That might actually start to move the industry away from mindless action, which has come to dominate the AAA world, for ill effect in my opinion.

I think you should start looking towards the Indie crowd. There are some truly moving games there

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

91. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

Under the right filter any game can be seen as a 10/10. It isn't the viewer's job to change their filter to allow a certain type of art. If someone dislikes that type of art then why should we stop them from stating it? Why should they have to accept something they don't like? If I do not like Rap Music and I review it poorly why would it matter to anyone? If I don't like nudity in my video games then why should I not be able to explain why nudity in GTA caused me not to like GTA? If someone doesn't like the way women are treated in any game why should they not be able to express themselves? A review score is not separate from the review it is there as part of the review. To say it cannot affect one means it cannot affect either. So why shouldn't reviewers be able to express themselves?

Well once again (maybe I should make this my signature?). I was clear in saying that I thought they SHOULD express all of their feelings and impressions but that some shouldn't go into the actual score because I worry that some subjects lead to people trying censor certain things from arts that they don't like. A commenter on the previous page suggested that this doesn't happen and that it only ever ADDS to art. I think that's just manifestly false, people are censored all the time in various arts when certain movements put the right pressure on. (e.g The Golden Compass, Bill Maher's old show 'politically incorrect', The Satanic Verses)

DefHalan wrote:

I think you should start looking towards the Indie crowd. There are some truly moving games there

Oh well I started a long time ago! If it wasn't for indie games and Nintendo, I probably would've given up on gaming. But there are some experiences that can only be achieved through AAA budgets so I think it's important to argue it! (Nintendo and Indie's couldn't have given us Skyrim, ok maybe Nintendo could have but probably wouldn't have)

Edited on by garywood

garywood

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DefHalan

92. Posted:

@garywood
I also stated how the score is part of the review not separate. If you filter one then you are filtering the other. If a reviewer cannot give it the score they think the game deserves then what is the point of them even reviewing it?

There are somethings that can only be done with AAA budgets but those budgets is also what hold those games back in many ways. In my opinion, look at Halo. Halo 4 was more like Call of Duty because Microsoft went with a bigger budget and they had to make more money. Call of Duty makes more money so if they make the game like Call of Duty they will make more money. Halo 4 is what got me out of the Halo series. So all we can do is support indies that are actually trying to change the status quo and hope the AAA crowd will follow in the future.

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

93. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

@garywood
I also stated how the score is part of the review not separate. If you filter one then you are filtering the other. If a reviewer cannot give it the score they think the game deserves then what is the point of them even reviewing it?

There are somethings that can only be done with AAA budgets but those budgets is also what hold those games back in many ways. In my opinion, look at Halo. Halo 4 was more like Call of Duty because Microsft went with a bigger budget and they had to make more money. Call of Duty makes more money so if they make the game like Call of Duty they will make more money. Halo 4 is what got me out of the Halo series. So all we can do is support indies that are actually trying to change the status quo and hope the AAA crowd will follow in the future.

Well I described a way in a previous example of how I think it IS quite easy to filter yourself in some ways that aren't actually problematic. As evidence that this ALREADY happens, I pointed to the huge disparity between user scores and critic score on certain games like ME3, Diablo3 etc
That suggests that reviewers aren't, as you suggest, just scoring based on their opinion, but modulating it through some kind of standards. Unless you have some explanation as why game reviewers happen to all be completely different from the everyday user.

As for AAA, well I haven't bought a military shooter since Call of Duty 4, and I try and convince others to do the same. All of my proper gaming money goes towards nintendo at the moment. I just wish they'd hurry up and make the Wii U desirable so I can justify buying it!

garywood

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ClockworkMario

94. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

And now some reviews aren't going along with it. Maybe their opinions changes, maybe our Industry expects more from our games now, maybe it took time before people started asking these types of questions and now is that time. Who are we to tell people they aren't allowed to question?

Well yeah, I'd certainly accept that if it's the way it's going to be. But you can't really deny that it's an inconsistency at the moment, and that's all I was really pointing out. I think if there's a constructive direction the debate could move in, it'd be to start people discussing why we've never really criticised games for being too violent, or any other kind of behaviour that we consider immoral in real life. That might actually start to move the industry away from mindless action, which has come to dominate the AAA world, for ill effect in my opinion.

I don't think there's a need to criticise games for violence – as long as they don't glorify it – because they're only fantasy, a way to do things I'd never dare or would be able to do in real life. That's part of their charm for me.

Besides, very few games I've played offer only mindless action. In games like Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect 3 and Metal Gear Solid 3 the players actions are often questioned and criticised.

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garywood

95. Posted:

ClockworkMario wrote:

I don't think there's a need to criticise games for violence – as long as they don't glorify it – because they're only fantasy, a way to do things I'd never dare or would be able to do in real life. That's part of their charm for me.

Besides, very few games I've played offer only mindless action. In games like Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect 3 and Metal Gear Solid 3 the players actions are often questioned and criticised.

Oh me neither, I was just saying that it's a big inconsistency if we accept criticisms of female portrayal but then never say anything about violence. GTA definitely glorifies violence!

On the action point, yes I accept that there are plenty of games that are on the border and do retain a sense of artistic achievement, like those that you mention (although compare Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 3) but there seem to be a worrying lack of AAA games that go in completely different directions and still manage success. The only ones that come to mind are Portal 2 and Skyrim.

garywood

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DefHalan

96. Posted:

garywood wrote:

DefHalan wrote:

@garywood
I also stated how the score is part of the review not separate. If you filter one then you are filtering the other. If a reviewer cannot give it the score they think the game deserves then what is the point of them even reviewing it?

There are somethings that can only be done with AAA budgets but those budgets is also what hold those games back in many ways. In my opinion, look at Halo. Halo 4 was more like Call of Duty because Microsft went with a bigger budget and they had to make more money. Call of Duty makes more money so if they make the game like Call of Duty they will make more money. Halo 4 is what got me out of the Halo series. So all we can do is support indies that are actually trying to change the status quo and hope the AAA crowd will follow in the future.

Well I described a way in a previous example of how I think it IS quite easy to filter yourself in some ways that aren't actually problematic. As evidence that this ALREADY happens, I pointed to the huge disparity between user scores and critic score on certain games like ME3, Diablo3 etc
That suggests that reviewers aren't, as you suggest, just scoring based on their opinion, but modulating it through some kind of standards. Unless you have some explanation as why game reviewers happen to all be completely different from the everyday user.

As for AAA, well I haven't bought a military shooter since Call of Duty 4, and I try and convince others to do the same. All of my proper gaming money goes towards nintendo at the moment. I just wish they'd hurry up and make the Wii U desirable so I can justify buying it!

I see a lot of User Reviews don't discuss the game very well. I have seen plenty of Reviews on my Android that give a game 1 star and say "This game sucks." Professional Reviews are normally more insightful, but they don't have to be if the reviewer doesn't want to be. If 98% of the game is good but the ending is really poorly done, can you objectively give the game 4/10 when most of the game was good? Yes, you can. Can you give the game 8.5/10 because you realize you had fun for 98% of the game? Yes, you can. Should you ever not explain the reason why you gave the score you did? No. Every score should be a refection of the written review. If a reviewer wants to filter themselves then they can. If a reviewer wants to tell people everything wrong with the game, then they can. If you don't think scores should accurately reflect how good or bad the reviewer thought the game was then feel free to ignore reviews that do that but why would we want to prevent them from speaking freely? (scores count as speech)

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

97. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

I see a lot of User Reviews don't discuss the game very well. I have seen plenty of Reviews on my Android that give a game 1 star and say "This game sucks." Professional Reviews are normally more insightful, but they don't have to be if the reviewer doesn't want to be. If 98% of the game is good but the ending is really poorly done, can you objectively give the game 4/10 when most of the game was good? Yes, you can. Can you give the game 8.5/10 because you realize you had fun for 98% of the game? Yes, you can. Should you ever not explain the reason why you gave the score you did? No. Every score should be a refection of the written review. If a reviewer wants to filter themselves then they can. If a reviewer wants to tell people everything wrong with the game, then they can. If you don't think scores should accurately reflect how good or bad the reviewer thought the game was then feel free to ignore reviews that do that but why would we want to prevent them from speaking freely? (scores count as speech)

Yeah, I'm not passing judgement on whether one or the other is the legitimate technique. But the disparity does exist, that's what I'm saying. There's an accepted wisdom that you can't just get really pissed off and give a game a 3/10 if one particular bit had a massive effect (pun, pun) on you personally.

Edited on by garywood

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CM30

98. Posted:

Philip_J_Reed wrote:

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.

Like this?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReviewsAreTheGospel

See Yahtzee, the Angry Video Game Nerd or the Nostalgia Critic's fanbase. Or at least the minority who think that if the reviewer says it sucks, the game is objectively awful and so is anyone who likes it.

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.

That's actually a decent (and interesting) point. It's especially true of the mass media/tabloid reaction to video games (see anything said in the Daily Mail or on Fox News).

There's a reason why most games from WW2 have you fighting against rather than for the Nazis

Out of curiosity, what did people do when that Call of Duty game in a World War 2 setting had a playable German/Nazi team in multiplayer? And I'm pretty sure one team gets to play as the 'terrorist'/'enemy' team in any Call of Duty multiplayer games simply so there are enough teams to make the mode work.

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DefHalan

99. Posted:

@garywood
But you can do that, that is the point. Why should we stop someone from doing that?

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

100. Posted:

DefHalan wrote:

@garywood
But you can do that, that is the point. Why should we stop someone from doing that?

Once again, I'm not saying it should necessarily be stopped. I'm saying that if it's accepted, then the inconsistencies at least should be pointed out so people notice them. People are pretty good at not doing that!

And what's more, I'm fairly skeptical as to whether the review sites would actually accept one of their reviewers doing that (making a big stink about a single point and giving it a 3/10)

Edited on by garywood

garywood