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Op Ed

The Armchair Empire Infinite - And The Score Is...
Back in the magazine days, Computer Gaming World dropped review scores for a handful of issues, and the kickback was incredible. Not since the infamous "Canadian Corner" did the CGW offices receive so many profanity-laced Letters to the Editor. Scores returned. Numerical shorthand had trumped 500-word reviews. It was the number people wanted more than anything meaningful. The something out of something.

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22 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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22. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 20:56 nin
 
ViRGE wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 20:03:
nin wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 16:23:
PropheT wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 16:18:
That's been the warhorn for Xbox One since it launched (the PS4 has no games because our games averaged .4 higher at launch!).

Someone posted this the other day in both r/ps4 and r/xboxone and you can imagine how well it went down...

Huh. I didn't realize there was such a disparity.

I'll grant that some of those are indie titles, as opposed to full scale disc releases. But yeah, I was a little surprised as well. Actually the biggest one that surprised me was no current baseball on the xbone?

edit: I'm glad someone did it, as the old "teh ps4 has no gaaames" chant (legal disclaimer: I've seen it elsewhere, but not here) was getting old...

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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21. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 20:03 ViRGE
 
nin wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 16:23:
PropheT wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 16:18:
That's been the warhorn for Xbox One since it launched (the PS4 has no games because our games averaged .4 higher at launch!).

Someone posted this the other day in both r/ps4 and r/xboxone and you can imagine how well it went down...

Huh. I didn't realize there was such a disparity.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 17:00 Orogogus
 
I think I asked in an earlier thread -- how are those backgammon and chess games going to sell more than zero copies at $8? Are those actually video gamey deals that just happen to use chess pieces or a backgammon board, or are they seriously what they sound like?  
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19. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 16:23 nin
 
PropheT wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 16:18:
That's been the warhorn for Xbox One since it launched (the PS4 has no games because our games averaged .4 higher at launch!).

Someone posted this the other day in both r/ps4 and r/xboxone and you can imagine how well it went down...

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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18. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 16:18 PropheT
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 11:23:
For many, though, I think the numbers are just a way to feel justification in the crap you've irrationally aligned yourself with. Engadget got rid of numbers, because iOS fans and Android fans were constantly rubbing it in each other's faces when one device got 0.1 higher than another device. It was bragging rights for the corporation you obviously loved.

That's been the warhorn for Xbox One since it launched (the PS4 has no games because our games averaged .4 higher at launch!). Hell, there's probably an argument on Amazon about the proper toaster to buy because of a difference in star rating there, too.

I've found that reviews rarely mean anything to me anymore, but I'm not sure they're for older people at this point. The younger crowd wants Angry Joe ranting hyperbole about small game features as if they're life destroying choices, but I've yet to see a case where that was helpful in determining if I should buy a game or not; it's usually the opposite. If I passed on the games that get 70's in the last couple of years in favor of the "must have" games from the big reviewers, I'd probably have quit gaming entirely and certainly would have missed out on my favorite titles in that time frame.
 
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17. Re: Out of the Blue Apr 24, 2014, 16:14 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Reviews without a score only work if you can trust the reviewer. And that only works if the reviewer has a long track record of providing reviews that people will trust.  
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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16. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 15:09 PHJF
 
Dagnamit wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 15:02:
Jivaro wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 14:38:
In my imaginary gaming journalism utopia, game reviews use a Pass/Fail indication at the top of the page followed by a short(ish) but concise review that lacks spoilers. The more enthusiastic the reviewer is about a strength or weakness, the more descriptive they must be about why. This is the digital age so if the review is based online examples of "poor sound" or "poor graphics" should be available to sample. (screenshots, sounds files, etc. Paired with opposite comparisons for context of course). Also, the only thing in the headline for said review is the title of the game. No quirky word plays, puns, etc.

That's my fantasy. In reality, I basically do the same thing Beamer described below.

I think Ars does a "should you play it? yes/no." I like that.

Kotaku does that but we're not allowed to mention them here... Redface

The two biggest "wtf highscores" from CGW in my memory are Doom 3 and Black & White. It wasn't them being disingenuous, though; their reviewers were just as caught up in hype as everyone else. Hype they themselves fostered, but still.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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15. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 15:02 Dagnamit
 
Jivaro wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 14:38:
In my imaginary gaming journalism utopia, game reviews use a Pass/Fail indication at the top of the page followed by a short(ish) but concise review that lacks spoilers. The more enthusiastic the reviewer is about a strength or weakness, the more descriptive they must be about why. This is the digital age so if the review is based online examples of "poor sound" or "poor graphics" should be available to sample. (screenshots, sounds files, etc. Paired with opposite comparisons for context of course). Also, the only thing in the headline for said review is the title of the game. No quirky word plays, puns, etc.

That's my fantasy. In reality, I basically do the same thing Beamer described below.

I think Ars does a "should you play it? yes/no." I like that.
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 14:38 Jivaro
 
In my imaginary gaming journalism utopia, game reviews use a Pass/Fail indication at the top of the page followed by a short(ish) but concise review that lacks spoilers. The more enthusiastic the reviewer is about a strength or weakness, the more descriptive they must be about why. This is the digital age so if the review is based online examples of "poor sound" or "poor graphics" should be available to sample. (screenshots, sounds files, etc. Paired with opposite comparisons for context of course). Also, the only thing in the headline for said review is the title of the game. No quirky word plays, puns, etc.

That's my fantasy. In reality, I basically do the same thing Beamer described below.
 
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13. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 14:35 Pigeon
 
JohnnyRotten wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 13:50:
Beamer wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 11:23:
I look at numbers mostly on games I had no plans to buy. If I see something very high that wasn't on my radar, may as well check out why. If I see something very low, it can be entertaining to read just how incompetent the devs were.

We're on the same page here. If I see a 1/10, the review is generally worth reading just for the schadenfreude alone.

This is generally how I use scores. Or if I'm looking for something in a specific genre, I might use scores to narrow down the search. For the most part actual purchasing is based on a combination of things, unless its on sale for $5, then I can justify buying a game that's less than amazing. Reviews are helpful if they actually say why something is bad or good. Like they can say terrible UI, but actually mean they feel its cluttered because they're used to simpler console UIs.
 
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12. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 13:50 JohnnyRotten
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 11:23:
I look at numbers mostly on games I had no plans to buy. If I see something very high that wasn't on my radar, may as well check out why. If I see something very low, it can be entertaining to read just how incompetent the devs were.

We're on the same page here. If I see a 1/10, the review is generally worth reading just for the schadenfreude alone.
 
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11. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 13:16 panbient
 
It depends on the situation. I like a numerical summary at the end of a review. Same as a bullet point list of pros and cons.

If I'm researching a game at home the summary will give me an idea of whether or not I want to spend the time reading the review for a more detailed analysis and explanation.

On the other hand, if I'm at a game store and a flashy case / cool premise has caught my eye I'm not going to want to read a detailed review. I just want to check for an aggregate to decide whether or not I should follow through with the impulse purchase.
 
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10. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 13:10 J
 
I triangulate using a mixture of reviews, feedback from actual play, and youtube. Except for Julian Gollop, because he's my God.  
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9. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 12:38 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 11:23:
I don't care whether a reviewer liked it or not (or claimed he liked it or not), I care why.

I agree. I read several reviews and find the commonalities in them. Do the reviews agree that the game has a terrible UI? Then it probably has a terrible UI, and if it's in the sort of game where that bugs me, I know not to get it.

I rarely look at the score, especially since scores are typically bought, and rarely even correlate to the actual review (how many reviews have we all seen where the reviewer bashes the game, then still gives it an 80+?), but I can understand why people like them.

Of course, with the average mouthbreathing drooltard that infests the internet, the score thing just becomes a "OMG I CANT BELEEV U GAEF IT NLY 92! U GUYZ SUCK LULZ!" circle jerk between illiterate fanboys.
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 11:23 Beamer
 
I read most reviews before I buy something. I don't care whether a reviewer liked it or not (or claimed he liked it or not), I care why. Maybe he hated something I wouldn't mind, or loved something I know I'd hate. Maybe he spends an entire review bashing something then gives it a high score. I like to know these things.

But the difference between a 7.5 and 9.0 is somewhat meaningless to me. I look at numbers mostly on games I had no plans to buy. If I see something very high that wasn't on my radar, may as well check out why. If I see something very low, it can be entertaining to read just how incompetent the devs were.

For many, though, I think the numbers are just a way to feel justification in the crap you've irrationally aligned yourself with. Engadget got rid of numbers, because iOS fans and Android fans were constantly rubbing it in each other's faces when one device got 0.1 higher than another device. It was bragging rights for the corporation you obviously loved. It's the same with games. People will pile on and need to see that the unreleased series they've preordered and spent hours defending on Bluesnews is as good as they built up in their head. "It got an 8.5, critics love it, Ouya is the future of mankind!"
 
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7. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 11:18 Verno
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 11:09:
A score at least gives you a ballpark as to how someone feels about it. Do I want to read several pages of review just to get a gist of how someone feels about a game? Ain't no one got time for that.

Nah I disagree, I always make time to read about things that I'm spending money on. A score tells me very little and the metrics are so fucked up these days, I'd rather read an opinion than a number. The only thing I use a score for is determining whether or not something is a complete waste of time or worth reading about, that's what Metacritic is good for.
 
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Playing: Alien Isolation, Legend of Grimrock 2, Super Mario 3D World
Watching: A Good Marriage, The Knick, Gotham
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6. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 11:09 Cutter
 
A score at least gives you a ballpark as to how someone feels about it. Do I want to read several pages of review just to get a gist of how someone feels about a game? Ain't no one got time for that.
 
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"Nobody wants to be nobody in America. Ed is the apotheosis of a prevailing American syndrome. It used to be that someone became famous because they were special. Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is its own virtue.
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5. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 11:05 gsilver
 
The thing about review scores is that they need to serve as a filter for bad games.

For example, say a bundle shows up, and a game on it has a trailer that looks appealing to me. A quick search on Gamerankings shows a 45% review average. Having spent only about 10 seconds of my time, I instantly know that it isn't worth looking into. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of games being released each year, and it would be madness to read a 500 word review for each, let alone reviews for more than one source.

Even people like TotalBiscuit of WTF Is... fame who hates review scores usually puts in his videos "but is it any good?" which leads itself to a "thumbs-up/thumbs-down" response. During the actual video, he doesn't usually respond yes or no, but he does usually have an answer in mind.


By the time I'm reading a 500-word review, the actual score doesn't matter, but before I get to that point I want to know if it's worth it.
 
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4. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 09:58 eRe4s3r
 
Dagnamit wrote on Apr 24, 2014, 09:40:
The number doesn't tell me a damn thing.

But neither does a review without one. In the end, you are reading something subjectively analyzed and all you really learn is what "random dude/girl on the internet" thought about a game.

Imo the only way to properly "review" a game is by playing it, and ergo, making it a WTF is.... kind format, or a let's play (even that can have far reaching failings, with complex games that have depth later in gameplay that goes beyond tutorial ;p)

So a good representation of a game takes at least a few hours of gameplay into account. At that point, what is shown is no longer subjective, but an objective review.

Written reviews are simply not very useful, score or not.
 
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3. Re: Op Ed Apr 24, 2014, 09:40 Dagnamit
 
The number rating is mostly arbitrary. If you can't state an opinion without providing a number to let people know how you really feel, then you shouldn't be writing about games.

I've noticed that I actually read/watch reviews that don't have number ratings (RPS: wot i think, Zero Punctuation...). They rest I just skim over.

There are too many aspects about a game to boil it down to just 1 number, because you're balancing things as you go to come up with that number. Bioshock Infinite is a 10 art/narrative game, but a 7 gameplay wise. Just Cause 2 is a 10 gameplay wise but a 7 in other design aspects. Both could be given a 8 or 9 in total based upon that criteria, but saying that they are of the same quality is just not true and highly subjective. The number doesn't tell me a damn thing.
 
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22 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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