The Inferior Grade

March 9th, 2011 -

Troll Face... you jelly?

The other day when I was at Ryan’s for the FFoC recording, something caught my attention. I was washing up and saw a jar of honey that said Grade A on it. This got me thinking… why doesn’t anyone put Grade B or C on their products? I mean, honey has no government certification and no consequences for making false claims. So basically, I can fill it up with all the poison I want, yet sell it saying it’s organic. The question is, why would you do this? More over, how do game companies do this?

Well, I think it’s pretty obvious why people do this sort of thing. We are programmed to look for the best product. And being that we live in a society filled with competition, people try to outdo one another by being “the best.” Saying you are second rate automatically gives your competition a head start. Then again, what good is something if it all says the same thing?

Imagine you are standing in an aisle looking at honey. Instead of everything saying Grade A, or Organic, or anything like that, it just says honey. All different bottles, all different prices. What would you choose and why? Would you get the one in a plastic bottle shaped like a bear? Or the glass bottle? Would price be the deciding point? Do you go off of the color? How do you know what will be best? Is there a best?

Put the claims back on. What’s different? Essentially, nothing. They just have claims, and people will assume the more expensive ones are better tasting/better for them because of what the bottle says.

So does this work with games? Well, let’s take a look.

Uncharted 2 image

Not only do they capitalize by putting how many perfect scores this game got, but they list magazines that parents might recognize coming in their mail (Game Informer comes with a GameStop membership card thing…). I mean, how many parents go onto IGN or Destructoid? So that takes care of parental demographic. The sheer amount of perfect scores will appeal to the people that really pay attention to how games do with the critics (and that’s pretty impressive – you don’t see many games boasting that on their boxart). And side by side, if a person is trying to decide whether they want this or something else, those scores may push them over the edge.

Now, the difference between games and honey is that the quote/score actually comes from somewhere. But if a game is hated by the majority, and some obscure game blog loves it, do you think they could move more copies with that positive quote on the box? How do you think it’d do if they just made it a habit of copying a random quote from the same website, and didn’t realize they made a terrible game? Could you imagine?

Naughty Bear lulz


In some instances, I think it might help sell it. I mean, some people like playing games knowing full well they are terrible (Chris …?). And another thing that sets games apart is the fact that a review is only one person’s opinion. While critics do get things right, that doesn’t mean they have the exact same likes or interests as the general public. What one person hates, another may love (FFXIII, anyone?).

If a game has a “4 out of 5″ on the box, that’s probably the highest score it got. Or at least, highest score from a well known source. It doesn’t mean the game is bad. Look at B-rated movies like George A Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, John Carpenter’s “Halloween”, Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead,” or even “The Toxic Avenger.” You’ve heard of at least one of these movies, and they were by no means made to be blockbusters. Yet they are well respected movies and loved by many.

What I’m trying to get across to you is that if something interests you, don’t let others define how you feel about it. If you’re stoked about some game, but everyone puts you down for it, and the critics give it a 70, don’t worry about it. Chances are that if you don’t listen to them, you’ll enjoy it.  People are constantly trying to force their opinions on others in new forms every day – think for yourself, and take it at the base level. Imagine the world without all those extra labels, and create some of your own.



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