An Oblivion Created by Reviews

July 12th, 2010 -

An overabundance of reviews have been showing up on this blog recently; I should know, I’ve written a few and edited even more. There’s so many that more than half the articles on the front page are reviews. What is the point of a review? Well, to give your opinion on a game and inform others about how well it scored. Wait, what? Isn’t that a little skewed, since a score is based on one person’s opinion?

People have differing opinions of everything in life. You see, there’s this cool concept called individuality that allows people to think for themselves and feel differently about things they experience compared to others in society. So why is that we love seeing what others think, and even base our decisions on what others say?

I’m no more innocent than the next person – I look up reviews on games/movies/music/etc… all the time. Sometimes to prove my point of something being amazing/terrible, other times to persuade me one way or the other when I’m on the fence about something. Is basing decisions on a review a bad thing? No, assuming you do it correctly. Yes, there is a right and wrong way to perceive a review.

INCORRECT:
“Hum deee dummm deeeeeeee doooooooooooooooo, oh look, White Knight Chronicles got some reviews.” *Scans metacritic scores from various websites, blogs, and magazines* “Oh man, I was really excited for this game, but it got 5’s and 6’s. Oh well… Hmm… Oh cool, (insert game that you bought but didn’t like) did well!!”

You see, just because a game gets a bad/good numerical score, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t/should buy it. You should look at WHY it was scored the way it was. Therein lies the answer of if you’d like the game or not.

CORRECT:
“Oh… WKC did poorly, let’s see why…” *Reads several reviews* “Hmm, that doesn’t seem like it’d be that bad. In fact, some of the things they disliked about it intrigue me. I’ll at least rent it to see if it’s enjoyable or not.”

While I suppose you could just rent all your games and keep what you like, I’m trying to get at the fact that the opinions of others may be different from yours. You’re given all the facts, but so many refuse to take action and make a choice as an individual. They follow the herd…

What are the best selling games currently? Hmm… not hard to figure out: Halo, Modern Warfare, Madden… They’re big names, big series’, and cost a lot of money to make. Let’s take a look at their Metascores… Yup, all in the upper 80s to 90s range for scores. I’m not making the obvious relation of “The higher the score, the better the sales… derrrrrrrrrrp.” There are plenty of small company games that score extremely well that sell barely a fraction of the aforementioned games. This is more of that herd mentality most have… Big names, big advertising, and a big following leads to lots of sales and the shadowing of smaller, more intuitive games.

How can this be remedied? Unfortunately, it really can’t be. A large portion of society doesn’t research games aside from what they’re told to like. It’s just how we are. We like being spoon fed information without having to look around ourselves. It’s easier to steal someone else’s opinion than formulate your own. But… just once, I’d like you to go against the grain and find something that looks interesting to you. Something that you may have never heard of… and, heaven forbid, didn’t get AMAZING review scores. Then let me know what you thought of it. It doesn’t have to be something that just came out; it can be anything. It seems I’m the only one of my friends that enjoys Goichi Suda games (killer7, No More Heroes, Samurai Champloo)… so maybe find a game all your friends hated, and try it. See if you like it. Make your own opinion of a game.

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