Friday, May 16, 2008

Spoiler Alert! Gamers are spoiled.

This gamer is spoiled anyway. I find that the more able I am to purchase any game or system I want, the more spoiled or jaded I become. I have been a gamer since the Atari 2600 and Vic 20 days. Back then, I had to rely on whatever money I could scrape up or try and convince my parents to buy me a certain game or system. There were games I played to death back then. I invented new ways to play them when I finished them or made up house rules to change things up a bit. But the point is that I devoured those games.

I have always been something of an impulse buyer. Those crappy items at checkouts that no one needs were invented for me. That isn't a good quality to have combined with a video game addiction. I buy games sometimes just because I like the idea of them. Sometimes I will buy a game and load it up, play it for a bit thinking to myself how cool it is and then never play it again. I bought a PS2 to play RPGs I missed out on during the "PS2 era" when I was mired in my MMO addiction. I bought Dragon's Quest 8 because I liked the idea of it. I actually even played it for eight or ten hours and had fun. I haven't played it in months now though. Why? Well, because there was some new shinny thing that came out.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, because I think this kind of endemic of the gaming review industry. I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of blogs on gaming and the thing I invariably take away is that the people on them are bored. They are jaded and it takes something really fresh and unique (to them) for them to sit up and take notice. I think this creeps into their review scores and how they talk about games. These people (for the most part) have access to a huge amount of games and systems. They see a wide variety of games and end up reviewing things they probably wouldn't want to play in the first place. This leads to a general pessimism and malaise where gaming is concerned. Witness the fact that almost every review you see of a WWII shooter will be prefaced by the fact that reviewer is just, "so over" shooters set in WWII. Well guess what? Not everyone has played every shooter ever released and there are some people who have a real interest in that era.

My point is that game reviewers that work for large companies and I have a lot in common. We are all jaded. Keep that in mind when you read our reviews and thoughts on games. We are not normal people. Take our reviews with a grain of salt and avail yourself of other resources when trying to decide whether to purchase a game or not. And by all means, don't rely on review scores. They are pretty much worthless.


Bartlebe said...

Review "averages" are what you have to look for.

Whenever I am deciding whether or not to buy a game I got to Gamespot and to Metacritic to look at their users review averages to get a good feel for how the game was recieved. Metascore has an official critic average and a user score average. The first is moderatly useful but the second, user reivews are where the gold is. The same thing with Gamespot.

I agree though. YOu can never trust official reviews and reviews in general, are all subjective and shouldn't considered fact. I just know that when it comes to my gaming tastes, if everyone else thinks the game is garbage, I probably will come to the same conclusion. What can I say? I am a pretty average minded gamer.

Flying Norseman said...

You are right, the average score thing is a good way to judge. There have been games that no one likes that I liked though. For consoles, I just rent things I am dubious about, but for PC that isn't possible.