Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Unstable World Of Gaming Criticism

Since the very first post was published on this blog, Most of the articles roam around gaming topics that can be looked at an angle. It is sort of like one of those strange gaming conversations that you most likely have with some of your friends from time to time. If you have been following the articles you may have noticed that there is a little bit of everything except direct judgement over games and there is a good reason for it. The reason behind this decision is that direct gaming criticism is something that has lost its accuracy and neutrality, becoming a weird thing that is very unpredictable and tends to steer gamers towards loving or hating a game instead of sparking a sense of critical thinking. Following this line of thought and to support my previous statement, I will today show you how unstable the world of gaming criticism really is.

Note: This is NOT an anti-reviewer stance. I respect their work and acknowledge them as good sources of information. This article is all about game criticism from a neutral perspective and not meant as direct criticism to anybody.  

Game Characters Time

Time is an all powerful force.
Time is the one thing nobody can escape from and this is especially true with games and more specifically game criticism and public opinion. As time passes, the gaming industry changes and gets to favor some trends over others. Because of this, a game concept that would had been considered perfect 10 years ago, could find itself struggling for acceptance in this day and age. On the other hand, concepts that were ignored or underrated in the past could come up as great contenders on our present time if they are properly presented. This means that time is influential when somebody criticizes a game, but not all of us are devout followers of the latest trends so our opinions may greatly differ. One of our beloved franchises from the past can get destroyed nowadays the same way that concepts that we didn't liked in previous eras can become superstars overnight. In both cases we should try them before we say anything because the industry's collective thinking doesn't necessarily has to be our thinking.

Eat Sleep Game

Daily life makes all the difference in the world.
Is your life really busy or are you still in that blissful point in where you can still eat-sleep-play like there is no tomorrow? Regardless of your answer, you know that this is something that can change your perception of games and the same thing happens to critics. Most of them live busy lives even if all of their work is game related. This may have an impact in how they see certain games as their personal time for gaming may lead them to have a slight bias toward some experience over others. Some people can be comfortable with complex games and 60+ hour epics, others prefer simpler games in the average 12-15 hour range while some others are more into the "just play online until I get tired of it" attitude which obviously focuses on the online multi-player element of gaming. What all of this means is that the type of life the critic is having at the time of passing judgement over a game may not be the same as yours, so once again opinions may differ.

Gaming Pleasing Everybody

Personal taste and when biases collide.
Everybody has their own taste for gaming and this causes a lot of controversy when criticizing a game. A good game critic is obviously someone who loves games, but at the same time it is inevitable for them to have their favorite genres, platform, styles and concepts. The thing is that not every experience will be a sweet ride through one of their favorites as some times they will be stuck with games that are not part of their most favored ones. When this happens we know that most of them try to be as neutral as possible, but in the end anybody who has good reading comprehension skills can notice if they love the game or they are just in a kind of "meh" mood while playing it. The most important thing about this aspect is to be aware that their taste in gaming may not be the same as yours, so be wary of this before accepting or discarding a game after reading a review.

Dandy Mott Hates a Game

Trolls and whiner goblins.
When a game is announced and/or released, any one of you will able to find a great deal of information about it, but other than professional game criticism is the overall opinion of the gaming community itself through forums, comment sections on articles and social networks, so now we are not focusing on a lone critic, but the community itself. The problem here is that while there are a lot of people who write their concerns in a civilized manner, there are others that are just trolling, hating or just pouting over the simplest of things and when these kind of picturesque characters get too high in numbers they may give the wrong impression and lead many people to discard a game without even trying it. It is kind of understandable to a point, because after all this is your money we are talking about and you wouldn't want to spend it on a bad game, but at the same time you have to learn to spot the whiners and trolls or else you will often find yourself making a bad decision and probably missing out on a game you would had liked if you had used your own criteria.

Einstein on Game Criticism

Wrapping it up
The bottom line about all this is that you as a gamer can't solely rely on external game criticism to make your call about a game. On this article you read about 4 things that make the whole game criticism scene to be influenced by many factors although there are a lot more. I am mostly sure that most of the people reading this blog entry are not the kind of gamer who would let themselves to be led by the opinions of others, but if you are, then the next time you are curious about a game read the review, see how the general public feels, but don't let them choose for you.

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