One of my favorite blogs, MTV Multiplayer is having a “Review Week“. Where a normal (read: shitty) blog would do reviews on Review Week, MTV will actually be doing journalism regarding the subject of reviews: Do they matter? How hard are they to do professionally? What are the behind-the-scenes shenanigans? I’m excited because Multiplayer has earned my respect and I can’t wait to see if they will talk about some of the great Untold Truths of the game reviewing industry. As a developer, I have some very strong opinions on the subject, so we will see how it unfolds. In the explanation, Tolito says:
I learned that many developers are deeply suspicious of the qualifications of many game reviewers.
I’m of two minds on the subject. On one hand, being a gamer should be credential enough to review a game. After all, they are trying to explain what the experience will be to you sir or madam gamer in as close of an approximation as they can. Sir or madam gamer is not privy to some of the tricks of the trade and may make unfounded, rash and unfair judgments, so shouldn’t the reviewers as well?
On the other hand, I’ve found most reviewers while well-meaning to be absolutely unqualified in technical knowledge and subject to herd-think prejudices. If they are just echoing the common knowledge available as the zeitgeist on any online forum or by playing the first ten minutes of a game, then what the hell good are they?
So when the correlation between Metacritic and sales is echoed time and again (which is a premise I debate the casuality of), for one (or many!) numskull reviewer(s) to sink an otherwise accomplished game to me is nearly criminal. I see people here in my studio who should damn well know better say that they will pass trying the demo for game XYZ because it is “only Metacriticing in the seventies”. Bah!
So here’s hoping for an excellent series on the old Multiplayer blogotron.