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Shit-Storm: A Blog About Critics, Reviews, and Opinions

9/14/12 1:30pm
tl;dr

Hatred spreads through disagreement if it isn't frustration.

 

What video game website isn't complete without a review section to tell it's readers which game to cheer or jeer? When anybody has an extremely anticipated game fresh in their mind, of course they're going to turn themselves over to a review to check the over quality to confirm a purchase. Plain and simple, it's one of the greater reasons to visit a video game website besides news, podcasts, and if they can be found, an actual community. 

Most certainly, reviews can be one of the most controversial aspects of a video game site. Or rather, the score, which is what everybody really comes for. The number, stars, grade...Whatever, is often times a ticking time bomb which may lead unwanted "banter". Many individuals have varying opinions, and whether or not they've played the game or not, have a relatively low or high score may enrage people.

And why do commenters do this? Why do these scores get them mad? There's certainly a variety of reasons which could in fact explain this, but only a few are concrete and general. One of them being the variety of critical mentalities.

There's multiple mentalities which may affect how people handle this, and while this is so sudden in the article, I think I have go over this in bullet points and in large font: 

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Types of Critics

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  • Passive Consumer: They just go with the flow. Something popular? Movie, music, or TV show. They'll just go for it regardless of reviews. They go straight for the trends. These people kept Jersey Shore, Michael Bay Transformers, and Call of Duty alive. They  are blessed for being oblivious, but they do find ways of being annoying.
  • Critical Consumer: Not a "professional" critic, but they have way more to say regarding popular media. While they will almost never follow the same trends as a passive consumer, they do have similar mentality. They judge quality by reviews and what can be considered overrated, so they never really quite build a taste of their own. These people may talk nothing but shit about Jersey Shore, Transformers, or Call of Duty or anything without actually trying it out. These people are the ones you find on your average IGN or Gametrailers comments section 97.9834% of the time. 
  • Scathing Critic: If you want a really, really good example of one, I think you should look up "Roger Ebert", (or maybe Movie Bob) who is or may be really, really close minded on things. Scathing critics may likely have a huge bias in them, and they are what commands the critical consumer. They do analyze films or games and the rest of the media, but with perhaps with a tainted point of view which may make them hate anything really popular, modern, or different from what they're used to and such.
  • Open Critic: These guys are open to anything. They don't like things because they're popular and they certainly won't hate things because they're popular. What they say is certainly not something everyone can agree upon, but they know this. They are brutally honest and are genuinely open to what anyone else has to say. This is a very, very hard status to achieve, for many, listening to others and understanding them is quite difficult.

What I can understand is that it's certainly human nature to complain and criticize something. We are natural snark machines, because in the end, who doesn't like to get something off their chest? We all dislike or hate something, and it's very easy to spread that, and it's much easier now that the internet exists and lets us put it in a forum or comment thread with dozens of others to see. In our society, we are just simply more focused on negativity. Good news is common throughout the world, but very rare when you turn on the local news. Being cynical dominates, and even now, I'm being cynical talking about being cynical and pessimistic. 

Not only do we like complaining about things, most of us really do have a hive mentality. Like I said before, we don't always follow our senses, we follow other's senses and pick that up and perhaps try to learn from it and pick a habit. In a world like this, trust is on a border between certainty and uncertainty. The saying "Don't knock it until you try it" is very much known, but often underutilized or seldom preformed on the internet. 

Judging by the last few statements, you can now tell that this is now directed to the critical consumer, they strive to try only the best, nothing that's ever "good" or "great". 5/10, the midway bar for a review, is what average should be (given flak of course), but when a game is automatically given an 8/10, it's automatically given flak despite being very, very good. They don't want a "gray" section, they only want the best and nothing but the best. Many dwellers of the internet don't understand what "respectable" is, to them, it's either perfect or not.

But here's where I have to draw an ironic twist: ITS THEIR OPINION. If they don't like a game for being just plain great, you shouldn't care and that's their loss. If they hate a game because it's not perfect, it's their problem, you should let the bitching continue because that bitching won't matter anyway. IGNORE IT. Whether you don't agree with what they say, it no longer matters.

And about critics, it is up to you whether whatever critic you are following or reading about is respectable. Whether their opinion is the one you like or hate, you are right because opinions cannot be facts. Critics merely get whatever they just experienced off their chest and give you a guideline (the article and the score) to go by, and once again, that guideline should only be followed only if you like to follow it. 

It's all a matter of opinion nowadays, and in that, we're all right and never wrong. Unless this is some sort of math test and not a debate over the quality of a video game, you can't be wrong for what you think, and I don't think you should let some grade tell you so. It is just as okay to hate, dislike, and rip on something, but as I write this, I just want to say that being open minded about you review should be nice too. 

One thing I understand is our diverse tastes, and depending on the person, either will or won't let the words of others hinder it. This is exactly why Michael Bay makes money in this day: because his movies are mindless action, and that's what the common populace wants, nothing says you don't have to think. And this is exactly why critics exist, to tell others there may be something greater lying somewhere else and exactly how to disect media well enough if not extremely well. 

The only bad draw of our conflicting interests is one thing: They start arguments. Because we all have different outlooks, we all attempt to change how other people think or disagree and tell others they are wrong. While it's a very good thing to give people another way to look at something, or perhaps debate, it's a very bad thing to tell people how they should look at something everytime permanantly while scrambling the very foundations of their opinion. It's a sad thing to say, but sometimes, opinions can just plain bite. If this guy doesn't like what you like, it can hurt, and it's not his fault a lot of the times. 

What the fuck can we do? Just understand we aren't all the same, we all jump to different conclusions a lot of the times, and be more forgiving over reviews. I don't hate Call of Duty actually, but I can understand why you all hate it. I don't think it's as bad as many people say it is, but if you want to give Call of Duty the middle finger, you can do so, even if it's not really warranted. This is exactly why I like Jim Sterling from Destructoid: I don't agree with everything he says, but he's honest, he makes points, he knows different genres and series will have different expectations. If he says bad of anything I like, it won't matter to me. He's different, even if he's a troll. A hilarious troll.

The score on a video game site or maybe a film site or anything is just a score. Like I've said before, it only matters and counts if you think it does. Whether warranted or not, any opinion is an opinion, even the supposedly crappy ones.

And I know I've gotten really, really, really, really, really, really fucking boring and repetitive over the course of this write-up, I just wanted to let you know what I thought...I just don't know if you'll agree completely...Our opinions can differ.

 

All right, show time's over, ladies.

Alpha Unit

 

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