Shit-Storm: A Blog About Critics, Reviews, and Opinions
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:
Types of Critics
- 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.
Just a rebuttal on one thing: Roger Ebert's a lot more open-minded than you'd think. He has his persuasions, but he's open to calling something "competent" or "respectable" even if he himself doesn't like it. That's the mark of a good reviewer: separating the personal from the qualitative.
Other than that, not much to criticize here...
But what about my opinion?
Great post, Alpha, and I agree with you all the way.
I don't really care if the reviewer themselves didn't like it nor do I get angry about it.
What I don't like about a lot of reviews is that they are just the one persons thoughts, ratings, and experience with said game. That's not what a review should be, it needs to take into consideration how people will be affected by any flaws of a game, it could absolutely destroy their experience or not effect their enjoyment at all, like bad, awkward or hard to get used to controls. And I hate it when they say stuff like: anyone who buys this game will feel nothing but regret and disappointment, when that's a blatant lie if any single person does not feel that way.
The thing that bugs me most is that there are people who will take one review, one opinion as fact and not give it a second thought, when there is a community rating that is so drastically higher. When so many people had such a vastly better experience then the person who reviewed it, don't you think its worth a little more consideration before dismissing? I just want more people to think for themselves when it comes to reviews, or at least take in more then just one perspective.
Great social analysis Alpha.
What I just don't understand is why people just can't have eduacated debates concerning important aspects of the world as opposed to passion and crass fueled arguements over nothing.
There has been many a time where I have had debates with people of the opposite opinion (This is coming from someone that deals with DEATH BATTLE Fans) that span entire comment sections yet I find this is really one the only sites where these discussions USUALLY don't get out of hand.
The thing the most people lack is just respect and understanding. If just a few people out there had just a little bit of that in there hearts I think this world would be a much better place. I only disapprove of opinions that aren't well backed and or supported by passionate rage that has no place in logic whatsover.
As long as one explains their opinion in way that is logical and respectable, then I in turn yield my respect back.
I think for the most part this site is very good at that and is just one of the reasons this community appeals to me so.
Thanks again Alpha for reminding us of this. I trully think it's what makes us special, and it should stay that way.
You're probably right. It would probably help stop flame wars if people would just ignore trolling.
Ironic seeing as Jared gave a bad review of a popular game. I'm not saying he's wrong, just that this is ironic.
no its not a reason to rage but it becomes a reason to rage when reviewers openly burn the people who liked the game in the first place, I have come upon many reviews where the writer would call fans of the game they poorly reviewed shallow dumb and lonely. Thats when it becomes rage worthy, or when a community member openly admits to liking the game regardless of the review and the reviewer makes them a pariah which is part of the reason I lost so much respect for Jared. Before all you loverboys out there throw a hissy fit and say "no he dont do that hes our messiah blah blah blah" He did it to me once and since then I have lost alot of respect for someone I had nothing but the utmost respect for... so if you ever see any Jared rage from my comments you all know why.
By some, I meant most actually. You know what I mean. It's good.
AAAABBRRAAABBRRUU JARED ONLY GAVE THE LAST STORY A 3.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol jk we all have opinions
There are two things that turn me off to a reviewer...
1) An ego mixed with that "scathing critic" personality - I don't want to hear you smugly imply that you could do a better job because, chances are, if you really could then you'd be doing it. Also, if someone can't review within the context of an artist's intent then that person shouldn't be doing a review.
2) A blatant disrespect for those who created the work in question. Why say something that you wouldn't say to their face? Some reviewers are no better than the trolls who criticize them.
Seems like this showed up at a good time, considering the recent review I just read. Reading this article actually made me feel better. I read reviews for the sole purpose of seeing what other people think about the game in question. If I think a game looks good, I'll get it and enjoy it, regardless of any reviews. That has hardly ever steered me wrong, believe it or not. Opinions will differ, and there is nothing in this universe that everyone likes or everyone dislikes. Though it can hurt quite a bit.
There was an article on that?
I dunno. I find Jim Sterling to be hit or miss. But Yahtzee, well I think my rebuttal to this might explain my feelings on him:
" know I like to come across as aloof to the mealy-mouthed whining of the fanboys but I do feel genuinely upset when people say I'm automatically biased against Nintendo, because in doing so they are firstly using that as an excuse to immediately dismiss all of my arguments, and secondly insulting me and my journalistic credibility"
Oh you mean the same journalistic credibility you get from calling Kid Icarus Uprising "a shitty game for twats" Yahtzee? Yeah that fucker isn't fooling me anymore. His gimmick is old, he's only doing this job for a paycheck he doesn't even really need anymore when he has a pretentious bar that he's running in addition to being a novelist apparently.
I'm still bewildered by the majority of reviewers, both amateur and professional, who cream all over the film Drive. Even a friend of mine was elbowing me to go see it and it was the biggest pile of dog shit I've seen in years.
This is why I love Screwattack, thank you Alpha.
I wish there was somehow a way to get you to agree with all of it.
Thank you, I needed this after that stupid "How not to write a review" blog.
My review of this blog: 0/10. Absolutely perfect.
This is actually a tough issue the more I think of it. An idea for review basis I had was simply no score and have three options: Buy it(either because it's good, or because there is a ridiculous amount of content for the asking price) Rent it( it's good, but not lengthy enough to be worth buying) or pass on it(It's isn't good enough to consider), but the problem with that, is that people's tastes are so different that one person may play a Buy It game, and hate it because it isn't part of a genre they enjoy.(Even though that's their own fucking mistake). I don't know, just keep reviews how they are, unless I see a game I wanted getting abysmal reviews left and right( not score mind you, actual criticism) then I won't purchase it.(that was the case with Duke Nukem Forever). If the scores are about 7 or higher, I'll get the game.