Going Gold

Going Gold
Going Gold #4: These Go To 11

Christian Ward | 20 Aug 2008 21:00
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Former Gamespot editor Jeff Gerstmann told MTV's Multiplayer blog the following anecdote in an article about the same topic. "I've gotten e-mails from developers over the years who have said, 'I don't think you realize what you're doing to me with this review' because my review knocked them out of the range of some bonus that they were up for... That's something that really troubles me... When I'm sitting down to write a review I'm never setting out to think: 'I am taking food off this guy's table'."

Not consciously, perhaps, but subconsciously it's more than a possibility. In the young-male dominated games industry, it's easy to make friend, and the boundaries of professional relationships are, like many tech-related jobs, hazy. Hey, if everybody gets pretty good reviews, B+'s and A-'s, we all get paid and we all go home happy, right? But the reverse is also true - a critic at one of the publications that Metacritic rates as "influential" could now potentially punish an unlikable developer, not just with the traditional scathing review, but with real financial penalties.

In the defense of Metacritic, Marc Doyle, the Game Editor and one of the founders of the site, told the Guardian that "reviews in general and sites like Metacritic in particular are MORE critical now that advertising budgets have swollen." If reviews are more critical, yet scores are still going up, does that mean the quality of games is several times better than it used to be? Call me cynical, but I reaming unconvinced.

And so it is with the review scores already inflated, when works come along like BioShock, Portal or Braid that actually do a little bit of thinking and have things like themes, symbolism and meaning, we put them atop ridiculously high pedestals and declare them to be high art. But this only shows our ignorance of true art and makes us look foolish when it's pointed out to us that most of your time in BioShock is spent pulverizing people with wrenches. Now that we've had our fun, it's time to put the 10s back in the box and return to normality - or shortly we will have to start putting them up to 11.

Christian Ward works for a major publisher, and wants to know who the sole Famitsu reviewer was that gave Super Mario 64 9/10, and what was wrong with them.

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