Game People Calling: Reviewers Should Have Experience, Not Expertise

Game People Calling: Reviewers Should Have Experience, Not Expertise

A real life cricketer's review of International Cricket 2010 on the Xbox 360.

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I often wondered about how games reviewers - mostly American - manage to review games like this. But then I realised I never see them reviewed. Do Americans even get cricket games?

Fortunately, I spent twenty years as a space marine and studied violent archeology at university, so I'm qualified to review most modern action games.

Meemaimoh:
I often wondered about how games reviewers - mostly American - manage to review games like this. But then I realised I never see them reviewed. Do Americans even get cricket games?

We dont. We don't get rugby games either. I've never seen a cricket game in America and the last time I saw a rugby game was like 7 years ago.

Intresting...Its actually pretty cool to hear something from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

The problem is lack of Space Marines...hmmm...

I've seen this kind of thing quite often with JRPGs of late.
Many reviewers just don't understand them and thus give them arbitrarily low scores based on them not being WRPGs. Why not get a reviewer who knows enough about them to distinguish the differences and can give a more suitable score (whether it be good or bad). I'm tired of hearing: I just don't get JRPGs, and so here's a crappy score to justify my ignorance.

Meemaimoh:
I often wondered about how games reviewers - mostly American - manage to review games like this. But then I realised I never see them reviewed. Do Americans even get cricket games?

Very, very infrequently. I live in a town which would be described as stereotypically American, and I distinctly remember seeing one cricket game in our Best Buy. It never left the shelves.

So they do exist, but rarely. I even saw a rugby game at the same Best Buy.

The point of this article is fantastic, but I kept nodding off every time I read "Cricket".

Which probably explains the original review.

Can't wait for a hardened infantryman to review COD Black-ops. "This game is for fucking pussies who aren't man enough to strap on an M16 and shoot the enemies of democracy in the fucking face themselves. Until you've spent 16 weeks in wet jungle, shit dipping down your legs from dissentry surrounded by the smell of the rotting flesh of your slain best friends, you don't know fuck all about warfare. Graphics were okay, 8/10"

Real world experience is only pertinent to games meant to convey simulations of real world games. Otherwise, games need only to be reviewed by those who only have some knowledge on how the game is made to appreciate the effort for the successes or recognize the failings in design and implementation, thus the impact that has on the end user for entertainment purposes aka is the game fun to play In Your Humble Opinion and does it prevent the end user from playing its game with bugs, crashes, and/or DRM?

I don't think they should be doing this for (at least) sports games. Since this is what I did professionally for about six years I'm going to use wrestling games as an example. Now, I'm sure a lot of Escapists here watch or used to watch wrestling, but as a former one, I probably notice more little things that go on in a match than they do, so I'm more critical than they would be. In the Smackdown vs. Raw series I get really annoyed at the lack of things like psychology and timing and it hurts my opinion of the games. What this means is that since I (and others) have been trained to notice that type of stuff that the layman usually doesn't see, then an otherwise fine "GAME" based on it would be seriously marked down because of it.

Not to mention you don't have the booking of the season mode based on who is sleeping with the bosses daughter or an agent, or being held back because they didn't wear a suit on a plane.

Adam Sessler was actually saying something like this on the last Feedback, like how since he doesnt play sport games or MMO's, he wouldnt give a review for them and would allow someone who does know sports or MMOs to do it instead, that all he would know is as a video game, but nothing of the terms or how close to the real thing it would be.

I worked for a magazine some time ago and we had a Motorola bluetooth headset built into a motorbike helmet for review. Fortunatelly, one of our colleagues is a motorbike fan, so he got to review it. I thought it was cool, because who else can review it properly? I guess the same applies for 'games for fans': sports, hunting, skating, snowboarding etc. The reviewer should know his stuff.

BUT the reviewer should always see the game from two points of view: call it hardcore and casual, it makes sense here.

See, games of a particular genre aren't picked up only by the fans of said genre. I'm a shooter kind of guy, but I pick up a platformer or a racer now and then. So I may be hardcore shooter fan, but I'm very casual in platforming games. And thus I hated Prince of Persia SoT, but love PoP 2008, because it's so easy to get into. I found Grid to be too difficult, but FlatOut a blast.

This applies to nearly any game, from a flight simulator or a cricket game, through shooters and strategy games, to The Sims.

BUT: usually, games are actually reviews by fans of the genre.

Thus an experienced reviewer thrashes PoP 08, because it's repetitive.

The reviewer finds DMC3SE easy, because the original DMC3 was murderous in difficulty.

The reviewer finds HL2ep3 marvelous, because it's improvement over HL2.

The reviewer finds Doom 3 outdated, because you don't have double-jump, corner peeking and advanced AI.

The reviewer finds Super Street Fighter IV a new coming of Christ, because... Well I dunno.

But people who don't play these kinds of games regularly but pick them up anyway, will find the exact opposites (PoP 08 to be beautiful, DMC3SE unbeatable, HL2ep3 having no story, D3 freaking scary and SSFIV a big WTF).

Yet all popular game sites/reviewers come to similar conclusions about each of these games.

Why is there so little disagreement between various major reviews?

Than look at some very unusual games, like the original Assassin's Creed: ratings go from 60 to 95 (Metacritic). Read one review and you may think the game is thrash/average/great. Read a few reviews and you get a good idea about what the game actually is and whether you may like it.

Most authors can't review games in such a way that everyone can get the proper idea about what the game is about.

So my conclusion is, I actually do want the reviews and reviewers be different in expertise and experience. In that way, at least I can get a proper idea about the game if I read several reviews.

s69-5:
I've seen this kind of thing quite often with JRPGs of late.
Many reviewers just don't understand them and thus give them arbitrarily low scores based on them not being WRPGs. Why not get a reviewer who knows enough about them to distinguish the differences and can give a more suitable score (whether it be good or bad). I'm tired of hearing: I just don't get JRPGs, and so here's a crappy score to justify my ignorance.

Yeah, I've always thought that this sort of thing was the drawback to Yahtzee's reviews. Because of the nature of Zero Punctuation he's expected to review every big release, which takes him into genre's that he has no interest in to begin with.

Also, I think people are mixing up "real life experience" with "interest". People should review games they're interested in, they don't have to be a soldier or an athlete to have a basic understanding and to enjoy the game. They don't need someone who plays Cricket to review a cricket game, but they should have someone that watches and enjoys cricket do it.

As somebody who reviews simulation games, I have to agree with the advice given when it comes to reviewing niche-genre titles - there's no point reviewing a hardcore driving simulator game if you only have the faintest idea of how cars work, let alone how they should handle on track. However, most mainstream computer games have a lot of "gamey" elements which one understands more intensely as their experience with computer games in general grows. Just as I wouldn't want the average game reviewer to review the likes of iRacing, I wouldn't necessarily want a professional racing journalist to start reviewing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or something in those lines.

I try, personally, to take the middle-ground, but you still wouldn't trust me with a review of DCS: Black Shark, and I'd readily step aside for somebody with more expertise even in my "specialist" simulation areas like motor racing.

Let's face it, the reviewer for the Guardian had a very prejudiced view on cricket and had no intention of writing a decent review - people will pay attention to what he says, so he will just tell people not to buy the game, as he has no interest in cricket.

With a dearth of teams playing cricket in England, I would have done one of two things:

a) Tried to get a slightly lesser known player from one of the local county sides to join me for a game or two and get his views - that way, you can hopefully get a bit of the jargon to actually stick in the mind and a legitimate shot or two might actually get described, such as "square cut to your heart's content"

b) As I actually play cricket, I have a few friends that might be interested in gathering around and playing a few games, giving their opinions, which could then be used to give a more subjective view, since these people particularly fit the target market demographic that the developers are aiming for - young people that play games and are interested in cricket.

Fault for this probably lies with the editor, for not realising that he had levied the assignment with someone who would have given a similar review for the world paint drying championships, which were successfully held just a few weeks ago in Croydon. Granted, not everyone will always get work that they most appreciate, but as a reviewer myself, I still try to look at the work from the perspective of someone within that target market.

Meemaimoh:
I often wondered about how games reviewers - mostly American - manage to review games like this. But then I realised I never see them reviewed. Do Americans even get cricket games?

No, we don't.

 

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