Grand Theft Objectivity

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Canadish:
If your personal and political beliefs are dictating your judgments of the quality of the art, you're essentially just Fox News. You have every right to do so, but don't expect me to ever take anything you say seriously.

First off: this statement is hilariously false. Just flat "no."

Secondly, if it were true, everyone would be Fox News because, hey, guess what, your personal beliefs (which include your political beliefs so yay redundancy) are a major contributing factor in your judgments, and by "your" I mean "those of any rational human being." You can try to be unbiased, but considering that your definition of bias is, itself, determined by a judgment call on your part (in answering the unspoken question, "Am I biased toward/against X," when you're contemplating how best to make the "objective" judgment you desire), well, good luck with that.

Third, and this one might blow your mind so you should probably sit down before you keep reading...

...all settled down? Okay, here we go: there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing personal preference to influence criticism. Now, there is a caveat to that statement in that, when you're making such a critique, you should express the influencing preferences so that your audience is aware of where you stand, your point of reference for making the judgments you express. Once you've done that, however, you're golden.

For instance, if I were reading a review written by you about, I dunno, let's pick a random game off my shelf. Let's see here...Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. I'm reading your VP2:S review, alright? And fairly early on in this review you mention something like, say, "I'm not really a fan of games that try to mix RTS and turn-based combat together," that tells me I should read your criticism and praise of the game's mechanics in that regard with that point in mind: it's not your usual fare. That might mean you'll be more harsh on that style of game's flaws because they're not familiar to you, or because you're looking at them in a fresh light and seeing things I overlook because I've played them so long I take those things for granted, or that you'll find something really fresh and interesting about the game that just annoys me because I've seen it done better in other games with that same style of play - games you haven't seen because, again, as you told me earlier in your review, you aren't really a fan of the style, from which I can infer you probably haven't played many games in that style as a result (why would you go out of your way to play a kind of game you know you don't like much, right?).

So if you end up giving this game something like a 6/10 with notes on your dislike of the combat style (among other things, no doubt, with a score that low!), I'm not going to stage a boycott of your column over it. You already told me it's not your thing; why would the score surprise me? I have to interpret that score through the lens of your point of view, which tells me it's a lower score given it's a kind of game you specifically do not enjoy playing. That it got even a 6 in that case tells me, the theoretical fan of those kinds of games, it might still be worth a look: someone who doesn't even like that kind of game didn't pan it completely, so it can't be all bad.

Bringing this back to the article Bob mentioned, the reviewer in question gave her reasons for the lower score, yes? The discouraging treatment and portrayal of women in the game? So the 9/10 isn't a mystery score. It's not like she gave it a completely perfect review and then there's just this missing point at the end. We know where that point went and why it went there. If we disagree, hey, that's cool, we can do that. It doesn't mean that she's wrong because we don't mind the content and she does; it means that it bothers her more than it bothers us and, as such, impacts her enjoyment of the game. That it isn't a mechanical impairment of playing is irrelevant: cons are cons.

The Petit thing is probably just because people are so tired of hearing about misogyny in games. If there are so many female gamers that are being left out, there would be a bigger market for games catering to them. But that is a group that doesn't exist in very large numbers, and so the market isn't very large.

All well and good, Bob. But what if the main point of contention is not to question anyone's right to an opinion but to simply take issue with the argument sustaining that opinion (and what is a critique if not a justification from the critic as to why he feels that way about a certain movie, book or game? Are those arguments not fair game to the discussion?)

I am not even gonna go into the whole Gamespot thing, beacuse that is unexcusable. To be fair though, I actually argued against Tito's review and rolled my eyes even more at his (somewhat pedantic at points, pretty earnest at others) editorial, and think the points he made are contradictory, knee jerked, and badly argued. And it's akin to criticising Heath Ledger's Joker for being a dark and twisted psycho with a grim sense of humour when those *are* the Joker's main character traits. And then point to Jack Nicholson and say, "see? At least this Joker's a dark and twisted psycho with a twisted sense of humour". In other words, it's hard to take seriously a review that criticizes the characters moral compass in the same breath that it praises previous characters who are exactly as morally twisted and at many times as devoid of a higher purpose as anything from the new game. It is also missing the point that GTA's brand of satire has a lot less in common with the likes of the Daily Show (something Tito specifically mentioned as wishing it did) and much more with the vicious, admittedly downright oftimes brutal comedy of Armando Iannucci or Ricky Gervais back at the british The Office, where everyone is a bastard and there is little levity or relief.

It is a valid complaint and criticism of Tito's review, and there were quite a few people arguing that point. And here is another point of some contention: while giving out some clarification of his views is laudable, by refusing to acknowledge the points being fairly and politely raised against him, even if it is to say "Now, I know some people argued that... but I stand by what I said because...", and by instead, both him, Grey Carter, and now you, with this article, seemingly focusing only on the hateful detractors, you're basically denying those who want to discuss it of a fair chance at an argument, and worse, you embolden the trolls and hatemongers by giving them your atention.

It can get grating, I can only imagine. But getting defensive, and worse, choosing to address yet again the trollmongers, makes one wonder a) why do you have a commentary box in the first place, and b) why the only opinions getting recognition are the wildest and more spiteful. The result of that approach is as discouraging of positive discourse as anything else, will eventually make it so the only ones commenting are said trollmongers, and your (in the general stance) encroaching and defensive stance and lack of admission of any flaw in your argument or at leas a willingness to discuss it might make some who were otherwise inclined to actually debate the point simply tell you to fuck right off. After all, it seems an easier way to engage than to actually counter argue, right?

grimner:
In other words, it's hard to take seriously a review that criticizes the characters moral compass in the same breath that it praises previous characters who are exactly as morally twisted and at many times as devoid of a higher purpose as anything from the new game. It is also missing the point that GTA's brand of satire has a lot less in common with the likes of the Daily Show (something Tito specifically mentioned as wishing it did) and much more with the vicious, admittedly downright oftimes brutal comedy of Armando Iannucci or Ricky Gervais back at the british The Office, where everyone is a bastard and there is little levity or relief.

It is a valid complaint and criticism of Tito's review, and there were quite a few people arguing that point. And here is another point of some contention: while giving out some clarification of his views is laudable, by refusing to acknowledge the points being fairly and politely raised against him, even if it is to say "Now, I know some people argued that... but I stand by what I said because...", and by instead, both him, Grey Carter, and now you, with this article, seemingly focusing only on the hateful detractors, you're basically denying those who want to discuss it of a fair chance at an argument, and worse, you embolden the trolls and hatemongers by giving them your atention.

I'll be honest, I'm not sure I see your point. It sounds like you're suggesting it's a "valid complaint and criticism" of Tito's review to point out that not everyone likes The Office's style of humor...?

I hadn't listened to the review before reading your complaint, so I went and read the review and read the editorial afterward, and...I just don't see the problem. He points out some complaints he had with the story's writing with a specific example of a weak plot and a "surprise" incident of gruesomeness that can't be avoided he found distasteful. His comment on parody in the style of the Daily Show and The Onion didn't sound like he was saying, "This is the only acceptable form of satire," more that it's a kind of humor he finds more entertaining and, key point, better escapism. And no, that's not just to make a wordplay joke with the site title, he addressed that specific point in the review: "Satire excels at pointing out our foibles, our faults, but that doesn't mean it makes for great escapism." And in that much he's pretty much right: darker humor is less about escapism and more finding the cynical humor in life. So if what you look for in games is getting away from the real world, that kind of satire probably isn't going to be very appealing to you, as appears to be the case with Tito and GTA V.

Or, to address your example, with The Office and me. I get the style of humor at work in that show. I like one of the actors in it. The show itself, however, does absolutely nothing for me. I can't watch it for more than a few minutes at a time before either getting bored or wanting to push a character out a window. Or both. That's not my idea of a good time; thus, I don't watch the show. If I were to review The Office, believe you me, it would get a pretty dire score, regardless how "valid" its sense of humor might be.

If you don't enjoy playing a game in which every character in the game is a complete dick because you don't enjoy playing complete dicks, and you say as much, I don't see the problem. So he doesn't like playing utterly amoral, unlikable, poorly written (in his view) characters and feels the game is detrimentally affected by its story being entirely comprised of such characters. What's wrong with that?

By the sounds of it, most of the bad or uncomfortable things in the game are commentating on today's society. However, just because it's intended that way, doesn't mean it's wrong for a reviewer to not enjoy the game as much because of it.

Me, I rage against people who give perfect 10s to games. No game is perfect and it's a sign of a complete lack of perspective for anyone to give a perfect score to anything.

Shjade:

grimner:
In other words, it's hard to take seriously a review that criticizes the characters moral compass in the same breath that it praises previous characters who are exactly as morally twisted and at many times as devoid of a higher purpose as anything from the new game. It is also missing the point that GTA's brand of satire has a lot less in common with the likes of the Daily Show (something Tito specifically mentioned as wishing it did) and much more with the vicious, admittedly downright oftimes brutal comedy of Armando Iannucci or Ricky Gervais back at the british The Office, where everyone is a bastard and there is little levity or relief.

It is a valid complaint and criticism of Tito's review, and there were quite a few people arguing that point. And here is another point of some contention: while giving out some clarification of his views is laudable, by refusing to acknowledge the points being fairly and politely raised against him, even if it is to say "Now, I know some people argued that... but I stand by what I said because...", and by instead, both him, Grey Carter, and now you, with this article, seemingly focusing only on the hateful detractors, you're basically denying those who want to discuss it of a fair chance at an argument, and worse, you embolden the trolls and hatemongers by giving them your atention.

I'll be honest, I'm not sure I see your point. It sounds like you're suggesting it's a "valid complaint and criticism" of Tito's review to point out that not everyone likes The Office's style of humor...?

I hadn't listened to the review before reading your complaint, so I went and read the review and read the editorial afterward, and...I just don't see the problem. He points out some complaints he had with the story's writing with a specific example of a weak plot and a "surprise" incident of gruesomeness that can't be avoided he found distasteful. His comment on parody in the style of the Daily Show and The Onion didn't sound like he was saying, "This is the only acceptable form of satire," more that it's a kind of humor he finds more entertaining and, key point, better escapism. And no, that's not just to make a wordplay joke with the site title, he addressed that specific point in the review: "Satire excels at pointing out our foibles, our faults, but that doesn't mean it makes for great escapism." And in that much he's pretty much right: darker humor is less about escapism and more finding the cynical humor in life. So if what you look for in games is getting away from the real world, that kind of satire probably isn't going to be very appealing to you, as appears to be the case with Tito and GTA V.

Or, to address your example, with The Office and me. I get the style of humor at work in that show. I like one of the actors in it. The show itself, however, does absolutely nothing for me. I can't watch it for more than a few minutes at a time before either getting bored or wanting to push a character out a window. Or both. That's not my idea of a good time; thus, I don't watch the show. If I were to review The Office, believe you me, it would get a pretty dire score, regardless how "valid" its sense of humor might be.

If you don't enjoy playing a game in which every character in the game is a complete dick because you don't enjoy playing complete dicks, and you say as much, I don't see the problem. So he doesn't like playing utterly amoral, unlikable, poorly written (in his view) characters and feels the game is detrimentally affected by its story being entirely comprised of such characters. What's wrong with that?

Absolutely nothing wrong with disliking GTA on account that its characters are morally reprehensible. It is a valid point, or at least a valid reasoning. Where that reasonging becomes less valid is when you argue that you dislike this GTA because the characters are money grabbing bastards bordering on sociopathy (which they are) but then defend the protagonists of the previous installments of the franchise, even though Michael, Franklin and Trevor have nothing on Niko, CJ, Claude, or (especially) Tommy Vercetti and are really pretty much par for the course. THAT is the inconsistency. Other than that, I am more than fine with someone telling me "GTA is too violent for my tastes", or even, "I outgrew the franchise and stopped identifying with its humour". That's all well and good. In fact, it would actually give way to some interesting discussions (one of which being, if the increasing photorealism of the graphics can make come of the most over the top scenes look uncomfortable. But I digress). The discrepancy comes from criticising the games morally bankrupt characters as a turn off while comparing them to characters who share the exact same DNA.

I mentioned Armando Iannucci and Ricky Gervais because ultimately they are more in line with the dark spirit at GTA's core ( and it's there from the start. I can't think of any single character, even the talk show hosts and djs who are not some twisted, ultimately self serving societal caricature). But GTA's been like this from the start. Or since GTA III at least, which is the first with defined characters and social commentary. Ultimately it's not about arguing taste. I love The Office (and the Daily Show as well, incidentally), and you can slag off The Office to your heart's content; chances are that I'll find most of those qualms valid. However, if you come to me and say that you were incredibly put off by the 5th episode, claiming it was nothing like the previous 4 when in fact there's nothing that truly sets it apart, then your argument is inconsistent.

Hope that clarifies it some. But in a TL;DR version

So if what you look for in games is getting away from the real world, that kind of satire probably isn't going to be very appealing to you, as appears to be the case with Tito and GTA V.

If that's how one feels about GTA V, then it's perfectly fine. But after 13 years of games offering you that cynical outlook, it's hard to expect anything else from the series that always thrived on that cyinicism. Even if you enjoyed the previous games and don't enjoy this one, well, then the odds are that it is you, and not the game who has changed, which, again, is fine. But criticising the game for your change is hardly a sound argument.

Somewhat. I'll have to take your word for it; I haven't played much of the GTA series so its protagonists are not familiar to me, making the comparisons a moot point.

As a few others have pointed out, I think a fair amount of this dischord falls at the feet of the numerical rating system. There was an article posted on Kotaku on, if I recall correctly, the day of GTA5's release that did a great job of breaking down just what sort of problems a numerical rating system cause. It's a broken system that, far too often, leads to a broken discussion.

As for a reviewer making use of a personal stance to influence their review, I can see both sides of the debate. Either way, I think the more important thing is that a choice has to be made. If you, as a reviewer, are going to be opening to more personal influence, then that's great, but make it clear. Tito's review of GTA5 did an excellent job of this. How his personal feelings towards the game, and those feelings created by the game, were clearly explored in his review. There was a clear discussion on both the merits and failings of the game on a mechanical level aas well as on an artistic/personal level. If, however, your review is going to be based almost entirely on the mechcanical workings (and not workings) of a game, then an off hand comment in the summary section of a review including, if a scoring system is used, an obviously reduced score due to the personal criticism, does not belong. Either you discuss and include your personal feelings within the context of review, or you leave them out. You can't have it both ways.

Shjade:
Somewhat. I'll have to take your word for it; I haven't played much of the GTA series so its protagonists are not familiar to me, making the comparisons a moot point.

Niko Bellic trashes a laundry for protection money and eventually murders the owner in GTA IV.

CJ kills off a manager of a rapper as a favor to someone he doesn't even like ( and then later kills), as well as the manager's escort. Later he goes on a criminal binge with a psychotic girlfriend (who's the main antagonist of GTA III) doing heists which do include a lot of murder. Later still, he grabs a harvest combine from a survivalist nutjob farm and escapes in it, rolling over the family members who get shredded, limbs flying and are spat out as little stacks of meat.

Tommy Vercetti beats up witnesses as a tutorial, slaughters an entire laundry full of people, and performs hit and runs for the amusement of a Glam Rock band.

All of these are mandatory missions, and almost none of these advance the main plot.

Yet these characters are compared in a positive light, or justified. Hence why I "cry" double standard.

StriderShinryu:
As a few others have pointed out, I think a fair amount of this dischord falls at the feet of the numerical rating system. There was an article posted on Kotaku on, if I recall correctly, the day of GTA5's release that did a great job of breaking down just what sort of problems a numerical rating system cause. It's a broken system that, far too often, leads to a broken discussion.

As for a reviewer making use of a personal stance to influence their review, I can see both sides of the debate. Either way, I think the more important thing is that a choice has to be made. If you, as a reviewer, are going to be opening to more personal influence, then that's great, but make it clear. Tito's review of GTA5 did an excellent job of this. How his personal feelings towards the game, and those feelings created by the game, were clearly explored in his review. There was a clear discussion on both the merits and failings of the game on a mechanical level aas well as on an artistic/personal level. If, however, your review is going to be based almost entirely on the mechcanical workings (and not workings) of a game, then an off hand comment in the summary section of a review including, if a scoring system is used, an obviously reduced score due to the personal criticism, does not belong. Either you discuss and include your personal feelings within the context of review, or you leave them out. You can't have it both ways.

More or less, yeah. In a way it is a missed opportunity to raise some serious discussion and personal feelings are actually ok, if the point is well argued (if one needs a follow up editorial to clarify, well, I'd wager it was not well argued). For my criticisms of Greg's review and article, I can't find a way to defend the inclusion of the torture scene, for example. Though some may claim it's satire on the futility of torture, the scene is overplayed to a harrowing degree that I'd find on par with Spec Ops and White Phosphorus. What sets them apart is that one is throwaway in nature, the other forms it's whole narrative around the weight of that moment. And there's a valid debate on how these types of scenes should be included right there.

There's also the fact that PS2 era GTAs looked ugly even for their time. By that virtue, all that list of acts of violence I described above are admittedly not as gruelling to watch. which, again, could lead to one discussing that the graphical standards of today can actually become too much. Kind of like a South Park Syndrome, where the cartoonish nature takes the edge off things.

Instead, the debate is monopolized by review scores, awful ad hominem gender based attacks and a subsequent "mocking at the webs" defensive stance by the reviewers and columnists.

hentropy:

That's just the thing though, disconnecting someone's feelings from a piece of work ultimately makes every review a boring, grey, sterile discussion about mechanics and graphics and level design that can actually be quantified and measured objectively.

Not what I'm meaning.

hentropy:
just so long as there's a certain amount of honesty and clarity involved.

Ding ding ding! Exactly!

Suppose I was reviewing, oh, Starship Troopers.

I'm a Heinlein fan ... that VanHagendas disliked the subject matter and decided to make a satire instead of treating the subject matter straightforwardly pisses me off (In my opinion, if you hated the book you really shouldn't be making the movie of it).
On the other hand, the movie he pooched out wasn't bad per se ... from a generic scifi/fantasy perspective (better than Pacific Rim, for instance): decent if generic story, decent dialogue, good acting, excellent special effects, internally consistent...weak ending, but whatever.

If I say it sucks, because I hate what he's done with the book, that just plain dishonest ... and it's due only to my own personal agenda of "I wanna see Starship Troopers, as intended by the original author, on the big screen."
That's the kind of bias I think professional movie (and other) critics could do without.
Does that make sense?

/sigh

Should have known this would be used to justify Tito's review. Yes, its true that fans will come out of the woodwork when you give their favorite game of the hour a less than perfect review, but comparing what happened here with some of the internet hate that was lobbed at GameSpot's review is disingenuous at best.

The GameSpot review talked about all the great things about the game, had a few minor issues with the game, explained why those issues were, in their minds, legitimate faults of game and/or story and not just a personal difference and then scored the game slightly less than amazing because of it.

Tito's review couldn't actually articulate a real problem with the game. Even his one sole complaint, that he couldn't identify with the characters, was undermined by him trying to contrast their "evilness" using previous GTA characters that were just as bad, if not worse in most cases, as the characters here (at least compared to Michael and Franklin). Granted, he didn't do a particularly good job of detailing what was good about the game either, but at least that discussion had a more diverse offering of what the game actually offered. And for that nebulous claim of "I didn't like them" he rated the game down to a 3.5 stars. Given what the game is, that reduction is nearly impossible to justify given one poorly expressed dissatisfaction.

The issue at GameSpot was a case of some annoying hate from fringe obsessed fans. Some of those same types obviously contributed here, but the problem was actually a really poor review, not one of fan perspective.

I agree with above sentiments about how numerical reviews are fraught with issue when it comes to games, but still, I can think of several games (D3 springs to mind) that had far more legitimate gameplay issues on top of having a terrible story (not saying GTA 5's story is bad, but that is the absolute extreme end of what you could take away from Tito's issues with it) that got better scores than what GTA 5 had here.

Friv:

Yeah, but the reason that people don't do that is that we have at least advanced to a stage in our society that most deeply sexist people don't want to come out and admit it. I feel like "women should be equal" as a spectrum against "women should not be equal" isn't really a spectrum of two equally-valid positions.

You're missing his point, by assuming you are /right/, and because you are /right/ all bets are off...except yours.

I personally find this idea maddening; I cannot express it particularly well, so I defer to Neil Gaiman.

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

He's not /directly/ applicable, but I think you'll get the gist, specifically:
"They thought they were doing a good thing. They thought they were defending other people from something they needed to be protected from."

theluckyjosh:

hentropy:

That's just the thing though, disconnecting someone's feelings from a piece of work ultimately makes every review a boring, grey, sterile discussion about mechanics and graphics and level design that can actually be quantified and measured objectively.

Not what I'm meaning.

hentropy:
just so long as there's a certain amount of honesty and clarity involved.

Ding ding ding! Exactly!

Suppose I was reviewing, oh, Starship Troopers.

I'm a Heinlein fan ... that VanHagendas disliked the subject matter and decided to make a satire instead of treating the subject matter straightforwardly pisses me off (In my opinion, if you hated the book you really shouldn't be making the movie of it).
On the other hand, the movie he pooched out wasn't bad per se ... from a generic scifi/fantasy perspective (better than Pacific Rim, for instance): decent if generic story, decent dialogue, good acting, excellent special effects, internally consistent...weak ending, but whatever.

If I say it sucks, because I hate what he's done with the book, that just plain dishonest ... and it's due only to my own personal agenda of "I wanna see Starship Troopers, as intended by the original author, on the big screen."
That's the kind of bias I think professional movie (and other) critics could do without.
Does that make sense?

Well certainly, but you'd also be within your rights to tell others why you didn't love it, while also telling them the things you just said. My only point here was that I was agreeing with Bob in a different way, the reviews I like the best tend to be when the reviewer talks about what they thought of it personally, much like Bob does with his reviews, instead of trying to take a checklist approach.

There seems to be this weird push on the internet to push video game reviews towards more uniformity and "objectivity", when in my opinion at least it has made game reviews a comparable stale blob compared to more established forms of criticism, that "activism" is some sort of pernicious force that wants to inject "isms" into their favorite toy. It would only be a valid criticism if people were giving 3/10s for sexist themes or reviews that were nothing but long rants against sexism, but that's not what is happening here. We have people getting all worked up over one "point" being taken away for reasons they don't agree with, and it doesn't exactly make the community look that much more mature.

Tumedus:
Should have known this would be used to justify Tito's review.

What?

Tito's review was never even mentioned in Bob's article.

"game's frequent misogyny and consistently unflattering depictions of women to be off-putting and detracted from her enjoyment of it... a method of critique that they found to be an improper intrusion by personal subjective taste - or worse, politics (or worse than that: feminist politics!) into what should be a review solely about game mechanics and aesthetic presentation."

That and she claimed that the only people the game had amongst it's female ranks were wive girlfriends, strippers and feminists we're supposed to think are silly, which is just objectively not true.

So you know backlash is to be expected.

Anyway what's with the privilege bit it just seems like a non-sequiter.

Anyway why is it every other Bob post is him denouncing some things a small minority of gamers do, and him trying to act like they're all beneath him. And nearly every time he acts like this is a big problem within gaming rather than this being a small subset. So it seems like he thinks he's better than most of gaming.

It's become part of a smugness pattern from Bob over the years. Hell just look at what he said about fans of the Transformers movies (which is kind of low).

ccdohl:
The Petit thing is probably just because people are so tired of hearing about misogyny in games. If there are so many female gamers that are being left out, there would be a bigger market for games catering to them. But that is a group that doesn't exist in very large numbers, and so the market isn't very large.

I'm just tired of everything getting called misogyny or sexism when it clearly isn't hatred of women.

Women don't play a big role in the story? Sexism

Hitman Trailer? Misogyny

A woman with big tits and cleavage in a game? Oh you know people will call that sexist.

Hell that last one is something even Bob disagrees with. He's said that having T and A and pandering in games isn't inherently bad, it's only bad when everyone does it. Which I agree with. Unfortunately some people think differently.

TheJerome9157:
"Oh look, Bob Chipman did another soulless rant about how the attitudes of gamers and how full of "rage" they are. Urgh. While he's at it I wonder if he'll find a way to bring up misogyny and feminis-
Oh there it is.
"

I'm surprised that he writes for The Escapist and not Kotaku or even Jezebel at this stage, it's embarrassing.
At least he didn't use the word "entitled" even once, I'll give him that.

While I can understand your distaste for continually hearing the same thing, I find it hard to even imagine any point of view in which these internet storms are anything but disgusting. Not in reason, nor in intensity of emotion, but merely by the downright appalling way the more vocal choose to express themselves.

Being the umpteenth to complain about a rampant lynch mob might possibly make you sound somewhat rehashed, but that doesn't mean your concerns are any less valid.

Aardvaarkman:

Tumedus:
Should have known this would be used to justify Tito's review.

What?

Tito's review was never even mentioned in Bob's article.

It's called subtext. If you can't see it, I am sorry, but its seems pretty obvious to me. He comes in defense of reviewers when not all that many are getting much flak for this game. Jim Sterling, for example, gave it a 9 (just like GameSpot) on his Destructoid site and, while there has been some complaints, it has been met with mostly reasonable responses, at least for the internet.

Relative to their user base, the review here and Carolyn Petit's are probably the worst in terms of an angered response. So rather than just blindly come to the defense of his boss, he attempts to turn this into a broader issue than it really is by using "the most visible example".

Except Carolyn's review isn't a great example of what Bob is trying to argue. In case you are unaware, Carolyn is a trans woman and thus her claim of misogyny engenders a lot of blow back that otherwise would not be an issue. There is a LOT more to the anger there than just unhappy fanbois. So to use her review for these purposes is dubious at best and really just comes across as deflection. This is especially striking when you consider that with all his talk of gender issues, both in this article and in general, that he doesn't even mention the much larger issue that exists within that scenario.

Not surprisingly when you factor all that extra junk out, you realize that the way Bob's argument is framed, it is a much better fit for Tito's review than Petit's, especially if you read/watch both reviews. But, as I pointed out above, it misses the fact that the complaints about Tito's review extend beyond just his personal opinions, but his inability to properly express those opinions or justify the score because of them.

ccdohl:
The Petit thing is probably just because people are so tired of hearing about misogyny in games. If there are so many female gamers that are being left out, there would be a bigger market for games catering to them. But that is a group that doesn't exist in very large numbers, and so the market isn't very large.

Well, Saints Row has managed to allow players to play as a female, has notable female characters, and is generally better received by female gamers. GTA5 isn't hurting for players with its over $1bil sales, but this is one of the biggest strikes against the game when compared to other games in the sandbox genre, even the male-dominated crime sandbox genre. I know no one in GTA is meant to be admirable and no one should take the game seriously, but don't you think it's a little wearisome to not even have the option to play as a female in any portion of the game? Or that the empathy for female characters in general is damn low, even by the standards of the GTA world?

And for the record, over 40% of gamers are females and they aren't all playing casual games on their phones or on Facebook either. Even if women were only say, 5% of this game's audience, that's still a pretty big number when you think about how many millions this game sells. Rockstar simply doesn't care as GTAV is pretty much prints money, but even COD, the other quintessential dudebro game, actually had a 30% female playerbase (at least for MW2), and COD is slowly changing to be more inclusive of that silent mass of gamers who don't touch voice chat and don't touch internet forums to talk about their experiences.

This is an article with an opinion about people having opinions. Can't you guys find something worthwhile to talk about? We already know the obvious, this article is just a piece of paper to keep a fire going. Stop it!

maninahat:

The devil is probably in the details. I should imagine it is that when women (and some men) like to play a fun, violent game, they don't want to be reminded of how often women are objectified/abused etc in real life within that game. Having not played GTA V, I couldn't say.

I think it really depends on the way it is presented. In LA Noire there was quite a bit of racism and sexism, but it worked because it became such a part of Coles character to see him struggle with handling those things. Of course it also helped us learn to hate the racist women beater! I haven't played GTA V myself, I want it for the PC cause I don't own a console, but a friend of mine says that some of the stuff the protagonists do makes you feel quite uncomfortable playing as them. That can certainly work in its own way, it very much did for Spec Ops: The Line, but I guess people didn't feel like it worked for GTA V.

The answer is simple: both perspectives are correct. Critiques of both types can and should exist simultaneously. Someone doesn't like that a particular critic factors in cultural context into their opinion? Simple. That person just doesn't read that critic's work any more.

There's obviously other outlets that can and do put out reviews ignoring those ideas.

Points are pointless. Its a crutch introduced when it became clear that children and teenagers are deeply aversed to freaking read the review and draw concusions about the game from that. Without an easy to gauge number they were incapable to access the game.

Get rid of points. its a review, not a ballgame.

ImBigBob:
Thanks for the article, Bob. I've enjoyed the previous GTA games, but considering all the horrible things I've heard happen in this one, I think I'll be sitting it out. I'll go play Saints Row instead.

I have yet to see a single thing in the game that's worse than any of the other GTA games.

I say again, SA had a rape scene played up purely for laughs.

GTA 5 has "immoral" activity too but at least it doesn't try to pretend that it's pure fun and games, at least it shows some reality to the carnage.

What a shock, another person on the escapist using a strawman argument to defend an unprofessional game review.

People were not "in an uproar" because it got "less than a ten" and the fact that they constantly quoted the article itself (not the score) should have made that obvious, but of course arguing that would require thought, it's easier to say "oh you guys just can't stand it getting less than a perfect score, fanboys" and move on.

Fact is, I could at least respect the review if he had posted that same written review with a very low score. Instead he goes on and on complaining about the game, doesn't mention anything good about the game, then gives it a good score.
It was obvious click bait, if you honestly think it wasn't, you are blissfully naive.

It's really similar to that Game Revolutions review of GTA 4. "If you hated the game so much, why give it a high score?"

"Oh I didn't hate it, it's just that the other reviews already talked about the good so I only talked about the bad stuff"

Yeah other reviewers talked about the bad stuff too so.....what's the point of doing a review at all? If you are going to just assume that your readers have already read or seen all the other reviews, don't do a review at all. A review isn't meant to talk about one aspect of a game and nothing else.

If it was just an article, it would be worth discussion. As a "review" it's unprofessional and souless. If you didn't like the game, give it a low score. If you didn't hate it as much as the written review suggested, why not discuss some of the gameplay features or whatever you did like about the game?
This has nothing to do with "he just has his own opinion" everyone is allowed an opinion, but a reviewer is supposed to present that opinion in a way that informs others of the quality of the product, even if they disagree with his opinion of it.

I am really not surprised that "movie bob" thinks that talking about only one aspect of a product counts as a good review.

BTW I have started playing the game and several things Tito has claimed are demonstrably false. That's lazy at best, dishonest at worst. Just saying.

Credossuck:
Points are pointless. Its a crutch introduced when it became clear that children and teenagers are deeply aversed to freaking read the review and draw concusions about the game from that. Without an easy to gauge number they were incapable to access the game.

Get rid of points. its a review, not a ballgame.

Yes people never actually read the review, hence why all the complaints about the review that obviously inspired Bob's article were quoting the review itself and not mentioning the score.

Again, it's a strawman argument.

"You people get mad whenever your favorite game doesn't get a perfect score." When the score was never the issue.

RJ Dalton:
Me, I rage against people who give perfect 10s to games. No game is perfect and it's a sign of a complete lack of perspective for anyone to give a perfect score to anything.

A 10 out of 10 game isn't meant to be a perfect game.

Reviewers are not calling the game perfect by giving it a "perfect score" and you seem to be incapable of understanding why never using the 10 is kind of stupid.

Ok your right, 10 is wrong because that's perfect, make it a system of 1-9. Ok a game got a 9, but that's the highest? They must be calling the game perfect and no game is perfect!

If you think the number next to a game on a random website is worth this much discussion, please consider going outside.

MuffinMan74:

ccdohl:
The Petit thing is probably just because people are so tired of hearing about misogyny in games. If there are so many female gamers that are being left out, there would be a bigger market for games catering to them. But that is a group that doesn't exist in very large numbers, and so the market isn't very large.

I'm just tired of everything getting called misogyny or sexism when it clearly isn't hatred of women.

Women don't play a big role in the story? Sexism

Hitman Trailer? Misogyny

A woman with big tits and cleavage in a game? Oh you know people will call that sexist.

Hell that last one is something even Bob disagrees with. He's said that having T and A and pandering in games isn't inherently bad, it's only bad when everyone does it. Which I agree with. Unfortunately some people think differently.

Agreed, that's part of it too. It's kind of like the boy who cried wolf.

Well the reason some people have a problem with the gamespot review in particular is because for example you wouldn't lower the review score for something like James Bond because it has throwaway girls in it because at this point its what is to be expected.

Carpenter:

Credossuck:
Points are pointless. Its a crutch introduced when it became clear that children and teenagers are deeply aversed to freaking read the review and draw concusions about the game from that. Without an easy to gauge number they were incapable to access the game.

Get rid of points. its a review, not a ballgame.

Yes people never actually read the review, hence why all the complaints about the review that obviously inspired Bob's article were quoting the review itself and not mentioning the score.

Again, it's a strawman argument.

"You people get mad whenever your favorite game doesn't get a perfect score." When the score was never the issue.

game got a bad number, people pick article apart to explain how the reviewer is wrong in giving that number.

xyrafhoan:

ccdohl:
The Petit thing is probably just because people are so tired of hearing about misogyny in games. If there are so many female gamers that are being left out, there would be a bigger market for games catering to them. But that is a group that doesn't exist in very large numbers, and so the market isn't very large.

Well, Saints Row has managed to allow players to play as a female, has notable female characters, and is generally better received by female gamers. GTA5 isn't hurting for players with its over $1bil sales, but this is one of the biggest strikes against the game when compared to other games in the sandbox genre, even the male-dominated crime sandbox genre. I know no one in GTA is meant to be admirable and no one should take the game seriously, but don't you think it's a little wearisome to not even have the option to play as a female in any portion of the game? Or that the empathy for female characters in general is damn low, even by the standards of the GTA world?

And for the record, over 40% of gamers are females and they aren't all playing casual games on their phones or on Facebook either. Even if women were only say, 5% of this game's audience, that's still a pretty big number when you think about how many millions this game sells. Rockstar simply doesn't care as GTAV is pretty much prints money, but even COD, the other quintessential dudebro game, actually had a 30% female playerbase (at least for MW2), and COD is slowly changing to be more inclusive of that silent mass of gamers who don't touch voice chat and don't touch internet forums to talk about their experiences.

If I read correctly, you're making a point similar to Jim Sterling's about Saints Row 4. Basically, the player can make a female, male, or whatever else in the game, and that's a plus. While I agree with that, I'm not sure that it's the main reason that SR4 has sold well. I can't say for sure, but I'd assume it does has a lot to do with the character creation system.

It actually isn't really wearisome to me that there are no playable females in the game. No more so than the fact that there aren't any South Americans or Asians to play in it. It would be more wearisome if a female character was shoehorned in to make it appeal to a broader audience. I don't think it's any more necessary to have a female playable character than it is to have a Southern one or a Canadian one. On the other hand, in games like Tomb Raider or Remember Me, I don't think it's necessary to have a male playable character either.

As for the numbers, I'm not sure how to interpret the data on gaming. I know that female gamers are supposedly 50% of the market now, but my own experience suggests to me that they aren't playing the same games. I could be wrong about that, but it does seem like GTA, with its supposed misogyny and lack of female playable characters would have sold far fewer copies than it did if 50% of the market is females who are put off by the material.

My honest opinion is just that people blow things out of proportion. Failing to have a female playable character isn't misogyny any more than failing to have an Asian/black/white/ playable character is racist, and having negative female characters isn't misogyny any more than having negative male characters is misandry.

Culture, context, and perspective are much more complex than that, and throwing around these strong words makes them lose their power. There is real misogyny and racism out there, and it is far uglier than a nagging housewife character in a video game.

My views on the Carolyn Petit GTAV debacle:

Petit docks points because "This game is misogynistic because reasons."
Ignores the outrageous violence, murder, crime and realistic depictions torture.
Gives the game a 9/10 anyway.

I love "professional" reviewers.

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