Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
5. Scoring systems are virtually meaningless
I always thought numerical scores were funny. Even on tests in school, what exactly makes something a 7 over an 8, or an A- over a B+? And when one site’s 9 might be another’s 3, they all become sort of meaningless, lost in the sea of ambiguity and trying to remember each outlet’s reasoning gets muddled and cumbersome. Not to mention the numerous post-release updates that’ll have those grades changing a few times over the course of months. No, a single number is not enough to sum up a game accurately.
With video games protected under free speech, they’re now recognized as other forms of artistic media that convey ideas, such as film, television, or books. This snippet from the 2010-11 U.S. Supreme Court case’s official opinions drives that point home:
“Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”
If video games are truly like other media, it’d make more sense to analyze them with the same respect, focusing on the message and the story they’re telling as well as remarking on the way it’s being told. For instance, graphic quality — a hot topic in most reviews — is too subjective to be a reliable criterion for discussions on game content. I’ve clocked a ton more hours in Mount & Blade: Warband than I have the entire Dragon Age series despite the latter being “shinier.” And if you were to ask me why that is, the response deserves more than a few numbers based on graphics, sound, gameplay, and multiplayer options that honestly just water down the discussion, being too lazy to actually develop an argument for or against.
When writing reviews, there should be more emphasis on the game as an experience to be had rather than a product to sell. This is a stance I’ve held officially since last year in response to GamerGate when I last had one of these epiphanies/emotional breakdowns on the future of my chosen career path. And it’s these continued issues that make me wonder if I can even stomach watching outlets and developers I used to love and admire growing up just sell out as they have. With the direction it’s heading in with some games now being broken up into episodes (but still being sold for full price), it’s enough to make one’s blood boil.
And thus we approach the final reason why I hate video game reviews…