Jimquisition: The 100% Objective Review

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Zachary Amaranth:

MrFalconfly:

Don't you think it'd be wrong to sack points from a game set in the Old West for showing misogynistic themes?

Why would it be wrong?

1) No.

Fair enough

2) Because of aforementioned disclosure of a pre-existing relationship.

Okay, allow me to rephrase: why is this a problem now?

3) Not many. I analyse them by a case-by-case basis, so I can't give a definite number. However I generally trust media-outlets that disclose their sources more than I do ones that don't (for the simple reason that I can read the source myself and determine whether they understood it properly. You know, a bit like scientific peer review).

How much research do you actually do to their ties with the media in question?

I mostly ask because Anthony Burch only came up after he professed ties to reviewers and websites himself, and Jim Sterling only came up after he professed the same. But at the same time, neither of these people particularly hid it and had a history of correspondence, appearance, and even a Twitter trail (I guess, since one or both of them have showed twits to that extent).

The Jim Sterling connection dates at least a couple of years, and while one such favourable review discloses a former professional relationship, it does not get into personal relationships and other favourable reviews do not have such disclaimers.

At that point, can you really trust anyone or assume no connections? Jim Sterling comes across as a fairly straight shooter and has either given negative reviews himself or been reviews editor while Gearbox games got negative reviews in other instances, even instances where Burch was attached in some form.

Should disclosure be the determining factor?

"Why would it be wrong?"

Because it'd be like deducting points for depicting Nazis in a WWII game. They were kind of important in that historical period.

2) It has always been a problem. I've just noticed that example now.

3) Disclosure is not the only determining factor. There's never a SINGLE determining factor. However, I generally trust people who disclose their sources more than I do people who don't. To me, disclosing this information shows that the reviewer takes his job seriously.

Not The Bees:
snip

Preferably yeah.

I know that there are many cases where something is based on opinion, but when it isn't I'd very much like to see news-media (general news, or the review of entertainment media) to be held to the same standard as Scientific Journals.

TheKasp:
snip

1) I 100% agree.

2) Again 100% agree (I guess we disagree on the amount of times when the argument have been a non-sequiteur)

3) Fair enough. And thank you for providing a link.

MrFalconfly:

Not The Bees:
snip

Preferably yeah.

I know that there are many case where something is based on opinion, but when it isn't I'd very much like to see news-media (general news, or the review of entertainment media) to be held to the same standard as Scientific Journals.

Well, again, I don't mean to be rude, so please don't take it this way but let me start with how exactly a paper gets submitted to, lets say... Nature.

First obviously is the experiment. I'll take my husbands recent experiment, he did x-ray scattering with biological samples. This took 6 days to set up and take the scattering samples and then take down. These are full 24 hours shifts with 3 per shift, 6 in total people working.

Next comes data analysis. This will take my husband (who is the focus point on the analysis) 2 to 3 months to go through, and then each person will take another 1-6 months to look at their own data after my husband has done his part. So a total of anywhere between 2-8 months total for data analysis.

Next comes writing the paper. This will take the collaborators anywhere from 2 weeks maybe a month to write at the most.

Next comes sending it to the other authors on the paper to get feed back. This can take about a month, or possibly longer, depending on who is on the project.

Next comes submission. Or in other words, peer review. This can take anywhere from a week (if you're lucky) to a year.

Finally, it gets published. Which means the entire scope can be up to 2 years to get a paper out. If you've got a really difficult paper, it can go up to decades, if you're really lucky it can go in 3 months.

There is a reason why scientific papers have different standards. Granted, if you're willing to wait 3 months to 2 years for the next Silent Hills review, then I guess that's good enough for me. Personally, I'd rather just let Jim do what he does.

Netrigan:

chikusho:

Netrigan:
[quote="chikusho" post="6.864348.21579605"]
Maybe reviewers were momentarily dazzled by the games they give perfect scores to, but you're still left with an industry with a distinct and long-standing habit of over-praising games that quickly lose their luster.

Oh, come on. That happens with all types of media, for all types of people. A reviewer can't be expected to see in to the future, they can only tell you what they feel at the time.

No, it's simple grade inflation. Everyone must be a winner. We're taking away the high end of the rating system for games which are very good, rather than great... and most reviewers probably know it, but if you're on Metacritic, then you're choices for a good review are 8, 9, and 10... or else face the torches and pitchforks of gamers who want to know why you hate a game they like. Don't you know their jobs depend on you giving their game a good score? Why do you hate video games? Who will think of the devs?

I'm not following. Things are being praised to high heavens and then immediately forgotten in all forms of media. Things are initially poorly received and go on to be important cultural phenomenons in all types of media. An artworks perceived quality always evolves and changes over time. This isn't exclusive to games, so what's your point?

And again, you say you can't give low scores because pitch forks or accusations of being click-bait or contrarian. I say, you can't give high scores, because pitchforks, or allegations of being bought or corrupt. And both are true, so neither should matter.

MrFalconfly:

Because it'd be like deducting points for depicting Nazis in a WWII game. They were kind of important in that historical period.

Are you saying that misogyny was as important to the period as Nazis were to World War 2? Isn't that a bit extreme?

2) It has always been a problem. I've just noticed that example now.

Why the trust yesterday, especially when this information was all available? I have done no original research on Jimothy Sterling and in fact largely relied on his own disclosure.

3) Disclosure is not the only determining factor. There's never a SINGLE determining factor. However, I generally trust people who disclose their sources more than I do people who don't. To me, disclosing this information shows that the reviewer takes his job seriously.

Then why say you were done with Jim based upon this factor? What other factors went into play?

Additionally, the ethics standards you respect The Escapist for are ones GG claims The Escapist has already violated. Do you respect them because they posted such a claim, or have you policed them?

Also, regarding peer review, it appears NTBs has walked you through the peer review process. Do you honestly feel that this sort of intensive and time-intensive process is suited for a timely review of entertainment?

Honestly, I believe most scientists will tell you "the right tool for the right job."

Mangue Surfer:

CaitSeith:

Mangue Surfer:

There's a problem (subjective or not) and there's a tool within the game that supposedly can solve the problem. Is it ok ignore the tool? Hell no! At least you have to try.

In my job, if I go around avoiding trying out solutions a simple end up being fired.

Good point. Now, to which problem they have to find solutions?

I wanna more meaning, more analysis, more rigor from reviews.

If a feature is good or bad is subjective, I give you that. But bring me some consistence, some fucking meaning.

I not even think that is necessary play in every difficulty to review a game but, if difficulty is a big point of your review, so attack the difficulty problem! Say things like "is on the easy side" or "is frustrating" period! in a five difficult to choose game has no real meaning.

Honestly, well prepared people with better english already talked about this. You can watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb3HQlFmfds

Uh? I thought I asked about what kind of problems would get them fired if they don't find a solution (maybe I wasn't specific enough).

PS: That video addressed the objective vs. subjective topic (although with different names) in a better way than Jim's.

Not The Bees:
snip

You aren't rude at all. It's nice to hear this information from someone who've actually seen it from start to finish.

As for waiting 3 months. Well sure. 2 Years might be pushing it though (but I think if that was the approach we took with games-review then few games would have had enough content to warrant a 2 year long period from the reviewer first seeing the product to the final review).

Thank you very much. Your post was very informative.

Zachary Amaranth:
snip

1) I'm not saying misogyny is as important to the old west as nazis are to WWII. I'm saying that you shouldn't deduct points from a game for being historically accurate (no matter how important the offending component is to the period).

2) Because I hadn't seen it. There's a difference between "information being available", and "information being disclosed".

3) Because I have other, more detached sources if I want to read game reviews.

As for Peer-review. Well if the process (depending on the product) is between 3-5 months then yeah. I think it is (I'm tired of the hunt for the scoop pushing good journalistic practice to the side-line. There once were a time when journalists actually properly researched, found, and disclosed sources for their news. Now it seems even a random Blog written by Joe Average can be seen as a source).

MrFalconfly:

1) I'm not saying misogyny is as important to the old west as nazis are to WWII. I'm saying that you shouldn't deduct points from a game for being historically accurate (no matter how important the offending component is to the period).

Conversely, historical accuracy is not an invincible shield behind which a product can hide. Because even if the attitudes in a modern product are accurate to the times it represents, the product itself is a product of now, and so the product is judged by the standards of now based on what it does with those attitudes, how it shows them and why it included them.

GloatingSwine:

MrFalconfly:

1) I'm not saying misogyny is as important to the old west as nazis are to WWII. I'm saying that you shouldn't deduct points from a game for being historically accurate (no matter how important the offending component is to the period).

Conversely, historical accuracy is not an invincible shield behind which a product can hide. Because even if the attitudes in a modern product are accurate to the times it represents, the product itself is a product of now, and so the product is judged by the standards of now based on what it does with those attitudes, how it shows them and why it included them.

Then why bother with making a game based on a historical period?

Why not make a fantasy game then?

Fantasy games aren't constrained by actual historical events.

MrFalconfly:

1) I'm not saying misogyny is as important to the old west as nazis are to WWII. I'm saying that you shouldn't deduct points from a game for being historically accurate (no matter how important the offending component is to the period).

Why is misogyny historically accurate and why does a fictional game need to reflect that? Also, why use such a severe example as the Nazis if it's not comparable?

2) Because I hadn't seen it. There's a difference between "information being available", and "information being disclosed".

how can you really trust your vetting process if something this open slipped your radar?

3) Because I have other, more detached sources if I want to read game reviews.

How do you know?

Well if the process (depending on the product) is between 3-5 months then yeah.

Except that's generally not the case for the parallels you gave. At this point, you seem to be saying you want peer review, except not. Both parts of that confuse me. The strength of peer review is the extensive scrutiny and time involved. Skimping on that is counter-intuitive.

Additionally, I wonder if you understand much of the benefit to scientific review is that it relies on hard data and replicable results. These are not particularly germane to entertainment reviews.

MrFalconfly:

Then why bother with making a game based on a historical period?

I'm going to go out on a limb as say "there are many reasons to make a game based on a historical period which do not require misogyny, nor does the historical period validate any and all misogyny."

MrFalconfly:

Then why bother with making a game based on a historical period?

Why not make a fantasy game then?

Fantasy games aren't constrained by actual historical events.

Nor are historical period games, even the most cursory glance at the medium's output in that regard should tell you that.

On a further note, attempting to reproduce the "attitudes" of a particular historical period is generally going to be more accurate to a caricature of the period than the reality, because history is far messier than "people at time X thought and acted this way"

So including, say, misogynistic elements in a historical piece would be appropriate if they were attached to a particular character, because then they become part of that character*, but not if they were presented as "an accurate portrayal of the period", because different people will always have acted differently in that regard, and the claim of accuracy is false.

* That might not excuse the writer, if the narrative is constructed to prefer that character's opinion then the writer is showing that they agree with those opinions.

"Final Fantasy XIII is a video game."

Jim, thank God for you, but I have to admit the boyfriend immediately piped up with: "That's debatable," and I didn't even have it in me to stop laughing and show him your other video about "It's not a video game!"

Zachary Amaranth:
snip

1) Alright. I'll give you an example of historically correct misogyny.

Do you think L.A. Noire would work without the misogyny or the racism that was common back in the 1950s, but have since become, if nothing else, old fashioned.

2) Because we're still at 0.01% have slipped past it.

3) Because they aren't big, or popular enough to create a blip on the Corporate RADAR.

As for Peer-Review at 3-5 Months. I wasn't skimping. I was using examples which NTB gave me (she said Peer Review could take somewhere between 3 Months to 2 years).

MrFalconfly:

GloatingSwine:

MrFalconfly:

1) I'm not saying misogyny is as important to the old west as nazis are to WWII. I'm saying that you shouldn't deduct points from a game for being historically accurate (no matter how important the offending component is to the period).

Conversely, historical accuracy is not an invincible shield behind which a product can hide. Because even if the attitudes in a modern product are accurate to the times it represents, the product itself is a product of now, and so the product is judged by the standards of now based on what it does with those attitudes, how it shows them and why it included them.

Then why bother with making a game based on a historical period?

Why not make a fantasy game then?

Fantasy games aren't constrained by actual historical events.

You can have games that are based on historical events that can go completely off the rails too.

Take for instance, this guy I knew in university (back when I was teaching after school, he was in university), he wanted to make a realistic game set with the Roman Republic, 2nd Punic War, and I remember it took place around Naples. Anyway, so most of it was supposed to be this RPG like builder with characters from the Barbarian side, and during this whole thing, in the middle of it, out of no where, he just suddenly blurts out, and then suddenly the go to Rome and rape a bunch of women.

Well, okay, I asked what this had to do with the plot, and he said, well that's what Barbarian's did. And I said, is this something to do with the over all arc, and the actual Punic war (because he really wanted it to be historically accurate), and he kind of hemmed and hawed around. And I pointed out that Hannibal never marched on Rome. And he got kind of irritated with me, because I think he really just wanted to have a scene where you got to be a Barbarian who raped women.

So there's instances where people take things from history and just throw in things randomly because... you know... seems like it'd be fun. And who would argue with them,because they're Barbarians. Isn't that what Barbarians did? Rape women?

Just as an aside, Barbarians didn't always rape women, that's a myth, usually spread by Romans because that made Barbarians seem much more frightening that way.

GloatingSwine:
snip

Zachary Amaranth:
snip

Not The Bees:
snip

Alright.

I'm gonna call it quits.

Having 3 different people bombarding you with questions, rebuttals, clarifications and what-not can be a bit tiring.

I am however gonna finish off with answering the last of your posts as they are now.

GloatingSwine.

I think we (maybe both of us) are confusing depiction of misogyny, and support (I can't find the right word, and English isn't my native language so please be lenient) of misogyny. I don't think misogyny can be excused today either. I don't think it's something we should strive towards (heaven forbid, I though we left all that misogyny bollocks behind in the 1960s). I just think that a reviewer shouldn't deduct from a review score because the game depicts events that actually happened, because we know today that they were wrong.

Zachary Amaranth

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/11436-Borderlands-2-PS-Vita-Review-Handsome-Slack

It seems this is the offending review. And you're right. It doesn't disclose that Jim Sterling and Anthony Burch had some form of relationship (being friends or whatever). The reason why I never realised this little bit of non-disclosure is because I was never interested in Borderlands 2 (especially not on the PS Vita. It never popped up on my RADAR). Now, I can only hope that Jim follows up on this, and discloses any relationships that may have had an effect on a review in the future.

Not The Bees.

"Just as an aside, Barbarians didn't always rape women, that's a myth, usually spread by Romans because that made Barbarians seem much more frightening that way."

Basically like the Vikings then. Fair enough. As for the rest, look at my answer to GloatingSwine. It seems it may have been a language barrier that have confused me.

MrFalconfly:
snip

I can understand that. And sorry you felt overwhelmed. I know how that can be. Hope it wasn't too much for you, and that you can feel better later and come back. For what it's worth, I had no idea that English wasn't your first language, as you seemed to grasp it just fine.

MrFalconfly:

I just think that a reviewer shouldn't deduct from a review score because the game depicts events that actually happened, because we know today that they were wrong.

They shouldn't necessarily do so, but they should consider how the game depicts those things and why the writers chose to include them.

And sometimes the answer to that is going to mean that the product deserves a lower score (perhaps because it was lazy or exploitative and "teh historical" is not a defence against that accusation)

I though we left all that misogyny bollocks behind in the 1960s

One of the great challenges in every fight for equality, whether race, gender, gender identity, or whatever, is convincing the beneficiaries of inequality that the round of concessions grudgingly eked out by the last generation didn't actually solve the problem because the inequality still exists.

andri88:
But we can indeed look to ebert as a go to source for reviews in general, whatever the medium. And I agree we should hold game reviewers to a higher standard and be consistent in our complaints and criticism.

Why would we use him as the go-to source? He reviewed movies and that's it. I wouldn't use him as a go-to source for technology reviews, or hotel reviews, or food reviews. It's pretty well known that Ebert didn't understand video games so I definitely wouldn't trust anything he had to say on that matter.

What I can say is his ethics as a reviewer were leagues above those who review video games professionally.

TheKasp:
YES!

Let's shit on the consumer. Fuck'em. Even those who actually want those reviews that you want gone because they don't make you feel fuzzy inside. We need to protect the publishers and studios and even more important: METACRITIC! The intransparent piece of shit!

Fuck, and people wonder why I don't side with #GG... When people fight for censorship without realising it.

And this is why I can't take arguments like this seriously. A review not being listed on metacritic is "censorship"? Are you being completely serious here?

GloatingSwine:

Nor are historical period games, even the most cursory glance at the medium's output in that regard should tell you that.

On a further note, attempting to reproduce the "attitudes" of a particular historical period is generally going to be more accurate to a caricature of the period than the reality, because history is far messier than "people at time X thought and acted this way"

So including, say, misogynistic elements in a historical piece would be appropriate if they were attached to a particular character, because then they become part of that character*, but not if they were presented as "an accurate portrayal of the period", because different people will always have acted differently in that regard, and the claim of accuracy is false.

It's also worth noting that it doesn't particularly prevent criticism or somehow invalidate it.

MrFalconfly:

1) Alright. I'll give you an example of historically correct misogyny.

This looks more like Hollywood correct misogyny, and I think the "misogyny" link is tenuous. Do you think grabbing a woman by her arm is inherently misogynist?

Do you think L.A. Noire would work without the misogyny or the racism that was common back in the 1950s, but have since become, if nothing else, old fashioned.

Do I think it would work? I think it could work. It might not be the exact same story, but that's tautological. Do you feel a noir story mandates racism and sexism, or a period piece does? Do you feel the media bears this out?

Also, as a minor history junkie with a thing for period pieces, I find that the common perception is usually exaggerated. That is to say there certainly was sexism in the 50s, but it's often exaggerated. Shows like Mad Men seem to dial up a lot of "period" details to 15 and get praised for their historicity, but that's like praising CSI for its scientific accuracy.

But on this subject, do you think historical Greek games suffer from their lack of pederasty? What about Japan? Clearly, we can tell these stories without pedophilia, and I doubt anyone would seriously argue that sex with children would enhance these stories. So why is it an excuse for other unsavoury historical pieces? Why is it specifically the mistreatment of blacks and women that garner this positive response and defense?

2) Because we're still at 0.01% have slipped past it.

Can you post your methodology and data on this? It seems as though you're assuming that the only people who have slipped under your radar are the ones (well, one) I've pointed out to you. But if they've slipped under your radar, you would, by definition, likely not notice.

3) Because they aren't big, or popular enough to create a blip on the Corporate RADAR.

Well, except we've got random YouTubers getting approached with shady NDAs. And if you want to compare to other media, well...My father and I get unsolicited review material. Him more than me, because he's got a longer history of reviews. But even my Amazon book reviews have led to people offering me material.

Neither of us are particularly huge.

If we're being approached by companies for review purposes, and the only way you know about this is that I just told you, how do you know that your guys are under the corporate radar? How could you know that I hadn't been asked for anything additional, like being asked to sign an NDA? And since this is happening with YouTube and games, how can you possibly know for certain that your guys are below the radar?

As for Peer-Review at 3-5 Months. I wasn't skimping. I was using examples which NTB gave me (she said Peer Review could take somewhere between 3 Months to 2 years).

She said 3 months if you're extraordinarily lucky, and you're looking at 3-5 months as though it's standard.

Which it's not.

MrFalconfly:
[

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/11436-Borderlands-2-PS-Vita-Review-Handsome-Slack

It seems this is the offending review.

No, it's A offending review. Or an, but I felt like capitalising AN would look weird. This goes back to the original release, not the Vita release here, and it involves Jim as reviews editor at Destructoid as well as his later career on the Escapist. It involves multiple reviews for multiple games, and even the gamergaters who want to Boycott Jim don't do it on these grounds, because nobody took the time to actually look.

I have done more ethical research on Jim Sterling than apparently 100% of Gamergate has done.

Now, I can only hope that Jim follows up on this, and discloses any relationships that may have had an effect on a review in the future.

That looks like you're back to taking things on faith. There's no evidence that he's changed anything since then, or even since he made those comments about Gearbox and/or Burch. Why would you think anything is different?

To the same end, Gamergate has already accused The Escapist of violating their own ethics policy. On what grounds are you praising it (bringing this back up, since you didn't answer before)?

Wandering_Hero:

s69-5:
As usual, Sterling misses the point and strawman's his way into the hearts of his devoted followers.
It's okay though, not everyone is (or ever was) a fan of this blowhard.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day is the way I'd describe him as he does occasionally bring up good points. However, for the most part, I tend to disagree with him and his barely comprehensible rants. My favourite though is when he recently tried to define what a video game is, and ended up describing things like Windows, MS Word, that data entry job I once held, Adobe Photoshop, etc...

I'm still not sure why anyone listens to him.

He used to be something to listen to while eating breakfast, but lately I've preferred just having music play

I'm not sure why these two users got mod wrath. Is there something I'm missing? Is pointing out that Jim's video is wrong and that they disagree with him in general now a felony here? Just asking because I'm quite baffled and don't want to step on anyone's toes.

OP: I would say you are focusing on the wrong thing here, because I don't remember too many people asking for the reviews you're alluding to here. If anything, you're using absurdity as a shield to distract from the real problems. But based on the above posters, I'm sticking my neck out in saying this. So I'll just leave it at that.

There are actually people who want 100% objective reviews?... Weird!

You could just read the wiki and call it a day, rather than demand `objective reviews`, surely that would be pretty much the same review from a bunch of different websites, and what's the bloody point of that?
I always thought the idea was to shop around to see what consensus was on the game, or find a reviewer who's tastes mesh nicely with yours.

Yahtzee's reviews have always been my favourite. I like to have every single flaw magnified so I can go into a game fully aware of what's good and what's shit.

Now I want an 100% objective Yahtzee review, I imagine it would sound like someone just reading the wiki intercut with swears for no reason. That sounds fun.

Thanatos2k:
Sorry Jim, but no. I know what you're going for, but it doesn't work because this wasn't an objective review, it was a review mocking the reader. "Some people like it, some people don't" is not objective criticism. Saying WHY people like it or don't is objective criticism. Saying "You can save the game sometimes" is not an objective explanation, because I have no idea how the save system is structured, and you can tell me how it works, objectively.

I'll repeat what I said before:

A bad review is a personal opinion. A professional review attempts to be objective criticism.

What almost every single professional game reviewer out there fails to realize is their purpose.

A professional review is not supposed to tell me whether the reviewer liked the game. A professional review is supposed to tell me whether *I* will like the game. You do this by objectively analyzing the technical merits of the game, comparing and contrasting the game with others like it, and then perhaps going into what does or does not work about the story/characters/etc from a structural level. NOT injecting your own personal ideology, because your ideology is probably not my ideology and thus serves no purpose in informing me properly about the reviewed game. If you want to mention what elements of the game may be of interest or disinterest to me then so be it (ex: feminists may not like the themes in this game = ok. This game has sexist themes = not ok) but keep your politics in your pocket.

Game reviewers almost never understand this, and most go with a "This is what I liked and didn't like" review which is of limited use to anyone. That's why people in large consider game reviews to be a joke.

No one says you can't have an opinion, no one says reviews should be 100% objective, but that opinion should be built on video game knowledge. When you talk about whether something works or not in a video game whether the combat system is fun or not, or balanced or not, it should be based on your experience in video games, not some personal vendetta or political nonsense that has nothing to do with games and nothing to do with whether or not the game is good. Because that's what we're getting out of reviews these days. People who don't even like genres or know something in the game is going to "trigger" them are being given games to review specifically so their review will generate controversy clicks or they can push an agenda.

This is of NO VALUE to us, the consumers. You're a consumer advocate, right? Then you should want what's best for the consumer too.

THANK YOU. I registered finally after lurking these forums for atleast 4 years now, just to Quote this. It cannot possibly be stressed enough IMHO. You don't base a rating off personal politics and no one should be defending anyone who does that either. That's not journalism. That's activism. It doesn't matter if it's against "an evil Corporation". That's just fighting fire with poopoo. No it's not going to kill any publishers or video games themselves. But it will kill the gaming "press" if these HACKS are given taller and taller podiums to spew contoversey just for the sake of sensationalism.

The gaming press itself is already going through the "MTV devolution" ... where-in it started off being about fun catchy game mechanics (videos) ... then it tried to include a bit of "art" and social commentary on the side (animated series?) ... until finally it slid into the dark abyss of nonstop Reality-TV. This is exactly where both Games Media and Youtube channels are all heading right now. Into the goddamned dark abyss of PewdiePie and Gender-War. Meanwhile corporations are laughing their rich asses off b/c the more ignorant of gaming technicals the general population is, the more money they stand to make off those DISTRACTED suckers. It's like that Cake song about the rock & roll hipster. You're drinking what they're selling. Misplaced Activism can't harm them, only education can. An informed and wholly un-distracted consumer is an empowered consumer, regardless of their political standings.

iller3:

Thanatos2k:
Sorry Jim, but no. I know what you're going for, but it doesn't work because this wasn't an objective review, it was a review mocking the reader. "Some people like it, some people don't" is not objective criticism. Saying WHY people like it or don't is objective criticism. Saying "You can save the game sometimes" is not an objective explanation, because I have no idea how the save system is structured, and you can tell me how it works, objectively.

I'll repeat what I said before:

A bad review is a personal opinion. A professional review attempts to be objective criticism.

What almost every single professional game reviewer out there fails to realize is their purpose.

A professional review is not supposed to tell me whether the reviewer liked the game. A professional review is supposed to tell me whether *I* will like the game. You do this by objectively analyzing the technical merits of the game, comparing and contrasting the game with others like it, and then perhaps going into what does or does not work about the story/characters/etc from a structural level. NOT injecting your own personal ideology, because your ideology is probably not my ideology and thus serves no purpose in informing me properly about the reviewed game. If you want to mention what elements of the game may be of interest or disinterest to me then so be it (ex: feminists may not like the themes in this game = ok. This game has sexist themes = not ok) but keep your politics in your pocket.

Game reviewers almost never understand this, and most go with a "This is what I liked and didn't like" review which is of limited use to anyone. That's why people in large consider game reviews to be a joke.

No one says you can't have an opinion, no one says reviews should be 100% objective, but that opinion should be built on video game knowledge. When you talk about whether something works or not in a video game whether the combat system is fun or not, or balanced or not, it should be based on your experience in video games, not some personal vendetta or political nonsense that has nothing to do with games and nothing to do with whether or not the game is good. Because that's what we're getting out of reviews these days. People who don't even like genres or know something in the game is going to "trigger" them are being given games to review specifically so their review will generate controversy clicks or they can push an agenda.

This is of NO VALUE to us, the consumers. You're a consumer advocate, right? Then you should want what's best for the consumer too.

THANK YOU. I registered finally after lurking these forums for atleast 4 years now, just to Quote this. It cannot possibly be stressed enough IMHO. You don't base a rating off personal politics and no one should be defending anyone who does that either. That's not journalism. That's activism. It doesn't matter if it's against "an evil Corporation". That's just fighting fire with poopoo. No it's not going to kill any publishers or video games themselves. But it will kill the gaming "press" if these HACKS are given taller and taller podiums to spew contoversey just for the sake of sensationalism.

The gaming press itself is already going through the "MTV devolution" ... where-in it started off being about fun catchy game mechanics (videos) ... then it tried to include a bit of "art" and social commentary on the side (animated series?) ... until finally it slid into the dark abyss of nonstop Reality-TV. This is exactly where both Games Media and Youtube channels are all heading right now. Into the goddamned dark abyss of PewdiePie and Gender-War. Meanwhile corporations are laughing their rich asses off b/c the more ignorant of gaming technicals the general population is, the more money they stand to make off those DISTRACTED suckers. It's like that Cake song about the rock & roll hipster. You're drinking what they're selling. Misplaced Activism can't harm them, only education can. An informed and wholly un-distracted consumer is an empowered consumer, regardless of their political standings.

Thanks. By the way, here's a great example of the kind of good review I'm talking about, where Erik Kain reviews Lords of the Fallen:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/games/2014/10/29/lords-of-the-fallen-review/

100% objective? Nope. But you can clearly see it's trying to be, and there's a great focus on both explaining the systems of the game and comparing/contrasting them with those of similar genre games, namely Dark Souls. Personal opinion is kept to a minimum and it's easily seen where he's marking his own personal experiences vs what you may see instead. And there's no agenda being pushed. It gives recommendation near the end of who would be interested in the game. To the consumer who has played Dark Souls, this is of great use. To the consumer who has not played Dark Souls, the implication is to go play Dark Souls before you even bother thinking about whether to get this game (the most useful advice it can give, after all).

A factual minimally subjective review written for the consumer. Why can't they all be like this, and why are some people fighting so hard against this notion?

Zachary Amaranth:

GloatingSwine:

Nor are historical period games, even the most cursory glance at the medium's output in that regard should tell you that.

On a further note, attempting to reproduce the "attitudes" of a particular historical period is generally going to be more accurate to a caricature of the period than the reality, because history is far messier than "people at time X thought and acted this way"

So including, say, misogynistic elements in a historical piece would be appropriate if they were attached to a particular character, because then they become part of that character*, but not if they were presented as "an accurate portrayal of the period", because different people will always have acted differently in that regard, and the claim of accuracy is false.

It's also worth noting that it doesn't particularly prevent criticism or somehow invalidate it.

MrFalconfly:

1) Alright. I'll give you an example of historically correct misogyny.

This looks more like Hollywood correct misogyny, and I think the "misogyny" link is tenuous. Do you think grabbing a woman by her arm is inherently misogynist?

Do you think L.A. Noire would work without the misogyny or the racism that was common back in the 1950s, but have since become, if nothing else, old fashioned.

Do I think it would work? I think it could work. It might not be the exact same story, but that's tautological. Do you feel a noir story mandates racism and sexism, or a period piece does? Do you feel the media bears this out?

Also, as a minor history junkie with a thing for period pieces, I find that the common perception is usually exaggerated. That is to say there certainly was sexism in the 50s, but it's often exaggerated. Shows like Mad Men seem to dial up a lot of "period" details to 15 and get praised for their historicity, but that's like praising CSI for its scientific accuracy.

But on this subject, do you think historical Greek games suffer from their lack of pederasty? What about Japan? Clearly, we can tell these stories without pedophilia, and I doubt anyone would seriously argue that sex with children would enhance these stories. So why is it an excuse for other unsavoury historical pieces? Why is it specifically the mistreatment of blacks and women that garner this positive response and defense?

2) Because we're still at 0.01% have slipped past it.

Can you post your methodology and data on this? It seems as though you're assuming that the only people who have slipped under your radar are the ones (well, one) I've pointed out to you. But if they've slipped under your radar, you would, by definition, likely not notice.

3) Because they aren't big, or popular enough to create a blip on the Corporate RADAR.

Well, except we've got random YouTubers getting approached with shady NDAs. And if you want to compare to other media, well...My father and I get unsolicited review material. Him more than me, because he's got a longer history of reviews. But even my Amazon book reviews have led to people offering me material.

Neither of us are particularly huge.

If we're being approached by companies for review purposes, and the only way you know about this is that I just told you, how do you know that your guys are under the corporate radar? How could you know that I hadn't been asked for anything additional, like being asked to sign an NDA? And since this is happening with YouTube and games, how can you possibly know for certain that your guys are below the radar?

As for Peer-Review at 3-5 Months. I wasn't skimping. I was using examples which NTB gave me (she said Peer Review could take somewhere between 3 Months to 2 years).

She said 3 months if you're extraordinarily lucky, and you're looking at 3-5 months as though it's standard.

Which it's not.

MrFalconfly:
[

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/11436-Borderlands-2-PS-Vita-Review-Handsome-Slack

It seems this is the offending review.

No, it's A offending review. Or an, but I felt like capitalising AN would look weird. This goes back to the original release, not the Vita release here, and it involves Jim as reviews editor at Destructoid as well as his later career on the Escapist. It involves multiple reviews for multiple games, and even the gamergaters who want to Boycott Jim don't do it on these grounds, because nobody took the time to actually look.

I have done more ethical research on Jim Sterling than apparently 100% of Gamergate has done.

Now, I can only hope that Jim follows up on this, and discloses any relationships that may have had an effect on a review in the future.

That looks like you're back to taking things on faith. There's no evidence that he's changed anything since then, or even since he made those comments about Gearbox and/or Burch. Why would you think anything is different?

To the same end, Gamergate has already accused The Escapist of violating their own ethics policy. On what grounds are you praising it (bringing this back up, since you didn't answer before)?

Actually, video games based on Greece kind of suffer from lots of unfortunate implications, especially misogyny. Notice how much Japanese video games based on Greek mythology feature goddesses taken hostage (think of Athena in the game Altered Beast) that would be able to take care of themselves in Greek myths.

It is kind of ridiculous to say that a game should be with the standards of its time when many stuff in the game already shows a clear lack of research and the "being with the standards of its time issue" (the damsel in distress plot was really common back then) shows that clear lack of research and thus comes across as really offensive to people who are dedicated to the genre.

This is also why I think that LA Noire might be a case beyond criticism. The creator made The Getaway before it, which shows a perfectly accurate modelling of London in the year 2001 (the year it came out). So it really feels easy to suggest that LA Noire was done with the same detail and is thus a perfect construction of Los Angeles like it was in 1947.

s69-5:
Either way, I'm done with this corrupt site.

As everyone knows, not letting people outright insult contributors is way up there on the corruption scale. It's right next to "Having a different opinion than me" and "Not drinking the kool-aid."

s69-5:

yesbag:

Wandering_Hero:

He used to be something to listen to while eating breakfast, but lately I've preferred just having music play

I'm not sure why these two users got mod wrath. Is there something I'm missing? Is pointing out that Jim's video is wrong and that they disagree with him in general now a felony here? Just asking because I'm quite baffled and don't want to step on anyone's toes.

They probably didn't like the fact that I accurately described him as a blowhard.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=blowhard

blowhard
1. A very boastful and talkative person; a braggart

2. A self-important egomaniac who likes to toot his own horn like those assholes who put bumper stickers on their cars that say "PROUD PARENTS OF AN HONOR STUDENT AT (blah blah blah) HIGH SCHOOL"

"Thank God for Jim" indeed.

I'd say the description I gave, regarding Sterling as a "Blowhard" is 100% accurate.
Either way, I'm done with this corrupt site.

I'm guessing my remakr about it being Kotaku esque clickbait hit a nerve.

Since I got a warning instead of someone posting and explaining why I'm wrong, I guess I was uncomfortably close to the truth.

hydrolythe:

Actually, video games based on Greece kind of suffer from lots of unfortunate implications, especially misogyny.

When did I say it didn't?

Phasmal:
There are actually people who want 100% objective reviews?... Weird!

I don't think anyone phrases them as such, but...yes. This is what they say they want. Reviews that do not show off personal bias or opinion.

LifeCharacter:

As everyone knows, not letting people outright insult contributors is way up there on the corruption scale. It's right next to "Having a different opinion than me" and "Not drinking the kool-aid."

I find this move to be totally lacking in ethics in journalism.

Wandering_Hero:

Since I got a warning instead of someone posting and explaining why I'm wrong, I guess I was uncomfortably close to the truth.

That's an interesting series of assumptions.

LifeCharacter:

s69-5:
Either way, I'm done with this corrupt site.

As everyone knows, not letting people outright insult contributors is way up there on the corruption scale. It's right next to "Having a different opinion than me" and "Not drinking the kool-aid."

You mistake this for a one time event. It is only the straw that broke the camels back - and no you are not representing this correctly. Unfortunately, if I did describe the problem, I'm sure I'd get more wrath. Let's just say, there is a HUGE double standard on these forums that has been steadily getting worse.

And it isn't an insult, when it's the truth. Sterling doesn't even hide it. He just is exactly what I described.

hydrolythe:
snip

I think there is a bit of an issue here - on issues of historic values. Lets take racism as an example:

Portraying the racism of the 1950s, isn't racist in itself. Where racism comes in, is when you portray those values as being accurate.

Essentially, you can write a period piece where characters have period appropriate values, but you still need to write rounded characters who don't fit the era's prejudices otherwise you end up endorsing those prejudices.

In other words, you still need to write people.

s69-5:

You mistake this for a one time event. It is only the straw that broke the camels back - and no you are not representing this correctly. Unfortunately, if I did describe the problem, I'm sure I'd get more wrath. Let's just say, there is a HUGE double standard on these forums that has been steadily getting worse.

Isn't it weird how the evidence of this corruption cannot be shared?

And it isn't an insult, when it's the truth.

Not sure if serious, since a term can simultaneously be true and an insult.

Zachary Amaranth:

s69-5:

You mistake this for a one time event. It is only the straw that broke the camels back - and no you are not representing this correctly. Unfortunately, if I did describe the problem, I'm sure I'd get more wrath. Let's just say, there is a HUGE double standard on these forums that has been steadily getting worse.

Isn't it weird how the evidence of this corruption cannot be shared?

And it isn't an insult, when it's the truth.

Not sure if serious, since a term can simultaneously be true and an insult.

When have you known publicly airing moderation concerns to be well-received by moderation?
You're either trying to bait me, or just being disingenuous. I'd bet both - knowing your posting patterns.

That's as far as I go though, because if I don't bite my tongue, specifically with you, who I've tried to ignore for the most part, I'll wind up saying some things I may regret.

So how about you quit antagonizing people and maybe contribute something useful?

s69-5:
You mistake this for a one time event. It is only the straw that broke the camels back - and no you are not representing this correctly. Unfortunately, if I did describe the problem, I'm sure I'd get more wrath. Let's just say, there is a HUGE double standard on these forums that has been steadily getting worse.

And it isn't an insult, when it's the truth. Sterling doesn't even hide it. He just is exactly what I described.

So the straw that broke the camels back is you breaking the rules and getting punished for it? Why do I get the feeling the majority of those other pieces of straw are similar? Because that's all your original complaint was, you being punished for insulting a contributor. It doesn't matter if it's true, an insult is an insult. "Fatass" doesn't stop being an insult just because it's directed at an overweight person, so I doubt blowhard has some special attribute that makes it any different.

And, since you're done with this website, why the hell do you care what happens after airing your totally legitimate complaints about moderation? If there's a huge double standard that you could blow open with some information and you don't care about this website, show it to us or don't bring it up, because unlike some people I don't consider allusions to evidence you refuse to provide actual evidence.

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