Extra Lives: The case against review scores

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Some of the most volatile arguments present in the realm of gaming exist because of disagreements over what score a particular game should have received in a review. Tempers flare over the supposed correctness of the reviewer’s criteria and therefore the validity of the review itself. A few weeks ago, I even wrote a blog saying that I believed that a work’s status as a game had no place in determining the score 0f the review.

I wasn’t wrong, just a little misguided. What I didn’t realize at the time was that a better way to deal with the issue was to get rid of review scores entirely.

Now that’s not saying we shouldn’t have reviews; reviews are an important and necessary part of gaming media. They help inform the consumer as to whether a game is worth purchasing.

Each consumer, however, has different tastes. One person may love strategy games, while another might hate them. Although reviews attempt to be objective, the people writing them are still giving an opinion. That opinion is not right or wrong ad should not be considered such by anybody. Reviews often contain criticism that doesn’t apply to all readers, like political issues the reviewer has with the game.

The problem is that people are lazy and don’t necessarily want to read a full review. Sites like MetaCritic only make this worse by simply compiling a bunch of different scores into one.  All of the nuance is lost when the opinion about a game is boiled down to a single number.

In truth, it doesn’t matter if you allow strange ore niche criteria for a game into your review. The only problem I have is when tha finds its way into a score that can dissuade a potential player from buying a game.

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