On objectivity

This essay by Cara Ellison is both a fairly bravura bit of internet-era confessional rage-ranting and an insight into the lifestyle and finances of the freelance games reviewer (which is much like that of many freelance writers, I suspect; I certainly recognise the bit about measuring gigs in terms of what percentage of one’s next rent payment they represent). For my money, though, this ‘graph is the slamdunk:

The necessary rise of the satirical website ‘Objective Game Reviews’ is enough to make me feel depressed, but if you want to see what an ‘objective’ review looks like maybe go and fud yourself silly on that site and come back to me when you are 1) older than sixteen 2) would like my goddamn experienced opinion on a game. The only reason game criticism exists is so that you can orientate yourself around a particular critic’s taste. If the critic is any good you can tell from their analysis whether you will like the game or not, regardless of whether the critic in question actually thought the game was any good at all.

Amen to that; I suspect there will be readers who misunderstand the role of criticism for as long as there are readers, and I am reassured to find that I give less of a crap for what they think as the years go by.

Oh, while you’re here — did you fancy buying a copy of Twelve Tomorrows so you could read my story, but didn’t fancy getting a copy shipped from the States? Well, everyone’s favourite disintermediatory retail-disruption corporation has got you covered with a £6.21 UK Kindle edition, available now. Let me know what you think, if you like.

One thought on “On objectivity”

  1. Tell me about it, man. One of a number of reasons why Arcadian Rhythms has never included review scores.

    (Among the other reasons is “if you can’t understand how the reviewer feels about a game having read his or her words, then either the reviewer has failed or the reader is ineluctably an idiot.”)

    It is especially appalling / entertaining on Quarter to Three because that is a rare Metacritic-listed site with reviews largely by one man, and that man is Tom Chick, and that man’s opinions diverge from the Metacritic consensus more often than any of the corporate review sites.

    And lo, when he rates a big release poorly, do the cretins pour in to question his parentage and sexuality.

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