Every now and then, I feel the need to stem the rising tide of hate and mockery that often floods toward the game critic. It'd be lame to voice the overused, "we get no respect!" sentiment as it would likely only spawn more mockery, but as we head into yet another insane holiday rush loaded with about eight trillion titles, a refresher course is needed. Ready, class?

99.99999% of the time, a critic isn't "paid off"

I assume it has happened in the past; the first example that comes to mind is last year's Gerstmann/GameSpot/Eidos controversy that was never 100% clarified, as far as I know. However, I can essentially promise you that the vast majority of reviewers aren't "paid off" by the publisher or developer. I've been reviewing games for a long time and not only have I never been approached with even the hint of a bribe, but I don't know anyone else who has, either. I imagine this may be more of a problem in the future – and that's just a guess, as the industry gets bigger and bigger – but as of right now, I wouldn't worry about the reliability of most all reviews. Feel free to disagree all you want, but to run around in circles like a child yelling, "he was paid off!" is not only intensely annoying to reviewers like me, but it's also completely inaccurate.

Playing all games through to completion is impossible

Whine and moan and complain all you want. We're not talking about 2-hour movies, a CD that can be listened to in even less time, or even a book that can be read in a few days. We're often talking about 15-20 hour experiences (and many are even much, much longer) piled atop one another week in and week out. To pay a staff to play through every single release to completion would require the budget of California, and an allotment of time that probably doesn't even exist. And the truth of the matter is, critics don't need long to know if a game is worth a consumer's time. Yes, there are times when a review is submitted and the critic might find something much later in the game that might alter the score. But it's almost never by more than a tenth of a point or two, and their overall opinion will almost always stand. The bottom line is that you do not see many – if any – examples of games that didn't get a fair shake because the reviewers didn't give it due attention.

At no point in the history of this industry has a reviewer played three or four hours of a 10-hour adventure, given the game a 9, and after completing it said to himself, "damn, I was so wrong; this game deserves only a 6!" That doesn't happen, and it's because if a game is great, we know – we all know it – almost right off the bat. If you don't believe it, you don't play games enough. Trust me, reviewers do .

Not every reviewer is out to browbeat the reader into submission

For some bizarre reason, there's a common belief that critics just like to hear themselves talk, and they would never accept the opinion of someone else. It's like we're the most close-minded individuals on the face of the earth; all egotistical and self-centered with massive elitist complexes. In all honesty, this only boils down to jealousy (as a lot of critic-bashing does). Few will admit it, but such complaints are fueled by the underlying grief that some guy out there is getting paid to review games, and you're not. Most professional reviews are not written with an authoritarian "believe me or you're an idiot tone;" that "tone" is a myth created by the jealous masses. I will freely admit that some critics use their considerable power to really annoy some people on a consistent basis – I've seen it done before – but for the most part, they're just trying to do their job.

No…you DON'T always know "just as much" as the reviewer

This doesn't only apply to game critics, but to critics in all other entertainment-related industries. I know the fan always wants to believe they know just as much (if not more) than the reviewer, especially in the world of video games. I know they pick apart reviews in a desperate effort to prove that "anyone can do his job." I know that if a reviewer ever makes a mistake – God forbid – the readers will likely grasp it and hold on for dear life, milking the slip for all its worth. I know they believe everything is "all subjective." Yeah, this is one of my biggest pet peeves; everything is not all subjective and every gamer can't be critics. I like good food. I'm a fan of quality gourmet dishes. But I only know what I like; do you honestly believe I pretend to know as much as professional food critics? People who compare and contrast more dishes in a week than I've done in a lifetime? Give me a break.

In short, I think a lot of gamers need to get over themselves, accept that most game critics are in their positions for a reason, and lastly, I would like to once again reiterate: the best selling and most popular games in history all got great reviews. Well, most all. Believe it or not, we just might know what we're doing. Thanks.

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TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Oh Yeah?

Oh Yeah!?

Well, that still doesn't explain why Leisure Suit Larry : Box office Bust got such good reviews! It's a conspiracy I tell you! A conspiracy! You can't handle the truth!


Last edited by TheHighlander on 9/8/2009 11:02:19 PM

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Highlander shouting, WOW!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Well, LSL:BOB was such an unmitigated disaster and still IGN and Gamespot gave it 1 out of 5. It's a conspiracy. They were paid off, it's the only explanation. They all got assurances that if they game it 1 out of five (rather than zero) they'd never have to review another Leisure Suit Larry game again!

Surely, that's gotta be worth a shout or two?


Last edited by TheHighlander on 9/9/2009 12:00:19 AM

Randomhero1
Randomhero1
11 years ago

Yea that game sucks. my gosh… the controls are plain HORRIBLE.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Did someone tell you your penis was too short? What brought on this article?

I think it's clear people respect your opinions in the realm of Videogames Ben since this site is bombarded with traffic every day of the week. In regards to your last few sentences, not sure that's a sign that critics get things right, I personally think a monkey could see that Uncharted is an amazing game.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

This isn't a personal thing. It's in reference to the general attitude of gamers towards reviewers.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Ah, well I certainly view those at IGN as idiots. I value yours and Arnold's reviews far more. I've noticed a trend in reviews from game sites being more a synopsis of the game rather than a subjective, informed review of specific game categories.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

@LV,
I think that trend is due to a larger number of 'lay-reviews' being written by bloggers who have delusions of journalist-hood. As Ben pointed out there is a substantial time commitment involved in reviewing a game, and a lot of places will take reviews from users, edit them a little and publish. When they do that, nut cases like me get a chance to do their best to sound smart…

The synopsis format is a temptation for reviewers who are new to writing (believe me, I know this from personal experience). It's easy because you can simply recount the game plot with a few positive and negative comments along the way. Throw in a score at the end, and you're done. The result is generally a very poor critical review.

Real writers, folks who've actually done English Lit. or Journalism degrees, or have worked as a print journalist, don't easily fall into this pattern. Folks who know how to write a piece of critical interpretation at least perform some level of critical analysis.

I agree with you, the reviews here are generally much less plot synopsis and much more critical review.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

@Ben

You know there is a very faded line of discernment of professional reviewers on the net. Thats the sad part, anyone can have a nice looking site and in it reviews of complete sour bashing. I've seen plenty. Limited referred IGN and I agree but there are plenty others.

I guess what Im saying is if I want ANYONE's opinion (being a natural rebel I don't care what people have to say) but the ONLY one I RESPECT is this site. You and Arnold are great, unbiased reviewers. You guys haven't let me down once. So don't defend ALL reviewers (cuz they do need defense) your reviews stand on their own accord.


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 9/9/2009 12:06:59 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Wage: Thanks, that's flattering. 🙂 And I know there are a lot of so-called reviewers out there who really shouldn't be doing any game analysis, but I'm trying to defend those who deserve the defense.

Hezzron
Hezzron
11 years ago

I'm seeing a trend in the recent PSXExtreme articles lately. First the Administrator laments about the non-stop bombardment of music "Hero" games and how tiring it is. Then he goes on to give the latest 2 big name installments in that genre some of the best review scores of the year. Now this article. Some people must be calling for his head!

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

I'm trying to agree with you on all these points, but I don't.

You're right that not "anyone can do this job." But a lot more people can do it than are actually doing it.

I also personally think it's a crime that a reviewer has the nerve to write up a review about a game they haven't even played to completion. Games aren't food. You can play a game and think it's great up until about 90% completion where there's a glitch that doesn't even let you finish the game.

If it's impossible to finish all the games before reviewing them then hire more reviewers or only review the games you took the time to finish.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

And what game have you played that was bad-ass awesome, and you found a "glitch" that ruined the entire thing? People use these examples and they hold no water, because it never happens.

No critic can finish all games NOR do they need to. You're going to have to accept that and no, in my experience, I think a lot LESS people can review games than gamers believe. In fact, I find that those who THINK they can do it are the worst at it.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

For someone to refrain from injecting their own personal opinions in a review is difficult in itself. That eliminates a good sum of the population that shouldn't write reviews.

Games don't need to be completed to be reviewed. They don't make mountainous leaps later in the game like better control implementation, or general graphics or sound. That type of thing just doesn't happen.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

*sigh* I was having a fantastic time until I just ran into this Vampire glitch in Oblivion: Glitch of the Year Edition. It is unsolvable on PS3 without a non GOTY edition and I am PISSED. Ruined the whole thing for me because being stuck a vampire kills the game.

But I suppose it wouldn't ruin the review when broken down to mechanics, it has changed my opinion of Bethesda (who won't issue a patch) though.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 9/9/2009 1:11:52 AM

Advent Child
Advent Child
11 years ago

I couldn't finish Ninja Gaiden II on the Xbox 360 because a glitched caused my game to crash every single time I walked down this certain hallway near the end of the game. Annoying as hell.

robinhood2010
robinhood2010
11 years ago

Sorry Alienage, but that is quite unreasonable. This could be true if all games were 4 hours or less. But to ask someone to review, for example, Elder Scrolls IV : Oblivion, on completion, is ridiculous.
The amount of side-quests there are in that game, excluding expansion packs, is too much for what you are suggesting.

Yeah, OK, a game like Flower or other PSN titles could be played to completion, but that is because they are much shorter.

But are you really expecting Ben or Arnold to complete Final Fantasy XIII or Gran Turismo 5 before they give you their review on it?

I didn't think so.

Aftab
Aftab
11 years ago

Yeah, it's obvious certain games needn't be completed (sports, racing, etc…), in order to be fairly reviewed.

However, there are games of other genres that naturally require more time for a fair shake. GTA4 was a game that jumped up a point or two for me only after picking it back up after a couple of months and playing it from where I left it ( a few hours of play ).

Does that mean such games must be played to completion? Cut-scenes and endings can make a difference in the overall impression, as do glitches, and things like the progression of difficulty really have to be witnessed first hand.

Now, could a fraction of point make a difference? Between 8.7 and 8.8? Not to me. 8.9 and 9.0? Yes, and especially to some publishers.

Hezzron
Hezzron
11 years ago

Those who can't create become critics.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

I really liked Far Cry 2. I came into that game shortly after the patch so the bugs were fixed. But ask anyone who paid 60 bux on day one if they're happy with the high scoring reviews. That's a recent example. An old example would be Ultima Underworld. Play the whole game. Last door to the last boss won't open. Patch releases and you have to start from scratch.

@ robinhood2010 – I would have to agree with you somewhat. Playing every last side quest and mini game in an rpg would not really be necessary in order to review a game. But if you picked up Batman and have only played five hours, you don't know squat about it and shouldn't be reviewing it.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

You guys really expect a super human reviewer to complete every game huh? I guess that can go for another reason not just anyone can be a reviewer.

Jeeze. How bout a little credit where its due? I'd of wasted my money plenty of times if it weren't for these guys.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

@ Wage SLAVES – I actually said "hire more reviewers or only review the games you took the time to finish."

Take this site for example. They don't review EVERY PS3 game. The ones they do review, yeah, I expect them to have actually played through the material.

Like I said earlier, games are not food. They're more like books. You expect me to take someone's review seriously when they haven't read the entire book? It's enough for you to have someone read three chapters and then tell you it's a great book based on spelling and grammar? Then tell you that they've read three chapters of many more books than you have, so their review must be accurate?

Ben wrote: "critics don't need long to know if a game is worth a consumer's time."
I for one strongly disagree with that statement.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

Lol. Its not like books. Unless a book has prettier text or something to differentiate itself from others. Just looking at games you can see some quality difference.

therabbitkinge
therabbitkinge
11 years ago

Wow I wasn't aware so much hatred was brewing against reviewers… it makes no sense to me whether your getting paid or not its just an opinion at the end of the day my money is in my pocket and I'll decide what game to buy with it, its as simple as that. When I read Ben demons souls review he wasn't standing behind me with a gun to my head and a knife to my wallet (btw still love that review lol) I respect his opinion enough to buy something he's given a good review to because I choose to. Keep on writing Ben the fans hear ya!!!

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
11 years ago

Pfffffft.
I know more about game reviewing than Ben… I could easily do his job.

I kid, i kid…
Ben, you are one a the (very) few game journalists i give a damn about, so you must be doing something right.

I'll admit to throwing a bit of gas on the "omg theyz paid 4 reviewz!!!" fire. I cant help but get the fanboys riled up sometimes 😀

migabyte
migabyte
11 years ago

I disagree that the game doesn't have to be played to completion. I know it is hard, but I think it is important. I do change my opinion of games after a while. For instance I didn't like fallout 3 much (would have proabbly gave it a 6.5) until like 20 hours in (now I give it an 8 or 8.5). Some games grow on you and take a bit of time to reflect on, just as a good movie. IGN always finish the game, that's why they are still the best place for reviews.

Also I don't know about the analogy that you used a food critic. Food is different all over the world, thus a good food critic has been to many places and tried different food. They are not just some guy who hangs out in his basement all the time. Anyone can play any game, they are available everywhere to anyone. Just my 2 cents. Movie critics have no special talents either. Generally you either share the same taste or not.

Some people like to think and like well done games, other people just wanna blow stuff up. There are games and movies on both sides. Generally a critic should like well done movies/games cause the people who like transformers 2 don't listen to critics anyways.


Last edited by migabyte on 9/9/2009 12:11:00 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

No. Reviewing movies is not about "taste." It's about analyzing cinematography, direction, writing, performance, and about a half-dozen other factors. Again, this is where people THINK they know just as much as the critics, when in fact, they don't. It's the same as with game reviews.

And access means nothing. Just because someone feasibly could play all the games available doesn't mean they do. You will almost never find a common player who plays more games in any given month than a critic. Food isn't about "taste" (no pun intended), either; just because cuisine is different around the world doesn't mean there isn't a universal set of factors to consider (i.e., presentation, blending of flavors, originality, etc.).


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 9/9/2009 12:22:12 AM

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
11 years ago

What people need to realize is that once you start reviewing games you "see" things differently. I write/record quite a bit of music so when a song plays on the radio or something i can point at little details almost instantly that other people may not notice for a while, if ever. I assume the same would apply to games. Ben can notice things right away that might take casual players like myself several more hours to notice. Of course anyone can tell right away if the game is good or bad, but its the little details to make the whole production worth playing, and Ben is better at noticing this right off the bat.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Right. People don't get this until they really dive in and understand exactly what it is we do. I can listen to music, too, but as I don't do it anywhere near as often – and I've never tried to make my own – I'm not about to try to review music albums.

Jalex
Jalex
11 years ago

@NoSmokingBandit:

Your analogy would only work if Ben had actually worked on some video games (and, to my knowledge, he hasn't).
I'm not saying that Ben doesn't have journalistic proficiency. But you need a better argument, because by your analogy, only a minority of reviewers deserve their job as only a minority of them have developed video games.

therabbitkinge
therabbitkinge
11 years ago

@wage SLAVES: see now that right there makes sense as well, Ben speak for yourself and your friends in the industry but a general defense of all reviewers is undeserved in some sense because like some people here will say a lot of sites have bad or biased reviews, and no im not going to name any but they know who they are and so do we. Which is why everyone is reading this article here, and responding here, and reading reviews here because here reside some of the best articles I've read on games and the industry since I've become a member. Ben and Arnold more power to ya!!! (Only put bens name first since he wrote the article no offense arnold lol)

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Consider me brow-beaten 🙂

Advent Child
Advent Child
11 years ago

I can think of one game I thought highly of for the first 5-6 hours and then got around the end of the game and decided to lower my score of it about 2 points from a 9 to a 7 because of the incredible cheapness the game throws into the end of the game – prototype.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

…and what score did we give it? 😉

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

I know as much as any reviewer…, sorry Ben

chucknasty
chucknasty
11 years ago

Agreed, but the usefulness of reviewers is for letting me know if a game I was on the fence about is worth buying because they will buy any game and play it regardless of how crappy it is. I know I will buy Uncharted 2 and AC2, Borderlands on the other hand is a purchase only if everyone else says 'go'.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

I've been reading your comments for a while Scarecrow and no you don't.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Care to prove your point Alienage?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I think what people ultimately are getting at when they scream about reviewers being bought off is that there is a clear bias in many cases. Often times it is just blatant and shocking, other times it is just lazy and based on nothing. The problem is, it is there GOING INTO the review and thus taints it. Disagreeing with the review of technical issues like controls and graphics is one thing, but disagreeing with plain old ignorance is the customer's prerogative.

Banky A
Banky A
11 years ago

You hear you, brothers.

Byakko2009
Byakko2009
11 years ago

I can think of one recent example where gamers disagree with critics, and that is Cross Edge. The game wasn't received well by the press -I personally understood why, and knew it would happen – yet fans of the game went nuts claiming the reviewers had no idea what they were talking about. If they understood how the games are rated then they would think twice before going on a rampage and bashing the critics. Now myself, I enjoyed the game and have played it through on hard difficulty 3 times. That said, I don't disagree with the general press and the average score the game received.

The graphics for one were a awful for PS3 standards. The mesh of 2D sprites (while I liked the sprites being a 2D guy) and low polygon 3D backgrounds was not acceptable for PS3 standards. Story-wise the game had its usual JRPG quirks. Some of the dialogue was witty at times and gave me a chuckle but the mix of all the characters was just that: witty. There was little in the way of character development, which is understandable from a cross over RPG. Where I think the game draws its strength is the gameplay but it's challenging and isn't easy to get into. It did something different which is admirable but that one aspect alone isn't enough to put Cross Edge amongst the top RPGs out there.

All in all, I loved the game still but only because I got addicted to leveling and the combo system. I'm just like that with RPGs; I max out stats and such and see how big the numbers get.

Basically what I'm saying is, gamers who disagree with the scores need to read the reviews, and the lot of them do not do this. No, they simply see the score and act as though the world doesn't make sense because their favorite game didn't get the 10 they felt it deserved. I'm generalizing of course, but it's how these things happen. If gamers are going to look only at the scores, they need to take it differently. Like say for instance, said game receives a 6. My advice is go rent the game, and if you like it, buy it. If it's a high 8, and the genre of said game is of your tastes, then buy it or rent it if you're not sure. Scores of 9-10 are no contest and are likely well-deserved – go buy it.

I too am getting a little tired of gamers and their holier than thou type attitudes because they have the time to play all 40 hours of a game. People who put it on a scale of right and wrong are dumb; it simply isn't that easy. I guarantee you if you filled their plates with about 5 games for 1 month and they tried to review them with a deadline, they would stop taking you guys for granted.

___________
___________
11 years ago

i dont know about that.
what about devs saying you can only review their game if you give it a certain score?
like what hapend with MGS4 or batman AA.
that sounds like a bribe to me.
and i still to this day cant figure out how and why GTAIV got a 10.
give me enough time and i will come up with 1M reasons why GTAIV does not deserve a 10.
the only game released last year that deserved a 10 was MGS4 and most sites only gave it a 9.5 or so.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

To me, that could never happen. If I were a gaming journalist and a developer told me I couldn't review any of their games unless I gave a certain score. The story of that threat by the developer would be a far bigger scoop than any advanced review could be.

Bribes and threats are exactly the kind of thing that will get reported.

As for MGS4 getting 9.5 instead of 10…why is that even an issue? It's 5% difference in score. That's an insignificant difference and not relevant to this discussion at all.

___________
___________
11 years ago

where did i say its a issue?
the point of bringing that up is that the points system is flawed.
who here seriously believes GTAIV was a better game than MGS4?

SkantDragon
SkantDragon
11 years ago

I'm afraid I can't agree. Sorry. If reviewers in general are getting a bad reputation with the masses, I think it's been long in coming and well deserved.

While I think it's likely to be true that reviewers themselves are not often paid off directly, I think there are many cases where pressures are placed upon them in more indirect ways. I think it's pretty difficult to claim that pressures for bias don't exist and are not a factor. Especially when there are so many publications and sites which display bias in rather overt fashion. You've called out some sites over this yourself in previous articles.

As for playing games through to completion, I have read professional game reviews for games I was already familiar with where it was immediately obvious that the reviewer had barely even tried the game. They read like book reports scribbled down at the last minute after glancing through the book. At least one of the ones I read made it clear the reviewer couldn't have played the game for an entire hour.

These same reviews usually do make or break a game's sales. It shouldn't be any surprise that the best reviewed games are usually also the best sellers. There's a lot of self fulfilling prophecy there.

Reading reviews for games you already have and have played through completely can be rather illuminating.

All that said, your own reviews are some of the better ones out there and don't seem prone to these pitfalls. If other reviewers were more like you, I don't think the gaming public would be complaining much.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Bias is a tough thing to get around. We're all human and we all have personal preferences. I would LIKE to think that most GOOD reviewers do what we all need to do: regardless of those personal preferences and opinion, we score the game on its merits. I'll be doing reviews for a couple flight games soon, for example, and while I basically HATE them, that doesn't mean I can't play them, and it doesn't mean I'll give them lower scores because of my own feeling on the genre.

And while you will find those incomplete reviews, I don't think you'll find them at major publications. And if you do, I admit that's a problem. But you probably won't find it for very high-profile reviews, and in my case for instance, I will play games nobody really cares about (Riding Star on the PS2, for instance) for less time before doing a review.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

@Ben

I could never be a reviewer. I know I have an overarching nature to skew things, even if its subconsciously. I can admit it.

You know, Im a HUGE shooter guy and Ill always sway in their favor. Im just built that way. Say if I were to compare a given shooter to an RTS Ill probably give an FPS a favorable angle.

I can admit it. I've "gotten over myself" you can say. I think that is the first step here.

And to everyone else, Ill leave with a quote from the admirable DR. Phil…

"You're RUINING your life!" (gotta imagine the accent, lol!)


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 9/9/2009 8:26:52 PM

Kangasfwa
Kangasfwa
11 years ago

@ Skant Dragon

Tim Schafer's games are always well reviewed and yet they almost never sell well. How is that a self fulfilling prophecy?


Last edited by Kangasfwa on 9/9/2009 9:54:40 PM

Doosharm
Doosharm
11 years ago

I think your last point is exactly why many gamers have problems with critics. We feel like we're being talked down to by critics who are "egotistical and self-centered with massive elitist complexes" simply because most critics feel that their ability to write about games suggests they have a deeper knowledge of them and a greater ability to think critically about them. Not true, I say. The knowledge of games and critical analysis skills are completely unrelated to writing skill.

If writing skill was the most important factor in being a competent game critic then Roger Ebert would be one of the most sought after game reviewers. He's not. Why? Because he doesn't know anything about video games. Like you said, you're not a food critic because you lack the same level of experience as the professionals even though your writing skills are just as good as theirs.

Therefore, all the importance falls on the subject matter and your ability to analyze it. Call me crazy but I know a lot of lifelong gamers who have great analytical skills, myself included. In fact, many of the regulars on this site fit into that category. So, the only real difference I see between myself and a critic is writing skill. How then can a critic claim to "know more" than I do about games?

If you've played more games than I have and have better analytical skills, then I yield to you as a more knowledgeable gamer. If however, the only thing you have on me is your ability to write up an article? Well, I find it hard to value any review written by such a person and that's when I look elsewhere for my reviews. Honestly, I think that a lot of critics need to get over themselves and accept that fact that they are nothing more than gamers with writing skills.

With that said, the gaming community is unfortunately full of many people who utterly lack any of these skills but, because of the annonymity of the internet, feel comfortable belittling hard working critics who do have these skills. So I can certainly understand how critics would get fed up with such treatment and take an elitist tone. I just don't like how it is then cast upon gamers who don't deserve it.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I think you're correct in the fact that many avid gamers have much of the same analytical ability as many reviewers. But I never once implied that writing ability should separate the critics from the gamers; that doesn't make any sense. It's true that if you were applying for a review position with a major source somewhere, you would have to exhibit the appropriate writing skills, but that's a distant second to analytical skill in my mind.

Furthermore, you're talking about a very TINY minority. Gamers often forget that the casual, everyday gamer outnumbers the hardcore by about a 10:1 ratio. It would be the same in other entertainment venues, too. I'm certain there are movie buffs out there who have great analytical skills like Ebert, but they're in the vast minority in the movie-going public. Also, I'd like to add that I SERIOUSLY doubt many people are finding nuances and other little things in films that Ebert often talks about. He's the only Pulitzer Prize winning movie critic out there, and you DON'T win a Pulitzer just for your ability to write.