There were simpler times before the internet, if someone liked something and they told you about it, chances are that item or service wasn’t lining their pockets. Today things aren’t so simple – someone suggesting you buy something isn’t so black and white. Heck, facebook tries to sell you stuff every day, we are almost desensitized to advertisements in the content we consume.
When I was a kid in the 90’s, I grew up reading video game magazines.
60+ Best Nintendo Power Magazine Covers
I’d obsess over every word, and image, in that magazine. I’d often draw the artwork I found in screenshots of games (Lunar: Silver Star Story on Sega CD comes to mind) or even trace over some characters from a video game ad page (again, Lunar had some killer art which I believe fueled my love for anime, but that’s for another day!).
What else was in those magazines? Practically nothing but reviews. Genuine review from people that loved games (and were good at them!) and you could tell from the way they wrote about the games that they had actually PLAYED them, and the actually LOVED them, or really really really HATED them with a passion. This journalistic integrity helped me to love video games, the process behind them, the gameplay, the artwork/graphics, it all was like a story unfolding, and every one was different. No two reviews or reviewers are the same. Whether it be a review of the SNES Classic hardware, the new Fortnite game or the latest handheld coming out, each review is unique and depending on who reviews it the score may fluctuate but the overall reviews should reveal the truth – whether it’s good or not. If it’s not good and they say it is, then there is something wrong. No one should have to waste their precious time and hard earned money on something that sucks!
Are All Game Reviews Bad?
Doing it wrong: Are game reviewers bad at video games?
Certainly not all game reviews are bad, and not all game reviewers are bad. Some do it just because it’s a job, and you get a lazy piece as a result of that. Some reviewers just aren’t good at video games, and it comes out in the review of an overall lack of understanding or knowledge to accurately critique the game (which could be a hidden masterpiece). Again, it’s hit or miss, with some diligence on your part to check the web for some trustworthy review sites or critics you may be able to pull together enough information to know which reviews are on point and which are just blowing smoke.
There’s No Secret
Warner Bros. paid YouTubers for positive game reviews
We’ve heard about it happening, we’ve heard the rumors, heck – we’ve seen it happen. Sometimes reviews are less than honest, or perhaps even worse, lazy. With more games than ever on the market, and more channels to create an advertisement for said games, paid reviews are becoming more common than ever with influencers on YouTube and Twitch typically trying to grow their audience and needing the extra cashflow to keep their channel or brand growing. That’s not to say that they are all paid for, but be wary what you trust, it’s good to take most internet praise (or criticism) with a grain of salt and to do your own research from various different sources – or a novel idea would be to try it out yourself and come to your own conclusions!
There’s Still Hope For Game Reviews
Why video game reviews suck: part one
I believe the golden days of gaming reviews may be behind us but there is still hope. We have more resources now and more people playing games than ever before – just checking Reddit threads about games is often enough to know whether a game is worth throwing down on. There are also many sites like MetaCritic and GameTomatoes which put the review in the users hands, it isn’t always up to one critic to be judge, jury, and executioner – the users get a say, and their opinions are heard (and usually hold more weight when compared in mass to a singular critic review). So be sure to keep an open mind and try to formulate your own opinion with a few good review sources and you won’t get burned in the wallet on that next pre-order.
What websites do you trust for game reviews? Any tips for gamers when they need input on their next game? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!