- Jun 1, 2010
Book, game, and film? I'll assume by "game" you meant book.nipsen said:...it's kind of surprising how difficult this always is, you know?
If you review a book. What do you do? Do you think: "hmm, yes, Austen recently appealed to 14 year old girls with this film version, I hear, so let's review the game as if 14 year old girls read it.
Also, I'll assume "seeking" is "sneaking". So, after reading this a few times it seems to be that you are saying that reviewers should not write what they think their audience wants to hear... i.e., they should not assume they are writing for an audience of RPG fanboys who want a complex leveling system in the new Bioware game just because a bunch of people liked it in the last Bioware game. They should write for a neutral audience indifferent to the leveling system, and only mention it in that it is or isn't complex. I'm not really sure how any writing style can make ones opinion seem like fact... "I liked xyz" or "I didn't like xyz" will always be opinions, even if you leave off the "I liked" and just say "the xyz was great / terrible".nipsen said:And then adopt a style that masks my opinion as fact, take the assumed audience's side by seeking into their heads - and then trashing it to bits for not being soppily romantic enough like the film, and lacking action. Because as a reviewer, we must make a judgement call on how much the book really appeals to the market, except we must do it in a really circumspect manner"?
Now we are talking about subjectivity, which is what my original post was about. You are saying it is okay to say that you enjoyed the game, or things about it, but that it is important to note why or in what context you enjoyed them. For example, "I really enjoyed Two Worlds because I enjoy hack and slash combat, which Two Worlds is filled with."nipsen said:Thing is, it's not a problem being subjective. But you have to be able to describe where your subjectivity comes from. So that it's possible to see your subjectivity colouring the review - that's what makes it worth reading.
Now it seems that you are criticizing reviewers for writing to an audience of gamers and using jargon that only gamers could know. I'm not sure how this is an attempt to "cover up what it is that you're saying", however. Using the phrase "real time strategy" is attempting to cover up "small tanks milling around a resource gathering vehicle"? Furthermore, it seems you are suggesting that reviewers should be writing game reviews for non gaming audiences. (As an aside, I have no idea what you mean about "christians reviewing the bible". Do you mean preaching? Do people actually review the bible in the way one reviews a game? Are you saying that most reviewers come off as preachers?)nipsen said:Of course - some people are extremely good at getting people on their message without any explanation - they could invoke the right words, the right style and flair, and make the reader understand where they come from very easily. Many writers and critics do that well in any genre.
But you have to be aware of it. Or else you end up with what we have in gaming journalism - people who have learned the "code", and are only writing to a very specific type of gamer audience. That's what Gillen did, and that's what some of the hype-journalism in Gamespot and IGN does as well. And the product is a type of reviewing that tries to cover up what it is you're saying, rather than actually explain. I've thought of christians reviewing the bible to their local mission many times when reading many reviews because of that.
"Real time strategy". Could just as well be a Greek proverb about cabbage. Of course, for gamers, it instantly invokes an image of small tanks milling around a resource gathering vehicle - but anyone else won't understand what in the world this is about. Much less why they should be interested.
I'm not sure how "more malleable audience of fanboys" fits in to this whole scenario you have concocted. More malleable than who? Your original terrible game reviewer was writing reviews analogous with your example of a book review, and was as fault for writing to fanboys. Why would he/she switch? I'll assume this followed the comment about cabbage, in which case the supposed reviewer you are speaking of here wrote a failed review designed for FTS fanboys but posted it on the "Modern Warfare Players who Have Never Touched a Different Game Ever" message board. Or MWPHNTDGE, for those who knows the jargon.nipsen said:So is the solution to switch to a different and more malleable audience of fanboys? Or is it to write.. you know, properly..? Just asking.
You express surprise at how hard this is to understand, but for someone so concerned with good writing you seem inclined to write with long complex analogies rather than just stating your point and make it very hard to follow your argument when one must stop to decipher what various words were supposed to be.
On a final note, I wonder if you are conflating the function of a reviewer and a critic. A reviewer should say what qualities a game, movie, or book has and maybe under what criteria one may like it. For example, "you will enjoy Two Worlds if you really like being able to customize your character however you see fit". A critic of games might instead say that "Two Worlds lacks a story with any amount of depth necessary to draw a fan of fantasy into its narrative."
Sorry if this sends you a dozen messages saying you were quoted.