Jimquisition: The 100% Objective Review

MrFalconfly

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I'm sorry Jim, but I have to disagree with you here.

This isn't the way to review games (and to hell with majority. The majority of US citizens might think that the world is 6000 years old, but that doesn't make that true either).

Now I'm not gonna tell you how to review games (you do it professionally, I just play the games), however, I do still think that most reviews could still benefit from playing the devils advocate at every point.

Point is, to play the devils advocate I'm fairly certain that you actually have to wear your personal biases and opinions on your sleeve (like WoW styled combat. Some like it because it adds a strategic element. Now if I were to review WoW I'd mention that while I thought the combat-mechanic felt too disconnected, I could see why other people would like a more detached, more strategic mechanic).

Anyways, that's just my personal opinion of how you could make an "objective" review.
 

themilo504

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I don?t understand either why people want a 100 percent objective review, if all they want is info on the game just read a Wikipedia article, just admit that you dislike that the reviewer gave a game you liked a low score and stop making excuses.
 

loa

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Objective doesn't mean you aren't allowed to be informative.

For instance you could've said that most maps in ff13 are lines with little to no junctions.
You could've said that the game expects you to read the codec textlogs to comprehend the story.
You could've said that the tutorial lasts around 16 hours and that your levels are capped as the game drip feeds them to you.
Those are all facts and you're only being subjective if you add a "and I (don't) like it".

You're missing the point on purpose and that just makes you look like a bufoon.
 

josh4president

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OH WOW

Was really hoping for an episode about the nonsense with the Slaughtering Grounds dev and instead we get you copy-pasting your old work. I mean, was this meant for people who hadn't seen this when you were working with Destructoid? Surely a link would have been fine since as you pointed out there was little need for an update.

And that's the joke? I think?

Just... buh. I'm just hoping you were squeezed for time because you were setting up this week's Uncivil War featuring Hyrule Warriors, because that would be an acceptable reason.
 

Grim Sterling

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I think you need to release this video in a year in full color and call it the HD remix. Also add new music, frame it slightly different and add one extra clip and then charge us to view it. Really. I am begging you.
 

tm96

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If this what some gamers want then I don't want it. Also Jim the joke was too long but the message wasn't lost.

Thank God for Jim Fucking Sterling Son the man of objectivity.
 

Toilet

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Feb 22, 2012
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Dear Jim,

You're being facetious and it only makes you look bad.

Love,
Toilet
xoxo
 

Thanatos2k

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Sorry Jim, but no. I know what you're going for, but it doesn't work because this wasn't an objective review, it was a review mocking the reader. "Some people like it, some people don't" is not objective criticism. Saying WHY people like it or don't is objective criticism. Saying "You can save the game sometimes" is not an objective explanation, because I have no idea how the save system is structured, and you can tell me how it works, objectively.

I'll repeat what I said before:

A bad review is a personal opinion. A professional review attempts to be objective criticism.

What almost every single professional game reviewer out there fails to realize is their purpose.

A professional review is not supposed to tell me whether the reviewer liked the game. A professional review is supposed to tell me whether *I* will like the game. You do this by objectively analyzing the technical merits of the game, comparing and contrasting the game with others like it, and then perhaps going into what does or does not work about the story/characters/etc from a structural level. NOT injecting your own personal ideology, because your ideology is probably not my ideology and thus serves no purpose in informing me properly about the reviewed game. If you want to mention what elements of the game may be of interest or disinterest to me then so be it (ex: feminists may not like the themes in this game = ok. This game has sexist themes = not ok) but keep your politics in your pocket.

Game reviewers almost never understand this, and most go with a "This is what I liked and didn't like" review which is of limited use to anyone. That's why people in large consider game reviews to be a joke.

No one says you can't have an opinion, no one says reviews should be 100% objective, but that opinion should be built on video game knowledge. When you talk about whether something works or not in a video game whether the combat system is fun or not, or balanced or not, it should be based on your experience in video games, not some personal vendetta or political nonsense that has nothing to do with games and nothing to do with whether or not the game is good. Because that's what we're getting out of reviews these days. People who don't even like genres or know something in the game is going to "trigger" them are being given games to review specifically so their review will generate controversy clicks or they can push an agenda.

This is of NO VALUE to us, the consumers. You're a consumer advocate, right? Then you should want what's best for the consumer too.
 
Jan 27, 2011
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doggy go 7 said:
aegix drakan said:
sooooo TLDR: all reviews will have some bias in it (so what?) or they'll be boring speils that tell you nothing.

Also, some people are idiots and think that publishers should never ever ever be told they're doing something wrong or stupid.

TLDRTLDR: Some people are stupid.

Did I get that right?
You forgot the bit where he's lampooning publishers for making the same thing, and in some cases, literally re-releasing the same game, and pretending it's new and exciting content that's worth £60 or $70
Oh right. I forgot that. XD

So TLDR: Lots of people and publishers are stupid.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
MrFalconfly said:
Point is, to play the devils advocate I'm fairly certain that you actually have to wear your personal biases and opinions on your sleeve (like WoW styled combat. Some like it because it adds a strategic element. Now if I were to review WoW I'd mention that while I thought the combat-mechanic felt too disconnected, I could see why other people would like a more detached, more strategic mechanic).
That's not objective, that's a personal opinion.
 

MrFalconfly

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Worgen said:
MrFalconfly said:
Point is, to play the devils advocate I'm fairly certain that you actually have to wear your personal biases and opinions on your sleeve (like WoW styled combat. Some like it because it adds a strategic element. Now if I were to review WoW I'd mention that while I thought the combat-mechanic felt too disconnected, I could see why other people would like a more detached, more strategic mechanic).
That's not objective, that's a personal opinion.
That is a personal opinion, but it's a personal opinion marketed as a personal opinion.

Also, I made it clear that while I don't like the mechanic, it's well thought out, and it's not a dealbreaker (unless you're like me).
 

A3sir

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Aww, I really hoped this episode of Jim Fucking Sterling was about not acting like a 12 year old if someone calls your shitty game shit.
 

FieryTrainwreck

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Would have been less embarrassing (and much, much funnier) if you'd simply shouted "STRAW MAN!" over and over for five straight minutes.
 

ShakerSilver

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When I hear people wanting "objective" reviews, I feel like the word they're looking for is "impartial", which is something most reviews should indeed strive for. We all have our personal/political biases, but when you're representing your outlet and giving a review to a larger audience (which will also be submitted to aggregators like Metacritic and affect people's jobs), the reviewer's biases should be proportional to what a general audience wants to hear. I feel like more sites would benefit from having contributors write op-ed pieces about certain games (or games) and delve into a more personal critique (without a numbered score being aggregated) while leaving more technical or general criticisms for reviews.

All this video does is mock the notion of impartiality, and does nothing constructive in the process. Yes, people have personalities that get in the way of work, but people also forget their reviews don't exist in a vacuum, and injecting personal biases in a space where they're not needed can actively harm developers and coverage of their game.
 

DrOswald

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I don't agree with the people clamoring for "objective" reviews, but god damn. I would rather ally myself with fools than the type of person who would make this video. It isn't insightful, it isn't smart, it doesn't bring a new and interesting perspective, it doesn't inform, it doesn't address the issue in any real way and it isn't even funny. This video is a failure on every level.

But that isn't why I care. I care because you are better than this. The appeal of Jim Sterling is that he holds opinions that are well thought out. I may not always agree with you, but I can trust that if I watch the Jimquisition I will at least get a well reasoned perspective on the issue you talk about. But this? Nothing but a stupid, straw man cheap shot. You are not this stupid Jim. You are not the idiot that completely misses the point. You understand the issue and you could have responded intelligently. But you chose instead to make this farce mocking a straw man.

This is by far one of your worst video's ever. You shut down, you stopped thinking, you cheapened yourself and sunk down to the level of straw manning and deliberate misrepresentation. I expect more from you. This sort of drivel is beneath your normal standard. I would like to think it is beneath you, but I guess I was wrong on that.
 

Redmoonwatcher

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This comment is 100% objective.

This video was produced by Jim Sterling. In it he narrates a review he did of Final Fantasy 13. Some people may find the message Jim is trying to send, some of them might not. It might also be enjoyable to watch for some but others with different opinions on what is enjoyable might not find it enjoyable.

This comment was 100% objective.
 

Rellik San

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What... did... did I miss something?

Is this a reaction to last weeks video or something? The one about Halloween games? Or the reaction to the Bayonetta video where we mostly discussed alternative views on character design, reviews and design philosophy with a (pleasantly surprising) lack of vitriol for the internet?

Did... did I miss a meeting?
 

punipunipyo

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Dud... little bit on the grim side today... what's up? People can say what they want to say, you are still you, shouldn't change that... they comeback to see/view your content, that ALONE shows that they are interested; and you have already accomplished the goal of making this vid. anyhow.... I see what you are trying to say, and totally, we aren't robots; FREEDOM OF CRITIC is what drives arts forward!~ Keep fighting~
 

Alatar The Red

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TBH I found the FF13 review Jim made here more useful than most polygon reviews.

That said, I honestly think the "100% objective review" is pretty much the definition of a straw man argument. No sane person beyond some a few trolls or crazies here and there will make a comment about wanting a 100% objective review. They'll make comments about objectivity yes, however usually it doesn't mean what Jim apparently thinks it means. And quite frankly if this video didn't have a long review in it the main point of it could have been contained in a single tweet. And TBH points that you can do that with are usually very low on nuance and actual thought behind them.

The issue is that games reviewers have an audience. They have an audience because that audience wants to read/watch/listen to their reviews. The audience wants to do that because they feel that the review is giving them information and opinions on portions of the game that they're interested in. And when a reviewer changes his/her reviewing style and spends big parts of the review talking about things that his/her audience isn't interested in you get some backlash because you're not serving those customers of yours anymore. In a perfect world you'd just get less traffic because of this but this isn't a perfect world so people are going to let you know that you gave them your opinion on things that they were not interested in.

I don't want some "100% objective" straw review. I want reviewers on big consumer oriented gaming sites to understand that they're there because of those consumers and those consumers (or the huge majority of them) are looking for consumer oriented information and critique on some specific game.

I want reviewers to understand that there's a middle ground between listing facts and letting your moral and political world views color everything.

That middle ground is when you realize who your audience is, do your best to inform them as consumers, are capable of separating your own political views from your review when needed/wanted and also capable of including them when needed/wanted, you're capable of understanding that different sites, audiences and mediums will demand a different type of review with different types of information etc. For example on a PC oriented, no politics allowed forum you probably shouldn't write a review about the PS4 version and go in-depth about how that game offends you as a republican. Similarly on an agenda driven site that has an audience that cares more about story, characters etc. than tech specs you should probably not write a PC performance review with tons of benchmarks, graphical settings analysis and next to no character/story analysis. Both of those are bad reviews because they don't fit their audience.

Context and medium in which you publish the review matters. And you as a reviewer are not shielded from criticism or backlash when you fail to take into account the people (your audience, the users of that site, readers of the magazine, etc.) that give your review its importance.

I moderate a no-politics and no-religion PC hardware forum with gaming stuff on it as well. It's not impossible to keep politics and religion away from reviews and discussions if the specific audience or site wants that. In fact it works really well 95% of the time. There's a time and place for everything including religion and politics. And that time and place is not everywhere. I think it's pretty clear that a lot of people want to read reviews that let everyone from different countries, political orientations, religions etc. feel like the reviewer was there to help them make a decision as a consumer and didn't try to push his or her world view on the reader. There is HUGE value in consumer oriented informative reviews that hold back on the agenda.

And this is also why a lot of gamers are now looking to twitch and youtube for their gaming coverage. On those mediums they can see the game while a personality or reviewer plays it (this is specifically talking about let's play content or first looks, or some other very lightly edited content). Gamers can themselves see if the gameplay and content looks like it matches what the reviewer is saying. People on youtube and twitch feel more genuine as a result of this. There's much less opportunities to push an agenda or show the gamer something he/she isn't interested in. I even feel that Jim's youtube videos are much more useful and feel much more genuine than his reviews and jimquisition videos.


Jumping back to the "objective review" and the backlash against political / agenda driven content. Another issue here is review scores. All would be well if we lived in a perfect would where review scores existed in a vacuum and didn't directly affect the livelihood of devs. If scores didn't exist, metacritic wouldn't exist and no dev would have their bonuses or future of their studio depending on what score they get on metacritic. And at this point it would be perfectly fine to have reviews that go on an on about politics, moral issues, religious issues, etc. because those would just be sections of reviews. But the situation we have right now is that those issues affect the score, and the score affects the overall score on metacritic. Which means that we're in a situation where a game offending say polygon and kotaku reviewers because it dared to include boobs can mean the meta score gets dropped by some points (maybe 5-10%), the developers don't get their bonus, a sequel isn't made and layoffs will have to happen. All that while it's entirely likely that 99% of the people that were considering buying the game did not in any way care about the issues that polygon and kotaku did.

And if that isn't sad, wrong and something we should work towards stopping then I don't know what is.

So in the end the problems to this debate are mostly:

1) Don't strawman the "objective review" argument
2) Get rid of metacritic
3) Get rid of scores in general
4) Know your audience and medium
5) Understand that there are wrong and correct places for different types of criticism

It's not rocket science. It just requires some nuance an less of the "us vs. them" mentality that even people like Jim seem to subscribe towards, even without directly saying it. The world isn't black and white. There are alternatives to fact lists and raving morality policing. Please explore those alternatives and listen to your audience.
 

C.S.Strowbridge

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Thanatos2k said:
A professional review is not supposed to tell me whether the reviewer liked the game. A professional review is supposed to tell me whether *I* will like the game.
Unless the critic is psychic and can read your mind or predict the future, this is impossible.

The closest a critic can do is tell you if they personally liked a game, movie, book, etc. and explain why. If you agree with their reasons, you will probably feel the same way as they do.

And yes, your own personal ideology matters in this regard. If someone didn't like a game, because they felt it was racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. and you also dislike games that are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., then this information will help you decide if you may like or dislike this game as well.

Video game reviews must be about more than technical aspects of the game like frame rate. They must include information about the story and characters.