Reviewing the Reviewers: Or How To Break A Broken SystemS

Just what you've been waiting for: A site that lets you critique the critics, review the reviewers, shit all over the shit all overers.

Website Criticosm allows you to give reviewers a review score of their own. They then use a reviewer's average score to weight the importance of their score for a game when calculating the average score a game received.

Confused? Read this.

It's an interesting idea, with a major problem: The concept is built around review scores and statistics, both viewed free from any meaningful context.

Review scores, that number or letter you see after many game, movie, music and movie reviews, are important.

Review scores are used by some publishers to calculate bonus. Review scores are used by ad sales to market games. Review scores are used by big box retailers to determine purchase quantities. Review scores are used by some game sites to sell ads. Review scores are used by some gamers to decide whether to purchase a game.

Some of that is fine, some isn't. But no matter how review scores are used, when viewed in a vacuum, even one created by a person's tight schedule, disinterest in gaming as a whole or unwillingness to read something longer than this paragraph, they become a huge problem.

Often the bad outweighs the good that comes of review scores, which is why I think they and all of the sites that traffic in their tabulations, their statistics, should be tossed out the window.

Should reviewers, critics, be held accountable for how they critique someone else's creation? Most certainly, but not by falling onto the same sword that has broken game reviews, and giving them a score.

Why not break down a person's review and point out why you agree or disagree with something they said. Maybe point to reoccurring themes found in a person's review. Like they seem to always hate a certain art style, a type of play. That would be meaningful.

Meaningful, though, still doesn't mean you prove them right or wrong. All of this personal critique of a person should be used in the end to determine if you agree with a reviewer that's it.

The only real way a reviewer can be wrong is by failing to fully explain what it is that made them like or dislike something, making it hard for readers to determine if they should listen to or avoid what a particular writer thinks.