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More Video Game Score Retardedness - Paper Mario 2


JFo
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I noticed this over at the Penny Arcade forums and I thought I'd share it here, since I don't want to steer the Paper Mario 2 thread in the GameCube section off-course.

 

Anyway, for those of you who haven't been paying attention, this nifty sequel to the popular Nintendo 64 RPG shipped on Monday, and has been garnering some pretty favorable reviews. For instance, GameSpot awarded it with an overall score of 9.2 and IGN gave it a 9.1.

 

Oddly enough, this month's issue of Game Informer rated it a lowly 6.5 out of 10, which seems strange, considering the high praise it's received from other sites. My beef here isn't necessarily with the score itself. If the people at Game Informer magazine didn't like it very much, they're entitled to their opinions. What amazes me, is the explanation for the low score as outlined in this quote here:

 

"GI-Jeremy wrote:

 

Lisa and I both knew that our Paper Mario scores were going to cause controversy. Yes, we know that many people out there will love it. We also know that it is a well-made game. However, it also WILL NOT appeal to many people - I would safely say that more people will dislike it than like it. Why? Like we said in the review, it's a very kiddie game - it's target audience is clearly young gamers - I would say 10 and under. For that reason, we had to score it low. Remember, we aren't scoring games strictly on our personal opinions, we're also scoring them based on how much we think THE GAMING PUBLIC will like them. We've all played games that we personally disliked and scored them well because we've known that most people will like them, and we've also scored games low that we love, because most people won't enjoy them.

 

For example, I really like the bizarre frog golf game Ribbit King, and I gave it a 7, because it's just not for everyone. Paper Mario 2 also scored low because it's just not for everyone. If you think it's a 10 in your book, it's a ten in your book, and that doesn't change if we disagree. We're here to guide you on what games to pick up, but ultimately your personal opinion is what will make you buy a game or not.

 

I hope this helps."

 

Um, no, that doesn't help. Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but isn't the whole purpose of writing a review to detail exactly what the reviewer thought of a game, so as to recommend or not recommend it? When you begin basing your opinion on what you think others will like, then the whole point of writing the review becomes moot. There's no way you can know what everyone is going to like (and not everyone is going to like the same thing), and even you could, who cares? These are opinion pieces, not polls. When you try to pretend as if you like a game because you suspect others will (or vice-versa), you're being disingenuous. That's a nice way of saying you're lying. And if I think you're lying, I'm not going to bother to read your reviews, because they can't be trusted.

 

You know what I think happened here? I think these guys played Paper Mario 2, decided they didn't like it, and rather than face up to the heat they would surely receive by scoring it low, they decided to blame their readers for it. After all, if they were the ones open to the game's design and concept, it would have gotten a higher score. Since they apparently don't like those kinds of "kiddie" games, the reviewers themselves can?t be blamed for the low score. After all, their reviews are only intended to reflect what they suspect will be the general consensus. Unbe-fucking-lievable!

 

Unfortunately, I don't have the issue in question yet, so I can't comment specifically on what's written in it. Hopefully, this issue will arrive sometime in the next few days so I can take a look at it. I figured you all would get a kick out of that though.

 

Commence ass-wipe reviewer bashing immediately.

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Yeah, I saw this yesterday. Bottom line, the reviewer is a spineless piece of shit with no real opinion of his own. Giving a game a score based on what "the gaming public will think of it" defeats the entire purpose of a review. I buy games based on the facts and what other true gamers with similar tastes think of it (which, hopefully, the reviewer would fall into this category), not on a poll of popular opinion.

 

Game Informer is a joke anyway, I basically skim the screenshots, cut out the obligatory 10% of used stuff coupon, and discard. I would never pay a dime for it if it didn't come with the Gamestop card.

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That score explanation make no sense at all. "It's a kids game so we had to score it low." :wtf:

 

What if its a really good kids game? Shouldn't it get scored accordingly? Why not give it a 9 and then mention that its a very kiddie game so that people not looking for that will have a heads up??

 

Very disappointed that this even got past the editors. I'm sure we'll see a bunch of letters written to the editors in the December issue.

 

In fact, Jeff, would you consider writing GI with your opinion? Based on reading some of your reviews and posts, I'm sure you would be able to get your point accross better than I would. Just an idea.

 

I like reading GI, especially for their in-depth cover stories but this casts a real lousy light on their review credibility. (As well as undermines my Ratchet & Clank 2 thread topic :oops:)

 

J.

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Well, it's certainly possible for a game to appeal to children and have something to offer adults. The GameSpot review in particular seems to go out of the way to point this out. It sounds like the reviewers here went in with a set of pre-conceived notions about the target audience and then just looked at enough to see that they were "right" and then did the review.

 

Game Informer is free though, is it not? I mean, I don't want to suggest controversy for the purpose of drumming up sales, but that's hardly a new concept, is it?

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Game Informer is free though, is it not? I mean, I don't want to suggest controversy for the purpose of drumming up sales, but that's hardly a new concept, is it?

 

Surely they should be doing the opposite then, giving it an overly gushing review to encourage more sales? Just getting more page hits online thanks to fanboys going into overdrive doesn't generate any more sales for GameStop or EB (or whoever they're affiliated with).

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In fact, Jeff, would you consider writing GI with your opinion? Based on reading some of your reviews and posts, I'm sure you would be able to get your point accross better than I would. Just an idea.

 

While do I appreciate the sentiment, I think I'll pass. I doubt anything I say is going to make them any less stupid.

 

As well as undermines my Ratchet & Clank 2 thread topic

 

No, it doesn't. I think it's safe to assume that Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal is going to be one hell of a game, even if Game Informer agrees. :D

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I have to disagree with some of the sentiments in this thread. "Professional" reviewers are paid to do their best at making an objective judgement of a game's quality that the readers can use to help make purchasing decisions. They don't always do a good job, but that's still the goal. If you want reviews as pure opinion pieces, go read stuff like the reader reviews at gamefaqs. Professional reviewers should be operating at a different standard.

 

Really, if I were hired to review the new Madden game, should I give it a 1 because I don't like EA and I think Sega makes a much better game of football? Or should I be receptive of the fact that people using my review to make purchasing decisions will have different preferences from my own?

 

Conversely, should I give Dino Crisis 3 a 9.5 just because I happen to enjoy it, or should I take the objective viewpoint and note that the game is horribly flawed?

 

I do think the PM2 reviewer screwed up a bit. It probably would have been better to give the game a high score based on its quality(I assume it's good), but qualify the score and note that it's not for everyone.

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"Professional" reviewers are paid to do their best at making an objective judgement of a game's quality that the readers can use to help make purchasing decisions. They don't always do a good job, but that's still the goal.

 

Agreed but it is not the job of a reviewer to rate a game on whether it will appeal to the general public or not. That is a decision the buying public will make when the game hits store shelves. When you give a game a 6.5 because you feel people will perceive it as being "kiddie" you failed to meet the goals you yourself just outlined. That is providing an objective judgement of said game. Not only does it call into question the veracity of the reviewer but the reputation of the publication in which the review appears.

 

Conversely, should I give Dino Crisis 3 a 9.5 just because I happen to enjoy it

 

Yes. If you truthfully state the problems found in the game and note that you were able to see past those problems then at the very least you are giving a truly honest opinion.

 

Really, if I were hired to review the new Madden game, should I give it a 1 because I don't like EA and I think Sega makes a much better game of football? Or should I be receptive of the fact that people using my review to make purchasing decisions will have different preferences from my own?

 

You are more than correct here but what does that have to do with the review in question? The reviewers themselves have noted that the game will be much loved by many and the game itself is well made yet still saw fit to give it a 6.5 on the basis of it not appealing to general masses! Well then we might as well give Katamari Damacy a -5 because it sure as hell isn't going to be for everyone else.

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I think you misunderstand. I'm not defending the reviewer rating down a game because of the audience the game appeals to. Rather, I'm disagreeing with the notion that a professional reviewer should eschew any attempts at objectivity and just go 100% personal opinion. (IE: I hate Madden but I can still recognize elements of a good football game and I wouldn't dissuade people from buying it based on my opinion)

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I have to disagree with some of the sentiments in this thread. "Professional" reviewers are paid to do their best at making an objective judgement of a game's quality that the readers can use to help make purchasing decisions.

 

Well, I agree with you up to a point. I can agree that objective qualities are important (although some people disagree with that idea entirely, and I think there's something to be said for that). Things like camera system, controls, degree of realism (if applicable), graphics, sound - those are pretty much objective issues. But what are you left with if all you offer are objective viewpoints? I'd say you are left with a boring, and probably incomplete, review. Imagine a movie review that talked only about the camera angles, color palette and quality of the sets...wouldn't you feel like you're missing something?

 

To make a review engaging as well as informative, you really need to inject your own opinions into it. This doesn't necessarily mean that you are misleading the reader, most people understand that saying that this or that game element was 'fun' or whatever is from your point of view. And if you are an effective communicator, the reader will find him- or herself either identifying with you, or realizing that what you, the reviewer, find important in a game doesn't match up with what they do, and they are free to discount your opinion accordingly. I do this a lot when I read reviews, my favorite ones present a case for or against the game, complete with a good deal of subjective commentary, and I usually instinctively know if the writer likes the same things I like or not.

 

The main problem with attempting to take the viewpoint of something as nebulous as the gaming public is that to do so literally means every game should score between a 4 and a 7! You will never find a universally loved game, nor a universally hated one.

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Originally posted by Big Daddy Bling Bling@Oct 12 2004, 08:30 PM

I'm disagreeing with the notion that a professional reviewer should eschew any attempts at objectivity and just go 100% personal opinion.

I honestly don't see how it's possible for someone to write a review without injecting their own opinion. Your notion of an "objective judgement" is flawed because to judge something involves forming an opinion on it, based on what you know or experience. There's nothing objective about that.

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Originally posted by J.Fo+Oct 12 2004, 09:53 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (J.Fo @ Oct 12 2004, 09:53 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Big Daddy Bling Bling@Oct 12 2004, 08:30 PM

I'm disagreeing with the notion that a professional reviewer should eschew any attempts at objectivity and just go 100% personal opinion.

I honestly don't see how it's possible for someone to write a review without injecting their own opinion... [/b]

I think the thing to stress here is that he said any attempt at objectivity. Just because subjective judgment is a big factor in a review doesn't mean that all attempts at objectivity should go out the window. Perhaps it would be better to substitute "reasonable" for "objective," but I don't want to make put words in Big Daddy's mouth.

 

I can't disagree with his earlier point: 1) such matters can (and probably should) be discussed by a reviewer and 2) The GI authors and editor screwed up. They shouldn't have reviewed the game or they should've been more forthright about their prejudices. The way they blasted the game in the rating and the way GI apparently circled the wagons is stupid.

 

Why did they review it? I wouldn't review a Star Trek show -- I don't like it and am not capable of delivering a useful review. It seems analogous to what they did.

 

-j

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Apart from anything else (and believe me, I've SERIOUS issues with the idea of giving a game a low score just because you don't believe it will be popular - that is for the charts to decide, not the reviewer) I'd suggest that he's really misjudged his target market.

 

He's reviewing a 1st-party Gamecube game. That Miyamoto has been involved with. Being sold for Gamecube owners, yes? So what on God's Green Earth leads him to the bizarre assumption that the people who bought the machine for Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Donkey Konga and all the rest will take one look at the thing and conclude that its got to be rubbish because it looks 'kiddie'?

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Well I've read the review, and they do actually provide some good reasons for their score other than "its a kiddie game".

 

From the review

What this second Paper Mario has going for it, in my mind, is an exceptionally well-conceived art style and a nice (if a bit too easy for too long) combat system. This game's look is nothing short of iconic and one of those wonderful instances where our favorite brand of entertainment shows unquestionable artistry. And it makes me very, very happy.
Then, something terrible happens. I work my way through (I'm not kidding here) 15 minutes of press-A-to-continue-the-dialogue vignettes whose highlights are witless, dull dialogue punctuated with groan-inducing banter. It's terrible, and I'm crushed......... there isn't a single worthwhile line or quip in any of the exchanges throughout the rest of the game.
Before you fans start typing up those angry letters, let me say that I realize this is an RPG for the younger set, ..... I fully accept this. But go out and watch Aladdin and let me know if kid's entertainment can be funny to adults too. It can, and this isn't.
Some of these are clearly lesser and nitpicky complaints, but they show a general lack of finesse in balancing the game so that it's fun for kids, RPG newbies, and adults alike.

 

So basically I get why they scored it low from the review. It's the quote made after the fact that has me still scratchin my head. I think the way the review is written, it needs no explanation.

 

J.

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This argument wil lrage on in one form or another until the end of time... do I rate it a ten because I think it's a good game or do I reate it a ten because I like it?

 

I like Ween's Pure Guava. It hink it's hilarious and I laugh my ass off every time I listen to it. However, as a recorded work, it's no different than a lot of the shit I heard during MP3.com's heyday when any jackass with a computer and a decent supply of a mind-altering substance could come up with something comparable. That being said, I like Pure Guava even though as a work of art I think it sucks.

 

I also think Doctor Zhivago is a fantastic movie and is probably groundbreaking in light of whatever movies it followed. However I also found it boring as all hell and wanted to kill myself after watching the first ten minutes of it. That being said, I hated Doctor Zhivago even though as a work of art its merit has been proven.

 

Ultimately what someone says about any work of art will mean what it means only if you're aware of his tastes in comparison to yours. If your friend has an affinity for shitty B-movies starring Dana Carvey and you do not, you will disagree with him that The Master of Disguise is a "good movie." If you and someone have an affinity for shitty Japanese kaiju flicks and he says the new Godzilla movie is awesome, you'll probably know you'll like it regardless of the fact that as a movie you and he both know it's hogwash.

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Then, something terrible happens. I work my way through (I'm not kidding here) 15 minutes of press-A-to-continue-the-dialogue vignettes whose highlights are witless, dull dialogue punctuated with groan-inducing banter. It's terrible, and I'm crushed......... there isn't a single worthwhile line or quip in any of the exchanges throughout the rest of the game.

 

At the very least the reviewer is expressing his opinion here even though I utterly disagree with it.

 

I know this is veering a bit of topic but I want to say that having just completed the prologue and first chapter of the game (defeated Hooktail the Dragon) I've had several "lol" moments. When the mayor of the Petal area town continually refers to Mario as Murphy (even after being corrected) I maintained a constant giggle through most of it. That is one example among many.

 

To put things in perspective, a good amount of the dialogue is going to appeal to fans of these characters (as it should considering its a Super Mario RPG!). So much of it is so self-referential. From Bowser's jokes about someone else kidnapping Peach (other than him) to Mario's fame around the world. Peach even notes disbelief that she has *YET AGAIN* been kidnapped. It's good stuff if you ask me:tu: .

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Allow me to clarify. My beef is not that they gave Paper Mario 2 a bad review. I don't expect everyone to like a game, and if they believed it deserved a score of 6.5, that's their opinion and they're entitled to it, so long as they can state why. I don't expect a game to be enjoyed by everyone.

 

My problem is that they didn't fess up to it. They tried to disavow their opinions and say that the score (and review in general) reflected what they believed to be the taste of the general gaming public.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Um, I have a question regarding this quote:

 

"GI-Jeremy wrote:

Lisa and I both knew that our Paper Mario scores were going to cause controversy. Yes, we know that many people out there will love it. We also know that it is a well-made game. However, it also WILL NOT appeal to many people - I would safely say that more people will dislike it than like it. Why? Like we said in the review, it's a very kiddie game - it's target audience is clearly young gamers - I would say 10 and under. For that reason, we had to score it low. Remember, we aren't scoring games strictly on our personal opinions, we're also scoring them based on how much we think THE GAMING PUBLIC will like them. We've all played games that we personally disliked and scored them well because we've known that most people will like them, and we've also scored games low that we love, because most people won't enjoy them.

 

For example, I really like the bizarre frog golf game Ribbit King, and I gave it a 7, because it's just not for everyone. Paper Mario 2 also scored low because it's just not for everyone. If you think it's a 10 in your book, it's a ten in your book, and that doesn't change if we disagree. We're here to guide you on what games to pick up, but ultimately your personal opinion is what will make you buy a game or not.

 

I hope this helps."

 

I just got the latest issue of GI in,& I didn't see this quote there. I also didn't see it at their website. I went to where this was originally from,& unless I missed seeing the original source,then I didn't see it there as well.

 

Sooooo where did the quote originate from?

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