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rustyjaw
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I'm curious how other gamers feel abut GameRakings.com and how you use it? I know that many people, including Romier, believe that reviews that end up with a score do a disservice to readers. I can understand this because the temptation to simply look at the score and stop reading is strong.

 

So you might think, based on that, that a site that collects scores into a single database might be the worst possible way to evaluate a game.

 

But I have to admit that I do give a good deal of credence to the scores that I find at GameRankings. But I don't simply go there, look at what game has the highest average score and go out and buy it (or ignore low-scoring games). My modus operandi is to look through the list of scores for a given game and find the lowest and the highest, then I go to the sites and read those two reviews to find out the reasons that the respective reviewers gave for the low or high score.

 

Often the contrast will prove useful since it exposes the reviewers bias (and I don't necessarily mean 'bias' in a pejorative way). Usually one or the other will resonate with me, if something that bugged the reviewer is something I know will bug me, I give more weight to his opinion, likewise with positive aspects. If I find that a great discrepancy between two reviews (which is common), then I'll start looking at the next highest or next lowest scoring reviews to sort it out.

 

But the potential for gamerankings abuse is there too. I can imagine that a lot of people probably go there and look at the overall average score and decide based on that, which is kind of sad. Especially when I look at games with low scores that are dragged down by one bad review.

 

So what's the consensus, if any?

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I use it the same as I do for rottentomatoes.com. It's very informative, but I take it with a grain of salt. I realize that each one of these reviews is (usually) just one person, and their perspective and thoughts (and bias)on the game.

 

My modus operandi is to look through the list of scores for a given game and find the lowest and the highest, then I go to the sites and read those two reviews to find out the reasons that the respective reviewers gave for the low or high score.

 

It's funny, because I do the same thing! I think (like many other things) if used correctly, it can be a great tool. However, I can see how it can easily mislead people.

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I don't despise gamerankings per se. I do however despise what comes out of reading the site. You have named one of those reasons. I believe scores in general just do a general disservice to the gamer and to the reviewer who took the time to write a review only have to it ignored for a number. The second reason is not exactly the fault of Gamerankings but the gamers that read it. It all becomes a competition. For example:

 

"XXXX is the top rated game at gamerankings so it ownz". Mind you these folks don't cite any actual examples of why said game is good. Its just rules cause of the number they see.

 

Or my personal favorite:

 

"How can you say XXXX is bad? Its got a YY% ranking at gamerankings.com. It HAS to be good."

 

No regard whatsoever for differing opinions and a majority of time the quoted scores serve only to reassure the person quoting them that they spent their money well. (as if reassurance was even needed. Just enjoy the game you bought for cryiong out loud!)

 

Which leads to other forum post I see with the following:

 

"I just bought XXXX because Gamerankings says its a YY% game. Should I open it?"

No, let is sit there and stare it until your eyes fall out. :roll:

 

To be fair however that kind of comment can have Gamerankings replaced with any number of sites....

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I frequent the site, but I tend to use it more as a resource for finding the direct links to game reviews - instead of searching from, say, IGN's homepage. It's just a lot quicker. I don't really like the way they assign percentages to games though - especially when a site will only grade on a scale of 1-5, where a 4 (which might be a perfectly respectable score), is interpreted as an 80%, which can really drag down an average.

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I much prefer metacritic.com to research reviews. Each review has a quoted paragraph as well as a score and a link to an Internet article where applicable. I understand Romier's dislike of scores, but when I'm trying to find any game to buy (rather than a specific title), I don't want to wade through a review only to find out the guy doesn't like it.

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I don't want to wade through a review only to find out the guy doesn't like it.

 

Thats why there should be a good "Summary" paragraph at the end of every review that should encapsulate a reviewers feeling on a game without the need for a score. You still get the gist, without the prerequisite arbitrary number . (How much do you love those "Not an average" monikers :) )

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It encourages "lowest common denominator" - you have to appeal to a huge range of reviewers/sites to dominate the scores, and the scores are inherently weighted in favour of sites that are "limited scale" (as in only use 7-10 instead of 1-10) as they dominate the averages too much (as there are far too many sites like that ;) ).

 

I like the concept, I like having it as a resource, I just think it's a terrible way to "judge" games outside the very cream or the very crud. The system doesn't handle "niche" or "average" games.

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Originally posted by FutureVoid:

That?s why there should be a good "Summary" paragraph at the end of every review that should encapsulate a reviewers feeling on a game without the need for a score.

 

I would argue that such a paragraph should go at the beginning of a review and not the end. The first paragraph should give you a sense of how the reviewer saw the game overall, with the subsequent paragraphs devoted to fleshing out those opinions with more specific details. That way, you can draw people in better and perhaps have a better chance of getting them to read the entire review.

 

The matter of quantifying any review with a final score doesn't bother me, but in the world of videogames, I sometimes wonder how useful the practice really is. A reviewer can give a game a score of 8 out of 10 and people will see that as a poor score. Conversely, if a film critic scores a movie like that, it will be seen as a very favorable review. In the world of gaming, the only favorable reviews seem to go to games that achieve a score of 9 or higher, and even then, we have to deal with scores with pointless decimals added in like 9.1 or 7.6. I wonder, if a reviewer gives game A a score of 9.1 and game B 9.0, how he or she managed to determine that game A is 0.1 better than game B.

 

I'll make this very simple. Any gaming review site needs only three levels of classification: RECOMMENDED, NOT RECOMMENDED, and RENT-BEFORE-YOU-BUY. That pretty much sums up everything you need to know.

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I would argue that such a paragraph should go at the beginning of a review and not the end. The first paragraph should give you a sense of how the reviewer saw the game overall, with the subsequent paragraphs devoted to fleshing out those opinions with more specific details. That way, you can draw people in better and perhaps have a better chance of getting them to read the entire review.

 

Thats actually a great point Jeffrey. One thats great to mull over because finding a balance is what I'm attempting to go for with the reviews here at LCVG. Though I doubt we'll be appearing on Gamerankings anytime soon :green:

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Sep 5 2003, 01:07 AM

Though I doubt we'll be appearing on Gamerankings anytime soon :green:

Isn't that short-sighted? I would think you'd want this site to be featured on arguably the most popular destination for game recommendations. There's a few sites I regularly visit that I first discovered there. The membership here so far is based mostly on former HTFers, how will you draw in the greater masses? "LCVG.com" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue/keyboard.

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Isn't that short-sighted?

 

Well considering there will be no SCORES on any of the reviews on this site I doubt short-sightedness is the problem Allen ;) . Its not as if I don't want this site advertised or presented to the general masses, the problem is with no scores how exactly will they (they being Gamerankings) throw an LCVG review in the mix? You see what I mean? Which brings up one of the big conundrums we faced when figuring out what to do with our reviews. On one hand we limit our "mass" appeal buy not having a number, on the other I feel reviews are better withoutthat number. So in the end we said to hell with the number and we'll live with the consequences of that. I'm not saying we dont WANT to be on Gamerankings...just may be limited in that regard.

 

You see the point of this website is to be a source of information for the videogames fans that want a dose of hardcore AND casual content from fellow gamers with a different spin. I feel too many websites cater too heavily toward the general buying public and not to the people who happily go out and buy 10 games a month. Feel free to agree or disagree with that but thats one of the main balancing acts we are trying to achieve with what we have planned.

 

More informative reviews, more intresting editorials dealing with a large range of industry topics. News coverage with a dose of humor and irreverance that doesn't read like your garden variety press releases you see everywhere else. Spotlight on lower key games that may fall by the wayside of bigger releases. Above all else a REAL integration with the forums (along with reviews this is one of our BIGGEST focuses). An actual community where folks can come and discuss their favorite hobby without need or fear of being caught in endless flamewars. I don't want this place to be Gamespot 2 or IGN 2, though I'd love to compete with them. :)

 

Certainly I find nothing wrong with exposure and advertising on well known sites. Would I like long term to have "mass" appeal? Sure that would be great but personally I want well written and well produced content above anything and I want this forum to succeed in being a place where gamers and maybe one day developers can talk about games. Its a long term goal and some would say its unreachable but its what I and the other guys at LCVG want. That is more important to us than "wrangling the masses", which to us is something that will come soon enough and rest assured well be taking necessary steps to get the LCVG name out when the time comes. With that...

 

"LCVG.com" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue/keyboard.

 

I'll have to disagree with you there. I feel it rolls rather nicely off the tongue. Quite a but nicer than "IGN" or "TeamXbox" thank you very much. ;)

 

 

The membership here so far is based mostly on former HTFers, how will you draw in the greater masses?

 

You gotta start somewhere my friend and I think the core membership here is a FANTASTIC start to building the community I spoke of above. I'm sure youll agree with that. (you better your part of it :green: )

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Sep 5 2003, 02:54 AM

the problem is with no scores how exactly will they (they being Gamerankings) throw an LCVG review in the mix?

Once you have 50+ reviews, GameRankings.com will list your reviews, even if there are no scores...they'll just appear near the bottom of the list, by default.

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I know it's teh bias (:)), but I actually like the way Gamespot does their reviews, with a short sentence summing up the review and then a link to the full review. For example, the Otogi review reads:

 

Any Xbox owner looking for one of the best and most genuinely stylish action games so far this year should absolutely check it out.

 

And then there's a link to the full review. Usually that short snippet is actually a quote from the summary paragraph that ends the review, but it's helpful to have a little something as a preface so that you can get a quick feel for how the reviewer felt about a game, and then decide if you want to read the full review.

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Hey, this is the best place for us and those like us I've yet seen, and I want to see it mentioned in the same breath as IGN and Gamespot (without the curse words, of course). If there's a plan in place to attract the washed masses out there, even better. I think being linked to sites like gamerankings and metacritic can only help.

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Sep 4 2003, 05:28 PM
I don't want to wade through a review only to find out the guy doesn't like it.

 

Thats why there should be a good "Summary" paragraph at the end of every review that should encapsulate a reviewers feeling on a game without the need for a score. You still get the gist, without the prerequisite arbitrary number . (How much do you love those "Not an average" monikers :) )

I see both of your points. I actually put a lot of importance on scores, as I'm sure most people do. However, on IGN for example, the at least give a small description for presentation, sound, replay, etc... to go with the score as well as closing comments. For that reason I like IGN more than Gamespot.

 

I look forward to reading the reivews on this site once it's up and running. I realize your dislike of scores, but how about "Recommendations"?

 

At Digital Photography Review, after the thorough review, a conclusion page follows. It lists the Cons & the Pros, an Overall Conclusion, and finally the Recommendation rating, Like Recommened or Highly Recommended, etc... That might be a nice way to go ;)

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I know it's teh bias (), but I actually like the way Gamespot does their reviews

 

Agreed. Much better than IGNs "Is Otogi and action gamer's dream come true, or does it just fall flat? Read our review to find out"

 

Or whatever they may say.

 

However, I do sometimes find myself looking at the score, read the summary and not go any further, thinking that I know what they thought about the game instead of reading the full review.

 

A reviewer can give a game a score of 8 out of 10 and people will see that as a poor score. Conversely, if a film critic scores a movie like that, it will be seen as a very favorable review. In the world of gaming, the only favorable reviews seem to go to games that achieve a score of 9 or higher

 

I think the problem there is that every magazine and website has trained us into thinking that a 9 or 10 score is an instant classic that just about everyone should play and enjoy, where a 7 or 8 has a few flaws but still a good game that fans of the genre should enjoy quite a bit.

 

With film those mid-high scores usually just indicate a good film with flaws.

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a good game that fans of the genre should enjoy quite a bit.

 

Thats why I think reviews and scores should have two aspects to them. One a review/score based on how good a game is, relative too expectations of the genre and its fans. Two a score based on video games in general.

 

Basically there are games that are good in their genre and their are the top tier games that transcend their respective genre.

 

I think that kind of goes towards movies as well, there are good action movies that satisfy fans of the genre but every now and then there are great action movies which transcend the action genre and are just plain great movies.

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I understand your hate of scores on reviews, but you have to remember that you can't force people to be well informed. People, in general, are only going to do as much work/research as they have to to convince themselves either way. I guess you could target LCVG to people who only want to read and let the lazy review readers (like myself) go to the other game sites for lazy, unreliable reviews. :P

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but you have to remember that you can't force people to be well informed.

 

Well of course not but I sure can help them to realize that a number does not equal informed either. I think you folks are misunderstanding what I want here. I would *LOVE* for people to read the complete reviews that I will do for this site but that does not happen, therefore I need to achieve that balance I was speaking of above. Informative but accessible. Thats what I want from all the reviewers who will be doing reviews on this site. That does not however mean that a number needs to be attached know what I mean?. :)

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Originally posted by HoolieMan@Sep 5 2003, 04:36 PM

I understand your hate of scores on reviews, but you have to remember that you can't force people to be well informed.

That's true, but you can train them to become informed.

 

To that end, I think a prominent link to an explanation from the Content Editor titled "Why No Scores" would go a long way.

 

-j

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