Collective Deception

Being an avid gamer, the decision to devote time to purchasing and playing a new videogame title can be nothing short of agonizing. There are many factors to consider, among them chief being reviews on games in which a player is interested, with most game reviews assigning a score to each title that review sites such as GameRankings and Metacritic average to provide numerical measures of the hypothetical quality of games. However, even these numbers can be misleading in many cases.

I should begin by stating that I am a gamer on the autism spectrum, having received my diagnosis when I was but an infant. As such, my mind is very much wired differently than those who are not on the autism spectrum, whom we call neurotypicals. I will assert my firm distrust in the mainstream game reviewing media since the vast majority of “professional” reviewers do not identify themselves as autistic, I do not trust them, and believe my personal tastes to be vastly different from those of the mainstream gaming community and “professional” game reviewers.

I commonly experience the phenomenon of critical difference with regards to many gaming titles, in which my tastes and preferences differ from those of mainstream gaming critics and those of “users,” those who are not of the professional game media. While I do assign scores to videogames, primarily role-playing games, that I review, I can safely say that I either liked particular titles or disliked them. On websites such as Amazon, users are able to leave scores on products they purchase, including videogames, forming an average of a certain number of five stars for each product.

With regards to my personal dissonance, I have disliked many titles that have gotten “good” average review scores from both users and “professionals,” and liked many titles that have gotten bad to average scores by both communities. For instance, I enjoyed Suikoden IV despite the bad rap it received upon release, and disliked The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the highest-rated game according to GameRankings. In some instances, it is nigh impossible to find “professional” reviews that have panned Ocarina and other highly-acclaimed titles. Is it possible that every professional reviewer liked Ocarina of Time? I think not.

Many factors play part in biased review scores, such as money, the fact that many “professional” reviewers likely did not play games to completion before writing their reviews, and fear of “fan” backlash for publishing a critical review and/or a review that gives a lower score than users expected. Since RPGs tend to be lengthy affairs, it is often difficult to get a good grasp of these titles without having played them in full, with some having increases in quality despite mediocre beginnings and others starting off well but becoming worse towards the end.

What, then, can be done to resolve the aforementioned issues in videogame reviewing? There are some things upon which most can agree, such as an honest statement by “professional” game reviewers of how much time exactly they spent with the games they review before actually giving their opinions. There are other measures that would likely evoke controversy, such as the “professionals” identifying whether or not they are on the autism spectrum so that gamers such as I that don’t trust neurotypical opinion can make better buying decisions and not experience disappointment in their endeavors. Lamentably, the status quo will likely prevail.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License