Sessler's Soapbox: The Science of Game Reviews

Posted: July 6, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: The Science of Game Reviews
Adam discusses a recent study that attempted to determine if reading a review first can affect your enjoyment and opinion of a game.

Comments are Closed

  • KilledFirst

    Adam if you hate numbers so much then do as Ebert does and give it thumbs! If you have the personel to cover it, have 3 staff members review a game. Include giving a game a thumbs up, down, or in the middle. I say 3 because if you have 5 it can be turned into numbers, and two could stir trouble with Eber'ts current system of terrible movie reviewing. If he rates a movie with enthusiasm, you can be almost assured to take a nap while viewing it.

    One of the greatest strengths of game reviewers, is the ability to address enjoyment of a game even if the game looks and controls terribly; movie critics not so much. It's become a rule of THUMB if the critics hate the movie, it's worth the 8 bucks to go see it.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:05 PM
  • alexchamp

    for me personally, it's what the reviewer says that really matters. the score doesn't make me buy a game, it's what i already know about the game and the reviews. that's why i see different reviews like g4tv, ign, gamespot and gametrailers to see their opinion. the score of a game tells people how good, bad or ok the game is

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:00 PM
  • anemptybottle

    I don't have any issues with a numerical rating system. Sure it s simplistic and doesn t provide any info about the game besides how much the reviewer enjoyed it, but it s always a part of an actual review, which does go into detail about what was good or bad about a game.

    If someone chooses not to read the review and base purchasing a game on a reviewer s personal enjoyment of a game that s on them. That s not a problem with assigning a game a numerical value.

    I always look at the rating as a summary. You read the review for the pros and cons of a game and the rating is how those pros and cons balance out.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:56 PM
  • alexchamp

    for me personally, it's what the reviewer says that really matters. the score doesn't make me buy a game, it's what i already know about the game and the reviews. that's why i see different reviews like g4tv, ign, gamespot and gametrailers to see their opinion. the score of a game tells people how good, bad or ok the game is

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:55 PM
  • Kabong30

    The most important numerical score is the number in my wallet. I don't want to waste my money on a crap game and unfortunately numeric game scores help with that the vast majority of the time.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:51 PM
  • anemptybottle

    The game on the monitor to Adam's left was distracting as heck (you see what I did there)...but is this really news? Considering someone thought to study it I guess not.

    Game reviewers play a lot of games and if you find one, or two or three, who generally like the same types of games as you then why wouldn't their opinion influences yours in the way one of your friend s opinion on a game would.

    Gaming is a very communal medium. Gamers spend a lot of time playing, thinking about, and talking to each other about games, whether in person or through places like this. So it makes sense that there would be a larger level of peer influence in purchase and even in personal taste.

    And I think the industry is already aware of this. The study shouldn t change anything about the way games are marketed to the hardcore audience at least.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:39 PM
  • Fex_Anderson

    I use you guys review as a reference of sorts, or as a means to make a decision about a game I'm not sure about... That being said, some times I'm a bit too bull-headed to listen. Like recently I had the mind-set that I was going to like Alpha Protocal no matter how the reviews came out... That sure came back to bite me in the ass.

    On the positive side of the spectrum, if nobody had gotten excited about Red Dead Redemption, I probably would have skipped it.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:38 PM
  • echness

    Does anyone know what game that was behind Adam. I must play it...I love it when he get to feel good about what he does, then we get to see red dead adam with no pants on and it takes away from his whole serious discussion. Really though I love Sessler's soapbox....

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:36 PM
  • AbusiveUseofFantasy

    Although personal interest and written reviews certainly play a role in my game purchasing decision matrix, I find myself being more motivated when people who love playing games get excited by just talking about the games they are playing. Which is why I love Feedback. Watching Adam, Patrick, Abbie, and Matt/Andrew/Sterling/Jake become giddy about great moments in games always makes me smile and always makes me want to play those games. How else would I have known about a game like Deadly Premonition?

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:23 PM
  • AngelsandDemons

    "The World of Discussion" is small Adam, but many gamers look to g4tv, ign, gametrailers, gamespot, and of course metacritic to analyze their consensus. Personally, I like to hear the reviewers reasons which are the most important because the score I think is quite ambiguous. Many times, particularly with G4, I feel that your reviewers don't slam the games that are truly lackluster and I sometimes wonder if it's related to some type of relationship with the developers for a worry of their reaction as a result of the review.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:19 PM
  • Jeprox

    Without great marketing critically acclaimed games like Beyond Good and Evil and Psychonauts will never sell well.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 5:02 PM
  • Bryan108

    well, replying to your batman arkham asylum comment, I rented that game without any knowledge of it and it was GOTY for me.
    I think there is a certain quality that makes good games and bad games, its not just all word of mouth

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:47 PM
  • Ifrid

    Great video Adam. Don't worry about what poeple think. you guys at G4 do a
    awsome job, keep up the good work.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:46 PM
  • 2ply

    Oh and Welcome back Adam! Feedback missed you, and Patrick started to become a man while you were gone! (haha)

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:43 PM
  • Storm7789

    So many good games get bad numbers for decent reviews. I don't know where the disconnect is really between reviewers and the numbers they assign because many do not give a score adequate to the text. And if people would just read reviews instead of the numbers, they would know what they can expect from a game.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:41 PM
  • 2ply

    I actually think the reviews would better serve their purpose without attaching that numbered score, it would force people to actually take the time to read the full review and really form their own opinion along the way.

    The way it's setup right now, as soon as you look at the review you automatically spot the number rating, and that can cause the reader to already have an opinion formed before they even read a single word.

    One thing i'd like to see change with the reviews, is to have that numeric score at the bottom of the page instead of the top, since there is really no way to be rid of it altogether.

    Atleast this way more people would atleast skim over the heart and soul of a review before jumping to any conclusions.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:39 PM
  • RealKocho

    It is hard to rate a game out of ten or five, but giving a run down of the pros and cons are of the game are better as you get a feel for what the games has to offer and what the game lacks, this in turn lets the buyer decide if he or she wants that game. Great vid as always.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:35 PM
  • daemonbellum

    Stop blocking the Zuma!

    Oh, and good soapbox

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:33 PM
  • Socrates'sMind

    Agree with what you Adam and these other commenter s have said. The number value assigned to how good a game is just wrong... It over simplifies the goods and bads of a particular game.. I myself care more about hearing what works well in the game, how the story is, combat system, user interface, etc... Then I want to hear where the game doesn't work as well, where it missed the mark... That's what I use to decide whether to buy a game or not..

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:26 PM
  • spicypooptastic

    Reviews are what I use to see what game to buy or not. Bad review no buy, and I mean all around consensus b/c some sites like edge and eurogamer love to hate others give bad reviews for hits on their sites in which angry metacritic gamers come to tell them their an idiot troll

    Posted: July 6, 2010 4:23 PM