Sessler's Soapbox: I Hate Numbers

Posted: October 25, 2011
Sessler's Soapbox: I Hate Numbers
Adam uses the response to his Uncharted 3 review to talk about his distaste for applying numerical values to the quality of creative works.

Comments are Closed

  • Pippdaddy

    I don't mind a number system but I hate the 5 point system. I'm sure some reviewers have played some amazing games with maybe just a small flaw or 2 and gave it a 4 because it wasn't perfect but if asked in a 10 point system they may have given the game a 9 or 9.5 which to a lot of people is a big difference from a 4/5. I do love the conversations that games create in many cases but not all, but I feel that if the number system was gone, less people would be interested in reading the review in a modern hyperactive society.

    In short, I do read the full reviews and I appreciate the number system just not the 5 point system.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:58 PM
  • spikeykirby

    dam sir adam U MAD???, no worries haters gotta hate i like your reviews now go play some dark souls while we both wait for skyrim and bioshock infinite, much love from le spikey kirby

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:58 PM
  • Torremitsu

    WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ! I guess I can only speak for myself here but we need a numerical value to filter worth. Competition in the videogame industry is thick, and its at its worst during this time of year. We rely on great writers to do the hard work for us, that summary you hate so much is also necessary. I appreciate your passion for recognizing art on a case by case basis, but please don't tear your shirt open and bleed on us for something that we need. It is what it is.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:53 PM
  • shaggysasquach

    personally i think that the reason we as gamers rely on scores so much is that there just aren't that many good writers reviewing games. sure there are people with passion and strong opinions, who can accurately give you a quick list of pro's and con's. but a lot of times when i see people blasting reviews well it's cause people suck. that and i just think that a lot of them are poorly written.

    not yours mind you mr. sessler, even when i disagree with you( fable 2 game of the year, really?), you at least have the smarts to explain where you come from so that i can see things from your side.

    but as reviews are opinions, some are less thought out than others and all reviews are not made equal. we get scores and such because not everyone decides to fully flesh out what they think about the game and the score they give is more evident of how much fun they have with the game.

    fact is this industry lives on hype and getting people to pay BEFORE they get to play the game. and with that you end up with a bunch of people that have to know that what they get is good and worth their money. and until written reviews from most sites are brought up to a level such as yours mr. sessler where you can feel the integrity and care for witch you go about dissecting a game for its parts and yet also conveying how they work, for better or for worse, when brought together. then we as consumers need are stupid scores. sorry

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:53 PM
  • David_C_

    Scores are used because they're fun to read and argue about, but people take them too seriously and make it angry and not fun.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:45 PM
  • 7xsPD

    Numbers are not needed for a review since it's just an opinion, they really should just take numbers out and on the review pages and after the reviewer posted what they though of the game they write "Now what did you think of the game?"

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:41 PM
  • cwbys21

    if you hate putting a number on games so much, do something about it, go to dvduesday's "buy, rent, pass" system or scrap it all together like kotaku has and not score anything and don't do a pro and cons list either.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:37 PM
  • ThatCoolGuy

    I am terribly appreciative for this man.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:37 PM
  • PrometheanArsonist

    I disagree. Using a number to represent a subjective evaluation has nothing to do with society or culture. The number is merely a statement of quality that is explained with 1,000+ words. There's nothing wrong with using a scale to clarify an opinion.
    In any case, people do in fact read your reviews and are hungry for the perspective you so carefully prepare. The taste of honesty is appreciated, good sir.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:36 PM
  • Sally Wong

    If those dollars are burning a whole in your pocket, and you actually think that the PS3 has some neat and really cool games eg. ( Uncharted 3 ); well its that time again my friend, to get your very best friend to severely hoof you in the groin.

    Trust me, there are no great games for the PS3.

    Since the creation of the PS3, I now have One "God of War 3" game ( a pretty boring series I might add ), Two " Move Games ", that don't really work that well with the "Move Controllers" ( Killzone 3 & Resistance 3 ); Uncharted 2 ( actually the best PS3 game made to date ), and of course the latest offering " Uncharted 3" and 4 out of 5 is the correct score.

    So lets add this all up now. Hmmmm over a period of 3 years, I have accumulated a grand total of five PS3 games, but only one was exceptional.

    So I guess I was wrong and now have to apologize to all you PS3 lovers.

    Sorry all you PS3 lovers, It looks like I was totally wrong when I stated earlier, that the PS3 had no great games . The " Sony PS3 " does have great games ( ONE ) Uncharted 2 !

    Love and Kisses: Sally Wong

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:23 PM
  • PrometheanArsonist

    I disagree. Using a number to represent a subjective evaluation has nothing to do with society or culture. The number is merely a statement of quality that is explained with 1,000+ words. There's nothing wrong with using a scale to clarify an opinion.
    In any case, people do in fact read your reviews and are hungry for the perspective you so carefully prepare. The taste of honesty is appreciated, good sir.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:05 PM
  • Nick-Butler

    I thought of the comment above because he mentioned the Republican debate.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:01 PM
  • Nick-Butler

    I know this has nothing to do with video games per se, but I wonder the Sessler's view on fractional reserve banking, fiat money, and tax reforms. I know he was a banker at one point so I'd be curious to what he would say.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 9:00 PM
  • Chashu

    A supreme irony is: there s "rate this video" underneath this video.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:58 PM
  • fierystix

    This video was rated five stars.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:57 PM
  • cncgen18

    I love you adam.... not in a gay way... but you are good at what you do and your opinion does matter to me.... I read all the reviews you write and they are all good

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:40 PM
  • Aeonofdoom360

    I just want to start off by saying that I am sort of in between the positions. I do understand and even experience the validation that fans who care about a series will get from seeing a particular score from reviews, but I also understand that it is very hard to say what separates 9.5 and a 10 or a 4 and a 5. How do you compare Halo and Final Fantasy when they are so different? This is why we have reviews to articulate exactly what the reviewer found enjoyable and lacking in the experience that they had. The problem with numbers is that the experience will be different for everyone and we may want different things out of it. However not everyone has the time to read a thousand words on every game, So they read about 1 or 2 that they care about and look to the score as a guide line of how much that person enjoyed that game. If a game they don't know about scored higher than a game they love it can catch their eye and introduce them to something new. Everyone wants to be sure, especially now that they are spending their money in the right place and so they look to something simple like a number. I don't like Metacritic or GameRankings because you have no idea about the people writing the review where if you go to a site like this and always read a particular writers reviews the numbers can become more insightful depending on whether you tend to match up with said writer. However to counter one of Mr. Sessler's points I don't think many people use these score in discussions, or at least not deep ones. I don't expect more than 2 or 3 people to read this because it is long. If every comment on a thread or forum was like this no one would have the time so online you will see people throwing scores around a lot to prove a point. And I feel that it can be tied back to intellectualism discussions i.e. essays. When writing essays in school everyone is told to reference and quote others to validate their points. So online to quickly prove a point they say, "5 out of 5. Suck it hater!". But if you have an actual conversation with someone who understands gaming they almost never come up unless you want to quickly get to your overall opinion of the game before narrowing it down in detail. The numbers are most useful though when telling someone who is unfamiliar, which you did not take into account. If I am telling my cousin to buy Arkham City and he rarely plays games I can't articulate to him what it truly means to have tight controls and feel like I am Batman so I have to give him something a kindergartner can understand - numbers. If I tell him G4 and Ign and Eurogamer game if 5 out of 5 and 10 out of 10 then he will be willing to try it and experience the game that I love. That plays into why people get upset. If G4 says that Arkham City is a 1 star instead of a 5 star people won't want it and if they don't know enough about games we can't explain it in a way to change their minds and they miss out and say that WE are wrong. Also tying that further, we all want good games and if a game gets high scores it will sell well point and case Arkham City has already sold 4 million copies. So if the games we love get low scores, we feel that it will hurt sales and then we won't get a sequel and other companies won't follow in their footsteps. Thus we are protective of scores for games we love. And if games we hate get high scores then the other high scores have less value in our eyes which is why we hate scores that are to high as well as to low. We spend hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours into our passion - not our hobby - and so we get protective and over the internet many forget that their comments are going to actual people instead of some lifeless wall of text. I hope this can make things a little clearer for everyone (and that I am right or I would look like a total a**) so that we are on the same page and can see both the positives and negatives (by the way it does render the review less important so you are totally right there) of scores and hopefully people will be more understanding on both sides.
    Turns out I can't fill 5000 characters. I tired though.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:34 PM
  • kkdude2014

    Holey friggin rant! But seriously, I agree with Adam completely. Especially the fact that there are summaries of reviews. Honestly, if you don't have the time to read a review that someone like Adam wrote, you deserve to waste your money on a crappy game like Thor.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:26 PM
  • animeandmangarule

    I completely agree with Mr. Sessler on this. It seems like everything has to have a number or letter rating/ grading to it to make sense.What if you were submitting a resume for a job and they graded it with number scale to determine if you get the job or not? A 4 or 5 would mean you's get the job while a 1 or 2 would mean you didn't , and a 3 falling in the middle as a maybe. I hate the way everything is graded and i think the world needs to rethink the whole thing on grading. and comparing one score to another is also flawed, I mean one website gives a game a 4 out of 5 but the other gives it a 7 out of 10.. so what does that mean? How do you figure out if its worth playing? , you compare the grades... just like they want you too so you can reduce a product that took a lot of time, effort, and money to create into a number game.. the whole comparing ever number grade is almost as bad grading in general. I'm not sure how to end my own rant other then, grading is bad and so is comparing those grades, people should just review something themselves rather then completely rely on others to do it for them. I'm all for game websites and magazine reviewing a game but then they add the grade and it ruins it...... nuff said..

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:24 PM
  • xxMayDay31xx

    you know, i understand where the hatred for metacritic comes from, as people are empowered to argue over stupid things like Batman is better than Battlefield because Batman got a 95 and Battlefield got a 93. that's stupid.

    that said, when i see a highly anticipated game, which will likely cost $60, and it's getting a 54 or 61 average on metacritic, it is then that metacritic becomes invaluable as it lets me know DO NOT BUY THIS GAME, EVER!!! RENT IF YOU MUST!!! i'm looking at you, duke nukem forever.

    But here's something else to think about. We all agree that students should get grades in school, but what if you were graded on a 20 point scale. Either you made a perfect A+ or the lowest B. Parents would burn down that school. So with that scale G4 might get singed a bit as well.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:20 PM