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

  • horseflesh

    While I sympathize with your ideals. You have to remember that metacritic itself is simply an aggregator. It serves a useful function in that it allows for a broad survey of opinion to be digested quickly and easily. It is not necessarily their fault that it is used as it is.

    I don't hate metacritic. I've used it from time to time for the purpose of buying games, not just for my nephews when I have no idea which pokemon game to buy them, but for myself to get a general sense of what people think of it when I'm on the fence, and more importantly to links to articles that seem thoughtful. When you go look at the metacritic score for Batman Arkham City, do you think, that is completely valueless a number? You shouldn't. It serves parents a real function, or other people with limited interest. It's abuse by publishers is not the fault of metacritic. People dwelling upon it is similarly not metacritic's fault. It may not be a perfect tool, but it's not designed to be, don't let the something fundamentally good (not great, but good) get discarded because it's not ideal.

    Your ideals are of merit, and you should keep them. Your squabble with metacritic is valuable in that it reminds us that it is a flawed system, but once again, don't throw out something that's basically good because it's not ideal.

    I've seem to recall your having said "it's a good game" which is, in a small way, the same sort of quantification you're railing against. And once again I understand, but you too simplify these things for your yourself and others because it provides a simpler way of dealing with a real world circumstance. We all do

    But at the same time, I hope people stop giving you so much grief, I'm sure it's exhausting, and I don't think you deserve it.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:20 PM
  • clunk569

    I really respect Adam Sessler, but my opinion on his review of Uncharted 3 stays the same. I did not enjoy it because it just seemed like he was trying to point out any small flaw that he could. Many of his points as to why he didn't think the game was near as good as its predecessor were extremely subjective. He didn't like the story as much as Uncharted 2, while many other reviewers loved it. That's perfectly fine. I absolutely love the novel 1984, but that doesn't mean that everyone will like it. So I'm not disappointed that Adam did not enjoy the game as much as Uncharted 2, I'm disappointed that his review focused on so much of the negative aspects of the game. It did not accurately represent the game. If I had never heard of Uncharted 3 or read any of the other reviews for it, I would probably not purchase it based off of Adam Sessler's review. The only reason the number score matters to me is because it may affect sales of this game. Naughty Dog put a lot of work into this game, and I want to see them succeed.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:18 PM
  • RandyMercer

    I'm saying G4 just switch to saying Buy, Rent, Barrow. Now I wonder how much of Adam Sessler died when he put that number on U3?

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:17 PM
  • chaos-space

    Last weeks soapbox 4/5 but this week 5/5

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:14 PM
  • RandyMercer

    MY DAWG ADAM SESSLER, He makes it hard to be mad at him (I was never mad at him but... just sayin) with all the smart stuff he says.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:12 PM
  • friendo

    I regularly check this site for a couple of specific opinions, Adam's included. Like Adam said--his honesty is expected and, in my case, appreciated. That being said, I am increasingly frustrated with the numerical attachment in G4's reviews. Although I'm not always the biggest fan of the site, Kotaku has a wonderful numerical-free review system. Even G4 has a review system in place on a different segment of the site that functions much better than the grade-school numerical system. The DVDuesday segment on AOTS has a buy, rent, pass system that gives immediate satisfaction to those who are only interested in the bottom line and a brief explanation to those looking for more. I understand that G4's game review system may not be decided by Adam, but I think this issue could be rectified by simply giving the written review with a "buy, rent, pass" bottom line. In any case, I'll always come back for Adam's opinion. Just my two--out of five--cents. Wink.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:12 PM
  • Shuklar

    Just stop Sess. Not reviewing, yet catering to the retarded. You had to do this exact thing in 2009 in another Soapbox (search 'soapbox 4 vs 5').

    If people are too stupid to get it by now, let them be that way. Screw them.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 8:06 PM
  • Gabtraf

    ...My lord, I-I think I've been enlightened by this soapbox. The pressure after writing a beautiful review only to figure out the right number to give it to those who don't read the reviews, that right there, has never crossed my mind before. With the competitive mortality we get from our parents, schools, teachers, etc. It's in our culture sadly, that we have to just "win" all the time. (Hopefully not like Charlie Sheen, but I digress)

    Great soapbox, Mr.Sess. I await to see more in the future.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:59 PM
  • Hydrafiend

    I want to defend scores in game reviews. I hate going to a review and seeing well I liked this, I didn't like this, I liked this thing but not that thing and on and on. Just give me a freakin score-I just don't have all the time in the world to read a review, I want to know fast, is this a good game, worth 60 bucks?

    Of course I realize that a score does not necessarily tell the whole story, sometimes reviewers knock down games for reasons that I don't care about-oh there was a scene in the game that was politically incorrect, or the reviewer did not like the story or the voice acting or did not feel attached to the character or whatever. So a lot of the time when a game does not get the kind of score that I expect I may read on to see what is going on. I also use certain sites that I trust on reviews-IGN is good but tends to rate too high, Gamespot is really good, but I don't always agree with them either (gratz to them for Demon Souls as GOTY though), but they are good and honest, not over influenced by hype.

    I am always curious about G4's views on games, but your reviews can be all over the place-Darksiders a 2?? Reviewers have to realize though that people have been looking forward to a game for years and then when it comes out and the reviewer does not give it a perfect rating they freak out, eventually they get over it, but its kind of a natural reaction and something that you just have to deal with. But please-dont become one of those sites like Kotaku that does not score a game-scores are great and help people like me who lead busy lives.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:57 PM
  • SgtHapyFace

    I honestly wish there was some way Adam could bring about the end of this flawed scoring system at least on g4. This is why I enjoy Zero Punctuation so much. Honest reviews without numerical crap that don't just list what is good or bad about the game, but discuss how they can improve. What needs to happen in the games industry is for reviews to move past simply stating content and delve into and challenge the the underlying creative concepts. Consider the other creative arts literature and movies. People can spend years discussing the merit of these works of art. Where is this discussion in games? It doesn't exist and is certainly not happening in most game reviews. I'm going to reserve judgment on Uncharted 3 until I play it, but I applaud Adam for evaluating the game not on a purely mechanical level, but challenging the concepts behind its creation and its effect on the player. Only through this method of evaluation can games really grow as a creative medium.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:52 PM
  • StarStridder

    The sad thing is that a 10 point scale wouldn't be any better since anything below 8 is considered bad these days.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:50 PM
  • CHM27

    grades- > work*

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:45 PM
  • CHM27

    It's so true. people enjoy giving simple numerical values to things like grads art and entertainment so that research and actual discusion can be avoided. Instead of people being assessed on different levels they are reduced to a "C+" or an " A". Grades and ratings cater to a shallower, false, existence that fail to address and mesure other equally important factors.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:43 PM
  • Andysauraus

    Adam needs a hug! I appreciate honest opinion Mr Sessler

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:37 PM
  • andruek89

    Adam I hope you read not only my comments but of your peers as well. You are absolutely hands down correct. Everyone in this world has a opinion about something whether its positive or negative. But the heart of all this is because somewhere or someone does NOT understand YOUR opinion. I agree with you but hear me out on this. They NEED this its like you said a sense of gratification on a job well done. With high expectations someone looks to you for this. I don't think they people understand the TRUE gravity of the fact that it's a work of art. Just look at the fact of how people look at Tattoos, its a work of art is it not? A sense of expression that cultivated in someone's mind to put on someone's body who will EXPRESS THEIR IDEA. Living in a country where people supposedly believe in other peoples "works of art" and their expression is considered destructive. Someone will always look at that and say that is absolutely disgusting work of art. Who will express it if not the people? You have to imagine now we have this ability to express ourselves so differently and different is wrong to people. WHO FREAKING CARES! If I chose to tattoos covered head to toe and play video games that tells you to steal, kill, and plunder but the expressions of tragedy, mass chaos, and "evil things" IS TO US a work of art because of the time and commitment that a group of people believed that living in this world someone would just find enjoyable? Is that sick? NO, coming from every other movie in the world that incorporates horror and terrorism. Someone watched it and had a opinion and said it. Hey, not many people have the courage or lets just say the BALLS to do exactly what it is that you do and that's be honest and give a well developed and characterized opinion. If someone disagrees its because they just have a different opinion. DO NOT let someone tell you that you are not doing a job that anyone can do because we all have a tendency to believe that we're better than others you have a difficult job and I'm sorry that someone's too stupid to admit that you had the only intentions of giving an honest opinion about something. 1 out 5 or 5 out 5 your performance and truth telling means something to the individuals that know this man is honest at the very least.

    If you don't like it then fine. I DON'T CARE.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:36 PM
  • wolfman2010

    Was not expecting that... I have to say Adam, this is the best soapbox I have ever heard from you. I totally was not prepared to hear such a venemous response to the use of numbers as a means of evaluation. Guess that's why I always Zero Punctuation reviews. Just talk about the game, and almost no numerical score anywhere in sight.
    It's good to see there are more people like that in the video game industry. Thanks Sess!.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:32 PM
  • Masseter

    The numbers have gotten way out of hand. After Homefront released with a mediocre metacritic score, THQ's stock went from around $5 down to the $2's over the next month or so. Several analysts pointed to the metacritic score as the source of investor sell off. I'm not saying that Homefront was a good game, but it did apparently sell enough copies to be profitable. So now, in a space where people really don't care about games at all (wall street), but rather care about profitable investments, metacritic has achieved some absurd objective value, even though the number is not predictive of profitability. Totally out of hand.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:14 PM
  • CptToushiro

    It's laughable that some of these comments are still about the numerical score while Adam is trying to tell everyone that it does not showcase what he really felt about the game. And when a game gets reviewed on G4 it seem like everyone thinks the same person reviewed it. G4 and every other gaming site is filled with different people that all have different opinions.

    A good example is Arkham City. The man that reviewed it for G4 loved the game but Stephen Johnson had a different opinion. He agreed with everyones praise but it just did not click for him. Could that mean that two people who work for G4 written a different review on Arkham city giving their thoughts on it? Yes I think it does. Different strokes for different folks but most viewers would only look at the numbers. One give it a 5 while the other give it a 4 and the internet rage begins.

    I've stopped paying any attention to numerical scores cause they will never give any gamer more information on a game they might be purchasing over a good written review. From reading Adams review it is clear he thinks Uncharted 3 is a fantastic game that is worthing adding to your PS3 collection. He just felt it was just a tad less amazing than Uncharted 2. He is giving you an honest opinion to help inform yet most do nothing but bash and say he is a moron

    A moron for what? Trying to give an honest opinion to add to the discussion of a great game to try to help better the gaming community. Sometimes I wonder if we gamers are even worth it when most post like six year olds mashing their face into the keyboard.

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:14 PM
  • Jacqueben

    Firstly Relax, Anger gets none anywhere on the web, And as I am sure you see, your getting alot of angry backlash. Secondly I agree, people put way too much into numbers and scores and these days only care about playing the best game. Gaming didn't used to be that way, I remeber when gamers played games to play them, not because there rated 4 out of 5, or 9 out of 10. People worry now about playing the best of the best, and doing the best in them, ranking scores and achevments run rampant into todays games. Good or bad that's how things run these days. As gaming becomes mainstream it will be forced to confine to the norms of mainstream, Gaming is slowing moveing to Fads.. People play this game cause "Everyone is doing it" People wont play this game cause it scored low, on this site or that site, or some guy on tv says it sucks. Times change sometimes not for the best. Gaming has changed, alot of good changes, and some bad changes, anyway.. I'll have to stop myself... 5,000 characters isnt enough to get my opinions across. Anyway.. Adam Keep on keeping on. -Thumbs Up-

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:10 PM
  • PrometheanArsonist

    Nice camera quality!

    Posted: October 25, 2011 7:09 PM