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

  • Kicenna

    Standing O for the commentary, Adam. Videogames are art and the number assignation doesn't do them justice. I think you're right about the grading in school and I'd also add that everything is put into sports language creating competition where cooperation might do more for everyone. Thanks again, Adam.

    Posted: October 30, 2011 9:49 AM
  • DTBinNJ

    My issue was not so much with the score that was given to the game but in the review itself. While I agree that I am not ready to call all Video Games art I think that some of them are. Heavy Rain, L.A. Noire and even the Uncharted series I would consider art. So the score doesn't bother me, however, the review I felt was a little heavy handed. It almost felt like because the game wasn't Uncharted 2 and because it didn't have all those moments Sess was looking for it wasn't a "quality" game. What I took away from the review was almost a sense of nitpicking to find faults. That is what I take issue with. Forget the score. I look forward to picking it up and playing the game.

    Posted: October 30, 2011 8:10 AM
  • h0use0fc4rds

    This is why we have started to stop using the pain scale from 1-10 in the medical industry. I recomend the gaming industry do it, too. One mans 5 is not another mans/womans. I have had a dude without a leg tell me he was only at a 7. While all drug addicts look fine; yet have 10/10 pain till they get their dope from us.

    Posted: October 30, 2011 5:11 AM
  • cry_of_paine

    Sessler 2012!

    I'd say more but the filter keeps blocking me for no reason and I'm tired trying to figure out what over-obsessive combinations of letters might be causing problems.

    Posted: October 30, 2011 2:54 AM
  • cry_of_paine

    Can someone please explain why my posts keep getting blocked by the filter? I'm not using any bad language, yet most of the time I can't post anything more than a few sentances because of the filter.

    Posted: October 30, 2011 2:52 AM
  • DJTahoe

    When I read reviews on Amazon, for example, I look at the one star reviews first. Why? because I want to read if people/ consumers have a legitimate gripe against a product, or to see if they're just Trolling. If somebody had a legitimate issue, I take that into consideration when I make a purchase. Sometimes those one star reviews are very helpful. Most of the time it's just fanboys(girls) just stirring (bleep) up, though.

    Posted: October 29, 2011 3:37 PM
  • wutmike

    He knows he would get more audience if he gave a outstanding game a four that people wouldn't expect to hear.This is what he does to get paid. A follow up response

    Posted: October 29, 2011 11:14 AM
  • Bloodthr0e

    I think you people have got it all wrong. The number rating system has nothing to do with it. It's the fanboys who leave hateful comments on G4. G4 just needs to start getting rid of the trolls and abusive commentators. Even on Resistance 3, which got a 5/5, there were still legions of people hating on Morgan calling her a 360 fangirl just because she said she didn't like the PS Move controls or the Sony online pass that forces you to start paying for online.

    Posted: October 29, 2011 9:28 AM
  • TheBagwellian

    In a twist, the numerical score doesn't have any effect on if I will buy the game/watch the movie/ read the book or whatever, but it does have an effect on whether or not I will read the review. Let me explain.

    If a review has high marks on whatever scale the reviewer is using then you might look forward to some breathless prose on the transcendental nature of this work of art. Some of them will even start to go off on some inspired screed about philosophy and the human condition. I swear, they forget they are reviewing Christopher Nolan and give me a short essay on the meaning of life. It may be off topic but it sure is fascinating.

    Reviews that have very low scores have their own sort of sinister thrill. It is enjoyable to listen to someone get up on their soapbox and tear into some awful bit of schlock. I say this even though I've done audio post work on some films that I know some of these reviewers would rip apart and I would still enjoy the review. They'll do the same thing on the review of something bad and get into a rant about society and culture. Reading some of these you'll start wondering if the future is already here and we are so thick in it we don't realize we're already living in the dystopia all those sci-fi writers were telling us about. I hope Uwe Bole and Paul W.S. Anderson never stop making movies. I hope at least some studios never stop doing video game tie-ins to their movies. I hope we get twelve more Twilight novels with fifteen more movies and a never ending supply of video games I can't stand the work itself but the critical journalism that springs up as a result is wonderful.

    Middle scores, however, tend to be drier affairs. They go along the lines of "This is what it's about, this is what worked, this is what didn't, it's OK if you like that sort of thing or need something to take the family to." Informative, to be sure, but not quite as fun to read.

    Posted: October 29, 2011 6:16 AM
  • DirtaDawg420

    So READ a review and more importantly, if you want to play a game, then go play it. Do not look to some number to be the end all decision for whether or not you play what is probably a really fun piece of the medium (video games) you cherish so much. If you want to play, go play.

    Posted: October 29, 2011 12:12 AM
  • darthernie

    Scoring should go from "Excellent" to "Great" to "Good" to "OK" to "No Good"
    NO numbers no problems

    Posted: October 28, 2011 11:05 PM
  • Aaron82

    I know I at least feel good when a game I like gets a high score.
    I'll admit that there's at least a part of it that feels like validation,
    but mostly I'm just psyched because if a game gets a good score,
    more people will play it and when I recommend it to people, I can tell
    them it got a good score so they are more likely to play it as well.
    Because if the score is good and lots of people play it,
    they'll make another one just like it, and I enjoy that system quite a bit.
    You may think of all the derivative tripe and that's true, but what I'm
    talking about is Castlevania (2d), Mario, Legend of Zelda, Halo, etc.
    I only get bored with a good game when I exhaust the content,
    not the act of playing. I get my temporary fill of some kind of gameplay,
    but as long as my eyeballs see fresh stuff, my hands are quite happy
    to do the same thing over and over again.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 8:00 PM
  • CyborgSlunk

    Yay for Adam! We love you!

    But seriously, what you're supposed to get out of a review is an idea of what a game is like, and if it's in a style you would consider to play. It's not about what kind of video game is better than what other kind of video game. It's for your own personal knowledge, and it's only one person's opinion. I can guarantee that Deadly Premonition was not a very popular game, and didn't get such a great review, but I still love it. People need to get over if a game got a 4/5. Because seriously. Just come on. Adam has good reason to rate the games as he does, and he certainly explains said reasons!

    Posted: October 28, 2011 5:15 PM
  • Smasher122


    Posted: October 28, 2011 4:46 PM
  • flyingchicken

    Adam, I agree with you 100%, but it would make your statements more desirable if G4 got rid of the 1-5 review scale.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 4:29 PM
  • bluejay345

    How 'ironic' is it that right under this video is a 'Rate This' feature where I have to take everything that was said in this brilliant summation and assign a 'star value' to it.

    As to Sessler's position on numerical ratings, I can only say what a catharsis it was to hear someone else criticize this common approach to critique. It irritates me to no end how this reduction of all discussions to mental pablum is so prevalent in our society.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 3:51 PM
  • Zerm

    Sessler I wish you could clone youself and have debates about games. You're opion to me is the most honest of any game reviewer out there, and im glad your really look at a game as a whole rather then its shiny it gets a 5.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 3:12 PM
  • beinaido

    Adam, I hope you read this comment! So, I'm a master's student of music and we've been discussing rankings of bands and orchestras in competitions. I sent this link to my teacher and we watched today during class! I feel Awesome!!!

    Posted: October 28, 2011 12:19 PM
  • M-Theory

    Preach brother!!

    A number is absolutely useless in quantifying the worth of a piece of art or entertainment, because all quantification is entirely subjective. Movies, books, video-games, music, etc.---all of them are completely dependent upon the person s dispositions and personal biases. A person who deosn t like shooters, or platformers, or puzzles, or rock music, or hip-hop, or florid writing styles, or anything else that can be lumped in with artistic expression or forms of entertainment are just not going to like them.

    It is perfectly fine to disagree with their point of view, but it is pointless and juvenile to make it some method of judging one s character. Case in point: I disagree utterly with the score Alice: Madness Returns, but I m not going to start slinging mud because at the end of the day it is a personal opinion. Any sort of argument beyond discussing technical flaws amounts to nothing but a pissing contest.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 11:46 AM
  • Bloodthr0e

    I don't think video games are art, Mr. Sessler. Also, art is about conveying messages, not about perfection. In fact, it is often the imperfections that define art.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 9:04 AM