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Sessler's Soapbox: I Hate Numbers

Posted: October 25, 2011
Sessler's Soapbox: I Hate Numbers
http://www.g4tv.com/videos/55954/sesslers-soapbox-i-hate-numbers/
http://images.g4tv.com/ImageDb3/286819_LGST/soapbox-10-25-11.jpg
Video_55954
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

  • xerocide

    Hey, Adam

    I really appreciated this Soapbox; it was raw, candid, and even a little emotional. I think I actually prefer you doing these in that particular office; your messages feel a little more personal without a slew of television sets around you.

    I think one of the biggest problems with consumers these days is that the mass majority have a serious lack of sophistication and understanding when it comes to appreciating creative work. This is especially painful for artists (I know because I am one), art appreciators, and journalists such as you. An embarrassing component of our society is reflected in the way we judge creative works and other goods. We've whittled away at our selective processes to the point where only the basest points of value are highlighted as a deciding factor, and there is little hope to be found that it will change any time soon.

    On a side note, I hope you continue to frequent Feedback even though you won't be hosting.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 8:19 AM
    xerocide
  • altdoom

    Adam please take a look at how the reviews are done on elder-geek.com I think they have the right idea how to do them.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 5:35 AM
    altdoom
  • chocosquirrel

    It wasnt about the score for me. It was your knock on the multiplayer (which I have played) and reviewing the game for what it's not rather than what it is. If there was any comparison to be made it was with YOUR review of Uncharted 2. You compared all the "wow" moments in U2 and felt like U3 didn't quite live up to them. Fine. But it's clear that U3's multiplayer is leap's and bounds better than U2's yet this time around you view it as a negative. Just saying.

    Also, the numeric scale is used in just about everything. Grades in school, doctors use it for pain tolerance, satisfaction surveys, and reviews of everything from a Thanksgiving turkey recipe to a lawn chair you bought on Amazon. It's the simplest form of communication for expressing your like or dislike of a thing. Whenever I hear a reviewer complain about the people that rant over their review score, it just screams of "Pay attention to me! I wrote all these words an no one cares, whaaa!" If this is all just white noise to you, then why have you made umpteen videos expressing your hate towards the subject?

    P.S. I stopped trusting your (and most of G4's) opinion when you gave Fable 2 GOTY. Sorry. That's my honest opinion.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 5:07 AM
    chocosquirrel
  • nfonseca

    Video Games are a form of entertainment. Reviews and the review scores help us, the consumers, to choose what we spend our money on.

    I also think a scale of only 5 different possible scores is not enough. How do I choose between 2 new games that both got 4 stars form Adam Sessler..... I know ......... IGN.COM!

    I have always agreed with your reviews, but all you do is help people decide whats worth their $$$$ and time.

    Posted: October 28, 2011 4:30 AM
  • KiplingsShadow

    In my humble opinion, the numerical score is something that is completely inevitable. But yes, Adam touched on the reasons why. Humans are rarely able to refrain from the need to quantify or qualify things. It is part of our universal language on how we perceive and understand our very existence.

    What Adam is getting at has been touched on by a few great thinkers, but is not limited to art or games. And the main thrust of all this discussion is that human standards of measure have little bearing on the quality of any given thing. In other words, there is no such thing as a bad video game. There is only a game that you either like or dislike. There is no such thing as a bad painting, movie, musician, book, etcetera, etcetera. All likes and dislikes are purely subjective. There is great substance to this point. But, for the sake of our small lives and the need to define our world, indeed our universe, we will always use some standard of measure, or grading.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 11:52 PM
    KiplingsShadow
  • dantekratos300

    cool story bro, why don't stop reviewing games, oh, you make money out of it

    Posted: October 27, 2011 11:31 PM
    dantekratos300
  • Otsdarva

    You mad, Adam? But really, you hold a position of respect as pretty much the single most trusted game critic (I'll refrain from the phrase "game reviewer" because it's kind of a simplification of the actual task), and you clearly have a problem with the way these things are done so why not change them?

    Lobby to remove the numerical score as an aspect of the review; you must have SOME sort of sway over there, right? I wouldn't recommend removing the PRO/CON section without adding some other sort of TL;DR summary because it does actually serve a legitimate purpose (we don't always have the time to read a full review for something, or simply don't care ALL that much about that particular game but just want to see how it did).

    Keep your head strong, Adam; I know you can't really let this stuff get to you anymore. In my eyes, the most important thing in all of this is that the medium is treated respectfully - that game reviews don't read like toy reviews, but more like thoughtful critiques of style and substance. I think we're all on the same page there.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 10:55 PM
    Otsdarva
  • Otsdarva

    You mad, Adam? But really, you hold a position of respect as pretty much the single most trusted game critic (I'll refrain from the phrase "game reviewer" because it's kind of a simplification of the actual task), and you clearly have a problem with the way these things are done so why not change them?

    Lobby to remove the numerical score as an aspect of the review; you must have SOME sort of sway over there, right? I wouldn't recommend removing the PRO/CON section without adding some other sort of TL;DR summary because it does actually serve a legitimate purpose (we don't always have the time to read a full review for something, or simply don't care ALL that much about that particular game but just want to see how it did).

    Keep your head strong, Adam; I know you can't really let this stuff get to you anymore. In my eyes, the most important thing in all of this is that the medium is treated respectfully - that game reviews don't read like toy reviews, but more like thoughtful critiques of style and substance. I think we're all on the same page there.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 10:53 PM
    Otsdarva
  • cowboydude19

    Adam

    Simply put, thank you.

    Aidan

    Posted: October 27, 2011 3:56 PM
  • sewageking

    This is one of the best and most provocative Soapboxes yet. I agree with a lot of what Sessler says here -- that video games will never be elevated to a true art form as long as we see them as quantifiable products. Like he said: "It is probably the most intellectually deficient method that we have come up with to evaluate creative works." Graded reviews are intellectually lazy, and what's worse is that they attempt to turn a creative work into a monetary item. Graded reviews also encourage the "more is more" philosophy that unfortunately dominates the world of video games today. Developers, publishers, and gamers all believe in quantity over quality; if you don't believe me, read any review of a high-profile game from a major outlet. I guarantee that the word "content" appears at least once in relation to how much of it you will be receiving for your $59.99. I also think that he's right about where this type of thought comes from. In school, we are taught to expect validation in the form of a number. The boomers have always been maligned because they seem to value money more than art, and we are reaping the rewards of their legacy right now (in a very indirect way).

    And for Adam Sessler-
    If you want to change this system, why aren't you trying harder? You are an influential writer/personality for one of the most famous video game outlets in the world. Surely there is something you can do!

    Posted: October 27, 2011 3:25 PM
    sewageking
  • Crolin

    The biggest problem is the way game Sites rate games. A ten point gaming scale or a 5 star doesn't help potential game buyers make the best choice when buying a game. The other thing is only one person reviews the game, so you get only one "OPINION" on it. A game could be a 10 out of 10 for one reviewer but could be 7 out of ten for some one else. To help clear this issue I suggest a new scale for reviewing games. No numbers just good info for gamers looking to get the best for their money. I suggest G4 or IGN or any other site uses a BUY, RENT, and SKIP game scale. If the game is good enough to buy then it gets a BUY, if its a game that should be played but isn't worth 60 bucks then it gets a RENT, and if a game is just crap and no one should play it the it gets a SKIP. I also suggest Game sites have a panel of three reviewers review one game so there and no biases in the review. Also if there is no replay value for a game (infamous/ god of war/ brutal legend/ ect) then it does not deserve a buy.

    Theres my TWO cents

    -Crolin

    Posted: October 27, 2011 2:42 PM
  • kibbles0515

    Adam "Rantypants" Sessler. I think I'm in love. You are a genius, and I couldn't agree with you more. I think the rating system should be something like "Rent it, Buy it, don't buy it, buy it if you are a fan of the series/genre,etc." Mr. Rantypants, I salute you.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 1:50 PM
  • Macduff

    Sessler, you're rants are amazing because you sound like a crazy angered member of society yet every point makes complete logical sense. Bravo.

    I've never commented on anything on a game site, ever. [silent listener for years.] But this soapbox took the cake. I couldn't agree more with your evaluation of the broken system which becomes MORE broken with lazy buyers (12-16 olds who want to read a number rather than a review?).

    As a professional artist who's the son of two english professors, I'm a big fan of your references of art, literature, history and critical analysis. Continue being a raging example of how deep we can think, discuss and debate interpretations and experiences of creativity. And if G4 actually removed the numerical system, i'd be all for it. And admittedly would probably read the reviews even more.

    SIDE-NOTE STORY: In art school, every weekly critique involved the class placing the artwork (illustration, design, poster art) on our walls and then we'd analyze and criticize. Before placing it on the walls though, our professor would have us place the work on the floor and then have us walk on it. literally walk on our own artwork. This was so we could have a critique of our work without falling into the trap of believing that we were putting OURSELVES on the wall. It helped us realize that even though our heart was in something we created, it wasn't literally ourselves.

    This makes me baffled even more when people who had nothing to do with a creative property (Uncharted, Mario Bros, etc) create ownership of it, personal consecutiveness to the point where the loss of all objectivity remains.

    preach it, you articulate crazy man.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 11:29 AM
    Macduff
  • lowkevmic

    At the end of the day ladies and gents, and even Mr. Sessler...it just video games.

    I read the comments made towards Adam after his review, and I just watched his response defending his position, eventhough he said he wasn't defending his review. What I got from both sides is much ado about nothing. To die hard gamers and fanboys, a review isn't the end of the world, even if it is a score you felt wasn't deserving of an anticipated title. To critics and editors, paid to make assessments and snap judgements of a game in its final stage of completion, keep on keeping on. It's what you're paid to do, and with it comes the dissatisfaction and often times even hatred of your opinion from a fan of a particular game. It comes with the territory.

    If you love Uncharted and can't wait for the game, a 4 shouldn't keep you from playing it. I remember when Abbie Heppe made a review about DarkSiders and gave the game a 2/5. I, just like a lot of people were pretty pissed at her final score. But then I realized that it was just a score. It didn't take away from the game, or made it any less fun. So we shouldn't take so much stock into a review, but instead look at it as something to consider when playing the game. Once you actually play the game, you yourself can make your own review of the game, and decide whether or not you actually agree with the review you read by critics.

    To Adam, I'm a big fan, but c'mon it's not that serious!! A piece of you dies, everytime you give a score...Really?? For everytime a piece of you die, I'm willing to bet that you're brought right back to life once you get your paycheck. It's your job to have an opinion, and you also know that not everyone will agree with it. This is just the nature of the beast. Critics have the power to essentially make or break a game based on how they all feel about that game. If a game is getting 5/5's and 10/10's acroos the board. Chances are it will be a big seller. If it's a bunch of mixed reviews. that game's chance of survival is now very limited. That's the monster the media has created. Before job creation of video game critics, people were just fine finding out on their own if a game was good or not. So please don't curse the system you contribute to, and have not yet changed. I will still use reviews as a resource to give me insight to buy a game or save my money. But I wouldn't look at a review as a end all be all decider for me either. Just that a resource.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 11:21 AM
    lowkevmic
  • musim

    Preach on brother! I completely agree.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 10:39 AM
  • Bloodthr0e

    It's okay Mr. Sessler, we still love you. We may not agree with the reasons you marked this game down, but we certainly understand them. We just hope this "been there, done that" mentality was applied to other franchises when being reviewed, like Gears, Halo, and Call of Duty. That way it would come across as less for this game. I know G4 likes to claim it is the most trusted website, becaues you did a 1000 person survey, which would be like me saying John Mccain was the most popular candidate after surveying only 1000 random people, but a lot of us can see clear signs of inconsistency in the reviews here.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 10:19 AM
  • m0ccha

    The reason for the review is to inform the consumer whether to buy, rent, or pass up the product. I think you realized this a long time ago when Extended Play came into existence. That's how you knew the show would have legs, and it has done well in its purpose.

    Adam looks like he's ready to meet one of you hate filled little cowards behind your keyboards face to face.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 9:46 AM
    m0ccha
  • JKING2012

    You are officially my hero! For now on..I call you... "Malcolm Sess"

    Posted: October 27, 2011 9:23 AM
  • Geriden

    I remember selling dope from an ice cream van, i remember being a bad ass taxi driver and i remember trying to collect every type of car in the game ! VICE CITY FOR EVERRRR. But really i hope this isnt going to be another gta 4 that was so god dam boring.

    Posted: October 27, 2011 8:59 AM
    Geriden
  • G4Punisher1

    Anybody else think adam wont be doing G4 anything work a lot longer. And he is just letting it all out now before he leaves?

    Posted: October 27, 2011 8:56 AM
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