An open call to fellow journalists (and industry peeps) to discuss the current review system

Honestly, I’m getting tired of seeing opinion piece after opinion piece pop up lamenting about today’s problem of reviewing games, and after shooting the shit with him all morning I know Chris is, too. Whether it’s the fact the scoring system widely used is skewed, the purpose of reviews is unclear, games are judged for varying reasons, or games are unfairly compared to one another, it seems like every person I’ve talked to about this has some sort of issues.

To be fair, I’ve participated in it all myself. I’ve talked about changing how reviews work, "solving the problem" myself, and all that – I’m even guilty of writing the aforementioned "Why Reviews Suck" piece and ultimately letting it go at that. That’s why I’m writing this, and issuing an invitation to you, my fellow gaming journalists, writers, PR reps and industry insiders to take part in what I’d like to call a Review Symposium.

Obviously we aren’t going to completely revolutionize the way we write about games, and I don’t expect us to even come close. My hope is that rather than moan and (quite honestly) bitch on our own, we can meet in one area (virtually, of course) and discuss the issues we all have. There are plenty of people who recognize the faults with the way games are reviewed, and many of us believe we’re in no position to change it ourselves. (Once again, I fall guilty to that.)

Together, though, I hope we can at least rationalize and explain some of the problems, come up with some possible form of solution, and (hopefully) get people to understand it or at least not hate any of us for implementing it, thus removing the largest monkey off our backs. The biggest single reason for no one doing anything drastically new seems to always be "Because no one will accept it, and we’ll lose readers or support from X" but if enough of us come to an agreement on any issue, no matter how small, the combined efforts should be able to make it much more possible than before, and allow us to leave behind the "norm."

By inviting people from game companies to participate in the discussion, that should allow those of us with issues to explain them easily in a back and forth environment, and thus gain their acceptance, if not support.

Once again, I don’t expect this to lead to a revolutionary solution which will take the Internet by storm and 100% solve any and all issues with reviews forever and ever (although it would be nice). We just need to get together with our peers, share our thoughts on the issues, logically discuss what can and can’t be done both now and in the future, possibly come up with a new idea, and eventually, we may be able to at least better the current review system. (Or even come to the conclusion that there is NOTHING wrong and we’re just creating a straw man.) At this point, even a slight improvement will be a major overhaul of the review industry. If that’s all we can agree on, so be it.

For those of you who would like to participate, I’ve set up an email. Please email with your intent. As of now, several writers from "respected publications" as well as a few review aggregator peeps and industry insiders ranging from PR to developers are down for the discussion. It’s going to happen either way, but the more the merrier.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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