Question Of The Week [May 5th 2024]

Question Of The Week [May 5th 2024]

Welcome to Question Of The Week! A new idea I had last year to spark some new discussions on the Discord server. Well, I finally decided to implement it and post a single question that pertains to video games. So here is my thoughts on the first Question of the Week: What Do Reviews Mean To You?

Q: What Do Reviews Mean To You?

A: I find the point of a review has certainly changed in the last few years. Reviews, when we were all younger were done mainly as professional material/content for magazines to both sell the magazine and provide the customer information on whether or not the game was worth buying. Inform purchasing decisions and so on.

But now, they've taken on so many different roles it's kind of hard to nail down. I think the purpose of a review is dependent on who is writing the review and what its contents is.

Example, a review from an established gaming website at this point is almost exclusively to provide content for the site itself. It also is marketing as well, it's a reason why I've never put much stock into game reviews from these sites. They are provided free games from the publishers in hopes to get them to say good things about the game. I don't trust people who just get everything for free then tell me I have to spend my own hard earned money on it.

And then you have the random person on the internet who writes a "review". This could be a Steam "review"; which is basically worthless as it ranges from a single word, like "good". Or a stupid metric like "11/10", giving no actual information. Steam Reviews have become more recommendations than actual reviews. "Is this game worth buying right now?" Answered by a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, with some extra info to explain why.

All the way to full blown professional looking reviews covering checkbox itemized lists like Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, Replayability. Some even have a more devious reason, solely to spam/review bomb, or even just gain popularity and in turn get free games.

When I sit down and write a review, it's mainly done to chronicle my feelings on a game and what parts I enjoyed and didn't care for. Sometimes I write for the benefits of others as well, but mainly it's a selfish endeavor.

I'm not a professional writer, I don't follow a structure or formula when I sit down to write a review. Sometimes I have a idea of what I want to write, or use some loosely based notes to help pinpoint larger talking points, but the large majority of the time, greater than 90% of the time I'd say, I just sit down with a blank page and start writing whatever pops into my head.

It's not my preferred method, as I'd much rather have a huge list of notes and be able to write 5,000 words every time I write a review. To be able to talk about every aspect of every game I play. But not only is that unneeded, it's gratuitous at some point. It's a waste to just follow the same talking points for every game I talk about. As, especially now, games have become more and more similar.

So, what does a review mean to me personally? They give me a creative outlet to be able to showcase my feelings and thoughts on a game. To finalize my experiences and put a nice ribbon and bow to my memories of the game. Years from now I can come back and really take a good look at what I thought about the game. As a reader of someone's review, I think reviews can help me see what the person liked or disliked about the game, and where they thought the game excelled or what it did poorly. It also helps me pick and choose who to continue caring about their opinions. If I don't agree with them, but still find value in what they say, I'd like to continue checking out what that person writes or plays. But if a person writes a review that rarely touches real topics and is more just boilerplate surface level observations, I know I really don't care about their opinion and move on.

Reviews do still serve a purpose and mean something, it's just that they have changed and shifted to become more than what they used to be. I love reviews, and hope the written review continues on from people who really do care about them.