It's no fun being a fan of niche videogame genres. It's a fair bit like being a prog fan, flipping through Rolling Stone. On the off-chance that something in your genre is reviewed, it's panned. Not because it's bad, but because it belongs to a genre that isn't a mainstream darling. Like when Pitchfork Media (yes, they -are- a mainstream media outlet) gives an overall excellent King Crimson EP a 3.9/10. Or their best record in many years a 6.1. This is really unacceptable, and oftentimes fans of the genre who aren't as research-obsessive may pass on an excellent album because the review they read drove it into the ground as if it were some awful abomination. In music, this is bad, but ultimately not the end of the world; there are plenty of online resources like ProgArchives where albums are reviewed for the genre they're in (...usually LOL), rather than against a mainstream-biased agenda. In videogame enthusiast media, it's indefensible. It's rare to see a niche game reviewed on its on merits within the genre. Sometimes, the best games will end up with scores comparable to that of an absolutely -broken- game in a more popular genre. I'm a fan of strategic dungeon-crawlers, generally known as Roguelikes. Roguelikes are RPGs with a heavy emphasis on gameplay over story. Common features include heavy item/stat management, randomly-generated levels, extraordinary difficulty, and battle strategy markedly more complex than "do I use a physical attack or magic". To a dedicated fan, the battle systems in your more mainstream Final Fantasies and soforth come across as painfully easy and lacking depth or strategy. To finish one of these games is not a given as it is with more mainstream RPGs, where any blockade can be defeated with a little bit of grinding. No, to complete a Roguelike requires your wits to be about you at all times, where a single misstep can bring about a great struggle or even total defeat. It is at times frustrating, but making progress and eventually obtaining victory is extraordinarily satisfying. In short, playing one of these games can be described as 'hardcore'. So how did I end up in this land where 'hardcore' gaming consists of playing button-mashers and 'mature' games (over-the-top swearing and bloodshed is -not- mature in my eyes), and deep, niche games that require true active thought are snubbed and rated incredibly poorly? Scanning recent professional reviews for some of the better games in my preferred genre, I find descriptors like "total garbage" and "appalling". Mystery Dungeon: Shiren The Wanderer, a wonderfully polished gem and -very- accessible to newcomers in the genre, earned the following: "We're also sure the majority of today's gamers will find it nasty, plodding, and archaic," and the reviewer proceeded to give it a disgustingly low score. Sounds a lot like a prog review in a music rag, eh? Then they feel no qualms handing out perfect 10s to formulaic, overdone RPGs where the gameplay consists of walking to a town, having a long cutscene, walking to a small cave or tower, fighting a boss, and repeating... where the player is never faced with difficulty beyond trying to stay awake long enough to get to the next part where they can control their character again. It's gotten to the point where these niche games aren't even rated -relatively- accurately within each other. The score merely mirrors just how little the reviewer knows about the genre, and you end up with ridiculous aggregates where a poor game in the genre may've scored higher than a jewel, just because the reviewer honestly doesn't understand what it's about. It's like asking an FPS fan to review an RTS. It just doesn't -work-. To be honest, I only discovered this genre of gaming a couple of years ago. I passed on all the games because the reviews panned them, and I assumed the reviews were at least a -little- accurate. It wasn't until I played one of the games by accident that I fell in love with the depth and strategy involved, and it took quite a bit of searching to discover that it was even a genre. Kind of like how I discovered prog when I was a young teenager.