As a video gaming site, we have all seen reviews in the media trying to talk about the newest video game releases. This also applies to other mediums, such as films or books. As GBAtemp is a website focused on video gaming, I will stick with the video gaming field of media reviews. In terms of reviews for video games, several groups of reviewers pop up. You can get the honest, straight shooting reviewer, you can get the reviewer who may have liked the game but will purposefully botch the score for the website views, or you can get the reviewer who gives too high of a score when it was not warranted, leading some to believe that the reviewer was bribed. The reviewing industry is filled with 8/10 or 9/10 type scores, so my question is this: are these numbers still relevant? Is there an unofficial guideline that gamers should follow when choosing their games? Are media reviews themselves still relevant? There is a lot of distrust towards media reviewers right now. It is a bit of a shame, although I only say this as I have been in these shoes for the past several years. More on that for another day, however. What surprises me is that there are people who call themselves reviewers, yet they provide completely botched review score numbers and claim that a popular and hyped title is terrible. One instance of this that has burned into my mind is the GameSpot review of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This game, popular among most sites, received a score of 7.5/10, which by the "standard," was appalling for a Zelda game. Fans reacted with fierce negativity against McShea, of course, but McShea came out later and ended up defending his point of view. This, to me, is absolutely horrible to look at, and with reviews like this out in the wild it is clear that something needs to be changed, but what can be changed in the current system without radicalizing the entire system? One aspect of reviews that even has me questioning myself is the score number. I absolutely hate placing scores on reviews as the number is purely subjective, and does not have significant meaning to the overall context. Anyone that sees my recent reviews not posted in Review Center can see that I will include a "Should You Buy It" type of section. I do this to prevent the backlash that comes with placing a score. All in all, the number ends up fettering my own voice and leaves me to try and wrap my voice around the numbers, which on occasion will not match. Could it be a better solution to simply have a section of text that asks the user whether the game is good, based on presented evidence? The review score nicely opens the next issue, which is the number itself. What do these numbers even mean nowadays? What is the new standard? Games nowadays will receive on average an eight out of ten. Is the number eight considered the "new bad score?" It is rare to find anything in the media that goes lower than an eight unless the game is downright appalling. In regards to the number, what could it mean? Say, for instance, I scored a game at 9/10. Does that 9 compare against anything? Does it compare itself to another game in the same console? Does it work with the same franchise in mind? Does it simply exist to cater to its audience? These questions are constantly plaguing me whenever I place my own reviews out. With games becoming more like cinematic movies with flashy effects, is there a new standard of scoring that needs to be adopted? Should games even be graded nowadays with the current framework of story, music, gameplay, replayability, and functionality? Where does the line need to be drawn? What could be something new that can revamp media reviews and bring back the trust? Another issue is media bias. Media bias is present in some of these reviews, and it is evident when reading the meat of the review. In the media you can get a fantastic indie game that brings innovation out to the next level receiving a lousy score, and then you can get a game that is a hot seller time after time, completely losing its innovation, getting perfect scores by media sites and being declared innovative. A perfect example of this is the Kane and Lynch controversy, information courtesy of The Catboy. Is this reviewer being pressured by the developer to put out a false score? This could be possible, I have seen it happen myself. Most often, these threats come with the fact that should the reviewer place out a bad score, they will never receive review units or copies again. This paradox is something I would love to hear feedback from. Is it better to bow to the demands of a developer and place out a score that you do not agree with, so long as you receive your just reward? Or is it better to take the risk, going against the masses and placing out a review that is truthful? What could be done to remove these biases in writing? Could it be that the writer simply does not have experience reviewing games of a specific subtype? I find it interesting to find critics balking at RPGs being too grind-heavy... Sometimes, in media reviews, reviewers are often inexperienced with writing about the specific game they are provided. A broad instance of this could be in the case of a reviewer who specializes in shooting games reviewing a role-playing game. In these cases, the role-playing game is criticized harshly on its fundamental elements, elements which clearly define the genre. I have seen reviews criticize role-playing games for being too heavy in terms of grinding. I find that instead of complaining about a fundamental aspect, could the reviewer establish a possible middle ground to present to the developers for future reference? So, there we have it. If you have followed me up until this point, that is awesome, and I am very thankful for that. If you are just tuning into the article, the basic outline is as follows: With video gaming reviews in the media - could they be changed? Some of the fundamental problems include scoring, the subjective meaning of the number itself, media biases, and inexperience within reviewing games of a specific genre. I also mentioned the paradox of bowing to the demands of the developer or being truthful about the product. I would love to hear feedback as to whether or not my points are valid, or whether I am missing something. Where could the system be improved, and better yet, what can be kept the same? I would love to be able to expand my own horizons as a reviewer of sorts to see how I can incorporate better tactics into my own articles in the future!