Journalists Shouldn't SUCK at Games?

Game News: Journalists Shouldn't SUCK at Games?

A video has been making the rounds of a game journalist playing Cuphead and being... not so good at the game. Now it's reigniting the conversation about whether game journalists are worth listening to if they're not even good at games.

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Comments (7)

  • AceofAces007 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 months ago

    I think with video games being so hands-on, unlike other forms of media that are simply watched or viewed, in order to accurately depict what an "average" or "typical" experience would be like, the reviewer does need to have at least "average" levels of skill. And that's what it really comes down to: playing video games is skill-based. There's no skill in watching a movie, TV show, sports game, looking at art, listening to music or reading a book.


    If a reviewer lacks the skill aptitude that an average gamer would have, then their opinions, while honest and forthright from their point of view, do not accurately reflect the experience of playing the game and run the risk of misrepresenting things. Then the review just has a giant asterisk next to it with a footnote that will ultimately say, "I suck at games (or games like this), so nothing of what I said regarding the way the game plays is accurate." And just like that, the value of that review in the eyes of the consumers becomes worthless.


    Sure, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to specific genres of games, but to be this bad severely hampers a reviewer's credibility and potential for work. If this particular reviewer has to forego reviewing 2D side-scrolling platformers because he's terrible at them, then that is work passed on to someone else. Individual reviewers become pigeon-holed as reviewers in very specific niches, which then limits their workload. Not to mention that it can create a reverse situation where a reviewer is particularly good at one type of game, so what he considers to be "easy" might be more challenging to an average gamer.


    That's the ultimate problem: with video games being a skill-based medium, difficulty is subjective, yet the goal of reviews is to be objective as possible, particularly about the nuts and bolts of the gameplay, so when one particular review's skill deviates so far from the objective norm of the hypothetical "average gamer", it has the potential to misrepresent things about the way the game plays.

  • Quizzical_Quark FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 months ago

    The guy gave mass effect a negative review because he forgot to use his skill points... I like a lot of games, but if I were to have a hands-on of a genre that clearly is outside my skill set I wouldn't publish it, because it's misrepresenting that game. I play fighting games, I would never ever use my gameplay to show what the game is about. On the other gladly show off grand strategy games. It also depends on the content you're providing, let's plays with games you suck at can be entertaining. This was not the case here, it was clearly a preview of a game he had no business previewing.

    • Thysguy FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      1 month ago

      This. This comment right here. It wasn't until after he got called out on it that he published a public apology to both the BioWare and Microsoft.


      He also reviewed XCom2 negatively cause it was too hard as well, which I would love to hear Gus's response in that claim. He also reviewed Deus Ex: Mankind Divided cause he got lost in the sewers after the tutorial. I'm actually surprised that the know DIDN'T even mention it in their coverage. That he's given negative reviews to games due to HIS poor performance, numerous times in the past. How can he still be credible at this point? How is he IN CHARGE of ANYTHING at this point?!


      I think that a reviewer that doesn't have the ability to perform at an AVERAGE skill level in a game, as is the skill level expected of by the creators and publishers of the game, shouldn't review it. It's like a renowned chef, who has prepared countless delicious dishes, but lost his sense of taste and became a food critic. His own disadvantage holds back and penalizes the efforts of others' hard work, creativity and customer base.


      It's because of game reviewers like Dean Takahashi that we have waypoint markers every five feet of a quest that you can't turn off. It's because of reviewers like Dean Takahashi that we have GIANT, SCREEN OBSCURING LEVEL UP NOTIFICATIONS and EARDRUM SHATTERING SOUND NOTIFICATIONS, all while under heavy fire. It's because of reviewers like Dean Takahashi that we have devs developing games that hold our hands throughout the story as if we're infants, playing games for the first time. And that is infuriating.

  • OniZonda FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Hokage

    2 months ago

    I think it's one thing to be bad at video games in general (the problem people are talking about) and being bad at one type of video game (most likely the problem at hand). Platformers are a world apart from shooters or action adventure or even sports. I don't mind if the people that talk about games aren't great, but they do need to be competent. They need to be able to move around the environment without stumbling and if presented with a conflict, they need to at least resolve it once. Beyond that, I want an opinion on the core mechanics of a game, how stable it is, a general feel for the story (not much tho), and just a couple things that will make it engage me instead of fruitlessly playing something because it's challenging just to say that I did it.

  • RiverRunning

    2 months ago

    What game reviewers need (in the same way as book reviewers and film reviewers) is to have experienced enough of the game approximately how it was intended to be experienced and have enough experience in reviewing games and of games in general to give a balanced review of the game in question... the problem is that (unlike a book or a film) if you're bad at games then you often can't experience much of the game and are doing so in a way that was not intended (e.g. like watching a film on a noisy New York subway train on a miniature screen or reading a book in a language that you can barely read)... so if you're bad at a game genre then, no, you should not be reviewing games of that genre until you get better at them, sorry but that's the be all and end all as far as I'm concerned.

  • ZenLikeCalm FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    2 months ago

    To be fair, some people create entire careers around sucking at video games.  Take Achievement Hunter....

  • EricHVela FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Eric Hohoho! Vela

    2 months ago

    That's why I prefer to see people play the game rather than see/read reviews. You can see the person's skill level with the gamestyle and have a general standard to compare.


    I terrible at stealth games (no patience). If I see that players are unable to progress without a lot of stealth, I know that the game is not for me. If I see players succeeding without stealth on games known for stealth (in other words -- not playing as intended -- aka "doing it wrong"), it's a game that I shouldn't write off. They don't have to be good at the game to let me know what I would be getting if I can see them play the game.


    There's a reviewer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun who goes into gaming experiences with a bias and says so in his reviews. The guy is an experienced player, but prejudging a game before even playing is not helpful to me. Gaming experience doesn't mean that the person is a good reviewer.


    There's a limit where a reviewer knows so much that the average player is no longer able to connect with the reviewer's experience. It's like CinemaSins. They know everything about the ins and outs of movie-making, but the movies aren't made for people like that who will point out every flaw that they can find. They're made for viewers who feel the experience more than analyze the method (unless a movie goes off the rails and you have no choice but to try to think about what's going on, which makes one notice all kinds of bad things). People use CinemaSins as their measure and miss out on the experience intended for an audience, not a Filmmaking professor.