Gamer Hate for Critics Will Only Get You Crappy Critics
At some point, gamers everywhere are going to have to realize that what they’re doing is simple: Their egotistical and outrageously childish behavior is only keeping the video game industry from having elite-level critics. The immortal words, “the hits just keep on coming” is something all game critics understand all too well and eventually, we have to point the finger elsewhere. How about right back to the consumer?
Every time you turn around, there’s another completely ignorant gamer complaining about how he can’t trust game reviews. It’s endless. And every time it happens, our little group of critics come out of the woodworks and send us emails, little snippets of retorts they don’t dare post on social media, simply because they know it’ll only further incite gamer revolt. It’s pretty sad that they feel the need to remain anonymous in their replies, but that speaks to the level of abuse critics deal with on a daily basis.
Sure, they’re used to it. All critics in all fields should be; after all, despite the fact that a Pulitzer exists in the category of Criticism, every last fan of every entertainment medium seems to believe every critic knows nothing, is paid by those who produced the product he or she is reviewing, etc. The fan is always smarter, more knowledgeable, more principled. That’s just the way of the world and no critic is immune. However, with the inherently malicious anonymity the Internet bestows, coupled with the obvious immaturity of the gaming public, game critics face unfair judgments every second of every day. And it’s getting tiring.
A few comments from those in the world of game criticism. Two have already left to pursue other careers and nobody can blame them. The first comment comes from an active critic who has often gone off on email rants before with us…and we don’t mind in the slightest:
“Yeah, I get it. All critics are stupid, all fans know more; all critics are in bed with publishers and developers and can’t be trusted. I guess the fact that I never saw any offer of any money or any gift in 17 years means little in the light of the Gerstmann scandal or some such nonsense. As if that’s common. As if any game critic ever goes through something like that. I was behind that article addressing the “real gamers don’t read reviews” comment and it’s still so outrageously stupid, it pisses me off just to think of it.
Newsflash, gamers: NOBODY would do this if they didn’t love games. And the overwhelming majority of critics in this industry remain some of the most knowledgeable, hardcore fans on the planet. How in God’s name you could see it any other way is beyond me.”
And here’s a comment from someone who is no longer a critic, but acted as one with four different outlets for 14 years:
“What gamers aren’t getting is that if they keep abusing critics, if they just refuse to understand that 99 percent of all critics act on a part-time, extremely low-pay (or voluntary) basis, they’re going to get nothing but amateur reviewers. Why? Because these critics are definitely not doing it for money, and they sure as shit aren’t doing it for recognition or appreciation. They get neither financial security nor recognition for their efforts. Ever.
Therefore, the only reason they’re doing this is for sheer love of the hobby. They want to produce helpful reviews for consumers. It’s why I did it for so long. But when you realize that nobody seems to care, that all comments appear to come from insanely egotistical, hateful little shut-ins (and I thought we’d grown up), you just go, ‘I’m done with this.’ We don’t even get the satisfaction of serving a community we used to love. There’s no reason any professional would want anything to do with this industry from a criticism standpoint.”
And finally, one particularly bitter injection from another former critic who is now writing movie reviews for newspapers:
“All gamers believe they can do a better job than every critic they read. So by all means, go do it yourselves. Go do a job where you earn next to nothing, get bashed for spending entire days trying to analyze a product and produce a decent review, and end up basically hating games in general. Well, not games, just the people who play them.”
In short, this is why VGRHQ is here; why we do what we do, why we just give a nod to critics who deserve it. Because nobody else is going to do it, and because if we don’t, we really will end up with increasingly incompetent reviewers.