“I Don’t Need Critics to Tell Me What I Should Like”

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. No critic tells a consumer what his or opinion should be.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. No critic tells a consumer what his or opinion should be.

Sometimes, we’re just downright shocked at the gulf that seems to exist between gamers and critics.

The cynical actually believe critics are “paid off” or “in bed with publishers,” while others will freely claim that all critics only write reviews to get attention for themselves. We’ve addressed all these critical mistakes before, but now it’s time to talk about another one, and this involves the ever-incendiary opinion topic.

“Bah. I don’t need to read reviews because I know what I enjoy. I don’t need some critic trying to tell me what I should and shouldn’t like.”

We’ve all heard similar statements before, typically uttered by egotistical gamers who have never actually been critics. However, let’s not forget something else: While consumers may not understand the proper role of a reviewer, there are some critics who don’t understand it, either. We’re not letting them off the hook, here. We’re simply explaining why it is not a critic’s place to “give” the reader an opinion.

The analysis doesn't have anything to do with forcing a reader to accept a certain opinion.

The analysis doesn’t have anything to do with forcing a reader to accept a certain opinion.

The critic does exist to recommend (or not recommend) a certain product. That’s typically the manifest intent of any review, although others are written strictly from an artistic standpoint, like reviews of paintings or sculptures. In our industry, a critic offers a public service and that service has nothing to do with “telling you what you should like.” Rather, it has everything to do with providing an impartial, expert analysis.

After reading that analysis, it’s up to the reader to form an opinion. A good critic doesn’t try to make a consumer feel stupid for purchasing or not purchasing a product. A good critic doesn’t try to explain why all “real gamers” should buy a certain title. It has nothing to do with elitist labels. A good critic provides objective and subjective viewpoints – which he or she must stand by – and then offers a conclusion or summary. That’s it.

Nobody is trying to tell you what you should or shouldn’t enjoy. Any critic who does that should be fired. Professional reviewers are aware of their responsibility and they take it seriously, and that responsibility has absolutely nothing to do with browbeating a reader into accepting a particular opinion. That’s really not the way this works. Well, it shouldn’t work this way, although we know that unfortunately, sometimes it does.

6 thoughts on ““I Don’t Need Critics to Tell Me What I Should Like””

I had a friend who said he never read game reviews because he always felt like the reviewer was trying to tell him he was stupid for liking a “bad” game.

…of course, I had to remind him that he DID like bad games. 😉

I’ve read some reviews where it was pretty obvious that the critic was trying to enforce his own agenda. It was almost entirely opinion and yet, he wanted to make everyone feel inferior if they didn’t share that opinion.

Needless to say, this kind of thing exists.

Of course it exists.

At least the article admitted that it does. There’s just way too much of it, so I can see why some gamers would make such statements. Sometimes, those statements are accurate.

I wouldn’t say there’s “too much of it,” but I would say that too many of our most prominent critics do it, and that’s just wrong.

There’s this gulf between critics and gamers that really shouldn’t exist. One has absolutely no idea what the other really does and sometimes, the critic has no idea what he or she should be doing.

Kind of a mess, if you ask me.

I stick to reviews where the critic respects the gamer and doesn’t treat him like an idiot. That doesn’t happen too often but I HAVE seen it and it’s insulting.

I appreciate the reviews written by experts that still appreciate the passion of the gamer.

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