I’ve had a few emails from listeners after we “aired” the most recent episode of the podcast in regards to our reviews. A couple of big-name game journalists are lamenting the state of our hobby and their profession as well. So, I guess it was an interesting week to talk about how we do reviews here at 20SON. I’d like to clear up a few points.
What We’ll Review:
Honestly, we try and find time to review everything we get our grubby little mitts on, whether it’s been provided for us for review or we purchased it. We do try and acquire review product for the site by emailing press contacts to see what we can get that either we’re interested in, or we think our readership/listenership might find entertaining to find out about. We do not change our review methodology between products we received for review from the publisher or products we purchase ourselves. We do state at the tail end of a review if we purchased the item ourselves, or if it was provided to us by the publisher as required by 16 CFR Part 255.
How We Review:
Both Draeno and I grew up knowing that anything was worth playing, if even for a single moment of fun. Sure, we’ve played some overall turkeys, but even the turkeys have some good points- it’s just a matter of finding them, and knowing what we’d want to pay for them. There are good games and bad, just like there are good movies and bad, but good and bad is all relative. The difference between a good movie and bad is whether or not you catch it in the theater, rent it from iTunes, buy it on DVD, or wait until it’s on HBO. We here at 20SON think that there’s a similar equation for games. We do try to let you know what the ideal market for a game or product is, and who should buy it now, and what groups or tastes should wait to buy on sale, on steep sale, or just play the demo.
“Why no scores, man?”
Scores are arbitrary. Besides, what’s the scale? Does a scale of 1-5 equate to the 50-100 percent ratings on most sites, or is the 1-5 scale equate to the 1-100 scale. How do you judge the scale? What’s a game that rates a 1 or a 5? Is there even a perfect game? Will a “perfect” game today still be perfect in a year? All of these factors make percentages, starts, skulls, or what have you completely arbitrary and of little use. If we do a review this week, we want you to be able to google the review in a year, and it still have applicability, and we don’t think a percent/star system makes this any clearer. It is true that some of our reviews are syndicated on other venues and they do have stars or percentages. Those are applied as per the requirements of the syndicated site. We retain our value and market paragraph on reviews of ours that you see elsewhere.
“You’re very positive with your reviews.”
Every product we review here is looked at with the same critical eye, regardless of source. We’re a small outfit, with many demands on our time both personally and professionally outside of the 20SON website. Draeno and I are the primary writers, with periodic help from a few others who we clearly identify. If a review says “20SON Review”, then Draeno or I wrote the review. The writer of a guest review is clearly stated. These reviews are edited by either Draeno or I prior to publication. We do prioritize products we purchase or request for review on existing interests, the same as you do. We won’t buy anything we don’t want to personally play. While we’ll still review Barbie’s Horse Adventure III if we’re provided it, we’d prefer to be reviewing something like Dungeon Defenders or Space Marine as they’re more our cup of tea. As such, we don’t have many negative sounding reviews, at least not yet. We’re not listed in Metacritic, nor are we likely to ever be.
The Bottom Line:
We’re two guys on the internet, writing about what appeals to us. We’ve got opinions about stuff, and we hope you like reading them or hearing us discuss them in the beginning of your week. Neither of us are particularly fond of scores on reviews, so we don’t do them here, but we do periodically have to add them depending on demands from us from other press outlets. You won’t see scores here, though.
We’re going to tell you what we think about something, no matter where we got it from. We’ll tell you if we think it blows, even if it’s an unpopular opinion.