Monday, April 16

Finally, I am a number

Pardon the self indulgence, but this past week I achieved a life goal: I had a review listed on Metacritic.

Since its inception, Metacritic has seemed like a mysterious arbiter for the videogame industry. It doesn't have as great an effect on me now, but I won't lie to you: the website has resolved a great many purchase decisions in my lifetime. Now, maybe I can contribute to someone else's. Not that people don't read my reviews here, it's just that thousands -- who am I kidding: millions -- more people inarguably consult metacritic than my humble blog or Bitmob. Perhaps even more to the point: I wasn't able to achieve this goal through my blog or Bitmob (although my experience with both surely helped land the unpaid writing gig).

Now I'm sure that there are plenty who see my now-acheived goal as naive, even destructive to my passion. I've read stories of developers being denied royalties on account of lower than expected Metacritic scores or sales diminishing due to middling review scores, but I refuse to accept that this is the fault of Metacrtic alone. To all of the nay-sayers -- particularly those who contribute to games journalism in any form which has a score attached -- I say we're all to blame. We (or perhaps, more appropriately and less self-aggrandising: you) contribute to those numbers in a lot of cases. If you're not comfortable with franchises ending on account of your words and scores, I have a simple message for you:

Give every game a perfect score, a zero score or better yet, no score at all.

Metacritic: The future

That may sound a bit cynical, but ultimately, the Quantitative Cultural Zeitgeist will be rendered impotent if there are no numbers feeding into it. I've read some games journalists argue that their reviews (and the scores that are a part of them) are nothing more than opinion. Like it or not, collectively, your opinions determine the fate of developers, new and existing intellectual properties and the industry at large.

For now though, seeing a strategically-selected piece of my work on Metacritic marks a teenage dream realised. That awkward excerpt from my Street Fighter X Tekken review may be the first and last time I see my opinion in the same arena as Game Informer and IGN, but I'll take it.


  1. Well done dude! It was a good read, as with all of your reviews. I hope this isn't your last metacritic moment!