Article – The blight of bad reviewers

Roleplaying and board games reviews, podcasts, videos and interviews

0-arch-enemy-flagge-logo-1359378681[1]By Paco Garcia Jaen

One interesting – in the worst possible sense of the word – thing about role players (though this extends to any hobby, of course) is the ability that spans internationally of reviewers ranting about things that we consider to be bad as if they actually are, without taking into account the subjective nature of taste.

Thus games become “rubbish” and they are “bad games” and there is no way to instil sort of open minded conversation. The game is bad, or rubbish. Or worse.

When that comes from a regular player, I don’t care. We are all entitled to our opinions. However when that sort of attitude comes from a reviewer, I take issue with it.

Reviewers, even those of us who do it for a hobby, have a responsibility to be constructive in our criticism. Not because we are not entitled to dislike something, or to voice it, but because what we say can hurt a designer, a company. We don’t have the right to do that and we lose the right to be thoughtless and careless about our opinions.

More and more I am hearing opinions that slander games based purely on peripheral aspects of the game: The new version is not like the old version, thus the game is bad. The game costs too much, so it is garbage. The game does things we don’t like, so the game is crap even if those things we dislike add a new dimension and depth to the game. The game uses custom dice and suddenly the game came straight off Hell’s printing machines.

And all that without a single acknowledgement of any of the positive aspects of the game.
More often than not this happens because the game hasn’t lived up to expectations, not because the game is bad. We create this vision in our head of what the game should be like, and if it’s not like that vision, we slander the game and reject it as faulty. As “bad”.

Well reviewers, if you do that, you’re both a bad reviewer and hurting our hobby. And you should stop.

What for you is just fun – writing or videoing a review – for someone else is their work. Their livelihood. When you mock a product and other people without the ability or training to think critically listen or read that review, they could decide not to buy the game for the wrong reasons. Someone could lose on sales, which are thin on the ground at best of times, just because you can’t be bothered to look at the game dispassionately.

That’s not fun. That’s far from fun.

The hobby you so claim to like and love? Well, bullshit to that. You, thoughtless and careless reviewer, are the worst enemy gaming has.