Everybody’s a critic…
Yeah, this is true enough. But do they have anything to say that’s worth listening to?
This really isn’t something I want to be directly involved with in the future, as in any larger collaboration there are people who specialise in handling the PR of a project. As I discussed in my last post though there’s ‘the dream’ and then there’s crushing reality. I appreciate that reviews are an integral part of the marketing and eventual success or failure of any game or film process, and that regardless of my position in a project something of mine will be falling under scrutiny. Fantastic!
So everyone’s a critic. The lecture points out this has been the case for art since the French Royal Academy opened it’s doors to the public in 1737. The public in a sense these days forms a collective critical mind that can make or break a project with online reviews. Though the professional critic is still present in online space their voices are often drowned out by the mass consensus. I’m going to touch on two major platforms to highlight this: Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.
Metacritic, oh how I love this site. Reviews from all walks of life for just about every major piece of new entertainment media lines up to be judged here. It’s a vast collaboration of the professional, the perceived ‘professional’ and the general public’s mixture of clearly worded arguments and horridly crass vitriol all rolled into one. It also used to link through to every game on steam, though they’re phasing that out themselves in favour of their own system comprised almost entirely of general public reviews.
The big issue here is the mentality of ‘the public vs the press’, and there is a lot of difference of opinion. Sometimes you’ll find unity, at other times massive disparity, and on some very special occasions you get to see a shift in public appeal. This behaviour could be construed as a few things. If the product is deemed universally good or bad there’s probably some truth to the matter.
If the critics are gushing but the general public less than friendly it could mean a niche demographic, or possibly that the marketing team was very selective in who got to review the game.
Sometimes though very rarely the opposite can happen, in which we witness the public greatly enjoying a piece which has been critically torn to shreds, and we are left to question if the reasoning for criticism was justified or if the vast majority just have no clue what quality is.
The real key difference of opinion stems from money and time. The professional critic may indeed consider these factors in their verdict, but the general consumer will place these at the forefront a product perceived value.
Rotten Tomatoes shares much the same reviewer system, but focusses entirely on Film and TV. The final result is much more polarising, with essentially everything under 60% being rated as rotten, and anything over fresh. So yeah, film critics are harsh, but the consumer gets a very clear image very quickly. I’m still on the fence about going to see Chappie, though.
So what’s the end note? Be discerning, know your audience and listen to the opinions that matter. The money and fame will tell you if you were right.
Dena, C. (2015). Week 4: Critics, Reviewers, and Journalists. Medium. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-4-critics-reviewers-and-journalists-8bd8666d2f3
Metacritic,. (2010). Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/counter-strike-condition-zero
Metacritic,. (2015). Evolve. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/evolve
Metacritic,. (2015). Ori and the Blind Forest. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/ori-and-the-blind-forest
Rottentomatoes.com,. (2015). Chappie. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/chappie/