As someone who founded and actively runs a video game news/review/entertainment site, I often question the material we post and the reasons we do what we do. Lately I’ve come to a crossroads in regards to my opinions on the concept of “reviews” in journalism and it’s seriously made me question their merit and motives. What are the real reasons we share our opinions with the world?
I’ve been writing video game reviews for several years now and I’m very proud of the quality of much of my work. Going back to reread past reviews and noticing a clever quip or well written line gives me a strange sense of pleasure, but it also makes me question the very reason I write them in the first place. Why should I expect anyone to place value in my opinion of someone else’s work? I spend so much time articulating these sentences and paragraphs into well constructed persuasions of my thoughts. It’s never about trying to sell the game, but more so about trying to sell my opinion.
“So at the end of the day, am I just trying to share my thoughts or do I want my thoughts validated by others?”
Well, what is my opinion worth and why am I so adamant on sharing it with everyone? Am I subconsciously trying to persuade others into my train of thought or am I simply sharing my feelings on a particular piece of work? There is no denying the fact that publishing a well-written review gives me a great sense of completion and more importantly satisfaction, but seeing various readers supporting and agreeing with the review leaves me with a far better feeling. So at the end of the day, am I just trying to share my thoughts or do I want my thoughts validated by others?
The value of reviews are ultimately decided by the reader. Websites like Metacritic try to place a numeric value on games based off the average score given by critics. The opinions of the partners participating in this program would be assumed to have a substantial value because of the raw traffic and attention Metacritic garners. This places an unnecessary power in the hands of these reviewers. In the age of infinite critics, a game’s fate is ultimately determined by its average review score. So again I ask, what is the true value of their opinions or even my opinion for that matter?
“Our opinions are all equally worthless and equally significant.”
I want to believe that my opinion is genuinely important and respected by those around me, but I want all of you to question every single bit of it. Don’t think for a second that my opinion or anyone else’s for that matter, is more important than you’re own. Our opinions are all equally worthless and equally significant. I don’t want ego to be a driving factor in why or what I write. Sometimes we need to step down from our artificial soapboxes and engage with someone on a parallel level. The next time I write, I want to truly and unquestionably understand the motivation for my writing.
Miles Dompier is the chief editor and founder of What’s Your Tag?. He is a Seattle native who recently moved to the sweltering heat of Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a composer/voice actor. When he’s not up writing until his eyes bleed, he likes to play a Prince level of instruments and listen to terrible death metal. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter and be sure to join our gaming community; TEAM XBRO.