Prominent Youtuber ‘videogamedunkey’ recently has caused quite a stir resulting in the backlash of several videogame journalists and critics and has now seen many people on both sides beginning to either question or defend the methods of videogame reviews from prominent sites such as ‘IGN’ and ‘Gamespot’. How did he do this? Well it all comes down to his latest video simply entitled ‘Game Critics’.
The Response Of Game Critics
Many criticise gaming reviews by mainstream outlets. From controversy to controversy, whether it be bad review scores to game reviewers being fired for review scores, it’s quite clear that the lack of trust for the gaming press hasn’t been something that’s unfounded, especially when it comes to reviews. YouTube has been a place where gamers who feel alienated by the same cookie cutter formula of reviews can find other people who they can trust such as ‘AngryJoe’, ‘TotalBiscuit’ and yes even ‘videogamedunkey’ to give their opinions on games.
The near unison response to ‘videogamedunkey’ and his video does the opposite of what they’re trying to do. Game critics show how they feel personally victimised rather than argue against ‘videogamedunkey’ and his valid points. Instead they brush the video off, one going as far as to call it a “poorly thought out rant”.
A Sound Response
I have only seen one response that actually tries to argue ‘videogamedunkey’ on his points as opposed to playing the victim. This response comes in the form of an article titled ‘I Don’t Follow Dunkey’s Contrdictory Arguments About Video Game Critics’ by Paul Tassi.
To a certain degree Tassi makes sense. Dunkey could have worded his arguments somewhat better and sometimes it appears they contradict. However, Tassi isn’t so much so defending mainstream game reviews as much as further exposing how broken it is. In his first point he argues against the idea that ‘Major sites like IGN are a nebulous network of freelancers unlike a YouTuber being one person with clear tastes and opinions’.
Tassi focuses on the broader audience and purpose that sites like IGN serve. Tassi notes that ‘there is an audience for those who want timely coverage of every game on the market, so that’s why sites like IGN exist and have for years’. But that’s not an excuse or what Dunkey was saying whatsoever. YouTube allows you to connect with one person to understand their taste but also their bias. As great as it is for Tassi to claim he knows several gaming critics and their tastes. Tassi isn’t the average reader. The average viewer would much rather watch someone with an established personality such as ‘AngryJoe’ review ‘Persona 5’. As opposed to a random journalist who they most likely haven’t heard of because sites like IGN features thirty reviewers.
As great as it is to have a site that can review everything that comes out. It doesn’t matter if the reader can’t connect and understand the critic behind their words. There are reasons a lot more people flock to YouTube now over Gamespot for a review. One of the reasons is because they can understand the person behind their compliments and complaints.
Tassi Showcases What’s Wrong With Game Critics
Tassi then goes over to the next point. He argues that the mainstream press acknowledging the shortcomings of individual reviewers is futile. It’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation’. He claims that if a reviewer who didn’t like RPG’s were to review Persona 5 and admit they didn’t like RPG’s but gave the game an 8.5, people would complain as to why you’re reviewing this and not someone who is an RPG fan.
This is a stupid point. It’s as if ‘videogamedunkey’ were to review Persona 5 and admit he didn’t like RPG’s. Bu then gave the game a good score. Tassi assumes people wouldn’t focus on the idea that “Hey if a guy who doesn’t like RPG’s, likes this roleplaying game, then maybe it’s worth checking out”. But instead complain “Oh my god, why couldn’t you review something else if you don’t like RPG’s?” The only way that complaints like this would spring up is if somebody said they hated turn based combat RPG’s. But then they reviewed one and simply said they disliked it because they “hate turn based combat” and “dislike the nature of roleplaying games”. In that case you’d be hating the game for what type of game it is, rather its actual content.
I don’t see how omitting details from the audience about yourself and your biases is ever really a good thing.
The Rating System Is As Broken As Mainstream Game Reviews
Another odd point Tassi mentions is how the 1-10 point scaling system isn’t broken despite saying ‘I feel that people like Dunkey here are being willfully ignorant with the reality and perception of the 10-point system, which works effectively like letter grades’ and further expands upon this point by saying that anything that is a 6 or a below is a failure. Tassi further breaks the 1-10 point scaling system. How are you going to jusitfy a 10 point scoring system by focusing on 7-10 alone? Once again Tassi continues to exemplify the idea of a broken press or moreso a broken press.
Thankfully the rest of Tassi’s points aren’t half as bad. He begins to shine in arguing against Dunkey by mentioning the fact that a “rat race” is prevented through embargos. Also agreeing that reviewers shouldn’t be quitting the game halfway before reviewing and so on.
However at the same time, most of the game critics that have responded further prove that ‘videogamedunkey’ is right. They further break mainstream gaming reviews. Judging by the past week I don’t think if anyone really cares enough to fix it.