Honest Reviews? An Exposé!

by J.D. Cook

Curious Are you the type of person that likes to read reviews before buying a game or seeing a movie? Do you have that special review site that you know and trust via years of perusing its fair and balanced opinions? Have you ever looked a little closer at their reviews?  Doesn’t it seem like the bigger a game is the better its reviews are? Doesn’t it seem like there are some movies that you can’t find a bad review for? This is all just crazy conspiracy type talk right? Surely there is no proof behind any of it! Well it just so happens that I have heard a few different stories from reliable sources that critics of movies and games are not very noble. I’ll even expose my own foul and dishonest review to prove my point. So before you read another review on movies or games you might want to read this article!

First I’ll start with the Gaming Industry which already has something of a bad reputation on the internet. Just do a Google search for bought reviews in the gaming industry and you will see exactly what I mean! Essentially Game Developers buy up ads on major review websites and the critics on those sites try to avoid biting the hand that feeds them. Smaller review sites are provided with free copies of games or other free incentives that encourages the critics to give the games positive reviews to insure they keep getting aforementioned schwag. I was told first-hand how one of these critics wanted to give a certain game a negative review but he was stopped from doing so because that the review site did not want to offend the major corporation that was providing free copies of their games. This is no fiction it’s a truth that gamers need to be aware of…avoid the hype around a game. The only opinion you can trust is a friends or your own. I will also say you can trust this site because we aren’t big enough to get any sort of free games and we have some integrity. If you really want to see if a game review source is fairly impartial just review the amount of high scores it gives. If no major titles are getting below an eight that might not be a source you want to rely on.

Onto movies! I always seem to hear about a certain fruit site these days, well it’s a vegetable according to the U.S. Supreme Court. It has invaded the very lexicon of America Supreme Court Logo and it is widely regarded as an impartial source of movie opinions. It is a bit biased against small review websites such as our own but I always believed this was all fairly true. Unfortunately a source very recently informed me that film producers can request this site hold off on negative reviews for films until they have built up positive scores and thus the opening weekend at the box office is not in any way affected by negative reviews. This actually explains how films can build up such massive waves of hype only to have the actual movie be a complete wash.

Finally onto my own harrowing experience with a review that was less than honest. I was sent a book via a company ahead of release and faced my own conundrum. If the book was terrible could I give it an honest review or would I simply give it a puffed up review to try and get another free book somewhere down the road? Well I was saved from this dilemma of integrity because the book was more of a self-help book and less of a book that I could critique or praise. Still it’s a slippery slope to stand on the edge of; especially as a tiny review website just trying to get by.

There seems to be only one real solution…but it’s not great. Stop allowing mega producers of books, movies and games from giving away free stuff to media. I hate to say that because I love free stuff but it’s one of the only ways to assure that reviews are on the level. You wouldn’t want a Call of Duty Sucks politician giving free stuff to those who vote for him or her would you? It creates an unofficial you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back situation that soaks through all of our artistic media. Critics are supposed to be the loud mouths who keep large artistic producers from peddling trash to people. If the critics are bought and paid for who keeps the large artistic producers honest?  I’d love to say the average every day person but unfortunately it’s been proven with the amount of Saw films, Fast and the Furious films and Call of Duty games that people are bad judges of quality in art. The whole system falls apart when bad movies or games can make boat loads of money because there is no one out there speaking out against them. In the name of good art work to read critics who are honest and truthful like me. You may not agree with all of my opinions but at least you know they are my opinions.

Check out this other good website working to expose this madness – kotaku.com