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Author Topic: Why Reviews Are Next to Useless  (Read 16108 times)
John Wick
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Posts: 210


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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2001, 02:04:00 PM »

Quote
This should be understood by any reader of a review. Or anyone taking advice from a guy about spicy food for that matter. The reviewer is not the only one saddled with responsibility, the reader is as well.


I agree. Unfortunately (for you and me), not everyone else does. That old cliche about "people believe something because it's in print" isn't an old cliche for nothing.

> "Capsule reviews" (those written by people who just read
> the book and haven't actually played it) are USELESS.

Quote
Strong disagreement from me.

Indeed, I consider reviews from players of games to be less informed in many respects. I do agree that they do have their advantages in certain areas although few reviewers who do playtest actually take advantage of them.


Here's a good example of what I was just talking about.
You told me you disagreed with that statement, then didn't tell me why.

I don't mind that you disagree with me (I'm not alwaysright, just almost always), but I'd like to know why.

Otherwise, I just assume you're wrong. :wink:

Quote
IME, the least useful comments come from those who are most familiar with the rules.


Why?
WHY? WHY? WHY?
Don't just say it and hope "It's my opinion" covers your ass, 'cause it don't.
Opinions are like underarm persperation. Both make you stinky. It's not unless you back those opinions up do they matter. Otherwise, you're just another guy on the internet with an opinion.


Quote
I know this information about the people who's reviews I read. Why don't you?


I do know it.
And it's why I don't read reviews. :wink:

Take care,
John

Roger Ebert gave 3 stars to MEMENTO and 3.5 stars to ATLANTIS. One of these movies is the most original, innovative and brilliantly scripted movies of the year. The other was made by the company that signs his paycheck. You figure out which is which.
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Carpe Deum,
John
John Wick
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2001, 02:34:00 PM »

Quote
Roger Ebert gave 3 stars to MEMENTO and 3.5 stars to ATLANTIS. One of these movies is the most original, innovative and brilliantly scripted movies of the year. The other was made by the company that signs his paycheck. You figure out which is which.


I just wanted to point out one last thing. Yes, this is a bit ranty, so skip it if it pisses you off. That's your right, after all. To not read everything in the world. It's also your right to not like everything you read. Believe it or not.

A bit of research shows Roger Ebert -- the Most Respected Movie Critic in the World -- rated these films as inferior to ATLANTIS (which got 3.5 stars, remember):

FIGHT CLUB (3 stars)
THE SIXTH SENSE (3 stars)
THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1.5 stars)

However, some recent Disney films got these scores from Mr. Ebert:

EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (3 stars)
POCAHONTAS (3 stars)
HERCULES (3.5 stars)
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (4 stars)

He also lists Citizen Kane (in his own words, "arguably the greatest movie ever made") at... get ready for it:

4 stars.

That's right, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and CITIZEN KANE both get 4 STARS.

This from the Most Respected Movie Critic in the World.

He can go screw himself with his weekly Disney check.

(For those who don't know, Mr. Ebert's show is owned by Beuena Vista entertainment.)

Roger Ebert's thumb is THE MOST DECISIVE FACTOR for Americans. It literally can mean the difference between a blockbuster and a blow-out. LITERALLY.

WHY DO YOU THINK DISNEY OWNS THE FAT MAN???

He gave FIGHT CLUB a scathing review (one that does not match his 3 stars above), and at the Oscars, he had the BALLS to tell Edward Norton he was sad FIGHT CLUB didn't get nominated for more awards.

Norton was on his game. "But Roger, you gave it thumbs down."

The Fat Man replied, "Oh, but I liked the first act."

Norton replied, "It doesn't matter what you liked, Roger. You gave it a thumbs down."

Millions and millions of Americans listen to what The Fat Man says and base their movie going experience on whether he likes a film or doesn't. Like gladiators in Ancient Rome, the life of a film is balanced on which direction Emperor Ebert sticks his thumb.

Is this true of RPG reviews?

You bet your printer bill it is.

I've heard people ON THIS VERY WEBSITE say it: "I will buy or not buy a game based on what Ken Hite says."

Bad Pod Person You.

This is the bottom line on my hatred of reviews:

Check the book out yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you about the quality of the book. It doesn't matter how much you respect the other person's opinion or taste: SEE IT FOR YOURSELF.

Everything I've ever said about reviews comes down to the above paragraph. It's my one and only and final point.

And with that, I'm back to killing Lord Davenport. Thanks for listening... to my opinion. :wink:

Take care,
John
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Carpe Deum,
John
Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2001, 04:30:00 PM »

Ah-ha!

It's not that The Wick hates reviews - The Wick hates that there are too many gamers who let themselves be influenced by lousy reviews, or by the lousy parts of mediocre reviews, or even by the mediocre parts of a good review.

The Wick hates mediocrity, hates herd mentality.  An over-reliance on the contentless "I like/don't like" of a less-than-masterful review being a key symptom of these things . . . he hates that.

OK John, that I can understand.  You do realize that if someone is AWARE of all these issues with reviews, they can still extract some value?  (Though I'd second you in reminding folks to STAY aware, as it is all too easy to take the easy "I guess he didn't like it, I won't bother then"

I'd suggest that most people who respond to your review rants fit in this category - they know about the flaws of reviews, take 'em into account, and thus are astounded by the ferocity of your "crusade".  Unfortunately, the people you really need to reach . . . may well be unreachable.  

Or perhaps you hope to get the REVIEWERS to do better, and thus deny these folks the bad diet of flawed information they seem to crave?  Seems like I've seen you say as much . . .  

Good idea, because there are people who will respond well to improved information.  But . . . those folks who don'tare just going to find another stupid basis to make their decisions on.  They'll ask the GDW rep at their game store which RPG to buy.  They'll read that Orkworld "sucks" in some random post and believe it.

I mean, I'm all for "raising the bar", but you gotta realize, not everyone wants to jump . . .

And this is now WAY too long.

Gordon C. Landis
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Valamir
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2001, 09:07:00 AM »

Well said Gordon.

The intelligent reader can use even crappy reviews as a tool.  The moronic reader is...well...a moron.

Don't blame the review, blame the moron who can't think for himself.

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John Wick
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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2001, 10:19:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-07-27 20:30, Gordon C. Landis wrote:
It's not that The Wick hates reviews - The Wick hates that there are too many gamers who let themselves be influenced by lousy reviews, or by the lousy parts of mediocre reviews, or even by the mediocre parts of a good review.

I mean, I'm all for "raising the bar", but you gotta realize, not everyone wants to jump . . .


As others have noted: well said.

Quote
And this is now WAY too long.


Again, I agree.

Thanks for the conversation, folks! Now go over to that Wicked Press forum and say something! :smile:


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Carpe Deum,
John
Supplanter
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« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2001, 11:04:00 AM »

Quote
Check the book out yourself. Don't let anyone else tell you about the quality of the book. It doesn't matter how much you respect the other person's opinion or taste: SEE IT FOR YOURSELF.

Everything I've ever said about reviews comes down to the above paragraph. It's my one and only and final point.


It's not a very compelling point. I suspect you've noticed that the world is full of games, books and movies. Plus annoying responsibilities that cut into one's game, book and movie time. You can't see every one of them for yourself. You may not even know a given game, book or movie exists except for the review. You have to make a preselection based on something, and reviews, used the way Brian and others discuss, are a perfectly valid form of attention triage.

Best,


Jim
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Theory of X
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« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2001, 10:58:00 PM »

John, ease off the caffeine.

Take it to the extreme...why do we need any information?
My goodness, a bit cynical.

I like reviews. I like seeing others views on subjects, and how they compare vs. mine. I like thinking.

Granted, most reviewers don't make the grade, but then again most people in life don't either.

After reading a few of your posts, I am starting to think you take yourself to seriously, and have some serious issues.

You remind me of a couple of old bandmates I once had...they were angry at the world because no one 'fucking got it'. Everyone's music sucked...sellout bullshit, and whatnot.

People try as hard as they can. Not every grows up in a family environment that promotes free thinking.

Cuddle with the opponents, my man, nuture them. Stop kicking them in the teeth.

I'ld rather read  one thousand shitty reviews than one more post by a bitter under achiever.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2001, 07:56:00 AM »

Quote

I'ld rather read  one thousand shitty reviews than one more post by a bitter under achiever.

*cough*
You realize that if you are saying -- and I'm not entirely certain that you aren't meaning the above as "in general" rather than personally directed -- John Wick is an underachiever, well...um...

I wish *I a comparable list to the man's list of gaming credits.

BTW, John, now that I understand more where you're coming from, I agree.  This is me reading your reasonsing: *nod*nod*nod*  And all that is exactly why I don't read movie reviews, and roll my eyes at the ones I do glance at.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Theory of X
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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2001, 09:34:00 PM »

Maybe I slipped off the edge a bit, or maybe I didn't.

I don't know him from Jack, so to speak.

I've been skimming many RPG for the last year, and have seen one too many posts from his pen that really offer nothing constructive and are often simply chirps such as:

"That's plain silly."

or

"What's the point."

I have nothing to drawn on about his personality other than his scribbles. Maybe I'm the bad guy, and maybe I'm not.  All I can honestly say is that I have read gazillions of posts in the past year, and when I see his name, I come to expect a stupid remark.

Nail me to the cross, but I callz um as I seez um.
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2001, 01:33:00 AM »

I don't take any reviews seriously, as I don't see the point in them. I know people who positively hate the games, movies or books I like and would slate them. I know people who would give them positive reviews.

So what's the point? Just check it out for yourself - it's the only way to be sure. Don't let others deside for you? You don't check something out on the strength of a review? Then that's exactly what you've done.

I find it hard to understand the importance some people place on their ability or fact they write reviews. It's like they get off on being able to make their opinions known. It's an ego thing. It's like that aintitcoolnews.com thing? Who does he think he is - just some fat geek sat in a chair feeding his ego.

It's like a religion to some people.

Since it's not something I hold as overly important in the world - I would think that though.

An addion: The only good thing about reviews is when it makes someone aware a product exists. You can do that though without feeling the need to 'wax lyrical' about your opinion on the product and feed your ego :smile:
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Ian O'Rourke
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[ This Message was edited by: Ian O'Rourke on 2001-08-12 05:36 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Ian O'Rourke on 2001-08-12 05:43 ]
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Ian O'Rourke
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Theory of X
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« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2001, 11:01:00 PM »

http://trio.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_2765.html

I didn't write this, but thought you would enjoy:

(This is a review of The Official John Wick Review Policy, which was included as part of a Gaming Outpost interview which can be located at: http://www.gamingoutpost.com/features/interviews/john_wick.shtml. You might want to go there before you read this -- or after. Then again, you might not.)

John Wick's Review Policy sucks.

What else can I say? The very idea of Wick dictating the policies people will be using to review his own material is nauseating. He seems to think that his opinion has some sort of relevance to the rest of us. I just didn't like it.

And you won't like it either. I guarantee it.

Not that that matters, because if you're reading this you're a brain dead asshole. Didn't you read Rules #5 and #6? What part of "never read reviews" didn't you get? This is clearly being written by someone who has no idea of the blood, sweat, and tears that makes up the creative process (as if that somehow has some relevance to the merits of a product; as if the Cleveland Browns should have been in the Superbowl because they really, really wanted to be good and worked really, really hard). And I definitely have a personal agenda to condemn the product in question, considering that I am -- by default -- on those evil reviewers. I violated Rule #7 ("never write a review") right off the bat, so why are you paying any attention to me?

Of course -- don't blink now! -- Wick has definitely written reviews before (some of which can be found in his columns right here on RPGNet) -- so he's a hypocrite. I can't testify with absolute certainty that he has ever read a review -- but I suspect so, which makes him a hypocrite twice over. And if he hasn't, then he's speaking from ignorance.

Which just makes him an idiot.

Which brings us to Rule #9: "Before you buy a book, read a few pages first." A good point. Feel free to go check out the policy itself before continuing. I'll wait.

Dum de dum. Ho de do. Dum dee-dee.

...

Ho, ho, ho!

...

You're back? Great.

You may have realized that I'm not showing much restraint here. Initially I was worried about this, but then I realized that: (1) According to Wick there is no such thing as an objective review. (2) He was going to be "pissed off" about a negative "slam"/review no matter what it said. I'd feel sorry that I was causing him so much mental anguish, but if he's stop putting together diatribes like this then it wouldn't be necessary for others to tear them to pieces.

We'll have to skip Rule #10 because this isn't a roleplaying game we're reviewing.

And we'll have to skip Rule #11 because Wick is repeating himself.

Which brings us to Rule #12, in which Wick reviews Pendragon, Over the Edge, Ars Magica, Conspiracy X, Call of Cthulu, Champions, Twilight: 2000, Delta Green, the James Bond RPG, and Brave New World. See Rule #7 and draw some conclusions about Wick.

Then go back and read Rules #5 and #6, in which Wick bizarrely tells you that you shouldn't even be reading this Official John Wick Review Policy.

Oh well, I was ignoring him anyway. On to Rule #13!

"Rule #13: If you've never gone through the grueling process of writing, designing, developing and publishing a roleplaying game, you don't have the knowledge necessary to properly critique one."

First off, if a bridge collapses the first time someone walks on it you don't need to be an engineering major to figure out that there was something wrong with the bridge. Second, I find it truly bizarre that you need all that expertise to be qualified -- in Wick's opinions -- to critique them (for example, why are only self-publishers allowed?). Finally, this whole thing leads to the oddity where it's all right to critique a game, but you shouldn't review it.

Rule #14 tells us that we have the right to express our opinions and the right to not express our opinions. Quite right. Rule #14.5 tells us that if we choose to "disregard these rights" (by both expressing and not expressing our opinion? by half expressing our opinion? what?) "anything you say can and will be used against you".

Ah, poetic justice.

Rule #15 tells us that you need to defend your opinions -- you need to justify them. Again, quite right. Pity Wick never seems to follow his own advice. Despite Rule #16: "All of the above rules apply to everyone. Including me."


Style: 2 (Needs Work)
Substance: 1 (I Wasted My Money)
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"I don't claim to know everything...I just know what I don't know."--Me
Theory of X
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Posts: 20


« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2001, 11:47:00 PM »

I really had no clue that the RPG community and Mr. Wick had such a bad relationship. I assure you that all of my opinions came from personal experience, and up until the last few minutes, was uneducated about Mr. Wicks 'reputation'.

I do not wish to turn this thread into a bash Wick thread. It merely saddens me when a member of this community demands respect and uses little tact. I'll leave it at that. Over and out. 10-4 good buddy.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2001, 10:10:00 AM »

Iiieeee...

Mouth breathers with access to computers who happen to play RPGs (maybe?) <> a community.

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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
John Wick
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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2001, 01:30:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-08-15 03:47, Theory of X wrote:
I really had no clue that the RPG community and Mr. Wick had such a bad relationship.


Is that everyone in the community or just a few loud mouths? I can never tell.

Quote
I assure you that all of my opinions came from personal experience, and up until the last few minutes, was uneducated about Mr. Wicks 'reputation'.


Which reputation? I got a few of them.
There's the "God damn, John Wick is a great GM/player" reputation.
Then there's the "God damn, John Wick's won a helluva lot of Origins Awards" reputation.
Then there's the "God damn, at Gen-Con last year, 300 people showed up to hear John Wick tell a story" reputation.
Then there's the "God damn, John Wick thinks people should think for themselves and not rely on others' opinions" reputation.
And then there's the "God damn, John Wick isn't afraid to speak his mind" reputation.
And then there's the "God damn, John Wick hates reviewers" reputation.

I've got a few of them. I won't mention the "God damn, John Wick is a tornado in bed" reputation. You don't need to know that one. :smile:

Quote
I do not wish to turn this thread into a bash Wick thread.


Then don't. :wink:

Quote
It merely saddens me when a member of this community demands respect and uses little tact.


I agree completely.
And, for the record, I don't think I've ever asked for respect. I've just said my peace and left it at that. You agree, that's fine. You disagree, that's fine, too.

(Did I just turn this into a "Let's bash Mr. X" thread? I can never tell.) :smile:

Carpe deum,
John

Live like nobody's looking.
- The Tao of Zen Nihilism, a Self-Hurt Book
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Carpe Deum,
John
Theory of X
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2001, 12:12:00 AM »

Well, John, you sure do speak your mind.

Sometimes silence speaks volumes. You have that right too.

Do you mingle with other members of our race, or merely chat with multiple mirror reflections? Your spew might make others do the little publicity dance that you like to see, but it gives you a D- in humanity.

Tact. I have spoken my mind, and that will piss you off, because I should have gotten your permission first? Is that correct?

Go back to hiding under your cynical sarcasm. Wait...is it ok if you go back?

[ This Message was edited by: Theory of X on 2001-08-16 04:14 ]
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