I don't have a big beef myself with IMG's reviews, mostly because I understand they're written on a volunteer basis, and I've never bought a game based solely on them anyway.
Did I suggest that he rewrite reviews? No. Point I'm trying to make is that if the problem is that the writers are all horrible, then someone who can write (such as Gafgarion or you) shouldn't use lame excuses for why they aren't willing to take the time to contribute and make the whole thing better.
When I read that paragraph, it sure sounds like you're suggesting if he doesn't like the reviews, that he should write some himself. Perhaps you could clarify what you mean if I have misunderstood you. Just because he doesn't write reviews doesn't mean he isn't entitled to giving his opinion of them, as are you and I.
You're quite right. I am
suggesting that if he thinks the writing staff is so horrible that he should write reviews. My beef is that Gafgarion has been ranking on review writers as a whole, giving few examples (all but one of which are very big name games, thus making them even more difficult to review because of all the hype) and offering absolutely no constructive criticism. After asserting the utter incompetence of all writers affiliated with IMG, he then asserted that he isn't competent to write reviews because he's only taken a few journalism classes. He's fully entitled to his opinion, but when that opinion is merely unconstructive flaming I feel fully vindicated in challenging his viewpoint. Analogies he offered to defend his stance (such as asking why you don't apply to Microsoft to make their OS better since you don't like it) are ridiculous because they are similar in type but not in scope; I was trying to point out that it is well within the realm of possibility for him to write for IMG based on his skill at writing (observable in every post he makes).
Hope that makes sense.
It was argued by someone earlier (sorry, I've forgotten who) that this is OK as the Mac gets fewer poor titles released than the PC side. I disagree. A site that reviews Mac games should normalize its ratings on the based on the population of Mac games, not some wider one. In other words, I think Mac games under review should be compared to all other games that are available for the Mac, rather than all games possible. Why should I care if a game rates a 9.5 because there is a sea of 3.5 stuff available only for, say, Windows, whereas when compared to what is on offer for the Mac specifically, it might only rate a 6.5?
That was actually me, too. :-)
It's a tough subject. Part of the problem is that the overall score for any game is the average of the other scores. This puts reviewers in a tough spot because sometimes a game deserves a score that isn't necessary a mathematical result of its other scores. This can go both ways, such as a game that has average or worse sound, but is still a great game (and deserves a better score, thus potentially forcing the reviewer to manipulate scores somewhat) or for a game that has really well done parts (say great graphics and sound), but just isn't that great a game.
There's also past precedent to deal with. Say you're reviewing a game, and you really liked it and are trying to decide what scores it deserves. You take a peek at the IMG archives and notice that similar games, or games with similar quality of components, have received really good scores
. Do you rate the game lower than past games, thus implicitly saying it's worse (even if it is better)? Or do you say to yourself, "Well, I suppose it deserves another point in category X"?
I actually agree with you that it would be way nicer if game reviews reflected the great variation a little better. Having the ability for community members to add their own reviews is helpful, but I'm not sure it's enough. On the other hand, it would be incredibly difficult to normalize the ratings, especially now after IMG has been running for several years.
I have faith that IMG is working as hard as they can to make the reviews and such as fair and accurate as possible. Judging by the number of calls for writers recently (there's been two or more in the past year or so) I would say that the IMG staff is probably still getting into the flow of things.
The moral of the story: constructive criticism is good. Otherwise, I turn into a rampaging (not to mention verbose) IMG-supporting maniac. :-D