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    Fanning the Flames - Metacritic proves the public can't be trusted.
    Monday, 27 October 2008

    After a brief absence Fanning the Flames is back! We take a look at the recent fanboy bashing of games on Metacritic and how it proves that the public just aren't ready to be critics.

    The world of blogging has lead to an uprise in the number of average Joe gamers having a crack at games journalism. The fact of the matter is though whilst blogging may have entered the mainstream (The Daily Mail's glossy pull out had a feature on it just the other week) they have not held in the regard required to become considered bona fide journalists. We here at Gaming Corner are bloggers and despite trying at all times to remain as professional as we can, but there is no escaping the fact that we are bloggers.

    There would of course be those who argue that various gaming news/reviews networks don't deserve to be held in high regard as their integrity gets called into question following questionable review scores. The recent Metacritic debacle only helps to back this view.

    For those not in the know this all started when 360 fanboys started giving Sony's new mascot Sackboy's Little Big Planet awful scores. This led to the games score plummeting, Sony fanboys hit back and did the same with Gears of War 2 before it became 2-1 to 360 fanboys as Resistance 2 became the latest to get stung. Fable II looks like it's the next hit as it's score slowly tumbles with it currently at 6.1.

    This led to the sites Games Editor Marc Doyle making the following statement;

    "My advice for our faithful users is to focus your attention on the Metascore for this game and not the thousands of user votes, most of which have been submitted before said users have played the game. This is a gaming community, and if people want to stuff the ballot box, there's not much I can do at this point. When we upgrade the registration requirements for participation on the site in the near future, this type of thing won't happen. We'll post the full legitimate user reviews upon the game's release. As always, thanks for using the site."

    Marc Doyle did the right thing here. whilst he admitted that the site is a community he also admitted it does have it's failings and that this is something it is going to address. With all this in mind what exactly did fanboys hope to achieve? No discerning gamer is going to look at the critics score and dismiss it out of hand and instead take the user votes as gospel. Metacritic have been clever in the wording here, with critics having scores and reviews and users votes and comments. This shows even though under normal circumstances the user votes have their place there is still an acknowledgement that they are not reviews and whilst still valid should be held as such.

    However is this phenomena new though or just an evolution of what has always stood? Let's not forget Sega's famous "Genesis does what Nintendon't" bashing of their rivals consoles capablitlies. This sort of advertising used to cause countless arguments in the school playground. Companies have in recent years become more professional and more concerned with self preservation than slamming the opposition. However they don't ever try to quash the fanboy wars and happily let them rumble on knowing that it does help to promote their products in a unique way that no amount of marketing will account for.

    So what can we take from this? If you want to see a true reflection of a games worth, stick to the critic reviews, if you want to see fanboys getting themselves all round up, read the user comments.
    posted by flameboy @ 11:59  
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