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GameGeex - Geek Morning America: Should reviewers stick to one genre? The Game Geex got a late start this morning, but awoke feeling self-reflexive on the subject of specialization in game journalism.

You've heard of Gears of War 3 right?  It's kinda a big deal, or so they say.  I wouldn't know, because according to Cliffy B, I shouldn't play the game.  Why is that?  Because I like RPGs.  Epic's head honcho of all things douchy has decided he knows what kind of person should review his game, and it certainly isn't someone who enjoys other types of games.  FPS fanatics only please -- other genres need not apply.

The trouble with this line of reasoning is that it assumes that gamers are not people, that they are instead some sort of strange species of people that having selected a genre to adore are no longer allowed to step out of the box they themselves have created.  But gamers are people, and people are full of contradictions.  There's a reason Madden is sitting on my shelf next to Rockband, and it's not because my husband like the game, because he hates sports titles, just ask him.  It's because I am both a gamer and a person, and I like different types of games -- even those culture tells me I shouldn't play.  Does that make me the wrong person to review Madden simply because I'm not an expert on the genre?  Yes, according to Cliffy B.

There's another side to this argument however, and I realize that.  I am fully aware that in order to review a game you have to be deeply familiar with the genre itself, and it would be remiss to play a game without having experienced previous titles with which to compare it.  Perhaps only FPS players should review FPS games, but doesn't that somehow keep out the people who are looking at the genre from a new perspective?  Shouldn't an outsider also have a voice as to whether a game is good on its own merit, aside from genre fanboyism?  Or can we only review games if we know the genre itself, and should therefore divide our review staff accordingly.  What do you think?  How specialized does a reviewer need to really be?

4 Comments for this post.
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Sounds like a quaint way to disregard negative reviews. But maybe I'll review it. I've played every major shooter in the past ten years and guess what? I freaking hate Gears of War. Entire damn series is the equivalent of a Mountain Dew commercial. Extreme, indeed.


[Sir Loin of Beef] @ 11:55:46 AM Sep 23, 2011
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It is actually true that you get a better review when someone even slightly familiar with the genre, or a series of games in general, gets their hands on a particular title, compared to someone who obviously is stepping foot into that area for the first time. Compare the reviews of 3rd Strike Online Edition done by 1Up, which was written by someone that actually plays fighting games regularly, to Destructoid's, which reads like it was done by someone who probably hasn't played a fighting game in their life before that title, and you'll see the difference in quality is like night and day.

That being said, it isn't really fair to rule out the opinions of those outside the genre. It's how you know how your game works between different audiences. Maybe RTS fans suddenly have an interest in the upcoming Monday Night Combat sequel, because of the supposed DOTA elements they'll be adding? Maybe competitive gamers want to try out Twisted Metal and see how it fairs in a tournament environment? Hell, even fighting game fans have been picking up Catherine, a puzzle game of all things, because the versus mode is just that damn fun.

Point is, it's not fair to exclude a group of people just because they may hold a different opinion of things. Everyone's opinion matters. It's on the level of silliness as the whole "Hardcore vs Casual" arguments that fly around the internet on a regular basis.


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Absolutely not. Everyone is entitles to their own opinion and perspectives. As a competitive gamer, I might take an RPG game and focus heavy on the review of the combat mechanics, class balance, and the pvp system if the game offers it while others may have a better analysis of the story and artwork styles the game has to offer.

Same applies to a shooter. I can take a look at it and tell you everything that's balanced, unfair, what guns have a wider skill-gap, etc. while perhaps an avid RPG fan might have a larger take on the story-mode because they're so used to it.


[Fragnotmyass] @ 10:17:15 PM Sep 22, 2011
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I say let the neutral party decide. TESTIFY "clap"


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