On reviews…

I’ve realised something.

I could not care less about whether someone does like or doesn’t like a thing. No spoilers or even commentary on it ahead, but I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Everyone’s in the middle of either having done, or thinking about doing the same.

But a rating? A thumbs up/down/sideways? If it works for you, that’s fine, but if that’s all you get from a thing, well, we’ve not got a lot to talk about. That idea, frankly… terrible.

One of the first things I do after getting feedback from a beta-reader on the stuff I’ve written (particularly in the case of FMTEE), is ask what worked, and what didn’t. I want to know the characters that stood out, and what impression they made. Not a “like/not like”, but an actual impression of the character.

The same applies to my own reviews. With writing for Save Game, I try to make sure my reviews talk about what I felt, and what I thought. Reviewing something in a way that others use it to make decisions about their own media consumption, you do need to back it up – or I feel you do. However you can only share your own experience.

As much as some might beg for impartial reviews, how can you be impartial to content that banks on nostalgia? Yes, there’s numbers, but if I could do them without numbers (and my very first review was such), then I would ditch them altogether.

A lot of times, it seems the words go out and it’s the sum of what they thought. There’s no deviation. Where does that take us in terms of understanding either the subject, or each other? We can’t do that without proper discourse. Instead of a broadcast, why not a discussion?

Why not a conversation on what makes it work (or not) for us?

2 thoughts on “On reviews…

  1. Gotta agree with you on this one, I hate having to give number ratings to my reviews for the Australia Times. A number doesn’t say if someone will like it or not because of person taste.

    Also fun fact, the thumbs down are actually the good ones. Because it meant ‘no, don’t kill him’. While a Thumbs up meant, ‘Yep, go right ahead. Kill that ahole.’

    1. Oh totally – I’ve been told that on my first day of kindergarten, I gave a big thumbs up and the teacher was one who still considered that to be the equivalent of the middle finger. Fun stuff.

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