Our Simple Stance on Outside Influences, Industry Politics, and #GamerGate
2014 was a pretty embarassing year for video game journalism as a whole. From accusations of insider relationships between journalists and developers, to hate campaigns pointed at anyone that took a stance on either side of the argument, being a video game journalist kind of sucked.
Before anything, the staff at Gamecrastinate are gamers just like you, and we feel it’s pretty important that we begin to move on as a community. Let’s get back to the basics of talking about why a game is good, bad, or anywhere in-between. Let the huge media corporations shove sponsored content down the throats of the console peasants, we’re the PC Master Race, and we don’t fall for that nonsense*.
Let’s be honest for a moment, the staff here is totally unpaid. We get nothing out of this, other than the satisfaction of being part of an industry and community that we love. Buying every game that comes out just to review it can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, games cost a lot these days! As such, we get some games for free from the developers, publishers, and the PR companies that represent them. This is a common industry practice that most websites and Youtubers take advantage of regularly.
Receiving a game for free does not mean we’ll overinflate the scores that game receives. Some games just suck, and we’re not about to give it a 8/10 because we didn’t pay for it. In some cases, publishers may send us physical promotional items, or host industry events that we attend. While we will accept physical goods or attend events that may assist us in writing a story or review, neither translates into a favorable view of the product, nor will we accept these as direct compensation for writing favorable content about a product. At the end of the day, we make nothing doing this. But if a publisher wants to buy us lunch, we’ll happily devour whatever they put in front of our faces, even if we hate their game.
*Unless Gaben himself says it, then we’ll basically buy anything he tells us to. Praise Gaben.
We strive to provide our readers with the most complete analysis of a game as possible. Where applicable, we make every attempt to “finish” the game. Many factors influence when and how a game is completed, including bugs, missing content, and the game’s design itself. In addition, as some games may heavily focus on multiplayer, revolve around sandbox-style gameplay, or just simply never really end, it’s possible that we can’t actually reach a point where the game is complete. While there’s no magic number of hours needed to review each game, it’s our goal to experience enough hours of gameplay to reach a point where we feel it appropriate to critically analyze the content.
We grade games on the following 3 categories.
The experience is a combination of factors such as game design, gameplay mechanics, and story.
Functionality in a game is generally influenced by factors such as user interface design and control schemes. Additionally, as we focus on PC games, we’ll also factor in issues like hardware compatibility, and controller requirements.
Almost all modern games rely on both sound and graphics to weave together the experience. For delivery, we factor in things like sound, graphics, and performance of the game.
Scoring Range10A game rated as a 10 indicates a game that displays a mastery in all areas of design. Games that achieve our highest rating should be considered to be a “must buy” game. A game rated as a 10 could be considered the preeminent example of a genre. Games rated as a 10 shouldn’t be considered perfect. There are no perfect games, but there are games that could give the highest score possible.
9A rating of 9 would indicate a game that excels at almost everything it does. While the game may not be the best example of a title in that genre, it’s quite close. A 9 ranked game displays a high level of design and would be an easily recommended game to try out. Some games ranked as a 9 are in fact the best game that genre has to offer.
8A game rated at an eight would be a game that most people would enjoy. It uses competent design in all areas, though it may not be the absolute best example of a game in that genre. There are some games in any given genre that might be considered to be at a higher level than this one, but not many.
7Sevens are competent, well made games that achieve most of what they set out to do. A game ranked at a seven indicates a mostly complete experience, though there could be some limiting factors such as performance or gameplay mechanic issues at play. Many people would still enjoy a game ranked as a 7. While for the most part the game works and play well, while thinking about the game you might use phrases that include phrases like “but” or “I wish”.
6A score of six is the point where a player needs to start getting concerned about the game. Many aspects of the game still work, but there are also some issues that affect it in some way. Some people still still love this game, others will not be pleased. The concepts that the game is trying to accomplish may be beyond the scope of the game, or they could be poorly executed. Regardless, this game could still be recommended but with some degree of warning to prospective players.
5Fives are underwhelming games in most areas. There still can be some redeeming qualities to be found that some players might enjoy. A game ranked as a 5 is mostly still functional, but it’s never going to deliver an enjoyable experience for most. Players that are interested in this game need to do some serious research before their purchase.
4This game has completely failed in one area of our three scoring metrics. There may be problems with the other two areas, but a four indicates at least one big problem with the game.
3This game has completely failed in two out of the three scoring metrics. There are major problems in the game overall. Many players can probably finish this game, though it’s very important to understand what you’re getting into before you buy it.
2This game has completely failed in all three of our scoring metrics. The game functions, but has also achieved the lowest score it possibly can while still managing to load. Highly dedicated players may be able to finish the game, but it would be a very poor use of their time.
1This game doesn’t work. A dedicated player could not finish it, nor would they want to. There’s a good chance that the game completely fails to even run for a majority of players that try it.