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Three Moves Ahead Episode 123 – Reviewers on Revue

June 30th, 2011 by Rob Zacny · 9 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera visits Three Moves Ahead to continue a discussion he started about reviewing standards and practices. Troy and Rob try to keep up as the panel discusses how writers’ relationships with their readers can affect their approach to reviews, what are a reviewer’s obligations, and the value of genre expertise.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Anders

    Interesting, really enjoyed listening to this.

    One thing I wished you guys talked about: Do reviewers often find themselves pressured to “hate” a game. Say a game is received with bad reviews all over, yet you sit there and feel that the game is pretty good. Is there some hesitation in what you will publish? Is the reviewer more careful in what he/she says about the game so not to be “the outsider”?

    Very often I see games get thrashed by every reviewer, yet the community say the game is not bad at all. Just seems weird that while the community is a mixed bag of “love & hate”, reviewers are very often all on the same side.

  • HomiSite

    Yeah, an interesting show (although a bit more general :-). It was a down-to-earth insight in your thoughts of this topic resp. your jobs, esp. Troy’s openness is impressive.

    An addition to Anders’s point is the time question: Today in the Internet age, the readers usually expect reviews for their games on launch day everywhere (so how much can reviewer’s be influenced from other reviews then). But I have the feeling that together with all the NDAs, the day one review is not that important recently.

  • Happy Hour – July 1 | RobZacny.com

    […] for a great week, you should peruse this piece I wrote for GWJ on The Darkness and listen to a great conversation that Troy and I had with Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera. The discussion with Ben, in particular, […]

  • Patrick

    Here’s something I’m curious about, I guess about all forms of criticism, that I suppose makes sense to ask here. Do you often find yourself in situations where, for whatever reason, you absolutely love a title or something about a title but just instinctively know nobody else is going to care like? If so, what is your procedure in dealing with it?

  • Troy


    Of course. I have written glowing reviews of games and had those reviews be the only one of maybe two or three in the world. So my own peers didn’t even care about these games.

    But one of my jobs when I was a writer (and when I maintained this blogger better) was to advocate for things people had not heard of. It’s easier in some places than others, and easier with some editors than others. But all you can do as a writer is write. If someone is willing to pay you to write about something you love, you do it and hope that you reach a few readers or listeners.

  • Brad

    I agree, don’t finish a game you don’t like. Life’s too short.

    Also. Your guest Ben is half right on his architecture analogy. Outhouses can be interesting, it’s nursing homes and cubicle farms that nobody went to architecture school to design. Unfortunately, I know this first hand.

    Anyway, nice ‘cast. And Ben has gained another fan.

  • Shaun

    For all the griping, I’d still love to write about games and actually engage with readers in something resembling intelligent discourse. Try harder next time, Troy. ;)

  • Skyrider68

    With regard to playing a truly bad game wire-to-wire….
    Must one always drink the ENTIRE cup of poison to discover things will end badly? I would say no, not always. :-)

  • Solace

    I think people are ok with paying more for some things than others because, well, not everything is the same. People… probably don’t /like/ paying $10 for a movie, but they accept it, because you do get the massive screen, but more importantly, the high production value. How many episodes of Star Trek, the series, should cost the same as Star Trek, the movie? I wouldn’t want to pay the same for two hours of a tv series as a similar two hour movie, because the movie would have had a lot more money thrown at those two hours.

    Game, I think, /have/ to be long, because it takes a lot less effort to make one more level than it takes to build, well, absolutely everything it takes to make the first level. Hypothetically, would I want to pay a tenth as much for a game a tenth as long? Sure, but I think a game that’s a tenth as long would take a lot more than a tenth as much to make.