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Unicorns, Yeti and Unbiased Reviewers

Stargate SG-1

Stargate SG-1 – the best sci-fi television series ever, and that’s a fact!

I am biased.  I prefer Coke to Pepsi.  I think the Stargate series is far better than either Star Wars OR Star Trek.  And when it comes right down to it, I’d rather be gaming on my PS3 than anything else.  But you know what?  You’re biased too.  I don’t know what yours are, but if you’ve lived long enough to be reading this, you’ve developed your own set of biases.  Everyone does, it’s just human nature.  We each prefer one thing to another for whatever reason, and that’s ok.  Usually.  You see, when it comes to gaming reviews there is constantly an outcry of enraged fans screaming about how a reviewer is biased and therefore his review somehow doesn’t count.  We want a mythical person who has no biases whatsoever, and that simply does not exist.

But is that bad?  No, of course not.  An unbiased review is a bullet list of features, devoid of any commentary or opinion.  In short, it isn’t a review at all.  I’ll give you an example.  I really enjoy the Dynasty Warriors games.  I know all the complaints, the knocks about repetition, how it’s “the same game over and over”, etc.  I’ve heard all of that, and I don’t care – they’re still fun.  So when a new one releases and I want to read a review of it to see how it’s changed from past games in the series, am I going to read a review by someone who hates the series?  Of course not!  What good would that do me?  We’re already starting out from two completely different viewpoints.  No, I want to read a review by someone who’s loved past games in the series, because that’s the person that’s both going to present more useful criticisms for me and be able to point out the more subtle differences that a non-fan would never be aware of.  In short, I don’t want someone without bias, I want someone who shares MY bias.

Giant Bomb

Giant Bomb, a site you should only visit after you’ve read everything else here.

I think what some people mean when they say they want an unbiased review is that they want an honest review.  Now that is certainly something you should expect.  My tastes, like everyone’s I suppose, sometimes go with the crowd but also sometimes go against the grain.  But whichever is the case, when I post a review it’s going to be my honest opinion of the game expressed to the best of my ability.  Whether you agree with me or not, you can be assured that what I say about a game is truly how I feel about it.  Granted, this is a blog – I have no incentive to lie in a review even if I wanted to (which I don’t).  But when you seek out reviews from the bigger sites you should expect the same.  I’m a big fan of Giant Bomb, because the guys there always seem to be straight shooters.  Often I don’t agree with them, but I know I’m getting an honest opinion and that has some value to me even if I don’t agree with it.

Often times I make up my own mind about whether or not I want to buy a game, and I believe you should too.  No one knows your tastes like you do.  However, for those times when you decide to leave your purchase up to someone else’s opinion, try to make sure you have some common ground with the person writing the review.  If you end up getting the game and disagreeing with that review, don’t go back & yell “bias!” in their comments.  Remember, we’re all bias – that person just didn’t share yours this time.  Remember that for the next time, and move on.  After all, they’re only games.

 

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