Greetings from this deep, dark corner of the Internet journalism world. Normally this is the part where I go on a lengthy tangent about how circumstances or the nature of my life has lead me to make an executive decision about how to run this site, but I felt that in this context “short and to the point” was probably the best way to go about things.
So, to that effect, here’s the lowdown: we – meaning Gamer Codex as a whole – are about to make a major shift in the production of articles in general, and reviews in particular. We’re getting rid of our review score system.
I’ll give the three of you who read our stuff a moment to recover from your shock.
Yes, Gamer Codex will no longer release review scores of any kind with our articles. It’s partially our way of honouring the words and ideas of famed critics like Bob Chipman, Anita Sarkeesian or Yahtzee Croshaw, but mostly… it’s just a conveniently good move. I remember giving Call of Duty: Black Ops II a flipping 9.5, something which made sense on a technical level but which has, over time, become something of a sore spot for me because of the game’s severely compromised themes and implications. Conversely, denying games like Poker Night 2 or Spec Ops: The Line the qualifier “great game” because my review system tells me they have technical or creative flaws is true injustice in a nutshell. Games can be innovative, creative and culturally significant in other ways besides graphics, controls and range of content – indeed, those three things aren’t really as important to a game’s success and impact as one might imagine.
With that reasoning in mind, I have decided to make a bold decision and remove the review scale entirely from the process. Instead, when we release a game review, it will be less of a rundown of a game’s particular features and more of a critical analysis of a game’s themes and cultural impact. That way, we can set a strong example for other journalists trying to get into the industry by essentially saying, “If you really care about gaming journalism, take a look at this”, while also distinguishing ourselves from the plentiful sites trying to get their review scores on Metacritic to feel powerful and connected (you know who you are).
People can disagree if they want, but all I have to say on the matter is this: if talking about games and examining their meaning matters less than a god-damn number, then there truly is no hope for the future of gaming or games journalism. Neither will never be respected and treated as mature fields if we don’t address the products we release in this particular manner.
There’s another big announcement I have for you, which is more of a publishing detail; namely, that our reviews are going to come in Standard, Video and Short-Form flavours. What I am planning is to release normal-sized written reviews in pairs every month, along with 8-to-10 minute video reviews for each and “bite-sized” articles where I briefly discuss several games. That way, people still get their fix of critical content on a regular basis but with the added bonus of having choices based on available free time and personal interest.
Editorials based on real-world developments or any given subject I (or other writers, should they appear) choose to write about are less certain, at this point. Obviously I can’t predict what will be news-worthy in the gaming industry at any given time, and I can’t say I’ll have strong feelings for these hypothetical subjects. So there is a very real possibility that articles like In Defense of Tropes vs. Women will be a once-in-a-while proposition – sorry about that.
Anyway, that is all for the moment. We’re bringing in a wider range of review-type articles, we’re shifting to a new style of review, and we may or may not have editorials and opinion pieces in the works. It’s still a work-in-progress so keep your eyes open in the coming months, and remember… gaming is for everyone to enjoy. Don’t be a dick about trying to “protect” the old ways – that road leads to prejudice and loneliness, my friend.