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What Do Game Developers Hate About Game Reviewers?

One of the features that caught my attention this week on touches on the delicate topic of how journalists review video games. And, most interestingly, what game developers hate about it. Playing a game for just a few hours before reviewing it is a rather common practice, sadly enough, and it's certainly one the main things that the devs rightfully hate about us (I'm no saint either). But there always solutions for avoiding this, whether you're the one reviewing the game, or the one making it. And several other common issues can also be avoided, as indicated in GameDaily's article, "What Game Developers Hate About Videogame Reviewers".

In his feature, "Mr. Media Coverage" talks to contacts in the development world and asks them what they hate most about game reviewers. Only four problems are discussed in the article (although I could easily name a few more, from my past editorial experience at a printed gaming publication), and these are:

"Developers hate game reviewers that only play their games for a few hours

Developers spend months and even years creating games, and nothing quite makes them angrier than realizing a reviewer only played their game for a couple hours before dismissing it. Online reviewers, according to developers I know, are the prime culprits here. (...)

Developers hate game reviewers because they don't understand games that are targeted for a specific audience

"Game reviewers want every game to be Zelda." That's what one developer told me. He said that the reality of game development is that most developers make games for a very specific target audience and the developers do their best to find and meet the needs of those specific gamers. (...)

Developers hate game reviewers who review games in proxy for an entire genre.

Here's a nightmare scenario for a game developer. You've just finished a two-year project and you're exceptionally proud of the many obsessive details that you've poured into your Civil War turn-based strategy. You've revolutionized the genre, you've created something that the fans have been begging for and you're excited about the response. Then an enthusiast press publication hands your review to their FPS specialist. (...)

Developers hate game reviewers who have no idea what it takes to make a game.

This developer compliant reveals itself in wild requests or odd complaints that show up in reviews. Game reviewers, according to developers, love to think of themselves as armchair programmers. It's as if they expect, by mere creative flash, that developers can overcome technical, time and economic restraints. (...)"

Each problem is discussed in more detail, and ends with suggestions for how the enthusiast press can improve, and also how game developers can help in each case. It's an interesting read, and one that I would recommend to anyone who ever thought about reviewing games for a living. I can't deny it's a very fun job at times, but it does have its frustrations.

(N.B. Archive text, links removed)
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