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Should a critic be "objective"?

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VXIII said:
the-pi-guy said:
I don't think there's anything necessarily objective about game quality.

How do you objectively score gameplay?

At least within certain limits?

Repetitiveness, variety, fluidity, complexity and so on. However, it is subjective if you don't mind a game being repetitive for example. But more variety is objectively better than limited gameplay assuming that it doesn't hurt other things in the game. It is not always a clear cut but some objectivity is essential for a good review.

How do you objectify these things though? 

Repetitiveness for example, how do you consider something repetitive? 

Even then does such repetitiveness matter?  Skyrim, I spend six hours walking in one direction, how does that get scored?  Skyrim I spend a few hours hunting, how does that weigh with the other 6 hours? 



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Norris2k said:
"Nothing is objective" is something I read a lot, and that would be because you can't be perfectly objective. But could you be "perfectly subjective" ? I mean, without any consideration for the objective qualities of acting, FX, scenario, dialogues, music, without a standard based on other movies, without considering the genre and target audience, out of thin air, just based on a pure subjective feeling about it ? And would that be any interesting to read "I had fun, period." without any objective reasons ?

So, it should be both, subjective and objective, with a good balance, what I'd call an educated subjectivity. Because the point is not to know if the writer liked it or not, it's about the reader knowing if he will like it or not.

For example, you can like an actor, that doesn't make him a good actor, and you can have a good actor, and that doesn't mean you have to like him. The writer should be able to tell if and be clear about if he likes the actors based on a feeling, or if he believes (right or wrong) that there is a good acting in the movie. Also depending on the movie, if the acting/actor matters that much or not. I mean I like to see Chuck Norris in a movie, just because that's freakin' Chuck Norris, but I would be disappointed if Brad Pitt had a weak acting and dialogues because I believe he's an excellent actor, and I could also like a movie with actors I can't even remember if the scenario is intriguing and the suspense built up. So it's important the critic expose his standards, expectations, and objective reasons for someone to like the movie or not.

Everything you mentioned on your last paragraph is subjective. Good acting is subjecitve. Calling someone a good actor is subjective. Intriguing scenario is subjective, suspense building up is subjective. What are you saying is that reviews should have enough of a summary or digest of the work in question for the average viewer, member of the same culture, social context and speaker of the same language, more or less builds up a mental image which can be considered (or not) an approximation of the critic's subjective experiences with that movie.

The very basis of western science since Descartes has been that, while my sensory perceptions attest to the existence of a world outside myself, the foundations of genuine knowledge lie outside the senses, for perception is unreliable. And you cannot apply his solution, that is reason and later the scientific method, to criticize a work of art. Even the scientific method is not devoid of subjectivity, because there are countless oportunities for it to manifest itself, often even without someone noticing it; from the moment you choose a subject of study all the way to statistical analysis and the procedure of attributing meaning and studying the results.

Unless you want to mathematically describe a movie, but even then you fall into subjectivity when choosing which data to present and on which way. So it's fairly unavoidable, really.

Anyways... the merits of the Django OST or whatever aside, since this is on Gaming Discussion, allow me to say I think gamers whine a bit too much when it comes to criticics. Jesus man. In Metacritic we already have games setting the "highest" standard for anything lower than a >90 average means the game is not critically acclaimed or something, because God forbid those mean critics rating those masterpieces lower than what my hype dictates... sad man.



 

 

 

 

 

vivster said:

Show him this.

Came to here to post this. It seems my job is done.



Signature goes here!

If the person is being completely objective then it ceases to be a review.



The simple solution is to do away with scores. Scores are objective indicators as real numbers so it's insulting to have review scores and then have a subjective view of a game right beside it.



Lube Me Up

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the-pi-guy said:
VXIII said:

Repetitiveness, variety, fluidity, complexity and so on. However, it is subjective if you don't mind a game being repetitive for example. But more variety is objectively better than limited gameplay assuming that it doesn't hurt other things in the game. It is not always a clear cut but some objectivity is essential for a good review.

How do you objectify these things though? 

Repetitiveness for example, how do you consider something repetitive? 

Even then does such repetitiveness matter?  Skyrim, I spend six hours walking in one direction, how does that get scored?  Skyrim I spend a few hours hunting, how does that weigh with the other 6 hours? 

Numbers of possibilities and optiones. Clear and simple. A game with one possible action will be the most repititive. A game with endless possibilities and actions is the most varied. Of cource it is never as simple as that in games so subjectivity will always be a factor. So, how much this or that matters will alywas be subjective.

That's my take on it.



I don't like fighting games and find them boring but if you asked me objectively if Smash Bros. is good or not (for exemple) i will say yes even if they're games i don't really enjoy playing.

For genres i am familiar with however it might be a little harder because i have stronger opinions about what is good and what is not.



haxxiy said:

Everything you mentioned on your last paragraph is subjective. Good acting is subjecitve. Calling someone a good actor is subjective. Intriguing scenario is subjective, suspense building up is subjective. What are you saying is that reviews should have enough of a summary or digest of the work in question for the average viewer, member of the same culture, social context and speaker of the same language, more or less builds up a mental image which can be considered (or not) an approximation of the critic's subjective experiences with that movie.

The very basis of western science since Descartes has been that, while my sensory perceptions attest to the existence of a world outside myself, the foundations of genuine knowledge lie outside the senses, for perception is unreliable. And you cannot apply his solution, that is reason and later the scientific method, to criticize a work of art. Even the scientific method is not devoid of subjectivity, because there are countless oportunities for it to manifest itself, often even without someone noticing it; from the moment you choose a subject of study all the way to statistical analysis and the procedure of attributing meaning and studying the results.

Unless you want to mathematically describe a movie, but even then you fall into subjectivity when choosing which data to present and on which way. So it's fairly unavoidable, really.

Anyways... the merits of the Django OST or whatever aside, since this is on Gaming Discussion, allow me to say I think gamers whine a bit too much when it comes to criticics. Jesus man. In Metacritic we already have games setting the "highest" standard for anything lower than a >90 average means the game is not critically acclaimed or something, because God forbid those mean critics rating those masterpieces lower than what my hype dictates... sad man.

This is the so much the truth.  Almost all the "this review is awful" threads I see basically break down into "this review does not reflect my opinon of the game," which itself is ridiculous.  Why SHOULD someone else's opinion reflect your own?  The extreme overreation to the "too much water" review, for example, where people were losing their minds because someone somewhere didn't like the mechanics of particular segment of the game.  Big deal.  It's just one person's opinion and they are every bit as entitled to it as anyone else.



Wright said:
The thing went as follows: we were discussing about cinema critics. My friends ended up saying that critics should be objective. I argued back: objective is something you can't achieve (yet you can come close to it), but a criticism falls under the category of subjectivism in itself. There's no such a thing as an "objective criticism", aside from making obvious statements (like, if a movie has audio issues, saying the movie has audio issues is objective). But how can we categorize whether the movie (or game, as I'm trying to bring this discussion to this theme) is "fun"? "Enjoyement value" should be a metric? Or a critic should just relegate himself to tell whether the movie works or not? But how can you analize whether a movie works or not? Should we employ an universal metric?

There's a confusion, here, as to the intent of the word "objective".

When people say they want an objective review or criticism, what they're saying is that they want the reviewer to provide information about the film in a form in which anyone can insert their own subjective viewpoint, rather than being given the reviewer's subjective viewpoint.

It's the difference between "the story involves a love triangle between John, Katie, and Patrick, but I didn't find it believable because it seemed to me as though Patrick really was more into John than Katie. The dialogue felt a little disjointed as characters seemed to respond in ways that felt like they were talking past each other rather than to each other. You might like this movie if you're into complicated romantic entanglements, but don't go in expecting the epitome of romantic drama." and "The love triangle wasn't believable. I think Patrick is gay based on how he seemed to react to the other characters, but he's meant to be straight. The actors didn't make the dialogue feel real. I say that this is a bad movie."

Notice the difference? In the former case, there is subjective opinion incorporated into the critique, but it's done in a way that leaves the reader with the ability to decide for themselves. The details are provided to make clear what the issues were, and an attempt is made to provide what is necessary for those who have different opinions to make their own mind up. In the latter case, even where detail is provided, it's provided in a form that doesn't permit alternative viewpoints. The former attempts to provide objective information, the latter revels in subjective opinion.

And that's what, I believe, most people mean when they say they want objective criticism - something that allows people to insert their own biases and subjective perspectives, rather than something that avoids any form of subjective opinion.

Another way to think of it is by analogy with colouring books. A completely objective review would be like an art book - blank pages. The kind of review that annoys a lot of people is pre-coloured, there's no room for alternatives. What people want is a book that has the outlines done, provides the structure, but then leaves it to the user to put their own colours into it. They want a review that provides that basic structure, that sense of what it's like, but then leaves it to the reader to imprint their own views.



A critic should be objective about objective things: frame rate stability, glitches, loading time, sound quality. A critic should be subjective about subjective things: art style, enjoyment/fun, genre preferences.

If I was a critic I would generally score FPS games lower than average because I don't like FPS. As long as people who read my reviews understood that I don't like FPS then they will be able to contextualise my review.

The problem is when people read a review and don;t understand the tastes and preferences of the reviewer.



“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

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