I'll do the numbering thing 'cause I think it just makes it clearer what I'm responding to at any given time.
 I'm just using MC as an arbitrary gauge simply to have a gauge. Ain't meaning to imply you gotta agree with the average critic. I know I disagree with the critical consensus fairly often. I mean the fact is that I do look at what a game's average review score is and consider that before I buy it. It's not the only thing I consider by any means, but it is something, and I suspect that's the case for most people. That I think does reveal that most of us do indeed tend to place at lease some credence on these things.
 Well that makes sense.
 I didn't even read those reviews because I wasn't interested in any of those games myself. Didn't realize that Paul had reviewed any Nintendo games since giving Luigi's Mansion 3 a score of 6! And yes, I've noticed that the two of you have a penchant for scoring first-party games in general, and indeed many video games in general, worse than most would, and conversely some other, typically more obscure titles, much higher than most people would. Just, like you say, contrarian views of things, I guess. Sometimes I feel like that too. Prolly why I prioritized getting a Series X before PS5 (and now kinda regret that decision). Or for example, whereas most people buy Nintendo systems primarily for Nintendo games, by contrast when the Switch initially launched in early 2017 to immense commercial success, I wasn't interested. I bought mine only after the announcement of Metroid Prime 4 at that year's E3, mainly for the promise of that game. To this day, I own but a handful of Nintendo games for it and use it almost exclusively to play indie games. (It's become my default indie machine, and it sure looks like it's gonna remain so, I might add.) Conversely, I like PlayStation systems these days for the first-party libraries and largely ignore mainstream third-party publishers altogether (simply no interest in the latest Assassin's Creeds and such). So yeah, in some respects, I think I understand and even share this strong sense of independence.
Anyway, getting back to the subject of VGC's official reviews, I was thinking of more high-profile Nintendo games like the cases of Paper Mario: The Origami King and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, falling within the same window of time, for example. Both of these titles were reviewed by others and scored an 8, which is higher than VGC has scored any Sony title to my knowledge in years now. In fact, as I recall, the former was the leading VGC staff pick for Game of the Year! I believe these facts by themselves serve as an adequate counterpoint. (Nothing against either, mind you. I've enjoyed them both (and Luigi's Mansion 3 ) plenty myself. Just pointing out a contrast.)
 And that's a much more nuanced approach. Like I mentioned before, it certainly felt less arbitrary after you placed it in that "tasked by site" context. And while it's still an understandable gauge to see where a site lands compared to avg. critics, it really sucks how often it's been poisoned for more unsavory purposes.
 I follow you. And that score comparison is quite interesting when assessing over such a timespan. Like the "who gets to review x" point, it's something that flies past my head until it's brought up. Although I would add another intersection to my previous comment: are you able to squeeze it within the deadline. Because there are two critical examples that fell through the cracks because of this: Dreams & Demon's Souls (2020). There was special interest in Demon's Souls for one person who wanted to be thorough, but I believe had some IRL things that disrupted his time and it just fell through since it seemed like everyone else wanted to try it out later on. Maybe they'd grab it after a price cut. Dreams is one I was on the fence to review, but figured I'd buy later. I think both of these two were strong 9-score potential too.
Could be fun! I'm all for drifting away from the overly-generous avg. scoring mindset from the 7th-gen.
[EDIT: Should you really go for writer/critic position: make sure your personal scoring criteria falls inline with the site's review methodology too. Having that harmony helps so the only conversation that's occurring is how well you're expressing your viewpoint, rather than dueling viewpoints.]Last edited by coolbeans - on 07 July 2021