It’s been a good week for Canada and video games, with both the Toronto Sun and the National Post finally getting included in Metacritic‘s video game listings. The two newspapers join The Globe and Mail (and your’s truly) to form a trio of mainstream media representation on the important aggregation site, a claim only one other country can make. It’s a significant development for several reasons.
For the uninitiated, Metacritic is a hugely important entertainment review aggregator. The site’s editors curate a list of critics in four categories – movies, games, television and music – and present their respective findings as an averaged score. The usefulness of this is obvious: one or two critics can be wrong about a particular piece of entertainment, but the average of dozens – the wisdom of the masses – is a pretty good overall indicator of its quality. So, while Time magazine tells us that Argo was only a so-so movie deserving of a 5 out of 10, yet the critical consensus is 86 out of 100, we can generally judge that it’s actually pretty good (even if it is horribly inaccurate).
As a user, I don’t find the site to be too useful for TV shows or music; reviews of the first are generally based only on pilots or the first few episodes, while I’m not interested in reviews of the second much anymore. With movies, though, I live and die by Metacritic scores. I generally go see highly rated movies, whatever they’re about, and skip the low ones (sorry, Adam Sandler). Game scores, meanwhile, are also hugely important for many potential buyers, not to mention the makers themselves. Some publishers award bonuses to developers based on the Metacritic score of their game. Read the rest of this entry »