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Even before I started doing gaming content, it had become apparent that gaming has reached a whole new sector of influence in terms of reaching people but in doing so had become ever more complicated. Let’s face it: emotions can run high for subjects that we love, and that’s part of the strength of the media that we consume. I admit it: I love games, and I would be lost without them. My video last week touched on that.

This week,  I want to hit a topic core to where I see a lot of different opinions and ideas in terms of gaming reviews and journalism as a whole. Objectivity is one of the things that I’ve discussed and seen discussed over and over again over the last year regarding the games journalism industry, and so it seemed like a great place to start. I had reached out to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier regarding the following tweet:

The tweet that has people concerned, but with Twitter, did the message get skewed?

The tweet that has people concerned, but with Twitter, did the message get skewed?

Like most things with twitter, I was afraid of context and the shortening of ideas into more generic statements, so I wanted him to describe his feelings about objectivity and to clarify it. Jason did respond to me and actually wrote an article on it himself. It helped in creating more content for me to talk about, so I thank him for his effort and appreciate his response. While I may not agree with him on everything, as you will see in the video below, I respect the professionalism he showed in terms of reacting to the situation. Anyway, I could have written a huge essay for you all to read about it, but I’m more of a video creator. So you get to hear me talk about it instead.

What do you think about the pursuit of objectivity, and can it truly exist in a medium where passion and art can be factors in a critical assessment of a game? Can a person wear their opinion on their sleeve and still provide a non-bias opinion, or at least pursue that idea of objectivity? Is there any other topic you’d like to see discussed regarding it, or anything you want clarified? And finally, is there any other topic you like to see covered regarding concerns within the gaming world?

Shaun Joy

Staff Writer

YouTuber Dragnix who plays way too many games, and has a degree in Software Engineering. A Focus on disclosure on Youtubers, and gaming coverage in general.

  • Iconoclast

    I remember the Jimquistion on this topic and the point that it is useless to strive for objectivity was fals back then and yes, there are many objective things one can examine that will give the view good information:
    – Is the game working as intended or a bug-ridden atrocity?
    – The graphics, do they fit the game, is the art style consistent, what about texture and FX qaulity?
    – Sound design, out of the box effects and royality free- music, or are the FX hand-crafted and the OST worth listening to? Are VAs doing their job properly or phoning it in?

    Not only technical aspects can be examined in this fashion, you can evaluate the difficulty curve, or whether or not the narrative is internally consistent.
    You can examine so many individual data points a gamer would be interested with out the necessity or danger of personal bias. But that requires time and effort and dedication to do your job properly. You can make an objective review and conclude that e.g. Rambo the Video Game is a shitty rail shooter.

    In conclusion I think the best way to eliminate bias is to have games evaluated by two or more different people who will compare notes before slapping a rating on the game. The Video Game mag I read does that and puts opinions of the reviewers in extra boxes that go along with the review text. It is a nice setup that allows the reviewers to express their often different views on a game while keeping the main review text as neutral as possible.

  • XonX

    “I’m gonna use math. This is your trigger warning”. At this point I’ve completely lost it. You, sir, are brilliant.

  • Okay, with the proviso that I haven’t watched the video since it’s after 2am here right now and I should be asleep, I’m going to have to agree with Kotaku for once. The US is actually rather unusual in expecting objectivity from print/written journalism, but it’s an argument I’ve often made in relation to British laws concerning broadcast news, which mandate it. They don’t work, because it’s impossible.

    Don’t get me wrong: it’s a noble ideal to aim for. Of course you should try to be fair, but in the end your own biases are bound to emerge, if only in the relative importance you lend to stories, the amount of coverage you give them, the order you run them in, etc. Far better to be open about where you stand, as British – and most European – newspapers do, and let the public judge your reliability for themselves.

    Meaning, for games journalism specifically, full disclosure of prior relationships – personal or business – with developers, and any other potential conflicts of interest. And it’s certainly true that there are objective facts about games that can and should be reported regardless of your overall opinion of their worth. But beyond that, I don’t expect absolute objectivity. Even from you guys. I want opinion. That’s what a review is. 🙂

  • AsatorPrime

    Great article/video.

  • chloe

    I dont think they even intend to be objective. Its just toothfairy like tales they throw around when the real purpose to get loose tooth out of the mouths of children

  • Anita

    People like schrier intentionally “misunderstand” what “objectivity” means. They think that anything other than “This game is XYZ gigabytes and is of XYZ genre” is not objective. Therefore, they can not possibly be objective and do their job. Therefore, FUCK EVERYTHING, FREE FOR ALL!

    It’s like they’ve never attended a journalism class.

    It’s like they’ve never been educated on the most primitive fundamentals of journalism.

    I mean, the kind of fundamentals you learn in middle or high school.

    It is truly absurd.

  • cypher20

    In the future you may want to consider at least summarizing your points below the video. I understand the strengths a video can provide but lots of people surf the web in circumstances where watching a video is difficult if not impossible. I have a feeling I’m more likely to agree with you than Jason though, so I’ll watch the video tonight.

    I did read Jason’s piece on the matter and while he makes some good points, he misses the mark I believe. He’s right that it’s impossible to be 100% objective. However, because of that he seems to believe it’s okay to throw the entire concept out the window and that just isn’t right. I suppose you could use “fairness” instead of “objectivity” but to me it seems that people were upset back when gamergate started because a lot of the video game news sites were releasing very one-sided articles and being insulting and/or hostile to anyone who dared to disagree with them. While you can’t be 100% objective, you can certainly do a better job of showing respect for all sides of an issue and if you know that you personally fall on one side of a contentious issue, then go out of your way to show respect to the other side.

    Some authors manage to do this, Paul Tassi (Forbes Games) and Liana Kerzer ( are two I’ve run into. They’re not people I’m picking because I agree with them either. I can tell by reading their pieces that they are firmly in the left-wing side of the spectrum, while I’m parked over on the right-wing side, however they treat others, even people they disagree with, with respect and that counts for a lot.

  • Fritzster

    I call objectivity an outsider who looks in, and writes what he sees. This may sound eccentric by today’s standards, but for the technocrats out there there comes a point when further complexity can only be achieved by discarding the human element in pursuit of virtue altogether renderiung us superfluous. Being a decent human being making the right choices for freedom to flourish. Try that for edgy.