Reviews Going Forward in 2017

Reviews: Good or Bad?

In a bid to get more into content creation for the Avoiderdragon brand, I realized that I should bank on my strengths. One of those is doing reviews, which I’ve always done well enough over the years. However, I don’t do enough of them and I’ve never really figured out and fully put down my review standards. Therefore, I’ve decided on a few things regarding my reviews going forward as I’ve been unsatisfied with how things are right now.

I see reviews as the backbone of my content, so I need to open it up more in order to get more stuff down the pipeline soon. I do need to set aside time to make these reviews, then I’ll go from there as far as my content creation endeavors go. I’ve already talked enough about my intention of making stuff, so I hope to make this the last time I do so in a long while before pushing forth with the actual deed.

The Art in Reviewing Things

Reviewing entertainment media is the act of objectifying subjective experiences—a paradox most seem to misconstrue. True objectivity by strict definition is virtually absent here, no matter how strictly technical a review is. The only thing a review can do is arrive at a conclusion that most people would arrive at as well later on in consensus.

From how I see it, reviews are wholly dependent on the reviewers’ perspective and mindset. They can be as objective as objective as possible and point out the technical aspects of the subject, but then color their assessments with how it touches upon their own pre-existing tastes and preferences. It’s inevitable, and that’s actually what makes reviews interesting in the first place.

Everything else is elaboration and embellishment to supplement the points made in the review. It must be understood that the review is essentially an opinion piece with structure meant for critique and curation of a creative work. As impartial and unbiased as a review can be, it can never be devoid of some sort of influence—from within or without. That’s just the nature of the beast.

The Fun and Folly of Giving Scores

Let’s get this out of the way—Metacritic is a cesspool. Other sites like Rotten Tomatoes is alright with me, but Metacritic be damned.

It’s mostly due to the scoring system most mainstream sites employ and how people have associated numbers with quality. A score of 7 shouldn’t be considered “average” because it’s three points away from perfect. Average should be right in the median, which is 5. If you think 7/10 is not a very good score, I think you need to be dunked into ice-cold water.

But that’s what happens when the scoring system is dictated by the audience’s perception instead that of the reviewer. The standards of the reviewer are supposed to be what the review and the final score is based on, so laxness and lack of consistency is mostly on the reviewer’s willingness to bend his own rules.

That’s why even in things like pro wrestling, any match rated 3 stars and below are meh and boo while those above 4 stars can go through 4 1/4, 4 1/2, 4 3/4, to a 5-star match. There’s even a 6-star match.

I get that there are different degrees to excellence, but I’ve had it with the decimals, fractions, gradations, and so on in scoring. While plenty of other reviewers and critics have done away with scoring due to the foolishness of putting a number to a review that has a lot of nuanced details to them, I believe that the readers I attract are smart enough to read the reviews and not just base everything off the arbitrary number I give a game, movie, anime, or so on at the end.

Also, one thing about the grading of “perfection”—if it’s technically a 9 without question and the whole thing is actually perfect for the reviewer, it can get a perfect score. The 10/10 score is the most subjective score in the scale. I’ve been able to figure out for myself the difference between a 5 and a 4, a 4 and a 3, and so on. You can read about it here.

Same goes with a 0/10. It’s also subjective. Like the movie “The Haunting of Molly Hartley,” which I’d definitely give a goose egg. It’s at least a 3, but it can justify a 2 and even a 1 in my book, and I extra hate it because I actually saw it in the theater with my friends. It was hot garbage and I hated it, so that would constitute a full-on zero from me.

I’ll figure more of this out as I go along. Maybe I’ll do away with scoring altogether someday, but I did spend good money for the Reviewer plugin I’m using to write these reviews for the blog, so that won’t come for quite a while.

Reviewing Old Stuff, Not Just New Releases

Going forward, I’d like to post reviews on older stuff rather than just catching up to new releases. I want the blog and YouTube channel to be more like those review channels to curate and talk about whatever I come across rather than whatever is new at the moment. I realized that if I play the game most other mainstream channels play, I lose out in the long run and only serve to hamstring my ability to create content.

After some thought, I figured out how I should go about this. The following are some, if not all, of my criteria for reviewing something old.

  1. Not oversaturated with other reviews; not a “dead horse.”
  2. Something I have personal opinions and feelings about.
  3. Significantly affected my life in some way.
  4. Weird or unusual in some way, faint or profound.
  5. Related to something interesting.
  6. Produced by a known company or individual.
  7. Features something historically related.

Most of them won’t be written as full reviews, but as retrospectives and features unless still fairly recent. Perhaps I should have a cutoff of sorts, like around 3 years or so.

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