AIAS President: 'Game Reviewers Are Lazy'

BOOM widget 118776Speaking on the current state of video game journalism and criticism, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences president Joseph Olin has expressed his belief that "game reviewers are lazy" due to a reliance on scores and the desire to review a game quickly.

"When I just see a score, whether it's a Metacritic score or 5 stars or 4 thumbs, that doesn't tell me anything," Olin told Shacknews during an extensive interview, to be published in full at a later date. "I am never surprised when there's as much as a 40% or 50% variance between Metacritic numbers and user numbers."

"My pet peeve is that game reviewers are lazy," he said. "Not all, but in terms of the reviews [something like] 'This game isn't as good because let's compare it to that game over there and that game was great.' Who gives a, you know, bleep?"

"How can you review a game, how can you give a comment about a game like Grand Theft Auto IV, that has 40-plus hours or more of gameplay, if you've only spent 2 1/2 to 3 hours playing it," Olin asked, describing his query as a "challenge" to the industry.

"It would be like reviewing a movie but only seeing the opening, first reel. I don't think that's fair, or is it accurate," he explained.

Prior to his appointment as AIAS president in 2004, Olin served as the vice president of marketing for publisher Eidos and in a position at Microprose. His official biography claims he was "instrumental in raising consumer awareness of well-known videogame publishers and properties from Nintendo to Sega Genesis."

Olin stressed his view that there are "a lot of game critics, but very little critical analysis," describing a "meaningful" review that one that gives "a point of view...good coverage as to what the game maker was trying to do, how they were trying to involve you."

In that instance, he explained, "it's only fair to also point out in the review that some things work better than others, there's some things that were disappointing or didn't live up to the premise or the promise."

However, Olin was clear that "some games obviously don't require [critics to complete the game]," listing Madden as one such example.