Michael Abbott over at Brainy Gamer recently posted an analysis of Metacritic scores for AAA games. Surveying 58 big-budget games released in the last two years, he found that they roughly recieved all the same score. They ranged from 79 to 97, but the average standard deviation from the mean (87.3) was only four and a half points. Or, as he puts it, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get somewhere between an A and a B. It’s a nice little breakdown and I’d encourage you to read the whole thing (it’s not that long!), but for me this raised three questions:
1. Is this a problem?
2. If so, what is causing it?
3. And how do we fix it?
I started writing a big analysis/manifesto answering these questions and outlining my reviewing philsophy. Then I realized that I didn’t truly know the answers to these questions, and that it was incredibly presumptuous of me to take game reviewers to task when I’ve yet to write a good review myself. So right now I’m just posting this as food for thought. As I develop my craft, I plan to return to these questions, because I think they’re at the heart of the struggle that game journalism is currently going through.