The world of video game journalism, specifically reviewing video games, is unique when compared to any other form of journalism.
This is because it is an interactive medium, whereas with something like reviewing movies just requires a person to sit and watch.
A debate has recently arisen about whether or not a game journalist should need a certain level of skill when playing games, or if anyone should be able to review games. I believe video game journalists should be at least as good as the average person at video games.
This became a prominent debate when Dean Takahashi, a writer for VentureBeat, posted footage of himself playing the upcoming platformer “Cuphead.” In the beginning of the video, Takahashi has trouble getting through what should have been incredibly easy sections of the tutorial.
As I watched the video, I became frustrated because it was obvious what Takahashi needed to do in order to get past each section, but he took longer than necessary to figure it out.
It honestly looked like a 5-year-old was playing the game. If I didn’t know beforehand, there is no way I would have thought that a video game journalist was the one playing.
It should be stated that this is not a personal attack against Takahashi. I do not know him personally, but I’ve heard many people say he is a great person.
Maybe he was just having a really off day, and he might be better at other game genres. This is simply concerning the debate that has sprung from his gameplay.
If a person doesn’t have the necessary skill to play a game, it can affect his review in a few ways.
First, he might not even be able to finish the game.
If this happens, he probably shouldn’t even write a review or give a final score to the game. The only time this would be acceptable is if a game-breaking glitch caused them to not be able to finish the game.
Second, not having the necessary skill may cause frustration that the reviewer feels is unnecessary, and could negatively impact the review and final score.
This is not fair to the game or the developers.
Most game developers create their game with two things in mind: Make the game accessible enough so average players can play without getting frustrated, but also have a high enough skill ceiling to where it shows when someone masters the game.
It isn’t fair if the developer does this and a reviewer who is incompetent at the game gives it a negative review.
This would be like a blind person reviewing a movie, or someone with a second-grade reading level reviewing Shakespeare.
So yes, a person may love video games and be a huge gamer, but if he don’t have the skill required to get through a game that the average gamer could, he shouldn’t be reviewing games.