Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tommy's Take on Reviews, or "I hate ratings."

I review lots of stuff these days.
The most read review on my blog, and I
still haven't figured out why.

You can scroll down the archive just to see the stuff I've reviewed this year. Go on, I'll wait.

And now, I review comic books on top of the roleplaying games and occasional novels I pick up. I enjoy reviewing products. I get free stuff, occasionally people buy things through my referral links and that has kept gas in my tank when I didn't have any other money coming in, and I've made some contacts - and friends - through my reviewing. As a bit of an egotist (I'm sorry, it is impossible to put yourself out there, splashing your opinions for the world to see, without being at least a bit of an egotist. In wrestling, my mentor told me it was "being a mark for yourself"...and it's not inherently a bad thing, it just is what it is), it makes me feel good when someone hits me up out of the blue and says "Hey, I like your reviews, wanna review my game?"

I try to be nothing but honest with my reviews, and I try to be as objective as I can be, for the bulk of the reviews. I may toss in a line here or there, and I always wrap up with my overall opinion on a product, but I try to present as much factual information as I can leading up to that because, honestly, I think factual information does a prospective buyer more good than me talking about how cool or crappy something is...which leads to my next point: Even when I'm criticizing a product, I try my best to never be rude about it. I don't see the sense in it, really. I will certainly never go on a profanity laced tirade about a book like some might, because it serves no purpose. It doesn't make me look any better, it doesn't help the writers or publishers of the books and it doesn't help prospective buyers.

The thing I like most about posting my reviews here and not crossposting them to RPG.net, RPGNow or The RPG Site, though, is that I hate rating reviews. I've seen people get far too hung up on the numbers attached to the reviews over the actual content of the reviews. I may really love a book and so I give it a 5 on RPGNow or a 4/5 on RPG.net or whatever, and if a reader just looks at that number, they may think "Man, that's gotta be great!"...only to buy the book and be horribly disappointed.

I guess the moral of the story is: If you read my reviews on an external site, take my ratings with a grain of salt. I'm not saying I put NO thought into the ratings, because I do...but I would rather you read the reviews for themselves, and the facts therein, before drawing your conclusions and not just looking at the ratings I've tagged to the entry.