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Can you imagine a world where internet dwellers don’t argue about review scores? I certainly can’t, because it’s everywhere! This is the chief issue that would be remedied by removing them. Angry commenters (or worse, the authors themselves) won’t get caught up in arguing about the 0.1 point difference that would raise a title to the next tier of perceived quality. For a change, they would have to actually read the review, and then come up with a valid point to debate. I would absolutely love to interact with readers who assail my criticism, because I feel it’s a growth experience. Arguing about the ultimately pointless and broad spectrum of scores, and why my views don’t align with a particular number bracket is not. My insights are what I want readers to respect and value, not inane numbers. Honestly, what is the point of writing a critique if a minority are going to read it?

This trend has run rampant since the early days of game reviews in consumer electronics magazines, a time we are long past. Now a large portion of the community want to see the medium become a widely accepted art form. Subsequently, that entails gamers looking at the work of developers less as commercial products and more as items of creative expression. With the advent of the internet, I assumed that these forward-thinking ideas would be more established by now. However, the polar opposite has been achieved by corporate outfits like Metacritic, which assert simple algorithms can somehow aggregate the overall quality of a particular title. The ripple effect such a backwards organization like Metacritic has is beyond concerning, with publishers sometimes even modeling how they pay their employees based on meta-scores. When travesties like this occur, its appropriate to take a step back and assess the direction we are taking things.

To some extent, we are thankfully moving forward. The explosion of the independent games scene has caused a creative thinking paradigm shift in the industry at large. Both developers and publishers are experimenting with cutting edge ideas that will surely be fixtures in the artistic and commercial foundations of tomorrow. A lot of indie games don’t depend on scores to be successful, they depend on word of mouth. Minecraft’s success didn’t stem from the fact IGN gave it a 9, it grew from the overwhelmingly positive feedback of individual gamers. And those conversations are the type of thing good critics spawn with their work. The press side of things are caught up in the momentum as well – I often hear whispers from big wigs that now is the time to abandon scores, but the ideology remains too far ahead of present realities. Too many readers still consume and demand this type of review scheme for it to disappear anytime soon.

Now, you are probably wondering if Indie Haven has any plans to alter its review procedures. I am the reviews editor, and would personally like to see a change, but its ultimately left up to how the rest of the staff feels. I am only one person, and would never thrust my views upon anyone else forcibly. The entire point of this article is to promote hearing out opinions and seeing things from different points of view, rather than generalizing. If anything changes, we will let our readers know in advance. Because really, we want to have that conversation with you as well. Everyone’s opinion matters, and I think we should always take the words of others to heart.