Changing Criticism, Or Fuck Game Reviews

So let’s just cut to the chase – I’m over game reviews.

I continued writing game reviews after I declared Jimdependence because of my passion for traditional games criticism. They were not the real draw for the Jimquisition’s Patreon, but nonetheless I added them in as a means to continue doing something I loved on the side. Trouble is, I kind of don’t love them anymore.

There are a number of factors for this. The main one is that, honestly, the amount of time a game review takes is time better spent on new original work like the freshly launched Commentocracy and upcoming Loose Boys. My passion is in creating original video work, that’s become evident as we’ve begun to put our efforts there.

I had hoped video reviews would mitigate the feeling of burnout I have with traditional games criticism, but honestly that hasn’t helped.

The same old arguments about “objective” reviews, the usual hassle and pressure accompanying scoring systems (which I’ve always defended, but I’m so tired of doing it), not to mention the fact that publishers have pretty much ensured game reviews en masse are tightly controlled (they’re terrified of the “wild cards” after all) means I’d much rather tackle games criticism in a way that keeps me happy and invested in my work.

This doesn’t mean I’m chucking in games criticism, I’m just doing it differently. Here’s the deal.

Jimpressions, formerly part of my ad-supported content, will become officially part of the Jimquisition brand, which it should’ve been anyway with a name like that. Jimpressions will be me talking over footage of games that I’ve captured, focusing on aspects of the game I specifically want to talk about without the same old tired structure of a review format.

The previous Jimpression videos had started to split into two types of very different show – the type I just described, and sillier videos played in real-time and often edited for comic effect, typically playing random nonsense found on Steam. I’m going to make the two things their own separate series from now on.

This ultimately means more content for Jimquisition fans, and allows me the added benefit of getting criticism out there quickly without having to rush through games to beat them – often a problem for game reviewers. This new approach allows me to have my cake and fuck it too – I can give you instant critique of games at or near launch, with more nuanced criticisms after I’ve played more fully.

For example, I plan to put up a Shadow of War Jimpressions soon, but that’s not to say it’s the only Shadow of War Jimpressions video coming. As I play more, get to grips with the Nemesis system, and tackle the Domination aspects of the game, I can give you a second Jimpressions with updated thoughts in real-time.

This is an approach I tried with Dark Souls III last year, producing Jimpressions videos with early gameplay, followed by a video looking at later content and another specifically showcasing multiplayer aspects.

I’d told a few people about this plan, and one concern was that I was the “only reviewer [they] trusted.” I see that phrase come up a lot, not just concerning me, and I have to wonder what the point of game reviews are if people only trust one or two people in the whole industry. Seeing as every major “AAA” release is expected to get 8s, 9s, and 10s regardless of actual quality, I think it’s safe to say the system is busted beyond saving now.

While I certainly wanted and hoped for that cycle of “AAA” reviews to change, it was never going to. I’ll confess I’m jaded by that entire part of the industry.

I can give you criticism and thoughts on games without being part of that increasingly obsolete world. And I’ll admit, I relish the thought of taking more time with games. I used to enjoy the idea of getting through them under pressure, but I’ve long since grown out of that.

I’m expecting some disappointment, hopefully not too much anger, but ultimately I think this is a good move. It’s a good move for my mental health, giving me less stress and more time to focus on the parts of the business I think people are really paying for. It’s good for you, as it gives you more ad-free content and what I believe is a more useful format for games criticism.

And it’ll be good for the poor precious Nintendo fans who don’t want to see another Zelda get less than a perfect fucking 10.

Not that I’ll be letting Nintendo off the hook in any other fucking way.

My other SNES Classic is a Raspberry Pi, after all.

IraVehementi
Member
IraVehementi

There’s gonna be no anger or disappointment with your decision. While I love your written stuff, because it was very entertaining and had a lot of content in it, I also dig your current format, you can be very well audiobooked and still remain fun. Write something once in a while, just for those of us who just love reading, but primarly focus on doing what keeps you going strong, and your audience will be happy as well. Cheers!

ChayceHaines
Member
ChayceHaines

Hey Jim! I think its a great idea! Jimpressions are easier to digest as a viewer! Full support either way!

Zack “Shadowkat” West
Member
I’ll be completely honest in saying that I dislike the new change in direction, but I’m not angry about it whatsoever. Whatever you’re most comfortable with is best, though I absolutely prefer being able to read a concise review at my own pace. I really dislike shoving in forced jokes and the like–if I’m looking for critique I’m generally not looking for comedy as well (only person I can think of who I like when they straddle that line is I Hate Everything, but c’est la vie)–so take that as you will. That’s just my thoughts, and reading this comments… Read more »
Imp Emissary
Member

Aw. :C I’m sorry you lost your love of the craft, Jim. I liked your reviews.

I hope this means you’ll make more videos about the games than before. I still want to hear what you think of them before I buy any.
Best of luck! =w= b

thatanimeguy
Member
thatanimeguy

while it sucks he’s not doing written reviews, as i enjoy reading and actually read the reviews, jim talking over footage of him playing a game is fun too.. you can’t be passionate for something you don’t like. if jim wants to just doing video rather then written reviews cause he enjoys that more, then so be it.. cause i support jim fucking sterling son

Ayon Windsor
Member
Ayon Windsor

It will be missed. A lot. I like your reviews and always read them, regardless of initial interest in the work at hand.
I don’t have anything else to say, but It’d have felt wrong to keep quiet about it.

AustinSJ
Member
AustinSJ

Logging into the comments section was a major pain for some reason.
Anyway, I will miss your written reviews, I still go back to read one of your Sonic reviews.
I can’t really say much more than that as you can hardly force yourself to do it.
I hope taking time off might actually give you a chance to regrow the passion.

Drake Warnock
Member

You do you. If you don’t enjoy the work then it isn’t going to be good. Plus it sounds like this system would also work for older games if you ever felt like doing a video on them.

SoopaSte123
Member
SoopaSte123

I’m sorry to hear that… I’ve always loved your written reviews, and have played some games solely due to reading your reviews. Your Beginner’s Guide review especially comes to mind… It was a very special review, and I otherwise never would’ve played the game and had the profound emotional experience that I did.

Donald Milliken
Member

I for one feel no disappointment or anger at this decision, Jim. It feels like a long overdue move from you frankly and absolutely the right one. It’s been obvious for a while now that you’re burned out on traditional reviews and who can blame you, it’s a broken model that seems to be more trouble than its worth. The sad fanboys who DDoS sites that give “bad” scores to their favorites games they haven’t even played yet can find someone else to kick around. I for one look forward to whatever you have planned for the future.

aargut
Member

Can’t wait to see what’s how this all turns out. It’s gonna be great.

44KPanda
Member
Man…. don’t get me started on having to rush through games to get reviews done. I review visual novels, and the only thing you can do to “speed up” the process is to read faster. Doing that makes you skip story elements, ruin your enjoyment, and ultimately miss the entire point of playing. Fortunately, I’ve come to an agreement with my readers and employers so that no one is breathing down my neck to finish a 65 hour VN in a week. In any case, I love your videos. I’m looking forward to the change, and god dammit, I want… Read more »
DeadlyYellow
Member
DeadlyYellow

The reviews felt rather reserved, generally lacking the bounce/joviality/cynicism of discussions present on the Podquisition and Jimquisition. I much prefer your experiences and opinions of titles expressed freely.

Jerome Handy
Member
I’m a little dismayed. But more because it’s further proof that games are becoming corporate product, rather than actual entertainment. Even though you retracted the former one, I found BOTH reviews of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice useful to me. A game got you THAT involved, AND incensed at the same time. I don’t know the last time I ever heard emotion like that from someone at IGN or Gamestop(unless we count that pandering Ryan McCaffrey did to Randy Pitchford.) Right now, I’m watching Primitive Skills on Youtube. A simple channel of a person constructing the means to live and survive in… Read more »
Alex Brown
Member

I dig it. It’s definitely a novel approach to this, and I think it will give an interesting look at the arc of a game’s appeal over time. It would be cool if the games that you have particularly strong feelings about, the coverage culminates in a long form essay.

ANTI-SANTA
Member
ANTI-SANTA

I actually liked your reviews because you’re one of the few critics out there who’s opinion I can trust. It’ll be sad to see them go, but I hope you find a nice formula with Jimpressions.

Luke Jordan
Member
Luke Jordan

Do what you need to do Jim. I personally had always been more interested in your original and creative works.

Arella Jardin
Member
Arella Jardin

Well, I will miss the drama caused by your Metacritic scores pissing off whiny fanboys. I think poking holes in the “nothing lower than an 8” expectations was important, if for no other reason than it occasionally highlighted how foolish caring about Metacritic scores is. But I would never tell someone to continue to do something they don’t want to do.

Well, I would, depending on the context.

Christian Pohl
Member
Work need not be grueling, Arisen. If things need adjusting, adjust them. I’m another voice in the chorus who will be missing your written thoughts on a game. Your reviews were, for the most part, comprehensive, subjective AND fun to read, that’s quite a feat to pull off. Trusted reviewers usually earned that trust – something the shill machines from Gamespot or IGN can only dream about. I don’t base my buying decision on reviews anyway, preferring to inform myself ahead of time, preferably with hands-on gameplay. In an age where demos are nearly extinct (or 43 gigs, like Gran… Read more »
Lloyd Arold
Member

As long as you are still giving your honest opinions on games then I don’t see a problem. After all that is the reason I watch/read your stuff and trust it.

OrangeyChocolate
Member
OrangeyChocolate

I’ll miss your written reviews, but it’s about time you dropped the old format, especially the obsolete review score system. All it really does is cause drama.

Peardude
Member
Peardude

I’ll miss having a more formalized setting where you talk about games. It was nice to get your more thought out thoughts for a game. I appreciate you splitting up Jimpressions into 2 separate things now, though.

7.31/10

Rassill
Member
Rassill
I thank God for you Jim but for me you´ve always been the Bill Bryson of Game reviewers: much better in written form than in person. I was saddened when you moved to the video format and am even more so now that you´ve ditched them entirely. Don´t get me wrong. I´ll always watch the Jimquisition but I was always happier when I saw a review title pop up. I disagreed with you many times (except Zelda, it really was just a good game) but never found the reviews less than extremely entertaining and informative. Still, you gotta do what… Read more »
Ezaviel
Member
Ezaviel

I will certainly miss your reviews mate, but I totally get why you are sick of it, and you gotta look after your own mental health first.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

I read the entire article in Jay Sherman’s Voice…..
While I do value your opinions and reviews on games, I come here for the witty commentary, articles, and Garm Jornarliserm.
So, while I’ll miss your reviews, it’s not what drew me to your videos in the first place.

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