Objective game reviews? Do they exist?

This was rather timely. I mentioned in my first blog post that I write game reviews for a Web site called “Christ Centered Gamer.” And this morning, one of them happens to go live! If you’d like to read my review of Scraps: Modular Vehicle Combat, it can be found right here.

I’ve been writing game reviews for a couple of years for this gaming site. One of the great things about being a game reviewer is that you get free games! Yay! Unfortunately, some of these games really stink, but you have to play them anyway. And then write about them. Even though I don’t get paid for it (reviewing games is on a volunteer basis. The site is always looking for more reviews and reviewers so if you’d like to take a look yourself, click here to see their submission guidelines).

The main reason why I decided to do it was to keep my writing skills up – it gives me something to do while waiting for November to roll around, when National Novel Writing Month begins. I love games of all sorts, so it’s a fun outlet to write about something that I love to do, and know well.

Now, you may be wondering about the site and the title I chose for this post. Is there such a thing as an “objective” game review? Given all the fuss about GamersGate over the past few years (if you don’t know what that’s about, feel free to look it up. I’ll still be here), I would say no. And it makes sense – all reviewers have their biases and opinions. If they didn’t have opinions, it wouldn’t be a review – it would be a simple, matter-of-fact news blurb. The advantage of Christ Centered Gamer is that the people reading the reviews knows what the bias is going to be before they go in there. The game reviews are written from a Christian, often conservative, perspective. But the reviewers on the site – including myself – aren’t heavy-handed about it.

Games are evaluated on two fronts. The first, how the game plays. This is what you’d find in your typical game review – graphics, sounds, controls, if the game is fun, that sort of thing. The second aspect of the review concerns the moral portions of the game. Is it excessively violent? Does the game contain a lot of swearing? Do most of the characters walk around naked? These are elements that other review sites often gloss over. More importantly, the moral aspects of the game are judged in a different category than the main game score.

As a Christian and a parent, I was immediately attracted to this approach. You never know what games might contain, and when you’re wanting to get a game for your child, it helps to know what’s in it before you plunk down your money. So I really like the site for offering this option, and I really enjoy being a part of the site as a reviewer.

But I don’t want to turn this into an advertisement for Christ Centered Gamer (I know, some of you might be thinking “too late”). Rather, I wanted to point out that this is one avenue where you can find some of my writings, and what some of my hobbies and interests are. Thanks for reading, and game on!

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