The wonderful world of reviews

5 min read

A couple of days back indie developer Adam Saltsman tweeted out that he wanted his followers to remind him never to allow TotalBiscuit or any other dismissive reviewer to ever review his games.

This was coming on the end of an online argument about allegations of a certain indie developer sleeping with reviewers for better coverage. The accusations levelled at Zoe Quinn are quite severe but unfortunately, or fortunately, there is no real hard evidence so we really don’t know exactly what is happening; nor is any developer’s personal lives any of our business.

Either way, paying for a good review in any way is a bad thing and simply should never happen. Though it unfortunately does. But let’s get back to Adam’s point where he is going to deny certain people the chance to review his game. Unfortunately for Adam this is not only very immoral but it is also not possible. The developer/publisher of a game has no say over who or how their product is reviewed.

Reviews are covered under fair use, freedom of expression and freedom of speech and while they may own the rights to the images, gameplay and audio they can’t demand a review is taken down since they didn’t agree with it or license it.

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Much is made about the fact that gaming media get given free games to review with people claiming this skews the process. And yes sitting on the other side of the keyboard you can see why some people think getting a brand new game for free would give the reviewer a sense of euphoria that will result in a higher score even if it isn’t planned. But the reality is that it doesn’t work that way.

Reviews are hard work and most reviewers I know shy away from reviewing the games they are excited about simply because they want to take their time and enjoy the games instead of it feeling like a job. Even when we get whisked away to a hotel half way across the world to review a game it really doesn’t feel like a holiday.

We are away from our comforts of home, friends, family, everything costs a fortune and the free food we get is normally pretty crap. Add on top of that we are working 18-20 hour days and it is no longer the paradise it once appeared to be. Don’t get me wrong though, this industry is awesome and we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love games but it also isn’t all roses.

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We have never once been asked to remove a review and the absolute majority of publishers and developers want us, and every other site, to review their games as it gives them coverage.

Indie developers however are a weird bunch. You get some who are in it for making games that people enjoy and they love the coverage. Then you get the ones who have this weird attitude that their game is above reproach and is more artistic and intelligent than anything you’ve seen before. I avoid those ones. They look down on gaming journalism and seem to think they are above the industry. For those games I’d love to see a professional art critic review their games and then they’ll truly understand what a mauling feels like.

In a nutshell, we will review whatever the hell we like and no publishers/reviewers/distributors have any say over that. Also reviews are simply opinions and you have the right to ignore or disagree with them.


Last Updated: August 22, 2014

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • Admiral Chief Assassin


    *off to read article then

    • Hammersteyn

      • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

        And now I’m closing my Lazygamer tab. You, sir, have gone too far.

        • Hammersteyn

          It’s been a while since we heard this abomination of a song

          • Mark Treloar

            Does it come before Thurday and is it followed by Saturday?

          • Anon A Mouse

            Luckily I don’t have to click on the song, I am still save although it did start swirling around in the empty space where my brain is supposed to be.

          • Mark Treloar

            Well in that case, here’s the Karaoke light version for you

            Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
            Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
            Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
            Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
            Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
            Gotta get down to the bus stop
            Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

            Kickin’ in the front seat
            Sittin’ in the back seat
            Gotta make my mind up
            Which seat can I take?

            It’s Friday, Friday
            Gotta get down on Friday
            Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
            Friday, Friday
            Gettin’ down on Friday
            Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

            Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
            Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
            Fun, fun, fun, fun
            Lookin’ forward to the weekend

            Read more: Rebecca Black – Friday Lyrics | MetroLyrics

          • Anon A Mouse

            The fact that you know the lyrics or are able to stay sane after having to copy and paste them makes me very uncomfortable. o.O

          • Lord Chaos

            I think you’re under the misconception that anyone here is sane.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            How rude, I’m the sanest person I know.

          • Lord Chaos


          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Of course. What else could it possibly mean? O_o

          • Anon A Mouse

            The LG version of sanity at least.

          • Hammersteyn


          • hehehe

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Here, fixed.

          • Awesome is awesome 🙂

          • Anon A Mouse

            Ohhhh X-Com

      • Viking Of Science
      • Lord Chaos

        I hope your beer tastes funny.

        • Kensei Seraph


        • Hammersteyn

          Doesn’t matter, after the sixth one I won’t even notice 😛

      • WIN!

        • ToshZA

          So much win in this video.

      • Rock789


        My ears!!!!!!!!!! They burn!!!!!!!!!

      • ToshZA

        That deserves a downvote. My ears are burning!

        • Hammersteyn

          But she banged Justin Bieber 🙁

          • ToshZA

            Oh god, could you imagine that offspring? Anti-christ for sure!

      • rollingmol
        • Hammersteyn

          Agreed 😀

  • Admiral Chief Assassin


    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Amandla Potato Amandla!

  • Brendyn Zachary

    And that, is why I love this site. Keep it up Lazygamer champions, you make our internets a better place.

  • Viking Of Science

    @Gavin. I myself a lot of reviews for a local music Website, and Let me tell you, The fact that I get the album or EP for free, weeks before release doesn’t skew my opinion of the work, As any review.

    Your piece is spot on. Mad props.

    • Admiral Chief Assassin

      ” I myself a lot of reviews for a local music Website”


      • Viking Of Science

        I ARE LIKE TO WEAR JEAN PANT…. lol, typed too fast… will NOT edit for posterity…

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I think THOSE are the indie games (and devs) you can safely refer to as “indie hipster twaddle”. (c) Geoff.

    • Viking Of Science

      Or: Phil Fish and the Posers, it’s an underground group, you’ve probably never heard of them

  • Hammersteyn

    Adam sounds Fishy to me.

    • Umar Ver 1.OBJECTION

      OH YOU!

  • Kensei Seraph

    “Even when we get whisked away to a hotel half way across the game to review a game it really doesn’t feel like a holiday.”
    Are we talking a Skyrim sized game or a Last Stand sized game?

  • That Zoe thing, sho…

    • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

      I just read it. Decided to do some digging to see what all the fuss is about. And honestly… that dude who wrote all that shit in his blog about getting cheated on?

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Hell hath no fury like a hipster ex-bf scorned.

  • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

    This is what I really dislike about the internet. We all get to have our say (Heck I usually write essays in the comments) but at some point people take it too far. The attack against Zoe Quinn is disgusting.

    No proof yet people are out on a witch hunt. It makes me sick that we as humans can do so much harm with so little reason or proof.

    • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

      Someone got cheated on. Get the fucking tinder. We’re burning witches tonight. Cause there be EVIL in the land. Totally. Fucking. Ridiculous. Story.

      It’s pretty ridiculous.

      What kind of a man writes a blog like that though? I can’t imagine a word where I take to a blogspot to decry my cheating ex-partner. I mean – yeah – if you got cheated on you deserve to be upset. You can tell the people involved they’re scum (I’d probably suggest that as a fair and honourable bit of balance). But FFS. Don’t go and cry to the internet – who are at best the Roman Mob and are at worst The Walking Dead with raging teenage hormones.

      • Lord Chaos

        “The Walking Dead with raging teenage hormones”


  • Mike Doutchevitch

    I very much agree with your last paragraph.There are various reviews, across various sites that I think are too harsh or too lenient. However I realize that not everyone puts the same emphasis on the
    things I might find enjoyable or irritating in a game. That is why I generally use the review roundups,and sometimes the user reviews (when the trolls are not out in force) as a better indicator than a single review.

  • Mog

    The really funny thing is that the developer in question is responsible for a terrible platformer that was clearly intended for mobile devices and literally nothing else. Like anybody cares what he has to say.

    • rollingmol

      I mean it’s not like there’s only one reviewer of the game. The last of us as an example got good scores all around . It’s not like hey I made a crap game lets sleep with everybody and my game will sell. Problem would come if reviewers were bribed and then score-fixed but to be honest most gamers who are are gaming for quite a while will see past crap like that. Can’t paint crap and sell it ads a diamond.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I still don’t know what to make of the whole “Zoe Quinn 5 burgers and fries” incident, and I honestly don’t know what to make of the whole “Phil Fish doxed” incident. Is Phil doing it himself to garner sympathy? Is this retaliation from the dark underbelly of the internet in what’s perceived to be an attack on the “corrupt” institution of GAMEZ JURNALISM? I honestly don’t know….

    All I know is the internet is a strange… strange place…

    • Brian Murphy

      Well, as far as I currently know, there is truth to 2 of the 5 allegations, however, I know of no concrete evidence that ties into favorable reviews or personal gain. There is certainly a reason to be concerned over conflicts of interest, but no proof to suggest those conflicts went either way.

      As far as Phil Fish, yeah that’s a strange one also. However, I can say with utmost certainty if he did it to himself, he is in so much trouble. Some of the information released will give the perp years in prison. He might also take this moment to reflect on how poorly he conveys himself on social media.

      What I do know is ethical breaches among journalists is a very concerning issue, and something that has certainly caused issues in the past. If such a thing has occurred, the journalists should without question be fired.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    On topic: Excellent point Gavin. I agree wholeheartedly.

  • jeannwhitefield

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