Monday, January 30, 2006

Reviewing Reveiwers

Game Reviews are similar to book reviews, with more focus on the technology of creating the game. There is a large variety of sources to choose from, mostly found online. The audience is the consumer. Reviewers tend to give opinions about where the game is worth purchasing, or renting. The majority of reviews outline the entertainment value, graphics quality, and other aspects that motivate purchasing. Game Rankings, has compiled the authoritative reviews to create an overall ranking for games. Quality games from these reviews are defined by game design, not content.

Common Sense Media is a site that focuses on content. It is designed for parent use. The idea is that parent volunteers will rate media based on "developmental criteria recommendations from some of the nation's leading authorities" The media is organized by age, not related to the ERSB ratings. Three ratings On, Off, and Pause explain the potential offense. Anyone can add personal reviews to the site, as comments. There are sections for the official review, adults, and children. Include on the site is links to media related research.

There are no criteria listed for their reviewers, but their number one belief is "We believe in media sanity, not censorship." It is meant to allow parents and educators to make informed decisions about what their children are consuming. Looking over the site it appears to be most helpful for younger children. Most games are listed under a younger age than the ERSB, reviewing mostly educational games rather than console games.

This social software empowers parents, but the question is its appropriateness for selecting video games. Both Game Rankings and Common Sense Media have an intended audience other than libraries. Hopefully with a combination of the two we can make informed decisions about what the library should collect.

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