How do game reviews and sites like reddit impact how you purchase or play a game?

Preface

I read a massive amount of content around games and gaming. It used to be just a couple of previews or reviews about a game I was excited to play, usually in a magazine like the Nintendo Official Magazine (Buck Bumble, anyone?), Amiga Power back in the day, and now, on occasion I read Edge and other multi-platform magazines.

But mostly, these days I consume information online at a much higher rate than previously possible.  I used to solely trust “professional” sites with actual journalists who love the medium, but as time has moved on, so has the way in which genuine information is disseminated.  Gaming sites can be sponsored, or heavily feature only a few games over the space of a few months, giving them more publicity.

Did it make it harder? Did it change my views of the sites and their integrity? Honestly, no, not at all. Where a website is free to use, they have to make money some way, and with a little bit of common sense, you can read between the lines and make up your own mind.

Isn’t that the whole point? To collect as much information about things, and then make decisions based on the information at hand?

More to the point, though, how much of this information is valuable anymore? I have to say, that the articles may be of some use, with some nice technical info, or background info on a development cycle etc, but the real information, that sits in the comments, or in the forums and sites like reddit, where everyone is more than willing to give their insight.

Yes, people over-do it on opinion vs fact, but who cares? You can find real love and real hate for things here, genuine dialogue between fans and newcomers.

Using the information at hand

Ok, so you’ve read and read (and watched all those YouTube videos), what now? Do you base the decision of a purchase on your findings?  Do you play a game in a way that you had never thought of, because that’s deemed how it’s “supposed” to be played?

You can become both enlightened and weighed-down by this overload.  So what do you do?

Personally, I try and remain objective (although hype has often got the best of me….), I learn about key mechanics and if something is value for money, read into other people’s accounts of woe and joy, but then I somehow internalize it and create a summary of how I feel about it, and make decisions based off what I like to think is my rational process of absorbing everything I’ve taken in, sometimes over the course of months.

We live in an age of being able to research anything, and find deep rabbit holes to fall through.  I love the research and reading, and I love developing my own opinion.  I just wonder how much of it is really “me” and how much of it is absorbed and turned into some kind of ideal that I then project.

Fact is, I’ve bought and played some awful games (Saboteur….), without research, I’ve bought some great games (Shenmue), without research.  But these days I research everything, and I don’t know if I’m getting better odds on “good” vs “bad”, so I’ll have to start making a record, and seeing what the outcome is.

How do you go about researching and buying? How does your research affect your purchases or style of play? Perhaps you learn to appreciate things you wouldn’t have even noticed, before?

Comments are open, let me know!

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