Understanding why we read reviews (of books, games, whatever)

booksAn interesting argument has surfaced in the game industry about why we bother to read reviews. Is it to judge a product based on a “mechanistic set of values,” or is it to understand what kind of deeper, emotional impact they can have on us — a focus on culture rather than consumerism?

This debate can be stretched to books, too — or movies or most any form of media, really. Why do we care about one person’s thoughts? Or are we more interested in the collective, the big picture that emerges after we’ve sorted through the individual bits of opinions?

(You can take a look at the Twitter conversation between the reviews editor of game site Polygon and one game designer to grasp the scope of this argument.)

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