Saturday, October 3, 2009

[PT Archive '08]: Yahtzee Talks Water Cooling... well, not really.

This week's episode of Zero Punctuation is a little different than usual and touches upon a phenomena which goes far beyond the realm of computer games...

First thing's first... watch the video:

So, did you catch it?  Here's a tip: it has to do with the letter from Cpt. James Obvious.

Okay, time's up... I'm not going to sit here waiting for everyone to figure it out.  In this video, Yahtzee touches upon people's desire/need for some sort of authoritative approval of something (be it a video game, waterblock, bookend, or toilet seat) before being able to justify its purchase or, in some instances, its existence.  In addition, he mentions people's issues with "reviews" that don't boil all of their content down into some meaningless numerical value that can be directly compared to anything and everything else.  See where I'm going with this yet?

Now, I'd probably be better equipped to express all of this if it weren't so late, but I'll give it a go anyway...  It is the job, nay, the duty of a hardware reviewer to be a critic, to find a product's faults, and to carefully balance their criticism with mentionings of a product's more positive aspects (if any exist).  Tragically, it's this balance that's missing from most tech sites (and "reviewers") these days, as most seem to have turned to little more than shills for product manufacturers in an effort to ensure an uninterrupted stream of junk for them to beam over... all the while, racking up clicks and impressions for their paying advertisers.  Personally, I tend to err on the side of overly criticizing a product or product manufacturer, as opposed to making everything out to be the best thing since sliced bread--I suppose that I'm just strange.  Anyway, getting back on track, I've been seeing more and more of people shunning credible, comprehensive analysis of a given product in favor of half-baked, utterly useless reviews blathering on about how great something is.  The reason: because they're simpler.  If a person doesn't understand the information and commentary that's being presented, they tune out and go look for some black & white "review" written by another half-wit that just tells them what to buy regardless of whether or not it's really the best option for the individual.  If you ask me, I'd expect people to go out and LEARN the basic information required to understand the better review--sounds reasonable enough, doesn't it?  After all, things like computer cooling really aren't complicated... and if you understand the basics, then you can actually make educated decisions about what is best for you *gasp*!  Though, with the sheer volume of misinformation floating around in forums and such, I can't help but wonder if I'm expecting too much (a truly disheartening thought).  Has the passion for knowledge and understanding died in so many?