Ethics & Content Policy

Big Boss Battle (B3) is a website made by, and for, people who love video games and the games industry. At its core it’s simply an overgrown blog, still encapsulating the nature of a gaming blog, although also striving to generate coverage in the quantities of the larger outlets. While we do not issue scores on our reviews, as we believe more in expressing opinions in words rather than numbers, we do adhere to a set of ethical guidelines, as well as set content standards.

Our Outlook

It’s going to sound cheap and cheesy, but we’re very respectful of people who grab onto their dreams and try to make them a reality. We believe fully that every game started with a (sometimes internal) pitch, and that pitch started with a humble idea. We love the humble idea.

As such we always aim to cover any game with a view to that creator’s intent, and we always aim to give our feedback on the game, and our experiences, in a constructive manner, giving feedback rather than exaggeration criticism. With our reviews and coverage we work on a SWOT system, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

To drop a well known quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray –

“…there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

What we mean by this quote is that, if we deem a game of zero interest to even one of our team then we will simply not cover it as opposed to making an article simply dedicated to listing only negatives – it will receive zero coverage from ourselves (as well as the games we unfortunately do not get time to cover), meaning there will be nothing to be misquoted or attacked in the absence of reason.

Stance on Prejudice

Every person is different. We are a social species, uniting once we find – or make – something in common with one another. As such repulsion, distaste and distrust towards things we don’t understand or relate to is a common reaction. Hateful language, and discrimination against any other group will not be tolerated – and our editing team will always endeavor to ensure our team avoid prejudice wherever possible.

We are all different, everyone. Our content is always aimed to cover as many features, and qualities of a title – this will all be driven by opinion.My favorite Final Fantasy was FF9, I enjoyed Brink, I didn’t have fun playing Super Meat Boy, I really liked Arcanum. You may disagree with me on any of these points, I hope we can discuss our differences and enjoy agreeing to disagree like members of the fantastical, vocal species that we are.

On Reviews and their Scores

We’ve nothing against a scoring system, however we’ve found from past experience that simply too much credit and pressure is laid on the final scoring on a title – and they also encourage people to glaze over the article as they know the jist of the piece.

A title may massively impress one contributor, but baffle and annoy another. As such we always aim to have somebody comfortable with the genre review a title, as they are better adept to get the hang of the mechanics. That said, our reviews still focus on identifying the ideas behind the game, features which work well and others which are lacking. As most games now undergo revisions and patches following launch our review content will be current to the date of posting unless otherwise stated, like if we were privy to a closed review build pre-launch. If we revisit content post launch (like on a major update, or after DLC) we will state the version reference where possible.

On Reviews, Previews, First Impressions, and Reviews Ethics.

The above three items refer to analytical pieces on games during different stages of their development or form, it also refers to the nature of the situation under which the game was experienced by the author. Below we’ve detailed the factors that go into the classification of these three content types

Reviews & Review Ethics

We only differentiate Previews and First Impressions based on the amount of time spent on the game, or the state of the game. When we review a game that is not yet fully deemed complete (1.0) then we will endeavour to state it’s version number/reference in the review.

We will accept codes for games if we feel it will help us get a thorough review/article out in a timely manner. If we accept any boosts/microtransactional bonuses then we will state it in the review. If we have had to source the code ourselves then we will publish it as close to the release date as we can manage what with having to play an adequate amount of the game as to review mechanics and content.

We consider review events ‘guided hands’, and will always state when we have attended such. We will also state any travel or expenses covered by publishers, PR Teams or Developers should it relate to a product we are covering. If, following attendance of such an event, we are instructed we must not brief people on it’s existence then we will not publish any material from the event.

For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all reviews are through keys provided by a third party for the purpose of reviews. As further disclosure it should be stated that we allow our reviewers to keep the copy of the game they have reviewed. Additional paraphernalia for the game that would normally be found in collector’s editions will be accepted as gifts, however unrelated products, or money for reviews, will not be accepted, or will instead be donated to charity or given away via community pages with full disclosure on their source.

Previews

A preview is an analysis of an incomplete, or in development game. Typically the game is in the later stage of development, or in an Early Access state. Betas, Early Access games, and experiences from longer plays (30+ minutes) of free form nature at events will be considered previews.

As with reviews we will state when we have played a game at a preview event run by a Publisher, PR Team, or Dev.

Previews tend to be more speculative on the nature of the game, optimistically considering the opportunities the game currently has, while also underlining the current threats – and any difficulties – currently with the game

We will occasionally run “Impressions/In Review” pieces on smaller titles which will run as previews, although the title is fully complete it is of a nature not really review-able. This is normally due to the length or nature of the game.

First Impressions/Hands On

A First Impressions, or Hands On, article is one done after a limited playtime with a demo, in development, or launched game. While this still follows the analytical style of the two, previously stated, article types, these focus more on the potential seen in the mechanics and style of the game during the author’s limited time with the game.

Crowdfunding and Involvement

The way that game development and the industry in general works has changed massively over the last 10 years. There’s more people developing games now than there ever has been, social media and globalisation has made the world smaller, and the means to fund a game has completely changed.

Combine the above with the fact that people freely move through journalist, to blogger, to developer, to marketeer, to community and press relations. There is a great risk of friendships, relationships, and – ultimately – bias developing off the back of this. An industry cannot ban, or chastise friendships, because -frankly- who can tell when Sam from accounts is going to spin off and make a game, or express an opinion on something with a blog?

However, we have implemented a few controls to ensure a standard of disclosure through our coverage.

If any member of B3 has contributed via Kickstarter to a campaign then it will be disclosed with any coverage of the title.

If any member of B3 is related to, has contributed to, or is actively funding (through donations,or Patreon) or supporting (monetary, residential, etc) a project then the title will not be covered on the website in the news, video, or reviews section. Editorials, Submissions, or Op-Eds are welcome however, but, the author (be it the one connected or not) must state the connections at the start of the article.

All that said, we will not in anyway limit or attempt to control the opinions of our contributors or team. It is a human right to have an opinion and be able to express it. So, I don’t want any of this “He said, she said” jibber-jabber – and nobody will be pulled up on buying a cup of coffee for someone else in the industry.

Finally…

We will not use any marketing psychology (A.K.A Clickbait) in our titles, even in satire. There’s too much of it out there, it’s ruining the internet. This is a website for people to use their opinions and experiences to explain their view on the strengths, weaknesses, potential, and quality of titles… that’s bad enough without bloody clickbait.


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This policy will be updated from time to time based on the actions of the industry. If you feel we’ve missed something in this document then please contact us and we will remedy it as best, and quickly, as we can.

Whew. Now go read the site 🙂

Big Boss Battle 2016