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-based 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. This 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 or person, will not be tolerated — and our editing team will always endeavour 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 favourite 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.

If, for some reason, you can’t talk things over in a rational sense or descend into madness and lies, then you’re probably going to have a lot of trouble fitting in with — and talking to — our team and readers.

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 off a title – and they also encourage people to glaze over the article as the number will give away 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, Features, First Impressions, and Reviews Ethics.

The above 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 its 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 told we cannot disclose our attendance, or anything which was paid for, then we will not publish any material from the event as to avoid conflict of interest.

For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all reviews are through keys provided by developers, PR, or publishers 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 / given away via community pages with full disclosure on their source. That or we will simply refuse the review/preview due to potential conflict of interest.

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 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 a member of B3 has contributed via Kickstarter to a campaign then it will be disclosed with any of their 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 any way 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.

Affiliations, Advertisements, and Outbound Links

As of 2018 B3 will begin using affiliation links and light advertising to attempt to raise funds to pay our (otherwise unpaid) authors, and possibly even start to pay for server and hosting costs.

Affiliation

We’ll shove a marker on any of these affiliation links, just so that people can see that they are just that.

Our stance on affiliation and advertisements are simple; we won’t allow either to affect our coverage, or to denote what we cover. Firstly because that completely undermines our aim, and secondly because that’s not cool at all and a whole bunch of effort — who wants to write about something you don’t even like AND compromise your integrity for money? Not us.

There’s multiple ways to tell if a link is an affiliation link; for a start all of our affiliation links will have a symbol near them pointing out a disclaimer (which will be in place by the start of 2018). You’ll also notice a prolonged URL when you click through a link, and if you’re running a cookie tracker then you’ll probably see a new one fly up. Finally, a lot of our affiliation partners are kind enough to flag up exactly how many pennies would go to us from your transaction; and it’s worth noting that you can normally opt out at the checkout.

There is, of course, no obligation for you to click through any affiliation links. If you find the concept abysmal then simply don’t click them.

Adverts

A quick word on adverts. We really hate pop-ups, we hate auto-run videos, and we hate being told how “This X from <your town> won <yourcurrency>1,000,000 this way” — so you won’t find any of that rubbish on the site. What you will find at times is a background advert, or a sidebar advert, or possibly an advert betwixt a few entires on an archive roll (although not a post, savvy?)

These will all be plain to see, and probably even be blocked by your ad-block. That said, goodness me we’ll avoid everything invasive and the hope is that we’ll just be running images as ads.

But,

Please do remember — having read all of this — that we have chosen these routes as they are the least invasive ways for the website to make money and pay our lovely writers. If you think of a better one though, please do let us know.

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 - Present