Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson's Commercial for Forza Motorsport 4
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
I’ve been doing some investigating into racing simulators recently and it has given me a whole new perspective on what it feels like to know almost nothing (okay absolutely nothing) about a new interest. I’m finding out that trying to gather enough pertinent information is a struggle. Even any information is a struggle.
Basically, for simulator racing you need to find out about several different components, such as cockpit seats, steering wheel and pedals sets, the different gaming platforms, and finally which games are worth the money. A daunting task for several reasons.
You see, I learned a long time ago that all reviews are not created equal. Here’s a great example of this from my first editor at ATV Television. He had realized that now that he was involved in the ATV industry that he needed to pay more attention to ATVs. After buying a few magazines (there were no other TV shows, and only one internet site back then), he mentioned to me how amazed he was that we attended the same new model introduction as those magazine guys, we rode the same machines, and we sat around having drinks and talking after all the riding was done. But yet, when the reviews came out, their reviews were considerably different than ours. Until that revelation, he said he had treated all the articles and reviews that he read in the video and hunting magazines as gospel – always 100% correct. Now all of a sudden he didn’t know what to believe and what not too.
It’s almost as if there needs to be a review of the reviewers in order to find out which are the good ones!
And now, I find myself in that same position. After being in the off-road review business for almost 20 years I’ve grown accustomed to being able to screen the reviews to know which are valid, which are off base, and which are pure hyperbole.
But now I’m investigating an area where I know nothing – not of the product, nor of the reviewers of the products. So now I’m left with first, trying to find the product reviews I need, and second, trying to figure out how valid they are for me.
So what? Well, I can now better empathize with those of you struggling to find out more about what I take so for granted. So I promise to try to be more helpful in my information for those of you newest to our sport.
And I will try not to get involved in another industry simply because there’s a need ;-)
Saturday, November 5, 2011
the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind.
We all have opinions. And yeah, I know the rest of that….
But the part of opinions that I want to discuss lies in how our opinions are formed - what are they based on, and what goes into the opinion that we oftentimes stand behind so vehemently? You know, the whole my better is better than your better thing.
The three attributes formulate our opinions; experience, perception, and bias/justification.
Experience is the easy part of the equation. No matter how you look at it experience is pretty cut and dried – how much do you have, how many did you do, how often did you do it, and how long have you done it. Let’s use one of my favorite subjects as an example, tires. You say that the Denmore All Terrain bias-radials are the best tire there is. And that statement may very well be true if put in this context – it is the best tire you’ve ever used. Of course it’s also one of only three tires you’ve used, and all of them were used on a single ATV. So basically you’ve based your opinion of what is the best tire on your experience with only three tires. That’s kind of like basing your opinion on what is the best food after having only three meals!
Perception is a much harder thing to describe simply because it’s not based on any solid, quantifiable evidence like experience. Perception is based only on, ah, well, perception. Hmmmm. It’s kinda of like asking someone one what they think but ask them to leave out what they know.
Perception is merely what you think is so based on nothing other than your feelings. ‘I think that my Mangusta EG 150 is the best quad made!’ Any facts to support this claim? No. Any comparisons with other machines? Nope. Any studies, tests, evaluations, or anything subjective on which to base this claim? Nada, nothing, no way, sorry!
And yet perception is oftentimes the first thing that forms our opinions – even more so than even limited experience. So our opinion is formed based on our perception and our experience, be they what they may be – limited, subjective, or erroneous.
But wait, there’s more! The other influence on our opinion is our bias. Bias enters the equation on two fronts; first as something we’re used to, something we’ve always had. And secondly as a justification for our ownership. Think about that one for a minute. If you didn’t think that what you purchased was the best there is, then you’d be left with admitting you didn’t get ‘the best’, and why would you do that? In reality there are a lot of reasons. Considering that there really is no single best anything that’s right for everyone is the primary reason. Cost is another as typically the best of something is the most expensive.
So our opinion of a product is made up of our experience with that product and like products, our bias toward that product based on our ownership, and our perception, that somehow magical feeling inside you that says, “I like it!”
Obviously we all have opinions - and we’re all entitled to our opinions, even if they’re based solely on our perceptions, bias, and limited experience. But it’s important that we realize that sometimes other opinions that are based on more extensive experience (and education), and less on personal perception or bias may be more subjective, and therefore more valid than those based simply on personal perception, justification, and a limited personal experience.
That is why some opinions are far more credible – and valuable than others. And that’s why the opinion of people that test products for a living oftentimes have credence over an owner’s opinion.
To quote Dave Barry, “We’re all entitled to our opinions, even if they’re wrong!” So if yours is based only on perception, bias, and limited experience, you run the risk that it just may be ;-)