Why can’t a secondary form of gaming journalism, if you would call it that, ever take hold with audiences?
I don't think this is entirely necessary. What needs to be established is an agreed upon reviewer criteria for each journalist or website. A publisher press release will only take a review so far. Most reviews and previews I see today give only the most cursory mention of the actual gameplay mechanics. They tend to mention it in a paragraph, then ending that paragraph with "it was fun or it wasn't". The rest is usually some discourse on the games narrative or storyline. I understand that sort of detail is going to turn off your average reader, who doesn't care about that stuff and more or less represents the bottom line of those websites, but you could always segregate the reviews into a more objective score and a more subjective score for those interested. Then again, most games journalists are just journalists that occasionally play video games. The difference between them and say, film journalists, is that film journalists normally understand the history of their hobby. Game journalists tend to be ignorant of anything earlier than your popular SNES games and show almost zero knowledge of PC gaming that isn't a well-established franchise.
I don't think the question to consider about alternative gaming journalism is if it's a necessity. It can coexist with the established gaming media as a separate form of expressing feeling and emotion in a game.
I think that you hit on a point when you said "hen again, most games journalists are just journalists that occasionally play video games." that could relate to what the article is saying. It would be interesting to see what a true games journalist could do with expanding the dialog of not just a number scale or a cursory comparison. It will open them up to a lot more criticism. But, how is that a bad thing? This could require games journalists to actually do their due diligence, as opposed to some of the lazy efforts that we get at this point. I wouldn't argue against an established reviewer process, but I think that this "alternative" could co-exist alongside traditional reviews, previews, and press release information.
Im going off topic to say dorito man! On the article pic! What a tool.
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