Michael talks about some of the issues gaming journalism faces.
Very good piece and highlights the real truth behind what it's like to be in the Games Journalism business. I think a lot of people think it's all glamour and review codes but there is more news to report on than there are codes for reviews. Spot on about how everything changes when you go from just playing to reviewing. You lose that control over what games you play and with deadlines involved often you have to put down a game you love, to give a game you might not normally enjoy your full attention to give it an unbiased review and in a timely manner that balances keeping publishers and your site happy. Even with the downsides it's still one of the best industries to be involved in. Well done for bring the realities to light.
Thanks for the praise
Gaming is the best industry, I love playing games and reviewing before deadline.
Totally agree Tom, the positives far out weigh the downsides and I'd rather have those problems and get the codes than not receive anything at all or not be in the gaming business.
Why don't they buy a couple of copies of their own games so they can give honest reviews instead of seemingly depending upon freebies? Seems to me most game "journalists" are in it for the free shit and the paid-for trips to E3 and other gaming conventions more than they are honestly reviewing games and reporting on the industry.
Actually a lot of us pay for our own trip to events, the company only allows us to get press passes. And we do buy our own games, we just rely on review keys so we can give out a review the day of so players that are still indecisive can read them and make a clear choice.
No idea why you are being disagreed with here. I've been in the industry since 1999 and have only had a handful of shows fully paid for in that time frame. Great article by the way.
Personally I'm done with games-media reviews. Too many publications have traded their integrity for clicks by antagonizing their readership.
Wow, why is every opinion here getting disagreed with? I agree with you Rooted_Dust and feel that the only people you can trust with giving you an honest review are PEOPLE. Talk to your friends or create your own group to share in the best pastime in the past 40 years.
I agree, the gaming industry is broken and won't be changed overnight. People need to wake up and smell the coffee and it's articles like this that "wake people up". Thank you for shedding light on a touchy subject.
1. Playing games you don't care about: First of all, if you're playing a game to review and you find that you don't care about it, you're automatically biased from the jump. End of. You're not the kind of gamer that's fit to review games. Games reviewing are for analytic people like myself who understands games design and has a broad range of interests, not just in any one genre. 2. Subject matter To understand how people react to your subjective view on the game's content, you must understand that everyone's beliefs differ. They don't want to read about what you thought was misogynistic or how you abhor gun violence. That's YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS and it's INSULTING that you are telling people to ignore readers and to ignore publishers just because your readership has a problem with it. How your readership feels really do matter. You laid it out right there, that people can get so riled up that your employers can terminate you or move you to a different section. 3. Criticism of your work What you forget is that you're not writing for yourself. You're writing for other people. You're not reviewing a game to see whether or not you enjoy the game and you think it meets a certain level of standard. You write games reviews because you want to INFORM the consumer how the product performs. You RELAY your experience to the consumer so that they feel they come out of the review knowing MORE about the GAME. What you professional reviewers get hung up on, is that since you don't understand games and how they are designed (as well as how other games in it's own genre are designed), you try to make up for it by focusing on the subjective portion of the game which is largely the story. The story becomes the focus and as a result, the gameplay review takes a back seat. The review ends up being more a movie review than it is a games review. edit: will continue this on my blog, and post the link when it's ready. edit2: post is completed and now live on my blog http://practicalgaming.blog...
Thanks for the comment, I actually explained a few of your critiques, I talked about how reviewers weren't able to actually play the game like our readers will be able to. Your 'be a better gamer' comment isn't really something you can use against somebody that doesn't play a game as well as you, maybe they are good at certain games and genres, that doesn't mean all the games in said genre are created the exact same. Nobody is fighting the readers, I even said that they could be great for feedback. Journalists critique their writing all of the time, we want to improve and become a credible author for the readers.
And this is why one of the biggest gaming series on YouTube is Total Biscuit's WTF is series. He doesn't claim them to be reviews, but rather "first impressions" of what he thought of the first few hours into playing the game. He's blunt and honest, but he's a stand up character. It's why he's been someone who some in the game industry tend to not like. For me, I think there needs to be some independence between publishers and reviewers to be able to have time to play the game, make the review, and then to not worry that what they say is going to get them blackballed. I think one of the things that GamerGate was for is to try to expose that aspect of it and to change it. Publishers have some journalists by the balls, you have to admit. There needs to be more transparency, there needs to be a chance for a reviewer to be able to just play a game and give a more honest review (I'd rather be right than first: being first made Florida happen in 2000), and there needs to be a system in place where a person's job and/or status is safe if they seem to have an issue with the game for some reason. But there should also be accountability. Did the Bayonetta 2 reviewer who said that said it because he generally felt that way about the game, or was he trying to serve a higher master in that sense (for the record, Polygon is one of those that were in question from the Quinnspieracy, so I don't blame people for suspecting some outside influences in the person's Bayonetta review)? If the latter, then you should call it out and hold them accountable. Unfortunately, that's the reality of it all right now. Everyone is suspecting that everyone has this agenda because everyone is trying to protect their own self interests and care little about anyone else. Only thing is, I think it can be changed...if people will actually act like mature adults about these issues. Too much to ask some people to, unfortunately.
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