Press Start: Game journalists need to be good at video games

Some game journalists just plain suck at playing video games, and that's a problem for the industry.

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RyanDJ369d ago

As a reviewer myself, I have a strange opinion on this. Reviewers need to be able to work outside their comfort zones. If you have an FPS head review Doom, they might find the nuances worth pointing out, but a side scroll lover might just see things that bar newbies from getting in on the genre. It provides a fresh outlook. Game reviews are interesting in that it’s an interactive medium: you change the experience based on how you deal with it. News reporters can be biased, so can game reviewers.

This doesn’t defend those bad reviews. A fresh perspective can and will help but it should NOT change a review. The writer can take time to learn, or ask of his team instead of just saying LOL THAT SUX. It speaks of a company’s merit to publish a Mass Effect article decrying difficulty when they didn’t know how to level. That should have been at the very least discussed in some team meeting. When something is glaringly “”wrong” I always go to the team and ask before dropping the score.

A good reviewer is thorough, and researched. They don’t just put in the game and go. A fresh perspective can make for a more interesting article. Just take the time to learn before you burn.

OB1Biker369d ago (Edited 369d ago )

I think a reviewer should not be a noob in the genre they are reviewing. Its just common sense IMO however they should try and look from a noob perspective in some aspect of the game to assess how it could be perceived by new players.
For non reviews its fine to have people give their piece for a game they aren't good at but in that case they need to consider all the help average gamers would use, for instance you tube, and then describe how they found their way around.

SavageKuma369d ago

I agree, if you are going to play the game at least be good at games from jump and if it is not your genre then pass it on to another person if you can. Now there are cases when a game is unplayable and not the reviewers fault at all, but that is a whole other story.

Shiken369d ago

A reviewer does not need to be good at games, but they do need to be competent at them. Example, if they can't get the controls down there must be a problem with the controls right? If that is the case they will likely dock points.

However if the person playing can't play well to begin with, what right do they have to say the controls are the problem?

It is not black and white.

NotoriousWhiz369d ago (Edited 369d ago )

Might make more sense to have teams do reviews instead of one person. One person can be the main reviewer who gathers all the facts and objective details of the game. The rest of team simply provide input into the more subjective aspects of the game.

RyanDJ368d ago

I really do agree with that idea. I like the fresh aspect of new eyes on something with the backup support of others. Our site isn't a big one, and we all communicate via email and chat lines. When a review company sends a single code it's hard. These big places where they get to walk across the hall to each other's offices is a different thing.

EatCrow368d ago

I agree that several people working off a game can discuss their opinions on the game and come to conclusions better then a single person.

EatCrow368d ago (Edited 368d ago )

Very good points.
I do think some ability comes with the job. You're after all playing a lot of video games...

At the end people trust those they can identify with...if the reviewer cant play then it is unlikely that good players will identify with their opinion/review.

But I double the point
"A good reviewer is thorough, and researched"

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 368d ago
AZRoboto369d ago

If game journalists aren't allowed to suck at video games, then what does that say about players? Because I suck with keyboard and mouse I shouldn't be allowed to play Battlefront 2 or any PC FPS then? If we can find joy in something we aren't good at, that speaks to how good the game is.

Vames369d ago

Your thinking is what many in the gaming media has been uttering, but it is wrong, and they also use it as an excuse to keep on doing the same thing.

If you're a gaming journalist, then you need to be good at games in order to give a good opinion. If a journalist can barely handle a keyboard and mouse, then how will they be able to review a PC FPS game properly? Furthermore, casual players and gaming journalists are two different things my man.

All of us start off as a casual player, and we learn as we go along. Most of us are not trying to deliver our opinions to millions of readers, but gaming journalists do. Also, these journalists are not just there to review a game, but to market the game to you and I. Now, if they can't play it properly in a video, that makes the game look bad, and ultimately, many gamers won't buy that particular game.

gbsrnctaln369d ago

I see. So you playing a game is the same thing as someone who is paid to review a game...millennials, good grief.

EatCrow368d ago

Yup. Far be it for us to hold reviewers at a higher standard. lol

369d ago
Rebel_Scum369d ago

If you're a game journalist, its highly likely you've been playing games all of your life. That's all that matters really. At least have the experience. I couldn't give a stuff how good they are.

corroios369d ago

They need to have balls and not give perfect scores because of the name of the game. Games that dont bring nothing new from the last one, games with lack of story, lack of online and so on that get a free pass on everything else.

SickSinceSix369d ago

Not every game needs online, games like Wolfenstein: The New Order and Horizon Zero Dawn were fine without it for example.

ziggurcat369d ago

MP != make a game better.

SickSinceSix369d ago

Worked out great for Battleborn and Lawbreakers /s

ziggurcat369d ago

I dunno... it’s important to having an understanding, and a knowledge of the industry, etc... but I don’t think it’s necessary for them to be good at the games.

Art critics, for example, aren’t artists themselves, but they bring a depth of knowledge, an exceptional degree ignorance critical thinking, and an understanding of the History of art that informs their opinions.

Art critics aren’t expected to be able to draw/paint/sculpt very well or even at all, and I don’t think that games journalists should necessarily have to be all that great at the games, either.

NotoriousWhiz369d ago

People that buy art don't have to do any drawing. People that buy games will probably be playing.

No one is saying journalists need to know how to make games, but they do need to know how to use them.

ziggurcat369d ago

This isn't an argument about consumers. Art critics are paid to write about art, just like games journalists are paid to write about games. Art critics aren't expected to be good at art, they're just expected to be good at talking/writing/thinking about art. Games journalists shouldn't be expected to be good at games, they should be expected to be good at talking/writing/thinking about games.

NotoriousWhiz369d ago (Edited 369d ago )

Being good at art, means that you can make your own artwork.
No one is saying that game journalists needs to know how to make games.

Would you ask someone who doesn't eat ice cream to rate a cold stone?

ziggurcat368d ago

I'm not talking about the production of art or games. A critic's ability to paint or draw has no bearing on their ability to be able to have a critical discussion about the medium... and a games journalist's ability to play games has no bearing on their ability to have a critical discussion about the medium.

And I didn't realize games journalists don't play games.... they do, in fact, and they're not necessarily required to be good at them in order to rate them.

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