Can we talk a little bit about how the games press reports things?

Something that occurs to me is that a lot of issues are dragged out beyond their natural lifespan, and then it gets confused as it goes around in circles and over old ground, and of course everyone wants those website visits from all those people still thinking about the story, so they put up fresh articles about the old story. Urgh.

It's definitely not like a printed newspaper that gets a daily edition, or maybe a few editons a day.

Scratched wrote:

Something that occurs to me is that a lot of issues are dragged out beyond their natural lifespan, and then it gets confused as it goes around in circles and over old ground, and of course everyone wants those website visits from all those people still thinking about the story, so they put up fresh articles about the old story. Urgh.

It's definitely not like a printed newspaper that gets a daily edition, or maybe a few editons a day.

There's a 24-hour cable-news thing to being online. I'm glad we chose a slower pace here at GWJ.

I'm sure some will disagree with me, but this is why I love reading Tom Chick's game reviews. I don't even agree with most of the stuff he writes, but some of his writing on games has forced me to think about things differently in many instances. He absolutely does not sugar coat things when he finds problems with a game and he's writes passionately when he finds games he loves.

Scratched wrote:

Something that occurs to me is that a lot of issues are dragged out beyond their natural lifespan, and then it gets confused as it goes around in circles and over old ground, and of course everyone wants those website visits from all those people still thinking about the story, so they put up fresh articles about the old story. Urgh.

It's not just the websites though. The internet is a giant collection of echo chambers. It's not hard for a community to work itself into a frenzy and form a lynch mob before any sort of proper response is made.

shoptroll wrote:

It's not just the websites though. The internet is a giant collection of echo chambers. It's not hard for a community to work itself into a frenzy and form a lynch mob before any sort of proper response is made.

Which reminds me, I got a sweet controller mod for sale. I call it the Avenger.

Some people in the enthusiast press are so mad at Forbes.
It's quite amusing.

kyrieee wrote:

Some people in the enthusiast press are so mad at Forbes.
It's quite amusing.

Why don't they return the favour, do an article on Forbes. That'll show them.

Yeah, while I didn't find the Paul Tassi had the scope and depth to be original and move the conversation forward, I also found it odd how much a couple of journous dogpiled on the article.

Scratched wrote:
kyrieee wrote:

Some people in the enthusiast press are so mad at Forbes.
It's quite amusing.

Why don't they return the favour, do an article on Forbes. That'll show them.

That would earn them a little more respect than their poop flinging on twitter does.

kyrieee wrote:

That would earn them a little more respect than their poop flinging on twitter does.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

demonbox wrote:

Yeah, while I didn't find the Paul Tassi had the scope and depth to be original and move the conversation forward, I also found it odd how much a couple of journous dogpiled on the article.

The impression I got from Justin McEleroy's twitter is that it's a flip from a piece he did a couple years back on Unreality where he said the problem with games journalism is the cronyism with the PR firms. *shrug*

Evo wrote:

I'm sure some will disagree with me, but this is why I love reading Tom Chick's game reviews. I don't even agree with most of the stuff he writes, but some of his writing on games has forced me to think about things differently in many instances. He absolutely does not sugar coat things when he finds problems with a game and he's writes passionately when he finds games he loves.

I would like his takes more if the things he finds objectively wrong are some of the things that I like.

nel e nel wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

It's not just the websites though. The internet is a giant collection of echo chambers. It's not hard for a community to work itself into a frenzy and form a lynch mob before any sort of proper response is made.

Which reminds me, I got a sweet controller mod for sale. I call it the Avenger.

Never heard of it.

There is always the possibility of some positive dialogue that helps evolve the industry.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/z0VlE.jpg)

While the original comment may have had a whiff of snark to it with the scarequotes, that was worthy of being blocked and having it called out to boot? Some of these guys really seem to have thin skins when it comes to being told that maybe there is some room for improvement in what they do.

At least Jim Sterling has made a few posts saying why he disagrees with positions like the ones taken by Forbes rather than just hurling insults. When Sterling is one of the more rational voices in the discussion, something's out of alignment.

Speaking of Tom Chick from earlier in the thread, he's on Qt3 defending a 2-star review of Journey that was listed on Metacritic. It looks like he's mostly indulging his ego but it's better than going on Twitter and posting with righteous indignation about his commenters.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

While the original comment may have had a whiff of snark to it with the scarequotes, that was worthy of being blocked and having it called out to boot? Some of these guys really seem to have thin skins when it comes to being told that maybe there is some room for improvement in what they do.

At least Jim Sterling has made a few posts saying why he disagrees with positions like the ones taken by Forbes rather than just hurling insults. When Sterling is one of the more rational voices in the discussion, something's out of alignment.

The fact that he felt it was worthy of internet douchebaggery does nothing but prove their point.

Ultimately, I think that Forbes commentary the last few days about ME3 are good discussion. They do highlight some very, very important things to realize when it comes to reviews; that, quite frankly, they are nearly all useless. When you have a 10 point scale where anything less than 8.5 points is not good and 6-7 points is utterly abysmal, there is something absolutely wrong with the system. As Mary Pekowski pointed out, most of the issue is that the critics are fans first and critics second. I don't think there's anything wrong with being a fan and a critic, but when you get them out of order, that's where you have problems. For a good example of this, look at Keen and Graev; those guys are fanbois first and critics after the fact when the shiny has worn off.

The second major issue is how tightly tied together gaming press and the gaming industry is. The number of times you have developers and publishers even appearing to impose limits on review scores, release dates of reviews or threaten to reduce access or impose controls on access to upcoming titles is abhorrent. While I understand that they ride a lot on AAA big budget titles, in many cases too much to allow them to fail, they need to let go of their obsessive compulsive control disorder. When they do that, then they need to learn how to fail, and how to learn from inevitable failure in meaningful ways, i.e. not canning a project that performs well(makes a profit), if not as well as planned(Buys the execs new summer homes).

If anything, this underlines my belief to hold off at least two weeks on any game I'm not sure of, because the reaction of the majority of the 'professional gaming press' can't be trusted as much as an aggregate of the people who actually go and buy a copy and play it after release.

Seeing as pre-release opinions and the early sales boom is so important to publishers, I'm surprised there's not been any publisher stepping in to stop the 'professionals' from leaving their reputation in the gutter with this little spat and the other skirmishes that happen every so often.

Kuchera's latest gem: "Honestly people. if you complain that I'm corrupt because I don't agree with your opinions on a game, I'm going to block you. Deal with it." This is a guy who has really been strongly pimping the proper journalistic merits of Penny Arcade Report since he started it.

Funny, I didn't read that in cambiata's response at all. Tempted to point this out but I suspect I'll get blocked. Then again, do I care...?

Isn't this the Doom 3 effect? Where a game comes out and receives phenomenal scores (90+ Metacritic), but then at some point in the future people look back and wonder what they were thinking? I sincerely doubt anyone scoring ME3 was bribed or threatened with access and that's why they scored the game highly; it's totally plausible for those scores to emerge on their own.

The problem, in my opinion, is that most review rubrics don't lend quite enough weight to expressing whether the game is 'more than the sum of its parts'. Games that hit dead center in terms of the current trends earn a 90+ automatically (in this case: Good cover-based shooting, high production values, utilitarian plot and VO, some unobtrusive skinner box mechanics) even if something like the game's ending will likely prevent it from approaching 'classic' status.

All very good points AnimeJ. I wanted to write a blog post on this and that's kind of the short version of what I'd say. I wrote another post a while back about how members of the gaming press need to stop constantly getting their backs up trying to defend their works from Internet idiots. There's many parallels to this issue. It's not like their aren't forum trolls in the movie/music/whatever else press as well but it's always in the games press that I read articles and listen to sob stories on podcasts about them trying to justify what they do rather than letting their work speak for itself. They're always is defensive mode and Tom Chick's Journey FAQ is a good demonstration of that. I don't know what that says about the maturity of their medium or of the people participating in it. But I do find it telling that the members of the field many would say they respect the opinions of the most have either not commented on this or just said they don't care to get involved.

My favourite example is GTA IV.
I chuckle every time I see that endless list of '100'. Oscar worthy and all that.
The best part is that when Episodes from Liberty City came out a lot of the reviews said it fixed the big problems in GTA IV. The problems you weren't able to see during that three day hotel review event?

4xis.black wrote:

Isn't this the Doom 3 effect? Where a game comes out and receives phenomenal scores (90+ Metacritic), but then at some point in the future people look back and wonder what they were thinking? I sincerely doubt anyone scoring ME3 was bribed or threatened with access and that's why they scored the game highly; it's totally plausible for those scores to emerge on their own.

The problem, in my opinion, is that most review rubrics don't lend quite enough weight to expressing whether the game is 'more than the sum of its parts'. Games that hit dead center in terms of the current trends earn a 90+ automatically (in this case: Good cover-based shooting, high production values, utilitarian plot and VO, some unobtrusive skinner box mechanics) even if something like the game's ending will likely prevent it from approaching 'classic' status.

I can't really say I've heard of the DooM3 effect, but I think there's something about big name games that brings out the worst in the games media. For a start there's the whole 7-10 scale nonsense, but past that I think there's a bit of "The emperor's new clothes" going on, where a game is good because it's made by 'the emperor', right? How many times have you heard that this month's RPG/FPS/RTS/etc is made by the master of that respective genre.

(edit: Actually, in addition to that, while I think there's no shortage of people willing to say "your new clothes are awesome, 100%", on the flip side I think there's also some people trying too hard to be the person to say "the emperor has no clothes" just to be 'the person who was right'. There's always a balance to be found.)

The impression I get is that in other media, such as film, there's a more clear line between preview/publicity and review, where as games there isn't, plus the publication itself ties itself to a title, it's not just "here's our coverage of X" (even if it's exclusively first), but they wrap themselves in it to get those precious browser clicks.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Kuchera's latest gem: "Honestly people. if you complain that I'm corrupt because I don't agree with your opinions on a game, I'm going to block you. Deal with it." This is a guy who has really been strongly pimping the proper journalistic merits of Penny Arcade Report since he started it

Are reviews considered journalism? In my mind, journalism is reporting on news stories and editorial. Reviews are consumer guides. Repeating PR is just repeating PR.

I got the impression that Kuchera is trying to do longer articles akin to what The Escapist tried to do when it was founded: longer thought-pieces and editorial with minimal fluff. While on the side linking to external writings on a daily basis similar to RPS's Sunday Papers feature.

I'd be real surprised if Kuchera is accepting publisher favors for PAR reviews. If he is, then he's fallen from great heights during his tenure at Ars.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2...
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2...

EDIT: I'm sure more tact could've been used in the above example. I still think reviewers/journalists are well within their right to ignore any communication they deem hostile. It's not like they don't already do this with email systems, I guess Twitter is a little more transparent so it's more shocking to see it in action?

Why I think that comment was douchey is because of the exchange Tannhauser linked above. That person wasn't accusing him of taking publisher bribes, she was simply saying that maybe the Forbes article had a point in that sometimes, games press has a hard time disconnecting its fandom from its reviews. Nothing implied, just a general statement that I think can often be backed up. If stating that is what Kuchera thinks is implying corruption...wow. If your goal is only to cater to the people who will always agree with you, I don't think you can really call what you do journalism.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

If your goal is only to cater to the people who will always agree with you, I don't think you can really call what you do journalism.

"Enthusiast press"

Or, as some of my friends say, "journlolism."

That I understand but Kuchera's been rather vocally championing how Penny Arcade Report is a return to "proper game journalism". But he seems to be able to want to have the cake and only eat it with agreeable types which...yeah.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

That I understand but Kuchera's been rather vocally championing how Penny Arcade Report is a return to "proper game journalism". But he seems to be able to want to have the cake and only eat it with agreeable types which...yeah.

So, they're marketing themselves as proper games journalism.

I'm seeing that (or becoming more and more aware of) all over the place, everyone wants to read the better website with integrity and not be on one of those silly gutter press websites. Tell people they're intelligent and they'll want to believe you. It's something I try and keep in mind for all sites, including this one. How often is GWJ touted as the place for intelligent game discussion? I'd say it generally is, but it's always there in the back of my mind that it's only what we tell ourselves.

Scratched wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

That I understand but Kuchera's been rather vocally championing how Penny Arcade Report is a return to "proper game journalism". But he seems to be able to want to have the cake and only eat it with agreeable types which...yeah.

So, they're marketing themselves as proper games journalism.

I'm seeing that (or becoming more and more aware of) all over the place, everyone wants to read the better website with integrity and not be on one of those silly gutter press websites. Tell people they're intelligent and they'll want to believe you. It's something I try and keep in mind for all sites, including this one. How often is GWJ touted as the place for intelligent game discussion? I'd say it generally is, but it's always there in the back of my mind that it's only what we tell ourselves.

Well... You're a towel.