The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on January 11th, 2009 at 11:36 am.

Sunday is a day for trying to make my gaming PC start booting again. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe I can procastinate, making a list of some smart and compulsive games reading I found this week for the RPS-readership’s delectation, and try my damn hardest not to include some pop song or another. Yes, I think I can.

Failed.

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107 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    Ugh, that Scott Jones thing was truely awful on so many levels, I don’t know where to begin myself. Just.. nrgh..brain..not..working. Gah. Sunday morning is not the time for me to think about it.

  2. MetalCircus says:

    Hahaha. I love the fact there’s a game journalist union.

    lawlz.

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    (That was a joke)

    KG

  4. Scotte Jones is a pussy says:

    I can’t believe someone can be such a pussy like Scott Jones. My god.

    Anyway I didn’t like fallout3, because to me was so mediocre and polish-free. Fps combat was horrible thanks to strange aiming system, ridicolous low damage, and horrible, bad, terrible, unacceptable animation. Rpg combat was just “press pause to win”. And slow motion gets boring after a while (on a side note I’d like to mention also that the violence in fallout 3 is not on par with the awesome death sequences from the first)

    The main plot was quite bad and everybody can agree here, also like most of the voice acting. There was a lots of dungeons to visit, but most of them were just corridors filled with repetitive, uninteresting combat.

    There were some mildly interesting side quest. But all in all, fallout 3 is a mediocre, unpolished, unbrilliant game. I can’t say in all honesty that it is a piece of shit: simply, it’s not an excellent game. And I dont’ know about you, but after a few years of playing videogames I don’t want to bother with anything mediocre.

  5. The Hammer says:

    Nice Sunday Papers this week! The interview about Gravity Bone was quite interesting, and the Easter Eggs discussed made me realize that I had just romped through the game, without paying attention to minor details.

    That MGS4 review HAS to be a parody. The comment about Infinity/100, and how no one on earth is worthy to play it… it’s pretty hilarious to read, in the “Oh god, this is so OTT” kind of thing.

    Mata Hari seems really, really interesting as well. That’s a hella nice story going on there.

  6. Muzman says:

    Wow, that’s exactly how I feel when I shag a supermodel, I don’t know why I keep doing it. It’s like he was there man.
    *ahem* I wonder if he’s seen yahtzee’s opinion on the subject.

  7. HypeAware says:

    Regardless of his opinions of the game, Scott Jones raises an interesting point. It fascinates me how people, even presumably clever people such as his boss, are still falling for Marketing trickery. You’d think after all these years of ceaseless commercialism people would have learned, become savvy, killed their neighbours after becoming saturated by the tricks these sales-demons play…

    …but no. People STILL buy it – in both senses of the phrase – time after time after time…ad nauseum. Simple rule of thumb: If it needs sold/marketed, then it’s not as good as the money-men are telling you it is. Quality speaks for itself, with a far more trustworthy voice.

    As ever, thanks for the Sunday reading material, KG.

  8. A Disembodied Voice says:

    With the Fallout3 thing, I’m not astounded unfortunately. You look at the coverage of these types of games in the games media and you have to know things like this are going on. There really just cannot be that much consensus among a group of people can there?

  9. cuc says:

    The FfF2 interview has three parts. Third part:

    http://www.designer-notes.com/?p=122

    BTW, I still think you really, seriously should play and write about Eversion:

    http://zarat.us/tra/offline-games/eversion.html

    It’s made for the same [url=http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=3286.0]TIGSource competition[/url] that inspired “I Fell In Love With The Majesty Of Colours”, and despite not winning the first prize, it’s actually the most accomplished game by far.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    As someone who genuinely enjoyed Fallout 3 I’m pretty amazed he felt that *everyone* liked the game. It seemed one of the most contentious games of the year before it was even released, and then half the people who played it did the grumble-mumble about hype and the like.

    Anyway.

  11. MetalCircus says:

    uhhh, my humour detection is way off today.

    I thought Fallout 3 was a delight. The story was pantaloons and the voice acting pretty rubbish, and the animation archaic, but I still clocked about 40 hours with it, and I came away from it feeling thoroughly entertained.

    It can never touch my beloved Fallout 2, but then I never expected it to…

  12. Nick says:

    Oh, just read the interview on Fall from Heaven 2, thanks for that I would never have stumbled upon it otherwise and it was really interesting reading.

  13. Gap Gen says:

    Agreed, few big games are universally loved (at least on PC). I think marketing is important, because awareness is crucial in people buying a game, and hype is often due to word-of-mouth-frothing or preview excitement.

    I’m not sure how many journos would rate a game highly even though they didn’t like it, though. Be interesting to see how much substance there is to that claim – if so, it’s a shame that these journalists feel they can’t have their own voice.

  14. Gabe W says:

    I have always wondered what happened to Hal Barwood and other LucasArts artists after the mass exodus when the game company decided to abandon the adventure genre. The interview did not state any release date for his new game though…

  15. James G says:

    His comments about the marketing of Fallout 3 surprised me, and made me realise quite how much I must be ignoring games marketing. Its not that I never saw the adverts, but that I already knew enough about Bethesda, Fallout, and FO3 in particular that it never even occurred to me that anyone may assume they were buying an FPS. Although frankly, giving his comments that FO3 was benefiting from the reputation of the series and the ardent Fallout community, I get the impression that his only prior experience of the game can have come from television adverts. Anyone with their ear to the ground would know that prior to its release at least, the Fallout community were the games biggest detractors.
    Its not just clueless folks that seem to end up in this situation, I’ve noticed even well versed avid gamers being shocked that a game didn’t deliver in areas where I had never expected it to. A good example is Spore. I realised a while before release the areas in which I felt the game would be lacking, and from this I figured I ought to temper my interest. The various reviews (even the positive ones), and early user feedback, suggested I was correct in my assumptions, and thus I reasoned that the game wasn’t for me. (Perhaps I’m wrong on this of course, and would have loved it.)
    Now I’m not trying to make myself out to be a very savvy gamer here, Its probably just a case of being more stingy, and less willing to take a risk. It means that I rarely feel like I’ve been mis-sold, but also am rarely pleasantly surprised. (Except when buying a game on which I know very little, other than it is supposed to be ‘good.’)

  16. Funky Badger says:

    Has Scott Jones just spectacularly trumpetted his lack of integrity, talent and taste to the interwebs?

    I’ll keep an eye out from now on as he seems to have nothing worthwhile to say. Thanks to him for saving me time, I guess…

  17. rob says:

    “Alec crashed over last night, and opined that the Sound of Silver album would be about eight times better without New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.”

    That song elevates the album to another level – to finish it off with something out of his (admittedly super-awesome) comfort zone, and with such lovely elegiac lyricism… “you’re still the one pool where I’d happily drown” – love it. that song excites me more to hear what he has in store on the next album – oh the possibilities!

  18. Nutterguy says:

    I have to say…

    Aisha…
    He got out!

    You guys made me listen to Death in Vegas for 3 hours… Yea.

  19. Xercies says:

    If Journalist feel that they have to put Fallout 3 up there because of pressure, they should honestly quit… because what your doing is basically lying to everyone about your opinion. And that’s the worst thing you can do. I wouldn’t mind people hating Fallout 3, I personnaly love it but say reasons wy you hate it like this journalist did and you give yourself some respect. Just lying to yourself and other people saying its a great game because you just have to go on the bandwagon is giving yourself no self respect at all.

  20. Thiefsie says:

    Anyone here given A Vampyre Story a try yet? Interested to hear the RPS take.

  21. subedii says:

    I thought Fallout 3 was good for the atmosphere and setting. But they really need better writers at Bethesda something fierce.

    And regardless or what the DLC may do for the game, I think we can all largely agree that the ending sucked.

  22. Lorc says:

    Wow – thanks for the link to that MGS4 review. Hilarious!

  23. MC says:

    Video game reviewing is bollocks, largely thanks to people like Scott Jones who don’t have the balls to say what they actually think about a game.

    It seems like large swathes of games reviewers fall into this kind of groupthink at any sufficiently hyped game. I’ll wager that goes just as much for GTA4 or Halo or Oblivion, for example, as Fallout 3. Whenever I see discussions about these sorts of games amongst actual gamers, there’s always a much larger range of opinions than you ever see in a compilation of reviews on metacritic. This lead me to conclude that the games reviewers must fall into a sort of groupthink, and that article is an admission that my supposition was correct. And when games writers so easily slip into this kind of groupthink, reading their collective opinions is worthless.

    When I want to know what a game is actually like, I read what actual gamers say about it in forums and the likes, because game writing is in a terrible state.

  24. Dr. Wily says:

    I don’t know about New York either. On one hand it makes a nice mellow counterpoint to Sound of Silver, and it has a kind of thoughtful tone of finality which is nice way to finish out the album. On the other hand I just about always stop after Sound and Silver and don’t even bother listening to it, so how great of a song can it be?

  25. Muzman says:

    Does the death of New Games Journalism mean Games Gonzo Journalism can get back at the table?
    “I was supposed to review Tomb Raider XII by today so I took lots of meth but somehow ended up playing Wii Tennis for 17hrs straight with these two Kiwis I met in Tottenham Court Road at some point in the night.
    Not New Zealanders. Actual Kiwis.
    Did you know their wings are almost useless?
    Five stars.”

    (I don’t really get all this New Games Journalism fooferaugh one way or the other. But turning up dead after seeing the way it’s generally refered to; I’d suspect foul play meself)

  26. Yann Best says:

    It seems like large swathes of games reviewers fall into this kind of groupthink at any sufficiently hyped game. I’ll wager that goes just as much for GTA4 or Halo or Oblivion, for example, as Fallout 3. Whenever I see discussions about these sorts of games amongst actual gamers, there’s always a much larger range of opinions than you ever see in a compilation of reviews on metacritic.

    Aye, I’d agree with that view. I’m actually surprised at Jim’s comment (that “It seemed one of the most contentious games of the year before it was even released, and then half the people who played it did the grumble-mumble about hype and the like.”) – because while that’s broadly accurate, it seems to completely ignore the issue Jones was bringing up (and a part of) – that by and large the reviews were very much in agreement; a brief perusal of metacritic/gamerankings validating the observation that whilst on forums and amongst gamers there’s been a wide variety of responses to the game, the games press itself has deviated little in its marking.

    Though I do wonder how much of this was to do with reviewers doing a Jones, and how much to do with editors handing the game to the resident Oblivion/Bethesda lovers, in much the same way that you’d hand a foot-to-ball title to a foot-to-ball gamer.

  27. Pags says:

    It was only when reading the Gravity Bone interview that I realised the entire Cheers cast was staying at the Arrol Hofert hotel! Man! Love that game.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes of Mata Hari, though the last Lucasarts offshoot (that Mona the Vampyre game) hasn’t given me much faith in former-Lucasarts employees who aren’t Tim Schafer or Ron Gilbert.

  28. PHeMoX says:

    Oblivion, Fallout 3, SPORE, Far Cry2, perhaps even the latest GTA game really aren’t as great as hyped-up reviewers give them credit for.

    I mean, SPORE… for God’s sake, it’s basically a great example of a direction I do not want to see games going. Too casual, too simplistic and yet it pretends to be all about complexity. It gives you a little of everything, for most people barely enough if they are honest and objective.

    Fallout3 is a good example of a game that could have been a whole lot better. It’s not a bad game so much as that it’s simply disappointing with such a ‘big name’ developer. I mean, really, compare the game to Oblivion and the early critics are right, it does feel like ‘Oblivion with guns’.

  29. Yann Best says:

    Actually, to follow up my previous comment, there’s another element to the seemingly unvaried reviews of Fallout, and that’s the unwillingness of most publications to use the lower-end of their marking schemes. It’s notable that one of the places that gave Fallout 3 it’s lowest mark (7/10) was EDGE, who, for all their flaws, do show a greater willingness to use their sub-6 scores for games that aren’t, in fact, abysmal. When most sites use 7′s (or equivalent) for mediocrity, and anything below is quite simply rubbish, it’s not too surprising that a game like Fallout reviews almost exclusively at 90% and above.

  30. Briosafreak says:

    So he doesn’t like the game, but voted it for GOTY because of peer pressure and a teenage wish to fit in. And then confesses he didn’t like it because it wasn’t like Halo or Bioshock.

    Fascinating.

  31. Briosafreak says:

    Lol at the new games journalism dead thingy

  32. Old Jokes Ltd. says:

    Sadly, his place amongst the Kieron Gillen’s and N’Gai Croal’s wasn’t enough.

    What about his “and N’Gai C-”

    *dies*

  33. Pags says:

    Actually, to follow up my previous comment, there’s another element to the seemingly unvaried reviews of Fallout, and that’s the unwillingness of most publications to use the lower-end of their marking schemes.

    This, I agree with; that’s why I’ve always enjoyed Tim Stone’s reviews. Partially because he’s the only one who caters to sim games with manuals the size of phone books, but also because he rarely uses marks above 80% except for games exceedingly special. Recent example of a game he wasn’t afraid to mark down, despite recognising potential and having fun with it, was World War One La Grande Guerre which he gave 40% due to it being bugged and a memory-hog, as well as other minor but confusing problems.

    Of course, I like to think this is more down to Tim Stone’s personality as a reviewer rather than because he plays games that aren’t as subject to hype (he gave Multiwinia a relatively low score, for example, despite it being a moderately hyped up indie effort).

    I’m more than happy with someone using that argument though; I would use it but I’m not really intelligent enough to expound on it properly. Plus I like Tim.

  34. CitizenParker says:

    A fine point – there’s a third part of that Soren Johnson / Fall from Heaven interview now up as well. It’s the best yet – really digs into the design decisions they made. Fascinating, fascinating stuff. Apparently there’s nothing Soren Johnson can’t do.

  35. Myrmidon says:

    New York I Love You was the best song on the album. There. I said it.

    It has to be built up to, though. Can’t just listen to it cold. It’s too tender, too disappointed with the rest of the world to jump right in. And it works best when Yr City’s A Sucker (from his last album) has shown up on the playlist earlier.

  36. Meat Circus says:

    Frankly, if Scott Jones genuinely knows several writers who wilfully inflated Fallout 3′s standings against their own feelings of the game, then these journos are corrupt.

    In which case Scott Jones has a duty to name and shame these corrupt journos. To stay silent is to share their taint by association.

    Also: MGS4 – ugh. Kieron, are you really, really going to do that much-discussed EG MGS4 second opinion? That’s something I badly want to read.

  37. skizelo says:

    Somebody should really tell Scott Jones what a reviewer does. It means telling us his opinion! And I second the call for disclosing the names of the reviewers who failed to play the damn thing.

  38. Chris says:

    Thanks for the link, Kieron.

    Also, thanks for calling attention to the Crispy Gamer Fallout 3 post. My mind’s still blown.

    Also, also, also I support Muzman’s plan for Games Gonzo Journalism.

  39. A-Scale says:

    Scott Jones is a crybaby. He didn’t enjoy one quest, one accent, and the ability to have a concussion (albeit under different terms). He also complains about the marketing. Suck it up.

    There was a lots of dungeons to visit, but most of them were just corridors filled with repetitive, uninteresting combat.

    I think you were playing Oblivion. No two dungeons were the same, or even close to the same, except some of the same textures. Just about every place had its own flavor, or quirk.

  40. kadayi says:

    I think if people are going to label a game as ‘not great’ either as a whole or with respect to specific mechanics then they ought to qualify how by counterpointing it against one that they consider is ‘great’. We can all acknowledge when a game is buggy or broken mechanistically, but where a game is by and large functional it becomes another matter entirely. Often I feel people label games as ‘not great’ simply because they don’t live up to the players unrealistic expectations rather than them being genuinely inferior to previous games.

  41. dhex says:

    hell he complained that inventory management was too complex. that’s a bit frightening.

    but yeah metacritic’s a flawed but har har funny way to look at grade inflation:

    http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/fallout3?q=fallout%203

  42. Radiant says:

    People will always want to read good writing.
    Whilst that in itself is purely subjective I don’t think I read anything on 1up that could be described as outstandingly written or insightful.
    Jeff Green’s point that 1up under UGO will be different is blinkered to the reality that what 1up did [podcast aside] can be replicated by a lot less people to draw in the same number of readers.
    Did the Jeff Gertzman episode bring in or lose any more or any less readers then Gamespot had before?
    Did it change that site’s editorial?
    Hell one of the most popular and oldest gaming sites: ve3d have been going for years unchanged with the same 3 people posting content.

    Not to blow smoke to fill your nostrils but sites like RPS where the emphasis is on the writing and, more importantly, on the writers [where the focus is on games and not the individual like on a personal blog] are much more important to it’s readership.
    Hopefully you guys can get more of the Tim Stones, Quinns, Leighs and Croals to post articles to build on what you have created here.

  43. Yann Best says:

    Actually, I’m faintly bemused by the people taking Jones to task for not liking Fallout 3, as opposed to the issue of him (and apparently other critics) pretending to like it. Do you honestly think it’s worse for somebody to not like a game as much as you do than it is for them to hide said opinion that they might fit in better? Really? Would you in fact have preferred for him to have kept up the pretence?

  44. Radiant says:

    Although, yeeeeah, I would love it if you did post about experiences with other games you wanted to highlight regardless of platform but I think that’s me missing the point slightly.

  45. Zeus says:

    The reason behind the EGM/1UP cover-up perpetrated by RPS is obvious: The last time you guys covered a story like this, fans convinced you to start a podcast after GFW Radio shut down. You didn’t want to get talked into starting print magazine about consoles, so, you kept silent.

    Right? :D

  46. Dr_demento says:

    I agree that Jones really ought to be more willing to give a game a lower score, and indeed demote it from GoTY-voting status, if he feels it should be. Oh, and marketing always lies. He is entitled to his personal / professional opinion of Fallout 3, though, and saying “he obviously has no taste / sense / whatever” is *precisely* the reason he didn’t review it truthfully!

    On the subject of Kieron’s MGS4 review, it’s a REAL SHAME that this site is PC-only, because if it was PC-centric instead then you could post it here and bring in more traffic than you can possibly imagine. Oh, and become even more well-known on the internets.

  47. pkt-zer0 says:

    Inflated review scores, journalists with groupthink, and games with a multi-million dollar marketing budget being overhyped, eh? Captain Obvious to the rescue!

    It’s hilarious how he calls Fallout 3 an “old-school hardcore RPG”, though. Probably the same groupthink in action.

  48. Jim Rossignol says:

    You didn’t want to get talked into starting print magazine about consoles, so, you kept silent.

    That is totally our next move.

  49. Arathain says:

    The New Games Journalism thing has been so weird to watch. One segment attacking an almost willful misinterpretation, while a big bunch of journalists quietly adopt what KG was actually saying. It’s dead? I see more NGJ style pieces all the time.

  50. Skurmedel says:

    I thought Fallout 3 would suck, I really did. Whined and bitched about it, then when I got it a gift and tried I fell in love.