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Diesel-
11-10-2012, 02:29 PM
Do you think they are? I think so

Take VGA for example. they always nominate popular games over quality games. for example last year skyrim won GOTY and True GOTY Deus Ex was not even nominated. they nominate Dragon age 2 over witcher 2. they havenot nominate shogun 2 for best RTS or even best PC game

Back in 2010. they claim Halo Reach and COD black OPS are highlight of FPS of 2010 when in reality Stalker Call of Pripyat and Metro 2033 were.

They have not even nominate Stalker Call of Pripyat for best FPS but it was clear winner. MUCH better than Garbage like Halo Reach and Black OPS.


http://www.hoax-slayer.com/images/mexico-drug-money2.jpg


Its all money talks. Its all corrupt


Discuss

Shooop
11-10-2012, 02:40 PM
Not so much money talking, but the audience.

How many people bought The Witcher 2 compared to Dragon Age 2? And there are people who haven't even heard of STALKER (pity them).

It's like politics. They're being paid to tell people what they want to hear, not what really is or isn't.

gundato
11-10-2012, 02:42 PM
...

"I disagree, they are corrupt and taking bribes"

The point of ANY award is how well something meets the criteria and values of that committee.

For stuff like Academy Awards and movies, that is how dramatic and artsy your movie is
For video games, that is how well you combine mainstream accessibility with quality

Wolfenswan
11-10-2012, 02:44 PM
don't share my opinion = corrupt

it really is like politics but you should be pointing at yourselves.

Grizzly
11-10-2012, 02:46 PM
Take VGA for example. they always nominate popular games over quality games. for example last year skyrim won GOTY and True GOTY Deus Ex was not even nominated.

Ehrm... Games are usually popular because they are GOOD.

Jockie
11-10-2012, 02:52 PM
Awards ceremonies are populist, especially things like the VGAs, their audience is the millions of teen/early 20s gamers, who breathe COD. Don't mistake popularity with corruption, even if you can't quite understand why it's popular.


Back in 2010. they claim Halo Reach and COD black OPS are highlight of FPS of 2010 when in reality Stalker Call of Pripyat and Metro 2033 were.


You can't claim opinion as fact, I agree with you personally, but that doesn't make it objectively true.

Kaira-
11-10-2012, 03:01 PM
Betteridge's Law of Headlines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines) is more than apt here. The answer is obviously and resoundingly "no". If you feel otherwise... well, I'd say you have quite a black-and-white worldview.


One thing though: This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word "no". The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bollocks, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it

Nalano
11-10-2012, 03:05 PM
Awards ceremonies are as corrupt as reviews, because they can be viewed as a form of promotion.

This is a for-profit industry, and as such it is guaranteed that if it makes money, it will be utilized. This includes bonuses for reviewers who give favorable reviews (and lockouts for reviewers who don't), and "sponsorship" and other bribery into awards committees. Everybody here can list games that got Game of the Year primarily because the publisher spent millions on marketing and wasn't about to take no for an answer.

The paid shills are gaming's form of payola, and are just as pervasive.

Scumbag
11-10-2012, 03:06 PM
Complaining about the VGA awards not really paying attention to something like Stalker (a PC exclusive game with rough presentation and some goofy translation) is kind of silly. Spike's VGA is a big mainstream, console focused group and as a result wont really be interested in smaller, more PC centric games.
It would be like complaining to Classic FM because they don't feature enough Darkthrone (http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Darkthrone/146).

Moraven
11-10-2012, 03:15 PM
There are more awards than just VGAs. Look to indie and developer based ones. But like the academys I am sure politics are involved.

Kadayi
11-10-2012, 03:24 PM
Its all money talks. Its all corrupt


Discuss

It's all money talks. It's all corrupt. Discuss?

What's to discuss? You've already decided that the awards are corrupt based on nothing more than personal belief it seems. Any more bum topics to post?

hamster
11-10-2012, 03:29 PM
Thing is a lot of people have preconceived notions about games, particularly sequels. When you badmouth a game that they are hellbent on fanboying over, what's going to happen? You're going to piss off your audience big time.

I have no doubt though that a lot of reviewers get paid. Thing is I don't think it's really prohibited. Truth is, even in the finance industry if you badmouth a company your ibank is interested in by, say, issuing a sour research report you really can lose your job.

Internet
11-10-2012, 03:43 PM
Don't say "discuss" at the end of a post. It's self-aggrandizing. Some reviews are either corrupt, inept, or swept up in hype. You can see this when the score doesn't match the text of the review, or when site has two contrary pieces on the same game within a few days of each other. Without concrete evidence its impossible to prove one, and the results for a bad review (bought or unbought) are much the same. PC Gamer's "Dragon Age II may be a candidate for best RPG of the decade," may or may not have been bought, but if it wasn't, I still will never trust Rich McCormick's reviews, lost respect for PC gamer, and rarely visit the site. Quinn's review of New Vegas, which was terrible but obviously not bought made me lose respect for him and not trust his reviews.

So, while the incentive in the short term may be to release corrupt reviews, it better be enough money to pay for the rest of a career. Especially since a site that's creator owned and not corrupt, like RPS, makes a fair bit of money anyways.

Squirly
11-10-2012, 03:46 PM
Remember how they nominated the King Kong game when it had only been out for a week by the time the VGAs arrived?

Yeah. The VGAs are glorified PR exercises.

This post is sponsored by Mountain Dew.

Patrick Swayze
11-10-2012, 03:48 PM
Yes. Especially the ones on this glorified blog.

Heliocentric
11-10-2012, 03:56 PM
Do not attribute to be evil that which can more easily be a explained by stupidity?

Nalano
11-10-2012, 03:58 PM
Do not attribute to be evil that which can more easily be a explained by stupidity?

Follow the money.

dnf
11-10-2012, 04:16 PM
The thing with game reviews is that the lowest common denominator is the standart as opposed to the elitists. Elitists in gaming are often labelled as trolls, whiners, entitled,etc. Dont blame the scores guys blame the scoregiver.

Makariel
11-10-2012, 04:23 PM
Do you think they are? I think so
I disagree to the notion that all awards and most of game critics are corrupt. They might simply have a different taste in games. Winners of such awards/popularity contests are often enough the lowest common denominator.


Take VGA for example. they always nominate popular games over quality games.
VGA are a over-produced advertising show, no more. I don't really pay attention to them, neither do most people I know. Games don't really have awards with a certain credibility, like the Oscars (arguably) are for movies.

Dexter
11-10-2012, 04:30 PM
This is actually rather fitting :P

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=495020
https://twitter.com/RichStanton
http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Future-Publishing-Writer-Outs-Shady-Publishers-Paid-Review-Scores-More-47988.html

Ex-freelance writer for Future Publishing/PC Gamer/EDGE apparently had some sort of meltdown or disagreement and started commenting about the practices used by said company on his Twitter while drunk yesterday, here are some of the most interesting ones.


Q: “@CiaranMac90: @RichStanton Just give us the worst story on Future you have and get some rest!”
A: Edge gave GTA IV [10] but the review didn’t I’m genuinely amazed that nobody has picked up on the fact that GTA4 got a 9 which became Rockstar’s much sought-after [10] in Edge.

Q: “@theubermod: @RichStanton Do publishers/platform holders 'pay' for covers? In either ad spend or access.”
A: They control everything

Q: “@helloimandrew: @RichStanton do review scores in future publications sometimes magically change before it hits the self”
A: Yes

Q: “@Tim__Lane: @RichStanton game that got most obviously dodgy reviews?”
A: Homefront, less obviously. Most is Driv3rgate

Q: “@LittleJuiceBox1: @RichStanton Who were the dodgiest PRs for doing deals (review scores etc)?”
A: Rockstar, without question.

Q: "@bmart_12: @RichStanton If Rockstar was the dodgiest, who else is up there?"
A: 2K bitch a lot. EA/Acti are numbers-driven.

Q: “@LewieP: @RichStanton have you witnessed any dodgy deals?”
A: Yes. Future will do anything to accommodate advertisers.

Q: “@iambeano: @RichStanton Did Future think the EDGE forum community was a waste of time?”
A: Yes. Then lost 2/3rds of their traffic! Idiots.

Q: “@DilutedDante: @RichStanton worst games mag/site?”
A: CVG. They deliberately misquote devs, and claim it’s a mistake after the hits

Q: “@MDKII: @RichStanton Any other examples of good PR you’ve dealt with?”
A: Nintendo - flawless. Early access, no interest in the score.

Q: "@bmart_12: @RichStanton Any info to spill on Cod reviews/ad pressure?”
A: Actually, no. COD always earned the reviews, good series

Q: “@cgentero: @RichStanton Were Japanese publishers just as willing to buy scores?"
A: Capcom, for example, push for scores - but in the right way
What I mean by that is they’d send you the game early, with meganotes to ensure you ‘got it’. Works for me. Good PR.

PC Gamer asked me to take some photos of something very specific. A wall of concept art. I asked permission, and did so.
Valve went nuts. This wasn’t approved! Do you know what PC Gamer’s editor, Tim Edwards, did?
He denied I had ever been asked to do it. Said PCG were merely the innocent recipient. Lied, in other words. Cunt.

Anyone remember that Dragon Age 2 Review? :P http://www.pcgamer.com/review/dragon-age-2-review/
It was my personal breaking point as to not trusting ANY "professional" reviews anymore, since it was so bloody obvious.

Publications/Websites owned by Future Publishing:

Magazines
EU
Edge
GamesMaster
GamesMaster Cheats
GamesMaster Presents
NGamer
Nintendo: The Official Magazine
PC Gamer
PlayStation: The Official Magazine
PSM3
Xbox 360: The Official Magazine
Xbox World

US
Nintendo Power
Official Xbox Magazine
PC Gamer
PlayStation: The Official Magazine

AUS
Nintendo: The Official Magazine
PSM3
Xbox 360: The Official Magazine

Websites
computerandvideogames.com
gamesradar.com
goldenjoystick.com
next-gen.biz
nintendopower.com
officialnintendomagazine.co.uk
officialplaystationmagazine.co.uk
oxm.co.uk
oxmonline.com
pcgamer.com

Berzee
11-10-2012, 04:43 PM
"Most of game critics" is a rather large pool. Did you mean full-time professional game critics?

Finicky
11-10-2012, 04:47 PM
VGA are a over-produced advertising show, no more. I don't really pay attention to them, neither do most people I know.
Yeah, the question of corrupt or not corrupt is irrelevant, it's a commercial dressed up as something else.

It's like those 2 hour 'megafactories' car commercials on discovery where the PR representatives hype up for example a dodge charger with all kinds of marketing speak to describe the handling and the company policy.

It's an elaborate ad dressed up as a documentary.


VGAs use the same concept.

The headline should have been : Are there people out there so retarded that they don't realise this? (answer would be a resounding YES)

Nalano
11-10-2012, 04:49 PM
Yeah, the question of corrupt or not corrupt is irrelevant, it's a commercial dressed up as something else.

It's a debate of corruption if we are to assume that there is some form of critical integrity with which to read these reviews and watch these awards ceremonies.

If we simply assume that all games reviews are an arm of the marketing department of games publishers, then yeah, it's no longer an issue of corruption, but then there's also no reason ever to read games reviews.

Shooop
11-10-2012, 05:05 PM
I disagree to the notion that all awards and most of game critics are corrupt. They might simply have a different taste in games. Winners of such awards/popularity contests are often enough the lowest common denominator.


VGA are a over-produced advertising show, no more. I don't really pay attention to them, neither do most people I know. Games don't really have awards with a certain credibility, like the Oscars (arguably) are for movies.

Exactly what I was saying. They aren't giving awards for quality, but more for popularity. If The Witcher 2 would have won, all but 5 people in the audience would have just stared in silence for a second before unleashing a collective stage-rattlingly loud, "Huuuuh?"

Kadayi
11-10-2012, 05:05 PM
"Most of game critics" is a rather large pool. Did you mean full-time professional game critics?

Yes, all of them apparently. They're all on the take. Including all of RPS. /wrist /end thread

Finicky
11-10-2012, 05:13 PM
It's a debate of corruption if we are to assume that there is some form of critical integrity with which to read these reviews and watch these awards ceremonies.

If we simply assume that all games reviews are an arm of the marketing department of games publishers, then yeah, it's no longer an issue of corruption, but then there's also no reason ever to read games reviews.

I'm talking about the VGA awards specifically here.

Reviews, well there are many from many sources so you have to look at it case by case.
Review magazines/websites/blogs/those super elaborate standard PR package image/banner threads on neogaf can be anywhere from sincere to bought by a PR department to just directly designed and released by a PR department.
The main difference here is that their whole spiel and whole pitch is objectivety and consumer interests.

PR tactics like viral marketing (aka shills) are well documented in other industries so it always amuses me to see gamers dismiss the idea of forums/websites/review outlets containing shills.

There are numerous accounts of (non gaming) companies getting caught when they pay actors to mix into the crowds at unveilings/pr events to spread excitement and specifically to show enthusiasm when the media interviews the crowd for their opinions.
Some google-fu will show you plenty of real world event examples outside of the interwebs.

On the gaming side, EA employs hundreds to help set the tone in large online communities.
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=468091

Again, viral marketing is well documented outside of gaming, influencing public opinion in any way possible is very effective (US food industries spend millions on halftime ads to convince housewives that high fructose corn sugar is awesome because 'sugar is sugar')

Just look at any large gaming forum, the general concensus and mood of any thread about any new game is almost always set within a few posts.
Peer pressure doesn't stop after highschool, kids. People are eager to have a sense of belonging and bored people are eager to get excited about anything. Gamers are double susceptible to both for obvious reasons.

If you can pay a few people to spend a few weeks at key times to reach hundreds of thousands of people and influence their perception of your product under the guise of a casual observer then ofc you will take it. (jaded reaction to corruption)

Hell ,it's a lot cheaper than stuffing people's mailboxes with expensive color printed ads that most people throw away and don't take seriously. Those things are just for consumer awareness.
Actually having people actively LOOK for and look at your advertising at a much lower cost and actually influencing their opinion with it is way more effective.

The neutral outsider does and should hate these practices though because it doesn't benifit the consumer and creates a lot more noise.

But hey, gamers man:
-deny!
-embrace anything that benifits whatever company they fawn over no matter the effect on them

Sketch
11-10-2012, 05:16 PM
Just to say, although I really like Metro, Halo: Reach is still a better game. Yep, uh huh.

Hypernetic
11-10-2012, 05:18 PM
It's blatantly obvious at times. Have you ever read a review and thought to yourself "Wow, this game sounds terrible. The author is just bashing the game left and right for several paragraphs" and then you get to the end and see the score and it's a 90/100?

Diesel-
11-10-2012, 05:21 PM
Just to say, although I really like Metro, Halo: Reach is still a better game. Yep, uh huh.

No its not better. not by long shot. it got awards and recieve high score because its halo no matter how mediocre halo is it always recieve high score because of name. Corrupt Mainstream media always put popular games over quality games

Shooop
11-10-2012, 05:24 PM
It's blatantly obvious at times. Have you ever read a review and thought to yourself "Wow, this game sounds terrible. The author is just bashing the game left and right for several paragraphs" and then you get to the end and see the score and it's a 90/100?

The reason for that. (http://www.metacritic.com/)

Sketch
11-10-2012, 05:36 PM
No its not better. not by long shot. it got awards and recieve high score because its halo no matter how mediocre halo is it always recieve high score because of name. Corrupt Mainstream media always put popular games over quality games

But Metro 2033 is a very linear game with pretty poor gunplay. Halo has some scripted cutscenes sure, but it allows you far more freedom to do what you want, while no open world has large open sections of map where you can do stuff in the order that you like. Halo 1 was well received for a reason and Reach is just a continuation of that, just with more stuff to do. I don't think it's ever gotten undeservedly good scores.

Hypernetic
11-10-2012, 06:11 PM
The reason for that. (http://www.metacritic.com/)

Obviously.

Mohorovicic
11-10-2012, 06:18 PM
There was a saying about this... what was it again?

Oh right.

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

biz
11-10-2012, 07:17 PM
when reviews are a business, then yes

the most important thing for these so-called 'journalists' is getting the review out as early as possible (more pageviews) and building good relations with publishers to get early/exclusive access to news/games

Henke
11-10-2012, 07:30 PM
No its not better. not by long shot.

Umm... have you even played Halo Reach? I've played it, and also Metro 2033 and Stalker COP. It's certainly better than Metro. Better than Stalker? Hard to say. Certainly more polished but perhaps not quite as memorable.

Oh wait, are you going to accuse me of taking bribes from MS now that I'm not hating on Halo?

Nalano
11-10-2012, 07:42 PM
But Metro 2033 is a very linear game with pretty poor gunplay. Halo has some scripted cutscenes sure, but it allows you far more freedom to do what you want, while no open world has large open sections of map where you can do stuff in the order that you like. Halo 1 was well received for a reason and Reach is just a continuation of that, just with more stuff to do. I don't think it's ever gotten undeservedly good scores.

On a console market.


There was a saying about this... what was it again?

Oh right.

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

It's not stupidity or malice. It's money.

Sketch
11-10-2012, 07:44 PM
Oh yeah, obviously being on a console it is automatically not as good.

But really, Reach would make an excellent PC game, and it saddens me that more of the series isn't on PC.

Velko
11-10-2012, 07:45 PM
Yes. Everyone who disagrees with me is part of a global conspiracy.

Diesel-
11-10-2012, 08:26 PM
Oh yeah, obviously being on a console it is automatically not as good.

But really, Reach would make an excellent PC game, and it saddens me that more of the series isn't on PC.


for PC standard it would be even more mediocre.

Sketch
11-10-2012, 08:28 PM
I feel like I'm getting trolled or something. Am I getting trolled?

Hypernetic
11-10-2012, 08:29 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why Deus Ex was the "TRUE GOTY". I liked Skyrim better. A lot better.

Feldspar
11-10-2012, 08:38 PM
Stuff about future publishing

You missed PCFormat off that, which I distinctly remember certain journalists not too far from this forum working for.


I'm still trying to figure out why Deus Ex was the "TRUE GOTY". I liked Skyrim better. A lot better.

You know I was thinking that too, but I'm not sure either of them would have made GOTY (goaty? Always amuses me) in my opinion, both were arguably dumbed down sequals of better games. But then again I'm in the minority (being an individual I'm always in the minority, only drones are ever in the majority).

Grizzly
11-10-2012, 08:43 PM
for PC standard it would be even more mediocre.

Could you please try and explain that?

b0rsuk
11-10-2012, 08:44 PM
All ? No.

Maybe you should take interest in awards given by gamers. For example xyzzy awards (interactive fiction only).

gundato
11-10-2012, 08:44 PM
I actually find the first hour or two of HR to be a pure slog. No special powers (and then having to choose between cloak and hacking).

And gameplay wise, I found that the game very much railroaded you into a stealthy (and probably non-lethal) approach for the most part due to the obscene number of "side paths" that are all insanely obvious. It is basically "Oh, here is the direct path. But look at this giant arrow pointing to a side route that will give you bonus XP!!"

But after you have spent a few piraxis points, the game does definitely become one of the best games of whatever year it came out in.

Skyrim on the other hand, while having the same pointless end-game that all TES games have (yes, even Daggerfall and Arena), at least makes you a viable character from level 1. You want to throw spells? You can. You want to be a rogue? You can. You want to punch lions to death? Feel free

Scumbag
11-10-2012, 08:58 PM
Could you please try and explain that?
At a guess:
Reasons

Kaira-
11-10-2012, 09:18 PM
I feel like I'm getting trolled or something. Am I getting trolled?

Either that, or this thread has veered to "opinions == facts", in which case this thread might as well be nuked from the orbit.

Diesel-
11-10-2012, 09:32 PM
Could you please try and explain that?

there is nothing special about Halo. its same since 2001. same pew pew pew.

Kaira-
11-10-2012, 09:34 PM
there is nothing special about Halo. its same since 2001. same pew pew pew.

I think we should watch out, we have a master of argumentation here.

Drake Sigar
11-10-2012, 09:40 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why Deus Ex was the "TRUE GOTY". I liked Skyrim better. A lot better.
Deus Ex Human Rev was my most underwhelming experience that year, and I'm never going to play it again. Really sick of people praising it.

Diesel-
11-10-2012, 09:54 PM
Deus Ex Human Rev was my most underwhelming experience that year, and I'm never going to play it again. Really sick of people praising it.

Games like Deus Ex dont release every year. and it release decade after original Deus Ex.

gundato
11-10-2012, 09:58 PM
Games like Deus Ex dont release every year. and it release decade after original Deus Ex.
Whats your point?

I would rather get an awesome game every year (even two per year) than an above average game once a decade.

OH MAH GAWDZ!!! OUR OPINIONS DIFFER!! YOU ARE A CORPORATE SHILL!!

Hypernetic
11-10-2012, 10:22 PM
Games like Deus Ex dont release every year. and it release decade after original Deus Ex.

So I guess that terrible first person rehash of Syndicate qualifies for GOTY too then?

dnf
11-10-2012, 10:23 PM
And E.Y.E is miles better than human revolution. Hell, even the mod 2027 is superior

dnf
11-10-2012, 10:25 PM
So I guess that terrible first person rehash of Syndicate qualifies for GOTY too then?

Theme =\= game design

fiddlesticks
11-10-2012, 10:53 PM
If we simply assume that all games reviews are an arm of the marketing department of games publishers, then yeah, it's no longer an issue of corruption, but then there's also no reason ever to read games reviews.
There's always entertainment value as a reason. Most game reviewers I like to read are better writers than journalists.

Not that it really excuses the shoddy job many of them do or the fact that they gladly act as the industry's mouthpiece. Though what horrifies me is that this complete lack of critical thinking isn't confined to gaming journalism. Reporters dealing with politics are rarely better and unlike game reviewers those people actually have a huge influence on the population. Gaming journalism is a joke, but at least it's a joke we can laugh at.

Patrick Swayze
11-10-2012, 11:21 PM
This buthurt PC-Elitism over Halo still exists?

Yes it was going to be an amazing PC game ( and Mac before that) until Bungie got bought out by Microsoft.

If you claim Halo is a bad game you're a dope plain and simple. It was ahead of its time in so many ways. Even when it was released on PC much too late there still wasn't much ahead of it.

Man if you dislike Halo or see any of it as average you must just not like games, or be playing games from the future, on your quantum-core system.

Dariune
11-10-2012, 11:44 PM
Going back on point I think the OP does have a valid point although im not sure on the delivery.

I often suspect that sites like IGN are taking money. Their opinions sometimes seem just a bit too onesided. Taking DA2 as an example. Whether you liked it or not I think its fair to say that enough people didnt like it that the game doesnt deserve "Classic" status. And yet IGN raved about it.

Even RPS who, for the most part, seem intent on giving an honest opinion make me wonder sometimes.

Most recently with X-COM. I am playing it now and it is quite good. Not great, but average to above average IMO. But the raving about how great the game, even though the raving was fairly well presented and objective (Such is the skill of the master writer) felt far more over the top than i felt.

I am just one person though and this doesnt mean RPS are taking money to say that X-COM is great. But it does sometimes make me wonder if a reviewer can be trusted. (Not that I ever take anyones word as gospel) From the lower end of the literary video game indistry like IGN to the more verbose and objective RPS, I feel that "corruption" isnt unthinkable.

deano2099
11-10-2012, 11:46 PM
Follow the money.

But Future Publishing, who are getting a drumming in this thread, are losing money hand-over-fist: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/future-publishing-profits-fall

And when was the last time you saw or ever heard about a loaded games journalist?

The whole system is screwed, that's for sure, but I always hate that people have in their mind this concept of games journos being given literal bribes to write good reviews.

It's far more complex than that, but mostly boils down to:

readers value early reviews over well-written ones
publishers like publications that go easy on them
publishers give review code to people they like first, and to people they don't like not at all
publications that get reviews in first see increase traffic and hence ad revenue


Seriously, I'm sure there are plenty of games writers out their ready and willing to sell out, but no-one's buying. It's not envelopes full of cash, it's far more insidious.

deano2099
11-10-2012, 11:47 PM
Their opinions sometimes seem just a bit too onesided.

Because reviews are done by one person and so they probably will have one opinion on the game?

Dariune
11-10-2012, 11:52 PM
Because reviews are done by one person and so they probably will have one opinion on the game?

Yes but one person is more than capable at looking at a subject from several different angles. In IGN's case, not all the DA2 articles were the same person. There was the glowing reviews and then the monumental amount of glorified advertising articles which followed.

dnf
12-10-2012, 12:03 AM
Going back on point I think the OP does have a valid point although im not sure on the delivery.

I often suspect that sites like IGN are taking money. Their opinions sometimes seem just a bit too onesided. Taking DA2 as an example. Whether you liked it or not I think its fair to say that enough people didnt like it that the game doesnt deserve "Classic" status. And yet IGN raved about it.

Even RPS who, for the most part, seem intent on giving an honest opinion make me wonder sometimes.

Most recently with X-COM. I am playing it now and it is quite good. Not great, but average to above average IMO. But the raving about how great the game, even though the raving was fairly well presented and objective (Such is the skill of the master writer) felt far more over the top than i felt.

I am just one person though and this doesnt mean RPS are taking money to say that X-COM is great. But it does sometimes make me wonder if a reviewer can be trusted. (Not that I ever take anyones word as gospel) From the lower end of the literary video game indistry like IGN to the more verbose and objective RPS, I feel that "corruption" isnt unthinkable.

Im simply not gonna read a review of a game that is heavily advertised like this one was on RPS.

SirDavies
12-10-2012, 12:15 AM
People have opinions. If you don't agree with them, don't listen to them/read/watch their content. It's as easy as that. This is the internet, there's a place for everything. Who cares if the VGA's consider Skyrim to be the GOTY? I don't, you don't. Let's just play the games we enjoy, read the stuff we find interesting and get on with our lives. I really don't see the problem here.

Kadayi
12-10-2012, 12:20 AM
But Future Publishing, who are getting a drumming in this thread, are losing money hand-over-fist: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/future-publishing-profits-fall

And when was the last time you saw or ever heard about a loaded games journalist?

The whole system is screwed, that's for sure, but I always hate that people have in their mind this concept of games journos being given literal bribes to write good reviews.

It's far more complex than that, but mostly boils down to:

readers value early reviews over well-written ones
publishers like publications that go easy on them
publishers give review code to people they like first, and to people they don't like not at all
publications that get reviews in first see increase traffic and hence ad revenue


Seriously, I'm sure there are plenty of games writers out their ready and willing to sell out, but no-one's buying. It's not envelopes full of cash, it's far more insidious.

Careful Dean, don't shatter the illusion that Games Journalism is somehow where the real money is at....

dnf
12-10-2012, 12:21 AM
But its fun to tear opinions apart :(

Kadayi
12-10-2012, 12:37 AM
But its fun to tear opinions apart :(

Shush you, everyone knows John Walker has more money than Kim Dot Com.

gundato
12-10-2012, 12:42 AM
This buthurt PC-Elitism over Halo still exists?

Yes it was going to be an amazing PC game ( and Mac before that) until Bungie got bought out by Microsoft.

If you claim Halo is a bad game you're a dope plain and simple. It was ahead of its time in so many ways. Even when it was released on PC much too late there still wasn't much ahead of it.

Man if you dislike Halo or see any of it as average you must just not like games, or be playing games from the future, on your quantum-core system.
Well, you can safely argue that Halo has atrocious (SP) level design. Compare its levels (at least for 1 and 2) versus previous SP games and it definitely is bland and comes up lacking.

But I do give Halo massive credit for being the first game that truly united vehicles and infantry in multiplayer. Every other game prior (and even most current) that tried to merge the two ended up with a disconnect between the two resulting in "A bunch of guys shooting each others, and then a tank killing stuff"

deano2099
12-10-2012, 12:45 AM
Im simply not gonna read a review of a game that is heavily advertised like this one was on RPS.

Well someone has the pay the writer's rent. And the internet turned up and people started expecting everything for free, so the consumer isn't going to pay it. So yes, it has to be done by advertising instead.

The simple solution for an ad-free totally independent review site is to pay for it. If everyone that spent their time moaning about it instead chipped in a quid a month we could have one. But either you pay for the reviews, or the publishers do through advertising.

Sketch
12-10-2012, 12:49 AM
Well, you can safely argue that Halo has atrocious (SP) level design. Compare its levels (at least for 1 and 2) versus previous SP games and it definitely is bland and comes up lacking.

But I do give Halo massive credit for being the first game that truly united vehicles and infantry in multiplayer. Every other game prior (and even most current) that tried to merge the two ended up with a disconnect between the two resulting in "A bunch of guys shooting each others, and then a tank killing stuff"

Halo's level design is one of it's best things. Yeah in Halo 1 there is the awful, awful Library level, but the open world missions like the 2nd campaign mission, Two Betrayals...they're huge, and very nicely designed.

gundato
12-10-2012, 01:05 AM
Halo's level design is one of it's best things. Yeah in Halo 1 there is the awful, awful Library level, but the open world missions like the 2nd campaign mission, Two Betrayals...they're huge, and very nicely designed.

I wouldn't call Halo 2's "open world" good level design. Been a few years since I played it (and on the PC to boot), but I Found them all to be very bland and without "cover" as it were. That's not to say they weren't fun (not my cup of tea, but I See their influence in Resistance and Killzone which I love), just that the level design was kind of crap.

And I have to admit: Halo 1 is actually one of my favorite experiences ever. Some driver error resulted in every enemy being invisible unless I had my flashlight on them (a lot of level geometry was see-through too). That made the game VERY fun in that I had to ration my use of the flashlight so that I wouldn't get stuck dodging gunfire while waiting for it to recharge. I strongly suspect one of the lead devs at Remedy had the same glitch.

Nalano
12-10-2012, 01:30 AM
If you claim Halo is a bad game you're a dope plain and simple.

It was a mediocre game offered to a uncritical captive audience starved of PC gaming's storied history of FPSs. To this day it's more marketing - and how! - than product.

If you never played anything like it, you'd think it was the bee's knees too.


But Future Publishing, who are getting a drumming in this thread, are losing money hand-over-fist: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/20/future-publishing-profits-fall

And when was the last time you saw or ever heard about a loaded games journalist?

The whole system is screwed, that's for sure, but I always hate that people have in their mind this concept of games journos being given literal bribes to write good reviews.

It's far more complex than that, but mostly boils down to:

readers value early reviews over well-written ones
publishers like publications that go easy on them
publishers give review code to people they like first, and to people they don't like not at all
publications that get reviews in first see increase traffic and hence ad revenue


Seriously, I'm sure there are plenty of games writers out their ready and willing to sell out, but no-one's buying. It's not envelopes full of cash, it's far more insidious.

I expected more of you, Deano.

Follow the fucking money. You know, the money that goes from the pockets of gamers to the bank accounts of publishers because they read glorified press releases and squeeing previews and reviews of games.

Games writing is a hand-to-mouth profession. The writers are easily malleable because there's so fucking many of them. They get scraps because that's how much they have the leverage to demand. They're in the pockets of publishers because publishers have the money (and goods) they need to support their profession, and so they do what the publishers want.

How hard was that? Seriously. If games writers were independently wealthy, they wouldn't need to sabotage their credibility.

Why is the Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed page so biased? Because the WSJ is owned by an Australian mogul and thus must reflect his political alignment. It's always the fucking money.

soldant
12-10-2012, 01:51 AM
But the raving about how great the game, even though the raving was fairly well presented and objective (Such is the skill of the master writer) felt far more over the top than i felt.
This is your opinion. RPS really like the game. I really like the game. Plenty of others really like the game. Where does that leave this sentiment? You know, I think The Witcher games are the most overrated piles of nonsense in PC gaming today. I don't like them, I find their "maturity" to be rather clumsy and shallow, I don't like the mechanics, I don't like the story. But plenty of other people clearly do, and they would want to list it as a classic. My classic games list probably looks a lot different to yours.

Am I biased? Of course. Reviews cannot be objective, they are always a subjective assessment of a game coloured by the reviewer's personality. Reviews are not a scientific analysis, there is no defined "good" and "bad". Reviews are an opinion, which by strict definition can't be objective. In terms of "objective" as "judged fairly" that definition has serious problems because everyone has different ideas of what is "fair".

Lately, it seems that review reactions go like this:
Reviewer: "This game was awesome, go play it."
Readers: "OMFG IT'S A CLASSIC / OMFG THIS GUY IS BIASED."

Reviewer: "This game is pretty good OR this game isn't perfect but it's not bad either."
Readers: "It's crap, don't bother / It's a cult classic, everyone should play it."

Reviewer: "It's an indie game and..."
Readers: "OMFG IT'S A CLASSIC / OMFG INDIE BIAS."

Reviewer: "This game is bad."
Readers: "OMFG THIS GUY IS BIASED / OMFG TOO TRUE BRAH!"

If you agree with the reviewer, chances are you're going to call it unbiased and fair. If you don't, you're more inclined to call it biased and unfair. Reviews, awards, etc, they're all just subjective opinions. It's not possible to create a review that caters to absolutely everyone and conforms to a totally objective standard, because all reviews are just opinions. That's not to say that someone blatantly making crap up against what the game actually presents against common standards is acceptable, but the entire "WHAT NARGLE WARS 2 DIDN'T GET GOTY OMFG SO BIASED" thing is ridiculous. GOTY is an absurd concept anyway.

gundato
12-10-2012, 02:03 AM
Pretty much. Yes, there is always going to be a (sub)conscious bias toward not pissing off the people giving you money. But that is going to be overridden by all the OTHER bias inherently included in any gamer (yes, believe it or not, the people who are reviewing games DO play them).

Now, obviously there ARE some special cases (even then, hype is a huge factor and arguably greater than marketing), but you can spot those from a mile away. And if you can't figure out if a review is biased toward "following the money trail" or whatever the crap Nally is rambling about, then you have bigger problems.

The moral of the story: Read the reviews, not the scores. Learn what reviewers have similar tastes to you, and read their reviews. And if you think they might be biased, READ ANOTHER REVIEW.

Ritashi
12-10-2012, 02:16 AM
I expected more of you, Deano.

Follow the fucking money. You know, the money that goes from the pockets of gamers to the bank accounts of publishers because they read glorified press releases and squeeing previews and reviews of games.

Games writing is a hand-to-mouth profession. The writers are easily malleable because there's so fucking many of them. They get scraps because that's how much they have the leverage to demand. They're in the pockets of publishers because publishers have the money (and goods) they need to support their profession, and so they do what the publishers want.

How hard was that? Seriously. If games writers were independently wealthy, they wouldn't need to sabotage their credibility.

Why is the Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed page so biased? Because the WSJ is owned by an Australian mogul and thus must reflect his political alignment. It's always the fucking money.

Except that you've offered no proof to back that up? "Always follow the money" seems like a great idea, but you can't back that claim up by saying "look at this thing, follow the money to those guys, and there's your cause" because you're using your original premise to find your conclusion. If you're right then that's a perfectly valid chain of logic, but if you're wrong then you just promoted a hypothesis to your attention unfairly. If you start with one random hypothesis out of many, and then you just check to see whether it might be right, you won't end up with the right answer most of the time. Let's say, for example, that a murder was committed in some hypothetical city. The police have no idea who did it, so they decide to check out Martin, because they figure they ought to check out someone, and besides he's kind of a shady character. He doesn't have a strong alibi, so they figure it very well might be him. Later on, it turns out that the murderer had black hair and their shoe size was a 9. That matches Martin, so they assume that he probably did it after all. However, he didn't; there was no reason to suspect him in the first place, so any circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime was not actually supporting the hypothesis that he did it. They promoted him to their attention unfairly, which caused them to make what is obviously a stupid mistake.

Basically, correlation is not causality, so you'll need to prove a causal connection between the trail of money and the voicing of opinions before you can claim simple correlation as supporting evidence. Supporting evidence has to be supporting an already highly plausible hypothesis for it to mean anything. Step one is to make sure that the only place you reference your conclusion in your argument is in fact *in* your conclusion. If you find yourself talking about your conclusion before you've proven it, you're doing it wrong. Show me something that proves causation, not correlation, and I'll get behind you. until then, I'll continue assuming that most journalists don't take any form of money for positive reviews, and I'll certainly not entertain the idea that RPS does. I rather like deano's presentation; it's not definitive, but it definitely seems like a real possibility. He earned the right for his hypothesis to be promoted to our attention fairly; he makes several assumptions that need to be independently substantiated, but those are themselves independent hypotheses to be tested. Honestly Nalano you've just been coming off as incredibly foolish and willing to believe literally anything someone tells you. Your only criteria for whether you believe something appears to be how much it conforms to your pre-existing cynical worldview. I'll just make the point that if you only believe things that conform to what you already believed, you'll never be able to learn anything new. Not to mention you'll only ever be as right as your initial beliefs were. It's the same fallacy as I mentioned above, taken to an extreme level.

Ritashi
12-10-2012, 02:25 AM
Apologies for the double post, but I ought to make the (totally separate) point that RPS actually said here (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/10/10/settling-the-score-eurogamer-expo-panel-talks-reviews/) that they get more hits on reviews after a game is out rather than earlier, which may debunk some of the assumed theories about how getting early review code is everything.

hamster
12-10-2012, 03:14 AM
Here's the thing: if there is a loophole, you can bet your ass somebody somewhere is squirming through the gaps to exploit it.
People are splashing money on games that they have never had the opportunity to play. Imperfect information makes for an imperfect market. Consumers can only rely on demos (which aren't always available), betas, marketing or reviews for even KNOWING what it is they're buying. So if the reviews prejudicially favor a game, you don't even have a true and accurate view of what the product is. You literally do not know what you are buying because your purchase is dependent on factors that are subjectively untrue. How ridiculous is this?

There needs to be a best practice guideline that excludes potential conflicts of interest between reviewers and publishers. Reviewers should not be hosting ads of a game that they review. Or at least the departments responsible should be separated by a chinese wall (hard to do in a 10 man company). Reviewers should have their accounts monitored. It should be a COMPULSORY REQUIREMENT for review code to be distributed freely when ready to all reviewers upon demand. No favoritism.

The same guidelines should apply to movies or any sort of media based product that you cannot qualitatively assess without experiencing (i.e. paying for).

Or you could end up with the situation where tons of people end up buying garbage...and the result is people put off purchases until there is word of mouth to go on.

gundato
12-10-2012, 03:33 AM
Here's the thing: if there is a loophole, you can bet your ass somebody somewhere is squirming through the gaps to exploit it.
People are splashing money on games that they have never had the opportunity to play. Imperfect information makes for an imperfect market. Consumers can only rely on demos (which aren't always available), betas, marketing or reviews for even KNOWING what it is they're buying. So if the reviews prejudicially favor a game, you don't even have a true and accurate view of what the product is. You literally do not know what you are buying because your purchase is dependent on factors that are subjectively untrue. How ridiculous is this?

There needs to be a best practice guideline that excludes potential conflicts of interest between reviewers and publishers. Reviewers should not be hosting ads of a game that they review. Or at least the departments responsible should be separated by a chinese wall (hard to do in a 10 man company). Reviewers should have their accounts monitored. It should be a COMPULSORY REQUIREMENT for review code to be distributed freely when ready to all reviewers upon demand. No favoritism.

The same guidelines should apply to movies or any sort of media based product that you cannot qualitatively assess without experiencing (i.e. paying for).

Or you could end up with the situation where tons of people end up buying garbage...and the result is people put off purchases until there is word of mouth to go on.

So we need to change how the entire review (and magazine, and anything) industry works because it is going to destroy the world even though it hasn't already done so?

hamster
12-10-2012, 04:02 AM
So we need to change how the entire review (and magazine, and anything) industry works because it is going to destroy the world even though it hasn't already done so?

I consider these to be very basic conflict of interest safeguards. It's utterly alien to me how there are no preventive measures in place. If you stop to think you'd realize the amount of money that can be (i should say "is" and "was") misallocated as a consequence of imperfect information.

Games, by the way, is a very large industry. When people fail to take it seriously all sorts of regulatory loopholes crop up. Your attitude is the reason why the industry is the way it is. "They're just gaaames". Yeah but it's money spent with an opportunity cost attached to it. If every goddamn industry was taken as lightly as games people would be bleeding money left & right in a perpetual state of discontent because they never ever get what they really want, thereby completely distorting the market economy. It's really simple actually, and expecting good governance should be the very minimum we expect of an ENTIRE billion dollar industry, don't you think?

gundato
12-10-2012, 04:07 AM
I consider these to be very basic conflict of interest safeguards. It's utterly alien to me how there are no preventive measures in place. If you stop to think you'd realize the amount of money that can be (i should say "is" and "was") misallocated as a consequence of imperfect information.

Games, by the way, is a very large industry. When people fail to take it seriously all sorts of regulatory loopholes crop up. Your attitude is the reason why the industry is the way it is. "They're just gaaames". Yeah but it's money spent with an opportunity cost attached to it. If every goddamn industry was taken as lightly as games people would be bleeding money left & right in a perpetual state of discontent because they never ever get what they really want, thereby completely distorting the market economy. It's really simple actually, and expecting good governance should be the very minimum we expect of an ENTIRE billion dollar industry, don't you think?

Why would there need to BE preventive measures in the first place? There isn't a problem...

And where are these statistics on how much is "misallocated as a consequence of imperfect information"? I am usually not one to ask for statistics, but I do want them in this case. Because bad games generally sell poorly, good games tend to sell well*. Clearly people are buying the games they want to buy.
Obviously there are the pre-order issues, but reviews generally hit too late to really help them anyway.

Book review websites tend to run ads that advertise books
Game review websites (and magazines) run ads that advertise games
Movie sites run movie ads

Yet the world has not stopped turning, and people are generally satisfied. Because you see, this is an error correcting system. If a review source goes "too far", people stop using them.

*: Yes, there are cases where a "good" game sells poorly and a "bad" game sells well. But keep in mind that those might just be people who have different tastes than you.

Ritashi
12-10-2012, 04:12 AM
Or you could let market forces work it out, because they will. One games review site offering bullshit, biased reviews? Well, people will get burned by them and then go to a different site next time. Someone will pick up the slack and give real, unbiased reviews that people really want to read, and are informative. For me, that's usually RPS, although I definitely have different tastes from most of the RPS staff in certain areas. Totalbiscuit is pretty good with his "WTF is..." videos. If you get burned by bad reviews, more than once or twice, then you're an idiot. Find sites that do give good reviews and read them. They exist; there is pretty much 0 startup costs with starting a blog (actually it is literally 0 right now, other than time) so anyone can try it, which means that there is good distribution of supply. Enforcing rules and regulations that the market could have easily sorted out on it's own is stupid and wasteful.

hamster
12-10-2012, 04:42 AM
Why would there need to BE preventive measures in the first place? There isn't a problem...

And where are these statistics on how much is "misallocated as a consequence of imperfect information"? I am usually not one to ask for statistics, but I do want them in this case. Because bad games generally sell poorly, good games tend to sell well*. Clearly people are buying the games they want to buy.

There is the space for a problem to exist; therefore it exists. That's just how things work.


Or you could let market forces work it out, because they will. One games review site offering bullshit, biased reviews? Well, people will get burned by them and then go to a different site next time. Someone will pick up the slack and give real, unbiased reviews that people really want to read, and are informative. For me, that's usually RPS, although I definitely have different tastes from most of the RPS staff in certain areas. Totalbiscuit is pretty good with his "WTF is..." videos. If you get burned by bad reviews, more than once or twice, then you're an idiot. Find sites that do give good reviews and read them. They exist; there is pretty much 0 startup costs with starting a blog (actually it is literally 0 right now, other than time) so anyone can try it, which means that there is good distribution of supply. Enforcing rules and regulations that the market could have easily sorted out on it's own is stupid and wasteful.

It's stupid NOT to enforce rules and regulations. Conflict of interest laws governing vastly identical behavior in vastly similar contexts exist for a reason- i'm not suggesting anything new at all. You can let the market sort it out but then you wouldn't need laws for misrepresentation either would you then? Oh, this brand is fond of misrepresenting its products. Consumers will stay away; stuff wouldn't need to be, by law, of merchantable quality. Refund policies could be completely dictated by companies - let the market sort it out.

By failing to prohibit this sort of conduct you create a pervasive atmosphere, or practice, where stuff like this works. And ask yourself this: how often do firms compete against each other with better governance?

In the end it's just about supply and demand. Price discovery is resolved by interactions between the asking price and the bidding price. The asking price is determined by how much the product is worth. Worth in this context doesn't mean return on investment or capital appreciation: it means entertainment value. When you buy a game predicated on predicted entertainment value, and that prediction is biased and therefore, likely to be incorrect, you are frustrating the very mechanism that a free market is built on.

soldant
12-10-2012, 05:52 AM
It's stupid NOT to enforce rules and regulations.
You want to regulate the reviews sector? What?! Trying to regulate people's opinion pieces is absurd, it's a step away from thought police. I'm all for the side of law and order, but that goes too far.


stuff wouldn't need to be, by law, of merchantable quality.
This, and actually most of what you say, has nothing to do with games. Is the movie review sector heavily regulated? Food reviews? Goddamn blogs? Next you'll want to legislate against forum posts. "Wait, you don't like Dishonored? Clearly your opinion is wrong, you're not unbiased. That'll be a $500 fine thanks."

All of this "the market will sort it out" thing is true in this case, because it revolves around an entertainment product range that appeals to different people of different tastes. It's not a mechanical device that can be objectively assessed or poses a public health threat or has an intended use which it must be fit for. It's entertainment. Any court will laugh you out if you went up, said "I didn't like this movie, but I paid to go see it after reading a review that said it was great, I'm now suing for misrepresentation." If anything, regulating opinion pieces (reviews) on entertainment and enforcing penalties would just wipe out reviews. Nobody would bother to post an opinion, so you'd have nothing. That's far worse than what we have now.

Finicky
12-10-2012, 06:08 AM
You want to regulate the reviews sector? What?! Trying to regulate people's opinion pieces is absurd, it's a step away from thought police. I'm all for the side of law and order, but that goes too far.



Don't be obtuse, he's talking about preventing conflict of interest in order to protect the integrity of the job?

You know, like fucking judges and doctors?


Nothing but clowns and trolls on this forum.

soldant
12-10-2012, 06:45 AM
Don't be obtuse, he's talking about preventing conflict of interest in order to protect the integrity of the job? You know, like fucking judges and doctors?
That has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand and shouldn't even factor into a thread about opinion pieces, and you know that. He even responded to a post that was about the video game market. Nice try at deflection, but totally off topic.

Thanks for being abusive about it though, perhaps next time you'll think about how absurd it is trying to link medicine (with objective standards) with entertainment (entirely subjective).

Mohorovicic
12-10-2012, 07:20 AM
entertainment (entirely subjective).

Entertainment might be entirely subjective, but entertainment media(books, movies, TV shows, music, radio podcasts, video games) are not. Some examples: books can be badly written with flat characters and unimaginative descriptions, movies and TV shows can have bad camera work or lighting, songs can be badly sung, and radio presenters can say "hmmmmmmmm" every second word.

I'll let you figure out yourself what can be objectively judged about video games(but it's pretty much "all of the above plus game mechanics")

Grizzly
12-10-2012, 07:24 AM
Entertainment might be entirely subjective, but entertainment media(books, movies, TV shows, music, radio podcasts, video games) are not. Some examples: books can be badly written with flat characters and unimaginative descriptions, movies and TV shows can have bad camera work or lighting, songs can be badly sung, and radio presenters can say "hmmmmmmmm" every second word.

I'll let you figure out yourself what can be objectively judged about video games(but it's pretty much "all of the above plus game mechanics")

But who decides that books have flat characters? This can also be entirely subjective as well. What decides a good game mechanic? People are torn over Metro 2033's, for example.

hamster
12-10-2012, 08:10 AM
But who decides that books have flat characters? This can also be entirely subjective as well. What decides a good game mechanic? People are torn over Metro 2033's, for example.

Correct. But what you are essentially saying is that opinions from reviewers are so subjective that they can be anything, which means no matter what factors they consider, including economic ones that have nothing to do with the merit of the game itself, the review is still good. But then what you are really saying is that reviews are useless.


You want to regulate the reviews sector? What?! Trying to regulate people's opinion pieces is absurd, it's a step away from thought police. I'm all for the side of law and order, but that goes too far.

This, and actually most of what you say, has nothing to do with games. Is the movie review sector heavily regulated? Food reviews? Goddamn blogs? Next you'll want to legislate against forum posts. "Wait, you don't like Dishonored? Clearly your opinion is wrong, you're not unbiased. That'll be a $500 fine thanks."

I think you misunderstood what i said. A reviewer is free to say whatever he wants. However, preventive measures are imposed to prevent these reviewers from any potential conflict of interests when issuing their opinion.


All of this "the market will sort it out" thing is true in this case, because it revolves around an entertainment product range that appeals to different people of different tastes. It's not a mechanical device that can be objectively assessed or poses a public health threat or has an intended use which it must be fit for. It's entertainment. Any court will laugh you out if you went up, said "I didn't like this movie, but I paid to go see it after reading a review that said it was great, I'm now suing for misrepresentation." If anything, regulating opinion pieces (reviews) on entertainment and enforcing penalties would just wipe out reviews. Nobody would bother to post an opinion, so you'd have nothing. That's far worse than what we have now.

Again, the content itself is not being regulated. The relationships that give rise to conflict of interests are prevented from happening.

And you illustrated precisely the problem with media: the product is an experience, and experiences are subjective. This makes ascribing measurements and quantities a pain in the ass. So you can get away with a lot. But surely this doesn't mean you are free to spout out a review with a score decided by a publisher who hands you cash over the table in exchange.

deano2099
12-10-2012, 09:18 AM
Am I biased? Of course. Reviews cannot be objective, they are always a subjective assessment of a game coloured by the reviewer's personality. Reviews are not a scientific analysis, there is no defined "good" and "bad". Reviews are an opinion, which by strict definition can't be objective. In terms of "objective" as "judged fairly" that definition has serious problems because everyone has different ideas of what is "fair".

Yeah - also worth noting that there's selection bias in the whole process that leads to generally more positive reviews. If someone doesn't like modern man-shoots, they don't get given CoD to review. That's also another reason it's dangerous to make anything original or different: because it's harder to pair it up with a reviewer that's likely to enjoy it.

But the important thing here is the motivation. Reviewers aren't being given games they're more likely to enjoy because the publisher paid for it. They're being given them because they'll have a better knowledge of the genre, and part of the job is putting the game into context of similar games. Also on a human level, games reviewers work a ton of unpaid overtime - you don't get to spend the entire working week playing through a 40-hour game, you have to take it home with you, so best hope you're having fun! A site where reviewers picked the games they were reviewing out of a hat would be interesting, but ultimately impractical.



There needs to be a best practice guideline that excludes potential conflicts of interest between reviewers and publishers. Reviewers should not be hosting ads of a game that they review. Or at least the departments responsible should be separated by a chinese wall

Well that's the job of the editor. Still, while there might be a conflict there, it's so visible to not be worth legislating against. Yes, if there's a glowing review of a game, on a site surrounded by take-over ads for that game, it looks bad. It looks bad to anyone, everyone is going to question the impartiality of that review. Even if the site is completely innocent. Conflicts are generally only a problem when they're undeclared.

Mohorovicic
12-10-2012, 10:33 AM
But who decides that books have flat characters? This can also be entirely subjective as well.

It's either that or you assume nothing is ever bad because someone, somewhere, can enjoy it. Which is utter nonsense.

Rossignol
12-10-2012, 01:18 PM
Keep the discussion civil, folks. I will hand out bans for direct insults.

Regarding the "advertising influences reviews" thing, I want to say this: our views are never influenced by adverts for a game being on the site. I know this for the simple reason that we generally do not even know whether or not the game will be advertised on the site when we write a review.

Advertising is handled by a separate company. We like it that way. It's completely separates sales and editorial.

I often see an argument which states that editorial must necessarily be favourable to advertisers to get them want to keep advertisers. I can see why people would think this, and I have known advertisers throw a wobbler over bad reviews and previews in the past. But they always come back. They come back because there are things which vastly outweigh our negativity about their products. The things that advertisers want are traffic and an appropriate demographic. We have both of those. Millions of people looking at the site, and those people are exactly the kind of people that advertisers want to sell to. It's not cheap, shit SEO traffic, it's hardcore gamers who want to read about and discuss games. The kind of people who tell their friends what to buy. And being able to advertise to those people vastly outweighs whether or not we called their game shit. Which we sometimes do.

And how do we get and keep the traffic and the valuable demographic? By being honest about what we think about games. We've done it for years, and will continue to do it. I totally understand people's cynicism, but I have spent many years making this my livelihood and so I really do know how it works. Plenty of people will be convinced they know better, but they really don't.

Sites like this one only work if you say what you actually think, every time. People might not agree with it, but it's nonetheless honest copy. The question of corruption is one that won't go away, of course, but I feel sad and insulted every time it arises in the case of RPS.

Hell, if nothing else, why would I be in games journalism for the money? ​Everyone I went to school with is better off.

Dubbill
12-10-2012, 01:32 PM
And how do we get and keep the traffic and the valuable demographic? By being honest about what we think about games.
Everyone that howls about corruption ignores this. If reviews are unreliable, gamers will go elsewhere for their reviews. If readership drops, ad revenue follows and the imaginary envelopes full of publishers' cash would also dry up. You can't make a long-term living out of deceiving consumers.

gundato
12-10-2012, 01:36 PM
There is the space for a problem to exist; therefore it exists. That's just how things work..

Someone might get confused, let's dumb down this game and just make it a single-button click fest!
Someone might be offended by our mature story, let's go rescue princesses from spikey turtles!
Condoms are not 100% effective. BAN ALL SEX NOT INTENDED FOR PROCREATION!!!! :p


Seriously, the system already HAS oversight. If a reader thinks the review is too biased, they are less likely to go to that source. If it continues, that source goes out of business.

Kadayi
12-10-2012, 01:40 PM
Hell, if nothing else, why would I be in games journalism for the money? ​Everyone I went to school with is better off.

On the positives you got to play Dishonored & Xcom before any of them Jim.

Finicky
12-10-2012, 01:50 PM
Everyone that howls about corruption ignores this. If reviews are unreliable, gamers will go elsewhere for their reviews. If readership drops, ad revenue follows and the imaginary envelopes full of publishers' cash would also dry up. You can't make a long-term living out of deceiving consumers.

That's why flawless diamonds in the rough like gametrailers and kotaku are about 20 times bigger than RPS?
Please.
You overestimate the average gamer and reader.

gundato
12-10-2012, 02:03 PM
That's why flawless diamonds in the rough like gametrailers and kotaku are about 20 times bigger than RPS?
Please.
You overestimate the average gamer and reader.

GT is a general gaming site with lots of videos
Kotaku is a "gaming culture" site that also is general purpose

RPS is a PC gaming site

What you would instead want to do would be to use PC Gamer (are they still around?) or Total Biscuit as a comparison, since those are at least targeting the same demographic.

Also, at least as far as console gaming goes, I like GT. I don't always agree with their scores, but they show actual gameplay which really helps me to make a decision.

Sketch
12-10-2012, 02:22 PM
You'd think that sites etc. have so much power over advertisers that pissing them off over one game would be a non-issue. What would EA possibly gain by withdrawing support from IGN etc? That must be a massive part of their exposure and not showing ads there could be pretty damaging. Admittedly for IGN to lose EA/Activision would be bad for them too, but it's seems like if it wasn't them it'd be Ubisoft/Sony etc.

SirDavies
12-10-2012, 02:30 PM
Anyone who has ever read an RPS review would know they are always honest, well thought out reviews. Reading it, you can see that the reviewer's opinions are clearly justified and visibly distinguished form the facts about the game. That's what ultimately constitutes a good review. But videogames, just as all media, are a matter of personal taste, so the fact that you don't agree with a reviewer's opinion doesn't make them instantly corrupt.

What I take an issue with is websites or publications where differentiating a review from a press release is a hard task, where the reviewer spews out opinions as well-known facts and where videogames have an average rating surrounding 9.5. That is where shit starts to get suspicious. I don't believe that the fact that RPS has advertisement about videogames alone is enough justification to accuse them of corruption.

gundato
12-10-2012, 02:40 PM
You'd think that sites etc. have so much power over advertisers that pissing them off over one game would be a non-issue. What would EA possibly gain by withdrawing support from IGN etc? That must be a massive part of their exposure and not showing ads there could be pretty damaging. Admittedly for IGN to lose EA/Activision would be bad for them too, but it's seems like if it wasn't them it'd be Ubisoft/Sony etc.
Its brinkmanship, just at a much lesser scale.

IGN wants to say "The new Medal of Battlefields is average", but they don't want to piss off EA who just bought every ad on their site. So they say "The new Medal of Battlefields is pretty good, but has a few shortcomings" instead. Nobody really gets hurt, and the magic number WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT BE BASING YOUR DECISIONS ON is the only thing that changes.

Then you have the stuff which has happened very rarely (but many in this thread seem to think happens all the time...) where IGN wants to say "The new Medal of Battlefields is garbage" and EA exerts pressure and basically says "You don't give us a good review, we pull our ads". Sometimes the publisher('s ad company) wins, other times the site pushes the review anyway and the ads get pulled for a month or two and then goes back to normal.

TheGodzillaHunter
12-10-2012, 02:51 PM
Anyone who has ever read an RPS review would know they are always honest, well thought out reviews. Reading it, you can see that the reviewer's opinions are clearly justified and visibly distinguished form the facts about the game. That's what ultimately constitutes a good review. But videogames, just as all media, are a matter of personal taste, so the fact that you don't agree with a reviewer's opinion doesn't make them instantly corrupt.

What I take an issue with is websites or publications where differentiating a review from a press release is a hard task, where the reviewer spews out opinions as well-known facts and where videogames have an average rating surrounding 9.5. That is where shit starts to get suspicious. I don't believe that the fact that RPS has advertisement about videogames alone is enough justification to accuse them of corruption.

Something that should be noted is the phenomena of score inflation. Basically, for whatever reason, the 100 point scale is anything but. So when a reviewer wants to get across that the game is average, somewhat enjoyable but ultimately forgettable, on an actual 100 point scale, he might give it a 55, slightly above average - but in reality, he needs to give it a 80-85. If he would actually give it a 55, not only would people falsely think that the game is incredibly terrible, but there would be a massive uproar in the comment section.

Basically, the main flaw of numbered reviews is not the publishers, but the consumers, not corruption, but (and I really hate using this term, but it works and I can't think of a better word at the moment. sorry.) fanboyism.

NathanH
12-10-2012, 03:14 PM
Something that should be noted is the phenomena of score inflation. Basically, for whatever reason, the 100 point scale is anything but. So when a reviewer wants to get across that the game is average, somewhat enjoyable but ultimately forgettable, on an actual 100 point scale, he might give it a 55, slightly above average - but in reality, he needs to give it a 80-85. If he would actually give it a 55, not only would people falsely think that the game is incredibly terrible, but there would be a massive uproar in the comment section.

Basically, the main flaw of numbered reviews is not the publishers, but the consumers, not corruption, but (and I really hate using this term, but it works and I can't think of a better word at the moment. sorry.) fanboyism.

I'm not sure anyone troubles themselves to set out exactly what a score means, so I don't see average scores being far over 50 as anything of a problem. In fact it seems quite reasonable to me. Most games are pretty playable if you like the genre. I'd prefer playing most "average" games in a genre I liked to sitting in silence doing nothing (I quite like sitting in silence doing nothing, so it's a fairly high bar to beat). Were I reviewing games, I might choose 50/100 to signify a game that is essentially neutral---equivalent to sitting on my own in silence. Most games would beat that, so they deserve a higher score.

Then there are some games that are absolutely horrible. They deserve a score so far away from average games that you need quite a big score buffer between them and normal games. It's quite a useful tool. If you see a game averaging under 50 on Metacritic then you can fairly certain it's a dreadful game that you mustn't ever touch.

I think you're wrong that average games get 80-85, that range tends to encompass games that are fairly strong. Average games will usually live in the seventies.

SirDavies
12-10-2012, 03:28 PM
Basically, the main flaw of numbered reviews is not the publishers, but the consumers, not corruption, but (and I really hate using this term, but it works and I can't think of a better word at the moment. sorry.) fanboyism.

I disagree completely. The reason the "mainstream consumer base" (I'm gonna call it that) considers a 5 or a 6 to be shitty scores is because those major publications decide to give shitty games that score instead of a 2 or a 3, and always give AAA games a score above 85. If they wrote honest and realistic reviews, there would be a ton of AAA games within the 5-7 frame, but there aren't. Destructoid, for example, has a description of what each score represents, diverging from the current trend where anything below 8 isn't worth playing. The score system we have now is a broken one, and I don't think it serves any purpose anymore. I like the fact that there aren't scores in RPS; If I'm interested in a game I will read the review instead of making assumptions based on a trivial number.

gundato
12-10-2012, 03:34 PM
I disagree completely. The reason the "mainstream consumer base" (I'm gonna call it that) considers a 5 or a 6 to be shitty scores is because those major publications decide to give shitty games that score instead of a 2 or a 3, and always give AAA games a score above 85. If they wrote honest and realistic reviews, there would be a ton of AAA games within the 5-7 frame, but there aren't. Destructoid, for example, has a description of what each score represents, diverging from the current trend where anything below 8 isn't worth playing. The score system we have now is a broken one, and I don't think it serves any purpose anymore. I like the fact that there aren't scores in RPS; If I'm interested in a game I will read the review instead of making assumptions based on a trivial number.

Oy...

The "50 bad, 70 barely passing, 80 good" is the American school system's take on the 100-point scale. It clusters most grades in the upper 30% while providing plenty of room to shame the idiots. And if you are only getting 50% of things "correct', you might as well be guessing.

And AAA games score 85 or above? Gasp! Could it be because they tend to be very well polished and fun, if not innovative?

But, and here is the beautiful thing, if you actually READ THE REVIEW then the score is meaningless. It is just like how you don't judge a book by its cover.

Shooop
12-10-2012, 03:44 PM
But, and here is the beautiful thing, if you actually READ THE REVIEW then the score is meaningless. It is just like how you don't judge a book by its cover.

That's exactly what's happening with the reviews on PC Gamer. The reviewers are writing reviews which when read you get the impression of, "Eeehhh, it's not that great." But someone slaps on a review score of 90+ at the end. The actual review and the score simply don't match up.

Publishers actually complain to reviewers about getting scores under 90 because people just glance at the number and make all their purchasing decisions based on it instead of being interested enough in what they're buying to read.

It's not the system that sucks, it's the people who suck. Because they made the system and perpetuate it.

gundato
12-10-2012, 03:52 PM
That's exactly what's happening with the reviews on PC Gamer. The reviewers are writing reviews which when read you get the impression of, "Eeehhh, it's not that great." But someone slaps on a review score of 90+ at the end. The actual review and the score simply don't match up.

Publishers actually complain to reviewers about getting scores under 90 because people just glance at the number and make all their purchasing decisions based on it instead of being interested enough in what they're buying to read.

It's not the system that sucks, it's the people who suck. Because they made the system and perpetuate it.
And if people are just looking at metacritic or a number, they won't read the review anyway, so "reform" is pointless.

The "problem" is that people have different criteria by which they evaluate things.

Let's take the new XCOM for example. I love it, so does anyone who isn't a soulless monster. I basically got (almost) exactly what I wanted. So if I were to assign it a letter grade, I would give it a high B or a low A (88 to 95 or so)

One of my friends LOVES Call of Duty. MW2 had a short (but very fun) SP campaign and an MP mode that he (and just about everyone else on earth) loved. There was no particular innovation to it, but it was exactly what he (and many others) wanted. Ergo, he would give it a high B or a low A.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

SirDavies
12-10-2012, 04:00 PM
... and that's why numeric scores are pointless. If we have different opinions not just on what constitutes a good videogame, but also in what each score should represent, the very existence of numeric scores is completely and utterly pointless.

gundato
12-10-2012, 04:08 PM
... and that's why numeric scores are pointless. If we have different opinions not just on what constitutes a good videogame, but also in what each score should represent, the very existence of numeric scores is completely and utterly pointless.

They aren't pointless, you just need to make sure you understand the values of the reviewer.

I am personally a big fan of scales that go from 1 to 9.5. Telling the difference between a 9 and a 9.5 is easy. A 9 and a 9.23, not so much. And no game is perfect (in my eyes).

And honestly, if you apply that to existing reviews (just round to the nearest value), it works out pretty well. Obviously hype is still a factor, but it is pretty easy to say "They think it deserves an 8.5 or a 9, probably a decent game" or "They think it deserves a 9.5. That's a must-play". But, obviously, you still have to READ the text too.

NathanH
12-10-2012, 04:12 PM
To be honest I don't have a lot of faith in review text either, it always seems to be filled with factual errors, bad play, lack of knowledge, and desperate attempts to come up with plausible excuses for "kinda liked it" or "kinda disliked it".

Shooop
12-10-2012, 04:19 PM
And if people are just looking at metacritic or a number, they won't read the review anyway, so "reform" is pointless.

The "problem" is that people have different criteria by which they evaluate things.

Let's take the new XCOM for example. I love it, so does anyone who isn't a soulless monster. I basically got (almost) exactly what I wanted. So if I were to assign it a letter grade, I would give it a high B or a low A (88 to 95 or so)

One of my friends LOVES Call of Duty. MW2 had a short (but very fun) SP campaign and an MP mode that he (and just about everyone else on earth) loved. There was no particular innovation to it, but it was exactly what he (and many others) wanted. Ergo, he would give it a high B or a low A.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

That's not the problem. The problem is people don't read the review to get an idea of what they should expect from the game. They just jump to the number and make all their judgements off of it exclusively.

That's why the only professional game reviews I trust anymore are from here - you either read the review and have a good idea what to expect from a game or you don't. If you're not interested enough in a game to read what someone did and didn't like about it, you've already made up your own mind about it. People just use numbers for petulant validation that their game is better than someone else's.


To be honest I don't have a lot of faith in review text either, it always seems to be filled with factual errors, bad play, lack of knowledge, and desperate attempts to come up with plausible excuses for "kinda liked it" or "kinda disliked it".

That's another good thing about written reviews - if the reviewer can't write a coherent piece about a game, it usually means they haven't played or know enough about games in general. You then ignore these people and stick to more reliable writers.

gundato
12-10-2012, 04:25 PM
That's not the problem. The problem is people don't read the review to get an idea of what they should expect from the game. They just jump to the number and make all their judgements off of it exclusively.
Which means that it doesn't matter how the industry is "reformed" because they'll never read the crap anyway. So who cares?

Shooop
12-10-2012, 04:39 PM
Which means that it doesn't matter how the industry is "reformed" because they'll never read the crap anyway. So who cares?

When did I ever say there'd be a point in reforming it? I said gamers are just getting what gamers want. Because they're idiots.

hamster
12-10-2012, 04:46 PM
Well that's the job of the editor. Still, while there might be a conflict there, it's so visible to not be worth legislating against. Yes, if there's a glowing review of a game, on a site surrounded by take-over ads for that game, it looks bad. It looks bad to anyone, everyone is going to question the impartiality of that review. Even if the site is completely innocent. Conflicts are generally only a problem when they're undeclared.

I wonder if mere disclosure is enough? At the very least they should disclose whether there are any other games that are being advertised on the site by the same publisher and parties in concert with it.




Regarding the "advertising influences reviews" thing, I want to say this: our views are never influenced by adverts for a game being on the site. I know this for the simple reason that we generally do not even know whether or not the game will be advertised on the site when we write a review.

Firstly, this is not an accusation leveled at RPS. I'm just arguing for good governance.


Advertising is handled by a separate company. We like it that way. It's completely separates sales and editorial.

This is what I mean by a chinese wall. A clear separation between departments handling the stuff that might conflict. The usual standard is for the departments to be spatially separate.




And how do we get and keep the traffic and the valuable demographic? By being honest about what we think about games. We've done it for years, and will continue to do it. I totally understand people's cynicism, but I have spent many years making this my livelihood and so I really do know how it works. Plenty of people will be convinced they know better, but they really don't.

But you are being anecdotal here. I am talking about rules that govern the entire industry. It's just ideal to adopt a set of best practices.

SirDavies
12-10-2012, 05:14 PM
You said it: Ideal, not realistic. People will do and say what they want no matter how stipulated it is in the official papers. If you are proposing some kind of regulation, please explain it further so we can discuss it. Saying "it should be regulated" isn't constructive in any way if it doesn't carry with it any further explanation.

deano2099
12-10-2012, 05:25 PM
It's not the system that sucks, it's the people who suck. Because they made the system and perpetuate it.

It wasn't done that way on purpose though, it's just momentum. Games got better. Go get a Spectrum emulator and try out ten games at random, you might get some awesome ones, and some decent ones, but you'll notice that the bad ones, are really fucking bad. As in, virtually unplayable. The shit that made up the lower echelons of the Spectrum, NES, SNES, etc library, the stuff no-one remembers, was far worse than the 'bad' games we get these days. So scores did creepy slowly upwards because games, on average, got better. It'd be nice to stop that and create a new baseline but that's a hard thing to do.


To be honest I don't have a lot of faith in review text either, it always seems to be filled with factual errors, bad play, lack of knowledge, and desperate attempts to come up with plausible excuses for "kinda liked it" or "kinda disliked it".

Probably because they're paid fuck-all for working long hours. If you're a good enough writer to make a living writing about games, you could probably have a far better life as a travel writer or far better-paid one as a PR. People want the writing for free. Then they don't want conflicted companies paying for it. Then they wanted it to be good. You'll be lucky to get two of those, three is impossible.



This is what I mean by a chinese wall. A clear separation between departments handling the stuff that might conflict. The usual standard is for the departments to be spatially separate.

That's generally how it's done online. Either you're big enough to have extra people handling your advertising, you're medium-sized so do it through third-parties, or you're a small company and so you do it through the big third-party advert aggregators where you have no control over what ads even appear.

victory
12-10-2012, 05:41 PM
That's why the only professional game reviews I trust anymore are from here - you either read the review and have a good idea what to expect from a game or you don't. If you're not interested enough in a game to read what someone did and didn't like about it, you've already made up your own mind about it. People just use numbers for petulant validation that their game is better than someone else's.No. Grades, whether a 0-10 number, X out of 5 stars, thumbs up/down, etc. are useful for evaluating which reviews and which reviewers are worth your time.
Just looking at scores given by a particular reviewer will probably give you an idea of how well their and your tastes match.
If I find a reviewer who seems to know their games and have good taste, I will probably want to check out yet-unfamiliar games which that reviewer has previously reviewed highly.
Or suppose I'm interested in a game and have only seen glowing reviews; it is then useful to be able to look for reviews with low scores, because they will probably discuss shortcomings the glowing reviews have glossed over.
I also find there are some lols to be had by reading bad reviews, and scores help me locate them.

That's another good thing about written reviews - if the reviewer can't write a coherent piece about a game, it usually means they haven't played or know enough about games in general. You then ignore these people and stick to more reliable writers.If a game critic can form a coherent opinion of a game, they can also easily grade it. If they can't easily grade it, they certainly haven't formed a coherent opinion of it. Some of the most worthless pieces of game writing I have ever read would almost certainly have been improved had the "critic" been forced to assign a grade, because that would have required them to collect their thoughts, and probably caused them to realize that their text completely fails to discuss the quality of the game. Sometimes they failed to discuss the game at all, instead rambling about whatever, building their weeaboo or feminist or indiehippie cred.

Shooop
12-10-2012, 06:18 PM
I'd prefer a 1-3 sentence summary instead of score still. Because if you're a decent writer you'll get some people interested enough to go back and actually read the bulk of your work. And it would still achieve the goal of summarizing whether or not you liked the game.

But I happen to like reading, and sadly 90% of the internet doesn't, instead preferring pictures of cats with badly spelled captions.

victory
12-10-2012, 06:28 PM
I'd prefer a 1-3 sentence summary instead of score still. Because if you're a decent writer you'll get some people interested enough to go back and actually read the bulk of your work. And it would still achieve the goal of summarizing whether or not you liked the game.Summaries are not a replacement for scores, and having scores does not mean you cannot have summaries.

Shooop
12-10-2012, 06:31 PM
Summaries are not a replacement for scores, and having scores does not mean you cannot have summaries.

How aren't they? They serve the same purpose: to quickly tell a reader what their overall impression of something was. If they fail to do so, it's because the writer made a crappy summary.

victory
12-10-2012, 06:39 PM
How aren't they? They serve the same purpose: to quickly tell a reader what their overall impression of something was. If they fail to do so, it's because the writer made a crappy summary.Read my post above which gives usage scenarios for scores. Summaries are bad or worthless for most of them because they cannot be automatically sorted and searched.

And indeed, the writer can write a crappy summary; writing one doesn't force them to collect their thoughts like scoring does.

archonsod
12-10-2012, 06:43 PM
IGN wants to say "The new Medal of Battlefields is average", but they don't want to piss off EA who just bought every ad on their site. So they say "The new Medal of Battlefields is pretty good, but has a few shortcomings" instead. Nobody really gets hurt, and the magic number WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT BE BASING YOUR DECISIONS ON is the only thing that changes.

I suspect it's peers rather than publishers which are the problem. The big hole in the corruption theory is that someone like EA doesn't pay it's own guys to do it's marketing; they subcontract out to marketing companies for that. Same applies to the large review publishers; they pay other companies to pull in the ad revenue. So it's kinda hard for someone like EA to threaten to pull all their advertising, because neither they nor the publisher they're talking to directly control it.
Integrity on the other hand is somewhat vital. If you mark a popular game down once you might get away with it (as a 'controversial' review). Do it consistently on the other hand and you'll quickly be dismissed with "oh yeah, those guys always say the good games suck". Which is a pretty big problem when your revenue is primarily based on people trusting your reviews.

Ritashi
12-10-2012, 06:57 PM
Read my post above which gives usage scenarios for scores. Summaries are bad or worthless for most of them because they cannot be automatically sorted and searched.

And indeed, the writer can write a crappy summary; writing one doesn't force them to collect their thoughts like scoring does.

And the writer can write a crappy score too; it's far easier to just say "and therefore 8.5/10" without thinking about it further than it is to try and write a 2-3 sentence summary without thinking.

More to the point, why do we care, at all, about crappy writers? If the writer is crappy, we won't read his stuff anyway. It's not like we have this tiny pool of crappy writers and we want to make them do as well as possible; we have a huge pool of writers, some bad and some good. We only want to read the good ones, and a summary if nothing else can give us a quick idea of how well the writer can write.

As for automatic sorting, I'm honestly not sure that's even a positive thing. Why do you want to find a random review written by someone you've never heard of before? Surely it's better to find a few reviewers you trust and agree with rather than relying on reading large numbers of reviews for every game just to get the basic facts straight. RPS is pretty good about talking about the flaws even in games that they praise very highly, and there are other review sites of generally high quality as well.

soldant
13-10-2012, 02:44 AM
When did I ever say there'd be a point in reforming it? I said gamers are just getting what gamers want. Because they're idiots.
I disagree. The entire "consumers are idiot sheeple" thing seems to be a bit of a cop-out, or alternatively a way to say "They're mainstream, therefore they're idiots." If most gamers want Call of Honour 9: Marines in the Middle East then I can't really see how they're idiots, their tastes are just different from what I'd like (which would be a follow up to Terror from the Deep). In terms of reviews, people like quick summaries of the game, and scores are one way to do that. So long as people understand that they're subjective, and ideally so long as they come with a few good and bad points, I don't see them as being an issue.

I don't read all of an RPS review, or really all of any review, unless I want to know absolutely everything about the game. Chances are I'll skim three or four reviews looking for key words or phrases, look at their scores and summary points, and then make up my mind. Because most reviews carry on with a lot of nonsense and explanation which I probably don't need to know. The worst kind of reviews can come off as pretentious and condescending, even if they do make a few good points.

Hypernetic
13-10-2012, 03:06 AM
I disagree. The entire "consumers are idiot sheeple" thing seems to be a bit of a cop-out, or alternatively a way to say "They're mainstream, therefore they're idiots." If most gamers want Call of Honour 9: Marines in the Middle East then I can't really see how they're idiots, their tastes are just different from what I'd like (which would be a follow up to Terror from the Deep). In terms of reviews, people like quick summaries of the game, and scores are one way to do that. So long as people understand that they're subjective, and ideally so long as they come with a few good and bad points, I don't see them as being an issue.

I don't read all of an RPS review, or really all of any review, unless I want to know absolutely everything about the game. Chances are I'll skim three or four reviews looking for key words or phrases, look at their scores and summary points, and then make up my mind. Because most reviews carry on with a lot of nonsense and explanation which I probably don't need to know. The worst kind of reviews can come off as pretentious and condescending, even if they do make a few good points.

I really only read reviews when I think a game is really bad.

hamster
13-10-2012, 10:02 AM
You said it: Ideal, not realistic. People will do and say what they want no matter how stipulated it is in the official papers. If you are proposing some kind of regulation, please explain it further so we can discuss it. Saying "it should be regulated" isn't constructive in any way if it doesn't carry with it any further explanation.

I did propose actual provisions - you just failed to see it earlier in the thread. So to reiterate:

-prohibit reviewers from featuring ads of games that they review; disclose if ads feature other (non reviewed) games by the same developer/publisher within the last 6 months

-force review code to be distributed to all accredited reviewers OR keep a database disclosing instances where review code was requested but refused

-marketing must be operated by an independent 3rd party. <-- conceptually sound but impossible to verify and of limited effectiveness but it suffices as a minimum standard.

-new suggestion: reviews must disclose metacritic average in their review (the average in the review must therefore be retroactively updated as the numbers update over time. The average ought to be updated for up to 6 months after release of the game on a weekly basis.)


I suspect it's peers rather than publishers which are the problem. The big hole in the corruption theory is that someone like EA doesn't pay it's own guys to do it's marketing; they subcontract out to marketing companies for that. Same applies to the large review publishers; they pay other companies to pull in the ad revenue. So it's kinda hard for someone like EA to threaten to pull all their advertising, because neither they nor the publisher they're talking to directly control it.

Um just because there's a 3rd party responsible for the marketing doesn't mean the marketing folks are suddenly completely disinterested in the outcome. The marketing folks work for the publisher. You really think if a major reviewer is thinking of scoring a triple A below 70 a red flag won't go up and the publisher will be in the dark until publication day?


Integrity on the other hand is somewhat vital. If you mark a popular game down once you might get away with it (as a 'controversial' review). Do it consistently on the other hand and you'll quickly be dismissed with "oh yeah, those guys always say the good games suck". Which is a pretty big problem when your revenue is primarily based on people trusting your reviews.

Which is why you give decent scores to some games, crappy scores to others without the leverage, and over score other games by x amount. It's the difference between 70% and 80%.

NathanH
13-10-2012, 10:21 AM
And the writer can write a crappy score too; it's far easier to just say "and therefore 8.5/10" without thinking about it further than it is to try and write a 2-3 sentence summary without thinking.

More to the point, why do we care, at all, about crappy writers? If the writer is crappy, we won't read his stuff anyway. It's not like we have this tiny pool of crappy writers and we want to make them do as well as possible; we have a huge pool of writers, some bad and some good. We only want to read the good ones, and a summary if nothing else can give us a quick idea of how well the writer can write.

As for automatic sorting, I'm honestly not sure that's even a positive thing. Why do you want to find a random review written by someone you've never heard of before? Surely it's better to find a few reviewers you trust and agree with rather than relying on reading large numbers of reviews for every game just to get the basic facts straight. RPS is pretty good about talking about the flaws even in games that they praise very highly, and there are other review sites of generally high quality as well.

The problem with this argument is that it doesn't hold for games with any mechanical meat. Perhaps it is true for games that aren't much more elaborate than pointing your screen at some pixels and pressing down your mouse, but take your favourite meaty strategy game or RPG and read all the reviews. Practically all of them will either gloss over the systems in favour of rambling about nothing much, or make so many factual errors and criticisms based on poor play that they're actually worse than not reading them at all. I can't say I've encountered the idea of a Trusted Reviewer in strategy gaming, you just have to make do; sometimes a particular reviewer has a good day but it's not at all consistent. Scores can be quite useful in helping you make do. Of course it isn't as easy as looking at the highest metacritic average: the discerning strategy gamer knows that the best titles are usually the ones that lurk around the 80 mark.

Mainly I read strategy review text to see what the UI sounds like, and to see whether it gets the "really complicated" criticism that immediately means that you have to add 10 to the review score.

deano2099
13-10-2012, 12:17 PM
Hard to argue with that, though I would suggest you listen to Three Moves Ahead if you don't already.

SirDavies
13-10-2012, 12:36 PM
-prohibit reviewers from featuring ads of games that they review; disclose if ads feature other (non reviewed) games by the same developer/publisher within the last 6 months

-force review code to be distributed to all accredited reviewers OR keep a database disclosing instances where review code was requested but refused

-marketing must be operated by an independent 3rd party. <-- conceptually sound but impossible to verify and of limited effectiveness but it suffices as a minimum standard.

-new suggestion: reviews must disclose metacritic average in their review (the average in the review must therefore be retroactively updated as the numbers update over time. The average ought to be updated for up to 6 months after release of the game on a weekly basis.)

That's ridiculous. The whole point of both reviews and full-page ads is to inform/advertise about a game that is close to it's release date. There will be a lot less people interested in either of those if the game is 6 months old. Also, limitating a site's content to those games that can't afford to pay for advertising decreases it's informative value and limits the available criticism on the game. If a publisher wanted a game to be successful, even if it were bad, it would just have to put advertisements on all the major and more critic websites to assure itself a greater metacritic score and with it, more sales. And with marketing being operated by a non-related third-party, the writers on the site wouldn't have any say on the matter. Finally, why do you consider the metacritic average a "must" for any review? If people want to know that, they know where to look at (metacritic.com), so I feel that although it would be a nice addition, I don't see why should it be mandatory.

archonsod
13-10-2012, 01:29 PM
Um just because there's a 3rd party responsible for the marketing doesn't mean the marketing folks are suddenly completely disinterested in the outcome. The marketing folks work for the publisher. You really think if a major reviewer is thinking of scoring a triple A below 70 a red flag won't go up and the publisher will be in the dark until publication day?

Half the time I'm pretty sure the publication doesn't even know what ad is going to be on the page till someone looks at it, nevermind the publisher. Welcome to the 21st century.

Finicky
13-10-2012, 02:58 PM
And if people are just looking at metacritic or a number, they won't read the review anyway, so "reform" is pointless.

The "problem" is that people have different criteria by which they evaluate things.

Let's take the new XCOM for example. I love it, so does anyone who isn't a soulless monster. I basically got (almost) exactly what I wanted. So if I were to assign it a letter grade, I would give it a high B or a low A (88 to 95 or so)

One of my friends LOVES Call of Duty. MW2 had a short (but very fun) SP campaign and an MP mode that he (and just about everyone else on earth) loved. There was no particular innovation to it, but it was exactly what he (and many others) wanted. Ergo, he would give it a high B or a low A.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

Except mw2 has fucked up broken spawn mechanics, no dedicated server support or admin support, dropped mod support which was in cod4 and waw, ran like dogshit on all 4xxx series amd cards (that was never fixed)...

There was a lot objectively wrong, broken and missing with that game compared to cod4 yet 100/100 goty everywhere.
Review sites only care about hits and ad money and the easiest way to get both is hype and telling people what they want to hear.
Hence: LOL game 'journalism'.

I went for years and years relying on gaming magazines (the independant ones), and never once got burned buying a game.
You know why? Those mags cost 5-7 euros (like regular magazines), they had one page way at the back with an ad or none at all , and they were still a part of regular journalism and the standards that implies.

It's only when every college dropout or marketing bachelor degree waste of oxygen started creating their own gaming websites (which then caused paper print to go out of business) that standards circled down the drain.

With paper print you were paying for a service and they relied on their service to be reliable as the readers were their sole source of income , now you are just traffic for clicks. Totally different goals totally different priorities.

It's like those 'official playstation/xbox/nintendo' magazines from back then, they too had pages full of ads, early pr approved exlusives and their thing was to spread hype.

hamster
13-10-2012, 03:20 PM
That's ridiculous. The whole point of both reviews and full-page ads is to inform/advertise about a game that is close to it's release date. There will be a lot less people interested in either of those if the game is 6 months old.

So? Why should a reviewer also be paid to advertise a game that they're reviewing?


Also, limitating a site's content to those games that can't afford to pay for advertising decreases it's informative value and limits the available criticism on the game.

No, it would mean that you would have the choice between advertising a big game and not reviewing it, or reviewing it and not advertising it. Quite sure that most reviewers would choose the latter. The only thing it would limit is any potential conflict, real or perceived.



If a publisher wanted a game to be successful, even if it were bad, it would just have to put advertisements on all the major and more critic websites to assure itself a greater metacritic score and with it, more sales.

Huh?



And with marketing being operated by a non-related third-party, the writers on the site wouldn't have any say on the matter.

How are they non-related?


Finally, why do you consider the metacritic average a "must" for any review? If people want to know that, they know where to look at (metacritic.com), so I feel that although it would be a nice addition, I don't see why should it be mandatory.

It's just convenience and good practice that doesn't cost anything.


Half the time I'm pretty sure the publication doesn't even know what ad is going to be on the page till someone looks at it, nevermind the publisher. Welcome to the 21st century.

Probably super small reviewers use google ads or whatever. But if you're a publisher you'd be pretty damn keen to keep tabs on reviewers, especially the more prominent ones. And it is entirely within a publisher's power to pull ads from specific sites, is it not? Well there you go. People are constantly doing all sorts of incredibly complex things for the pursuit of advantage. Don't underestimate human resourcefulness, especially when people have all the tools and circumstances handed to them.

dnf
13-10-2012, 03:34 PM
I disagree. The entire "consumers are idiot sheeple" thing seems to be a bit of a cop-out, or alternatively a way to say "They're mainstream, therefore they're idiots." If most gamers want Call of Honour 9: Marines in the Middle East then I can't really see how they're idiots, their tastes are just different from what I'd like

If it makes you fell better, i can say these people are not retarded, they just have retarded tastes in games.

gundato
13-10-2012, 05:11 PM
Except mw2 has fucked up broken spawn mechanics, no dedicated server support or admin support, dropped mod support which was in cod4 and waw, ran like dogshit on all 4xxx series amd cards (that was never fixed)...
Okay, so the PC version had problems. Console version was still very well received.

Mods were never a big deal for CoD, so I don't see why it should lose points.

Dedicated servers are something it probably deserved off for. I don't know how much that impacted the quality of gameplay, but they added it back in later so let's assume it had a negative one.


There was a lot objectively wrong, broken and missing with that game compared to cod4 yet 100/100 goty everywhere.
Oh, how cute. Pulling stuff out of your ass.

Let's look at what it ACTUALLY got
http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-2

Quick look shows that it generally averaged high 80s, low 90s with a few very negative reviews. Which is perfectly reasonable. It had a few technical flaws, but they didn't detract from the gameplay as far as the actual gamers were concerned.

PS3 and XBOX did a lot better (about 8 points) because of THE EXACT PROBLEMS YOU LISTED!!! Maybe, rather than just reviewing review sites without actually reading them, you should try to actually review what is actually there, not the hype you heard about on the radio. Either that or we all have to assume you are an evil person who works for a consortium of people who are opposed to game journalism (because that is CLEARLY the only reasonable conclusion :p)

Wild sweeping conclusion (I'll give it a shot, since you already made a bunch in your post): The system isn't broke. Some review sources may be suspect, but that's why you don't go to "Cheat Code Central" for a game review.


It's like those 'official playstation/xbox/nintendo' magazines from back then, they too had pages full of ads, early pr approved exlusives and their thing was to spread hype.
The funny thing is, I used to subscribe to EGM and Official US Playstation Magazine (both had the same publisher, I believe). More often than not, OPM was MORE critical of PSX games than EGM was. Never really understood how that worked

Diesel-
13-10-2012, 05:37 PM
Let's look at what it ACTUALLY got
http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-2

Quick look shows that it generally averaged high 80s, low 90s with a few very negative reviews. Which is perfectly reasonable. It had a few technical flaws, but they didn't detract from the gameplay as far as the actual gamers were concerned.

PS3 and XBOX did a lot better (about 8 points) because of THE EXACT PROBLEMS YOU LISTED!!! Maybe, rather than just reviewing review sites without actually reading them, you should try to actually review what is actually there, not the hype you heard about on the radio. Either that or we all have to assume you are an evil person who works for a consortium of people who are opposed to game journalism (because that is CLEARLY the only reasonable conclusion :p)

Wild sweeping conclusion (I'll give it a shot, since you already made a bunch in your post): The system isn't broke. Some review sources may be suspect, but that's why you don't go to "Cheat Code Central" for a game review.


The funny thing is, I used to subscribe to EGM and Official US Playstation Magazine (both had the same publisher, I believe). More often than not, OPM was MORE critical of PSX games than EGM was. Never really understood how that worked


Its called standard. PC has better standard for FPS so obviously games like MW2 will score negative

dnf
13-10-2012, 05:49 PM
Its called standard. PC has better standard for games

Fixed. And since a lot of game journos standarts are from a average console gamer, 10/10 day 1 purchase

Diesel-
13-10-2012, 05:53 PM
Fixed. And since a lot of game journos standarts are from a average console gamer, 10/10 day 1 purchase

I havenot played any 10 rated game that make me say "WOW this game is great". all are terrible games

most of popular games are crap anyways

gundato
13-10-2012, 06:02 PM
Fixed. And since a lot of game journos standarts are from a average console gamer, 10/10 day 1 purchase

Oy, and now we are at the masturbatory "We are better than the console users"

dnf
13-10-2012, 06:12 PM
Pretty much, why not?

Sketch
13-10-2012, 06:20 PM
What great FPS games have been PC exclusive recently?

MoLAoS
13-10-2012, 06:24 PM
If the vast majority of the population has only played a limited number of games then their ability to determine the quality of those games is equally limited. It may very well be that COD is the best FPS game ever invented, but we cannot use the majority of console players as evidence of that because their experience lacks depth.

Thus the torment of the serious gamer is that marketing controls allocation of funds and not game quality. Popularity is not an indicator of quality because popularity contains dozens of obfuscating factors which damage the possible correlation.

We might be able to make reasonable conclusions about two games that have had a similar amount of exposure although we must be careful in which part of those games we blame for success or failure when deciding on whether we could develop a version which will be more popular.

gundato
13-10-2012, 06:33 PM
If the vast majority of the population has only played a limited number of games then their ability to determine the quality of those games is equally limited. It may very well be that COD is the best FPS game ever invented, but we cannot use the majority of console players as evidence of that because their experience lacks depth.

Thus the torment of the serious gamer is that marketing controls allocation of funds and not game quality. Popularity is not an indicator of quality because popularity contains dozens of obfuscating factors which damage the possible correlation.

We might be able to make reasonable conclusions about two games that have had a similar amount of exposure although we must be careful in which part of those games we blame for success or failure when deciding on whether we could develop a version which will be more popular.

How does it lack depth? Having played DOOM or Wolf3D doesn't put me in any better position to understand how atmospheric Metro 2033 was or how much I love ArmA

But fine, let's pretend for a moment you are right. Then NO review can ever be used unless they have played every single game ever made. You want to review CoD 40? You better have played Ken's Labyrinth and Bulletstorm and that game based on Uwe Bolle's movie!

Or, maybe, just maybe, it goes back to what I have been saying the entire time. You find somebody with similar tastes to you. And that is all that matters.

The only way what you are saying makes any sense is if we once more pretend that there is a "right" answer as to what someone's opinion should be.

Diesel-
13-10-2012, 06:43 PM
What great FPS games have been PC exclusive recently?

STALKER. best FPS ever.

gundato
13-10-2012, 06:49 PM
STALKER. best FPS ever.
The most recent of which came out over 2 years ago.

And as much as I love STALKER (I am actually probably gonna go do another run soon), I think the average gamer (not necessarily myself. I would trade my PS3 for another STALKER :p) would have been happier if we got Killzone or Resistance. Both games (serieses) are MUCH more polished, have a much tighter narrative, sold a LOT better, and were nowhere near as clunky.

Or even Halo, so that there would be a popular multiplayer FPS that isn't TF2 or Call of Battlefields.

Here is the thing that most console gamers have realized that the PC elitest seems to refuse to acknowledge: In terms of exclusives, each platform has a few exclusive titles and a LOT of cross-platform games. Each exclusive title has their good points and their bad. So there is really no need for such stupid animosity (unless you are on GameFAQs, and I don't see karma or people claiming dead boards here).

MoLAoS
13-10-2012, 08:29 PM
How does it lack depth? Having played DOOM or Wolf3D doesn't put me in any better position to understand how atmospheric Metro 2033 was or how much I love ArmA

But fine, let's pretend for a moment you are right. Then NO review can ever be used unless they have played every single game ever made. You want to review CoD 40? You better have played Ken's Labyrinth and Bulletstorm and that game based on Uwe Bolle's movie!

Using an absurd example by carrying the idea to its farthest extreme is a poor way to counter my argument. That strategy can make literally any proposition look ridiculous.

Or, maybe, just maybe, it goes back to what I have been saying the entire time. You find somebody with similar tastes to you. And that is all that matters.

This is the most effective method NOW. Because of the way the current system operates.

The only way what you are saying makes any sense is if we once more pretend that there is a "right" answer as to what someone's opinion should be.

Typical troll argument. "MY OPINION CAN'T BE WRONG WAH WAH WAH." Even if we accept that it doesn't matter because I was arguing that you(general you) are UNINFORMED, not incorrect.

Your whole schtick bores me in any case so this will be my last response. The argument from popularity is the most boring circular argument of all time.

gundato
13-10-2012, 08:34 PM
Typical troll argument. "MY OPINION CAN'T BE WRONG WAH WAH WAH." Even if we accept that it doesn't matter because I was arguing that you(general you) are UNINFORMED, not incorrect.

Your whole schtick bores me in any case so this will be my last response. The argument from popularity is the most boring circular argument of all time.

A very mature response.

And here is the thing: You already took it to extremes. A console gamer is inherently uninformed because they didn't play the games from before their console existed? Ken's Labyrinth

And if the reviewer is "uninformed" and the reader is "uninformed', who gives a flying fig newton?

And either way, you never answered the core question: How does having played DOOM or Wolf3d or Ken's Labyrinth make me more qualified to say why I like ArmA or dislike the recent Medal of Honor?

And hey, if it makes me a "troll", fine. But I firmly do believe there is no such thing as a wrong opinion. I may personally disagree, but that doesn't make them wrong. If someone tells me "Unforgiven is a bad movie", I won't say they are wrong. I will instead pity them and assume they were bad-touched by their uncle and that they are incapable of knowing quality when they see it. But they aren't wrong.

Dexter
13-10-2012, 10:08 PM
Not sure what people are even arguing about trying to make it sound like "conspiracy theories", there's been dozens of comprehensible examples of exactly this happening in the past.

Everyone remembers that Jeff Gerstman incident that was even officially confirmed later:
http://www.gamefront.com/jeff-gerstmann-finally-talks-about-gamespot-firing/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GagFPnSG0j4

There's this rather honest interview with the CEO of Larian Studios in an article with the title "Games Journalism is Broken": http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Interviews/larian_studios_pt1/


Talk about your experiences with press from the early days up until now.

Press was a lot more open in the early days of the industry; they were much more accessible. And in my view they were much more representative of their players in what they were writing than they are today.

People are much more vocal now and that vocality is translating to the press, which seems to be more free. But then you have a press which seems to be almost run by the advertising agency of a publisher. You can see a lot of examples of that in the reviews being posted; you can almost pick which ones where you say 'Well, I know where that influence came from', which is publisher organized, and then the ones where you say 'Well that guy actually played the game and is just writing what he's thinking about it'.

I feel like that's a misconception, though. Maybe you know things I don't, but, as I've usually understood it, the advertising and the public relations (PR) teams are generally very separate and have little or no influence over each other. We've never had that problem; it's never been brought up. I mean, we're not a massive site, but I think we're big enough we would've seen that by now, because we deal with a lot of big publishers.

More often it's an issue where the writer isn't as critical as they should be, but it's more down to them and PR. It doesn't even have to be a spoken thing, they just don't want to upset PR for whatever reason.

In general it's not that outspoken. Sometimes it is; I've seen examples of it. But it's probably not the norm. Although, and I'm not going to mention the magazine (it's a fairly big one), not sooner than I'd just done an interview with somebody [recently] was the advertising manager talking with us on the phone a couple of hours later about how many pages we'd wanted to buy, etc. So it does happen like that.

Public relations is all about creating the perception around a game, which does cause problems. You see situations where the guys going to review a game are invited to go to Venice, and they're going to spend a half hour with the game and a week in Venice in a five-star hotel. It's going to be extremely hard to be extremely negative about it.

I've seen a PR manager in action for one of my games make a 79 an 81. And it cost him a lot of money; it cost him full page ads over multiple titles, but he managed to, and it had a big impact on the sales of the game.

Or the freakout of 1Up's editor-in-chief about "Editorial Integrity" some years ago: http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=6228583



My industry pisses me off.


I was a little suspicious of the cover choices one of our competitors was making, so I checked in with a contact of mine from a major game publisher. "Yes," he confirmed. "We can pretty much get whatever cover we want from that magazine. All it takes is for us to meet with the publisher, promise that we'll buy some ads, and discuss the details from there." So...that magazine's cover stories are for sale. Great.


Recently, some publicists for another game company were lamenting the fact that they couldn't get any coverage on a certain, very high-profile website out there, because they weren't advertising with that site. To get stories written up on their games, they'd have to start spending the bucks. More editorial coverage for sale. Wonderful.


Sadly, I'm not making this stuff up.


I have no stake in these two situations, so why should I care so much? Because even though they're competitors, they affect my business and my reputation. Why do so many mainstream newspapers and periodicals command respect? Because they don't act like the idiots I referred to above. But how will gaming journalism, a relatively new field, gain any credibility when certain prominent outlets or even entire publishing groups whore out their editorial integrity (if I can even call it that)?



There's also a video with some more good examples and it also mentions "Driv3r-Gate" that the Future Publishing guy talked about among other things:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwD2GgWKIrs

It's at its most obvious when about everyone can agree about what shit a game has generally been with deep flaws and faults that can't even be explained away by "opinion" like Driv3r or Dragon Age 2 and there's still 90s and 100s flying about.

SirDavies
13-10-2012, 10:33 PM
That video was great. Thanks.

gundato
13-10-2012, 11:45 PM
Dex, what you are describing is a different topic. That is more "favoritism" than "corruption". Favoritism has definitely been well documented.

The issue is more "does marketing impact reviews in a noticeable way". The Larian CEO talks about not being as critical as they could be. But again, this is not a vacuum. There are LOTS of factors involved.

Reviewer A is reviewing ArmA 3. As is to be expected from BiS, the pathfinding is crap and the controls are clunky. But Reviewer A is a good person and has good taste, so he loves BiS. So he might say "Occasionally the AI has difficulty following an order, but it isn't a major issue".

Reviewer B is reviewing Call of Garfield 9 and Active Electronics just bought 9 million ads for it. Reviewer B has noticed that the game is insanely linear and suffers from "Just follow us, we'll play the game for you" during the SP. So reviewer B says "Occasionally you are forced to wait for an event to trigger, but by and large it is a very exciting ride"

Reviewer C is reviewing Game X and says "This is crap"

Reviewer D is reviewing Game Y and says "This is so good it makes me want to masturbate a lion cub!"

Reviewer A and B are both biased, but they address the issue to some degree. It is a matter of using common sense as to figure out what biases they lean toward (previous reviews, the fact that every single page of that website is showing exploding lasagna, etc) and taking it with a grain of salt.

Reviewer C and D are morons.

dnf
14-10-2012, 12:33 AM
So much relativism in this thread. I wish all the relativists just stopped posting, everyone is right after all.

ambing1
14-10-2012, 12:39 AM
Not so much money talking, but the audience.

How many people bought The Witcher 2 compared to Dragon Age 2? And there are people who haven't even heard of STALKER (pity them).

It's like politics. They're being paid to tell people what they want to hear, not what really is or isn't.

valid points i think. most critics in review sites get money to confirm what majority of gamers like at the time.

dnf
14-10-2012, 01:26 AM
That's how these lists are manufactured: by feeding the public's perceived opinion back to them, in an endlessly self-validating, self-referential loop. The question is, this is bullshit and not worth defending

deano2099
14-10-2012, 02:08 AM
That's how these lists are manufactured: by feeding the public's perceived opinion back to them, in an endlessly self-validating, self-referential loop.

And when they don't you get Mass Effect 3 and the internet explodes.

Hypernetic
14-10-2012, 02:41 AM
I'd honestly like to hear the opinions of some of the RPS writers on this topic, out of curiosity.

Fumarole
14-10-2012, 02:53 AM
I'd honestly like to hear the opinions of some of the RPS writers on this topic, out of curiosity.Jim's thrown his hat (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?6344-Are-all-awards-and-most-of-game-critics-corrupt&p=201196&viewfull=1#post201196) into the ring.

Hypernetic
14-10-2012, 03:05 AM
Jim's thrown his hat (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?6344-Are-all-awards-and-most-of-game-critics-corrupt&p=201196&viewfull=1#post201196) into the ring.

Oh I must have missed that, thanks.

BillButNotBen
14-10-2012, 09:15 AM
What a lot of cynicism, I didn't realise so many RPS readers were still in their teens.

For one thing, the media, and even single corporations aren't one entity that you can lump together with the same motivations and morals. they are a group of individuals who vary in their approach and ideals. Many reviews tend to be written by freelancers who aren't under the direct control of the advertising department. the VGAs aren't representative of the industry.

Looking at reviews on numerous sites you often find major disagreements, which is what you'd expect from people with different opinions. But if the reviewer doesn't like a big game then it gets called trolling or they are never allowed to forget it. If they like it then it's some kind of conspiracy.

Clearly big games will get bigger reviews and more coverage, because that's what people are interested in.

The one thing I don't like is the practice of companies embargoing negative reviews until after release... i don't know what gives them that authority and why any publications would take any notice of it.

Other than that, and a few isolated incidents that will always occur in any industry, I don't see it as a widespread problem. But then again I grew up and no-longer see corporations as evil and everything as black and white.

KDR_11k
14-10-2012, 09:16 AM
The VGAs are notoriously bad, that's no reason to accuse other reviewers or awards of corruption. It's like storming the German embassy because some American dude released an anti-Muslim hate video. WTF do WE have to do with that? Do those idiots even know which way pants are put on?

Finicky
14-10-2012, 09:50 AM
What great FPS games have been PC exclusive recently?
Totally off topic but I'll bite anyhow: Seriously? No, seriously?
Planetside 2
NS2 (due in 10 days or so been in beta for a year, check it out it's absolutely amazing)
tribes: ascend

PC is still king of good fps games, the console boxes still only have the watered down poor man's fps experience.
Back when I played and enjoyed halo 1 and timesplitters on the og xbox and ps2 , I was under no illusion that what I was getting wasn't second fiddle.
But it was okay because it was a chance for those who couldn't afford a pc with a capable 3d graphics card to get a taste of a genre that had been total dogshit before on consoles. (they now figured out how to apply very agressive auto aim that didn't make the player feel like he wasn't in control).

That seems to be the main difference these days, marketing telling consolites that the experience they get is somehow equal.
I'm also still laughing at the whole 'controller or mouse is a matter of opinion, BRO' phase that the interwebs went through a year or two ago.

Mohorovicic
14-10-2012, 11:58 AM
It's not stupidity or malice. It's money.

Yes, that's always a thing, especially if reviewing games is your actual job. But the truth is, most gaming journalists simply don't know much about videogames. They play a game - usually once, sometimes in a rush to make the deadline - and depending on whether they liked or not liked it they give it a recommendation or not(any other factors like fanbase/pedigree/advertisement pressure nonwithstanding).

Look at education of most videogame journalists - almost all literary(or humanities related sciences in general) majors. It sometimes seems that all you need to become a journalist in the industry is to be a gamer and be able to put two words together, which is absurd. Compare this to estabilished media like movies for example - estabilished movie critics finish cinematography related studies, not just major in literature and watch above-average amount of movies.

Watching a lot of movies doesn't make you a movie critic, it just makes you a guy who watches a lot of movies; you can watch a movie every day for years and still remain ignorant about things that are 101 in the movie industry like a dutch angle. And yes, you can give a movie thumbs up or thumbs down, and perhaps your ratings will even be similar to ratings of most estabilished actual critics, but in the end you won't be able to explain why you thought the movie was good or not, other than your personal feelings on the matter which are meaningless to others(so they suck as far as reviewing something goes, since the point of a review is to point out objective positives and negatives as much as possible).

The lack of education in this jobline, as well as the heavy bias towards the humanities parts of games rather than actual gameplay mechanics, is where the real problem is, because even the most pious and honest review will be worth jack shit if it can just be summed up with "I had fun".

TillEulenspiegel
14-10-2012, 02:32 PM
Watching a lot of movies doesn't make you a movie critic, it just makes you a guy who watches a lot of movies; you can watch a movie every day for years and still remain ignorant about things that are 101 in the movie industry like a dutch angle.
Exactly. Any decent film critic has a strong grasp of the language of film and how they're made. I've seen few if any game reviewers who know the first thing about game design. That amazes me. Even if you're writing for a general audience, you'll communicate far better if you actually understand what's going on.

MoLAoS
14-10-2012, 02:36 PM
What a lot of cynicism, I didn't realise so many RPS readers were still in their teens.

For one thing, the media, and even single corporations aren't one entity that you can lump together with the same motivations and morals. they are a group of individuals who vary in their approach and ideals. Many reviews tend to be written by freelancers who aren't under the direct control of the advertising department. the VGAs aren't representative of the industry.

Looking at reviews on numerous sites you often find major disagreements, which is what you'd expect from people with different opinions. But if the reviewer doesn't like a big game then it gets called trolling or they are never allowed to forget it. If they like it then it's some kind of conspiracy.

Clearly big games will get bigger reviews and more coverage, because that's what people are interested in.

The one thing I don't like is the practice of companies embargoing negative reviews until after release... i don't know what gives them that authority and why any publications would take any notice of it.

Other than that, and a few isolated incidents that will always occur in any industry, I don't see it as a widespread problem. But then again I grew up and no-longer see corporations as evil and everything as black and white.

Let me just get off your lawn really quick old man.

Firstly, there have been major studies showing that that pessimistic and cynical people have a more objectively accurate view of life. So call me cynical if you want, its a god damn compliment. "You perceive reality better than me." Thanks man, that means a lot.

Second, cynicism is not confined by age. Who is thinking in black and white now? Guess what, most corporations ARE evil, depending on how you define evil. Cynical, self interested, corrupt, flouting the law and saying fuck you to workers and the environment? Insofar as a moral relativist like myself can use the word evil with a straight face, they are indeed evil. So you grew up into believing lies. How ironic.

Nevertheless numerous people in the industry have divulged information involving ad dollars purchasing covers and good reviews. As a skeptic I have to accept the facts and the facts are that the industry is both corrupt, and run by incompetent people who could never get hired to be a real journalist. I went to Mizzou for a while and its very well known for its journalism program. Of the journo majors I hung out with, most of whom were nerdy types like me, many of them considered going into games journalism as a back up plan. Because the standards are low.

I couldn't give two fucks if game journalists want to trade their souls for money because I never trusted them to report the truth anyways. Only when people are discussing controversies do I read many "professional", trolololol yeah right, reviews of games.

Unfortunately for you the evidence is in and you could send someone to death row with this level of smoking gun.

victory
14-10-2012, 02:39 PM
Highest quality game criticism is produced only when several factors combine. The critic has to be intelligent and analytical to begin with. Then they have to have large amount of relevant insight and expertise into that type of game, which obviously requires a long history of engagement with similar games. Then the critic has to be sufficiently interested in the game they are critiquing to stick with it as long as it takes to judge it properly. And then they have to have enough time to do so.

The commercial review business model basically guarantees these things do not occur. Very few people of sufficient talent would become full-time game reviewers in the first place because of the conditions. Reviewers rarely get to pick the games they cover, which would be necessary to secure their interest. Standards of expertise are incredibly low in the industry; if you are an expert in any game genre, chances are that you find the average review of a game in that genre to be useless, sometimes laughably bad. Even in the unlikely event where all of those are averted, a paid review rushed out to hit deadlines and collect paychecks will never be high quality when the game in question is deep and challenging, taking weeks or months to fully appreciate.

In short, if you want to write game criticism with lasting value, instead of something as forgettable as a vacuum cleaner review, I think the one thing you should not do is to become a full-time professional game reviewer. Just do something else, get much superior pay and respect, and write on your free time when you have something to say - whether it's a week or half a year or ten years after the game is launched. Of course, no harm in being paid when and if you do not have to compromise.

Unlike Mohorovicic, I do not believe lack of formal education is the problem at all. No amount of education will turn scribblers into insightful, informed critics, nor will it change the business conditions into ones where good work is possible.

deano2099
14-10-2012, 03:18 PM
Nevertheless numerous people in the industry have divulged information involving ad dollars purchasing covers and good reviews.


Has there been one confirmed case of a review being bought? Lots of people talk about but it's all "I won't name the magazine/site" which is less that useless. Purchasing covers is fairly common, and I don't see an issue with it. I certainly remember some magazines fielding some interesting questions as to why they cover-featured a game that they then scored 65% inside but that's a different issue.

I have seen confirmed cases of companies that say "you can publish a week before everyone else if you give the game 85%+" which is bad, but entirely different from "I'll give you 1000 for a 9/10". I've also seen reports of companies pulling adverts when a game scores badly, which again: bad, but it's not corruption, it's just the horrendous model we have.

As for games journos not being experts in the way film critics are. Well it's just not sutatainable. Ebert can spend 2 hours watching a film, another 3 hours writing up his thoughts, and get paid for 5 hours' work at professional rates.

A game journo spending 20 hours on a game then 3 hours writing it up needs to be paid nearly five times that if you want a similar level of expertise. The numbers just don't work.

The fact that sites/magazines manage to get 70-hour epic RPGs reviewed at all is frankly amazing if you think about it. Because that's two 35-hour weeks just to play the thing. But you can't just say, as a staffer, right, I need two weeks to play this, so this 4-page review is going to be half of what I produce for the mag this month.

Games are too long, no-one is ever going pay professional critics the going rate to play them.

victory
14-10-2012, 04:46 PM
I have seen confirmed cases of companies that say "you can publish a week before everyone else if you give the game 85%+" which is bad, but entirely different from "I'll give you 1000 for a 9/10". I've also seen reports of companies pulling adverts when a game scores badly, which again: bad, but it's not corruption, it's just the horrendous model we have.These are subtler than attempting to outright buy a review score, but fundamentally no different.


As for games journos not being experts in the way film critics are. Well it's just not sutatainable. Ebert can spend 2 hours watching a film, another 3 hours writing up his thoughts, and get paid for 5 hours' work at professional rates.

A game journo spending 20 hours on a game then 3 hours writing it up needs to be paid nearly five times that if you want a similar level of expertise. The numbers just don't work.Expertise isn't the amount of hours you sink into the particular game you are reviewing. Pay is not a linear function of expertise. There are experts who might be persuaded to write even for free, but this is irrelevant to the bulk of game websites chasing exclusives and page hits; quality game criticism simply doesn't matter to them.

The fact that sites/magazines manage to get 70-hour epic RPGs reviewed at all is frankly amazing if you think about it. Because that's two 35-hour weeks just to play the thing. But you can't just say, as a staffer, right, I need two weeks to play this, so this 4-page review is going to be half of what I produce for the mag this month.What's amazing about people signing up to do bad work at less than minimum wage?

Games are too long, no-one is ever going pay professional critics the going rate to play them.A random moron being paid is a "professional" whereas someone doing fantastic work for free on their spare time is an amateur. What you are actually saying is "no-one is ever going to pay anything for quality game criticism". And I disagree.

dnf
14-10-2012, 04:55 PM
Its amazing the amount of white-knighting for incompetents we get in these posts.

Internet
14-10-2012, 04:59 PM
Has there been one confirmed case of a review being bought?
Games are too long, no-one is ever going pay professional critics the going rate to play them.

Well, there was the Gerstman thing for one. Also, since the only reason sites care about publishing reviews early is that early reviews bring pagehits and pagehits bring money, I don't think that's much different from an outright bribe.

MoLAoS
14-10-2012, 05:13 PM
Some people just don't understand capitalism. You don't have to give someone money to bribe them. You can give them something else of equal value instead. In this case early access for a better review.

dnf
14-10-2012, 05:15 PM
Which will give money in the long run.

Internet
14-10-2012, 05:32 PM
A very mature response.

And here is the thing: You already took it to extremes. A console gamer is inherently uninformed because they didn't play the games from before their console existed? Ken's Labyrinth

And if the reviewer is "uninformed" and the reader is "uninformed', who gives a flying fig newton?

And either way, you never answered the core question: How does having played DOOM or Wolf3d or Ken's Labyrinth make me more qualified to say why I like ArmA or dislike the recent Medal of Honor?

And hey, if it makes me a "troll", fine. But I firmly do believe there is no such thing as a wrong opinion. I may personally disagree, but that doesn't make them wrong. If someone tells me "Unforgiven is a bad movie", I won't say they are wrong. I will instead pity them and assume they were bad-touched by their uncle and that they are incapable of knowing quality when they see it. But they aren't wrong.

I believe that it's important to have a broad and deep field of knowledge to draw on when you are critiquing something, especially professionally. For one thing, it helps you distinguish between conventions of a genre and a suboptimal design choice:

One of the Kotaku reviewers said he always hated Splinter Cell, because Sam Fischer fought like someone's grandma. If you're ramboing a stealth game, then you've probably made the wrong choice already. In that case its not about better or worse, but judging it correctly involves knowledge of the genre. So instead of saying Splinter Cell Conviction is better than its predecessors, you say it plays more like a shooter, and it's a good shooter.

Conversely, a broad base helps appreciate when works break their genre conventions in a constructive way. Metro 2033's stealth doesn't have a light gem, which is a good choice that aids versimilitude. Both of these tools more accurately allow critics to find games that align with their interest and judge the small but important variations between each game in their genre.

For another, it improves comparisons. It would be wrong to compare Neverwinter Nights 2 to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, even though they both are from the same license. With better comparisons, you can more accurately see the flaws in a game.

Finally, it creates a bit of healthy cynicism and perspective when playing new games. Cynicism is absolutely critical an industry with as much hype as this one, especially when games are scored numerically. Hype driven critics over-inflate some games, like ME3, and are too harsh to games that fail to meet the hype, like Spore, and rate games poorly that don't have as much hype behind them Gothic 3 vs. Oblivion.

There are wrong opinions: unjustified and unsupported ones. Broad knowledge helps a critic support and justify their opinions, which is crucial for a proper and accurate perspective.

To use example of Unforgiven, that is an example of poor communication. For one thing, it assumes that there are good and bad opinions by saying "I dislike this, so this is bad." For another, it's poor communication. Instead of saying something is bad, it's better to say why you dislike something or think it's bad. I haven't seen Unforgiven, so this is hypothetical but a better statement would be, "I didn't like Unforgiven because the acting was unbelievable, the cinematography nauseated me, and the music was discordant with the plot."

Mohorovicic
14-10-2012, 05:45 PM
Metro 2033's stealth doesn't have a light gem

It's the red-yellow-green lights next to your watch.

Internet
14-10-2012, 05:52 PM
It's the red-yellow-green lights next to your watch.
I never noticed that and I did a stealth run of the game. That's pretty tastefully done. Also, I guess I (stupidly) provided an example of a wrong opinion.

gundato
14-10-2012, 06:24 PM
Totally off topic but I'll bite anyhow: Seriously? No, seriously?
Planetside 2
NS2 (due in 10 days or so been in beta for a year, check it out it's absolutely amazing)
tribes: ascend

PC is still king of good fps games, the console boxes still only have the watered down poor man's fps experience.
Back when I played and enjoyed halo 1 and timesplitters on the og xbox and ps2 , I was under no illusion that what I was getting wasn't second fiddle.
But it was okay because it was a chance for those who couldn't afford a pc with a capable 3d graphics card to get a taste of a genre that had been total dogshit before on consoles. (they now figured out how to apply very agressive auto aim that didn't make the player feel like he wasn't in control).

That seems to be the main difference these days, marketing telling consolites that the experience they get is somehow equal.
I'm also still laughing at the whole 'controller or mouse is a matter of opinion, BRO' phase that the interwebs went through a year or two ago.

Yes. Let's all bash the game reviewers because they MIGHT have bias when we decide to spout out such garbage as this.

You listed two good PC FPSes. I'll list some good console FPSes

Resistance 2 and 3 and Killzone 3 are all basically modernized Unreals in terms of gameplay. And they have surprisingly decent level design.

Halo. The SP campaigns are all rather weak, but it has some of the best (small-scale) multiplayer out there these days. And it trumps PC in that it isn't just people with M4s and AKs.

The Darkness (the first one). It had very good story telling, a very mature plot, and fun and innovative gameplay.

And then you have all the cross-platform titles.

Besides finny, unless you have played every single console FPS released in the history of mankind, you aren't allowed to have an opinion :p


I believe that it's important to have a broad and deep field of knowledge to draw on when you are critiquing something, especially professionally. For one thing, it helps you distinguish between conventions of a genre and a suboptimal design choice:

One of the Kotaku reviewers said he always hated Splinter Cell, because Sam Fischer fought like someone's grandma. If you're ramboing a stealth game, then you've probably made the wrong choice already. In that case its not about better or worse, but judging it correctly involves knowledge of the genre. So instead of saying Splinter Cell Conviction is better than its predecessors, you say it plays more like a shooter, and it's a good shooter.
Or you just don't like being defenseless.

I love Thief, I love Splinter Cell, and I loved SC: Conviction. They are just all different kinds of stealth games. Sometimes, you want to BE that predator who darts out of the shadows and snaps someone's neck.

We advocate having options and variety in terms of gameplay, then get pissed when a game actually offers those. It boggles the mind.


Conversely, a broad base helps appreciate when works break their genre conventions in a constructive way. Metro 2033's stealth doesn't have a light gem, which is a good choice that aids versimilitude. Both of these tools more accurately allow critics to find games that align with their interest and judge the small but important variations between each game in their genre.
Which DOES get to the one time where I agree a reviewer should have a very hefty knowledge: The impact of a game on the field.

But that has nothing to do with enjoyment. Resident Evil 4 largely gets credit for being the first game to use the modern QTE (pretty sure Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy came first, but it doesn't get the credit). But that doesn't make a lick of difference in terms of how fun it is. And if I have already played Infamous 2 or God of War 1-3, I have already played a better QTE game.

Its like when I see movie "critics" online. People who critique the camera work and what motifs the film used. When that has jack all to do with what I (or most people) want from a movie: Entertainment.



Finally, it creates a bit of healthy cynicism and perspective when playing new games. Cynicism is absolutely critical an industry with as much hype as this one, especially when games are scored numerically. Hype driven critics over-inflate some games, like ME3, and are too harsh to games that fail to meet the hype, like Spore, and rate games poorly that don't have as much hype behind them Gothic 3 vs. Oblivion.
I think cynicism is actually the bigger problem. Because of the culture of "Everything sucks", publishers (and developers) don't want to go outside their comfort zone. If you are going to get blasted for trying something new/interesting, why bother? Instead, do what you know everyone likes (even if they pretend they don't) and have job security.

Take the ME3 fiasco. Ignoring how the average gamer seemed to be unable to understand that ALL OF ME3 was the ending to the series (not just the last 5 minutes...), Bioware tried something interesting. They didn't do the standard "You saved the entire universe through the power of your guns!". The game starts out hopeless, and it didn't get much less bleak. The ending built on that: You spent the entire game trying to stop President Sheen, but he actually (might have been) right. You thought you were building a weapon to save the universe, but you actually just played into their hands. And finally, in a series known for hard decisions (not as hard as The Witcher, but its Bioware :p), you have to make a hard decision.
But gamers didn't like their choices, so they threw a hissy fit and pretended it was the worst game ever. Because we have been CONDITIONED to see the slightest flaw as a sign of something being garbage. Just look at pretty much any thread on this forum.

If anything, I think we need some more god damned optimism. Take Modern Warfare for example. The "intelligent individual" who went on a rant about how it scored awesome but had flaws that completely ruined the entire game (no dedicated servers) hated it. I went in with an open mind and loved it (it was flawed, but fun). End of the day: I am pretty sure I had a lot more fun than whatshisface.

I think a LOT of people need to ask themselves: Why are you here? (RvB reference! :p)
Are you here to bash games and hate things, or are you here to have fun? If the latter, I suggest keeping an open mind. Don't play garbage, but don't ASSUME things are garbage either.


There are wrong opinions: unjustified and unsupported ones. Broad knowledge helps a critic support and justify their opinions, which is crucial for a proper and accurate perspective.
A friend of mine thinks Dead Space is an incredibly scary game. I played it, and found the entire thing tedious and uninspired. Key differences between us are that he never played AvP2 or Penumbra/Amnesia. But neither have most (modern) gamers. So, for the purpose of a review for the mainstream audience, his opinion is more "right" and more "justified". Because I am desensitized as hell.


To use example of Unforgiven, that is an example of poor communication. For one thing, it assumes that there are good and bad opinions by saying "I dislike this, so this is bad." For another, it's poor communication. Instead of saying something is bad, it's better to say why you dislike something or think it's bad. I haven't seen Unforgiven, so this is hypothetical but a better statement would be, "I didn't like Unforgiven because the acting was unbelievable, the cinematography nauseated me, and the music was discordant with the plot."
Nah, Unforgiven is an inherently good movie and anyone who thinks otherwise is a no good dirty monkey licker :P

Sketch
14-10-2012, 06:33 PM
Halo. The SP campaigns are all rather weak, but it has some of the best (small-scale) multiplayer out there these days. And it trumps PC in that it isn't just people with M4s and AKs.



Ahem, still has some great levels with above average AI and can be played in a great co-op mode without feeling like your missing something if you play SP. Halo 2 has a lame ending but I think they're pretty strong offerings SP-wise.

Internet
14-10-2012, 08:21 PM
I love Thief, I love Splinter Cell, and I loved SC: Conviction. They are just all different kinds of stealth games. Sometimes, you want to BE that predator who darts out of the shadows and snaps someone's neck.

We advocate having options and variety in terms of gameplay, then get pissed when a game actually offers those. It boggles the mind.


Which DOES get to the one time where I agree a reviewer should have a very hefty knowledge: The impact of a game on the field.

But that has nothing to do with enjoyment. Resident Evil 4 largely gets credit for being the first game to use the modern QTE (pretty sure Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy came first, but it doesn't get the credit). But that doesn't make a lick of difference in terms of how fun it is. And if I have already played Infamous 2 or God of War 1-3, I have already played a better QTE game.

Its like when I see movie "critics" online. People who critique the camera work and what motifs the film used. When that has jack all to do with what I (or most people) want from a movie: Entertainment.



I think cynicism is actually the bigger problem. Because of the culture of "Everything sucks", publishers (and developers) don't want to go outside their comfort zone. If you are going to get blasted for trying something new/interesting, why bother? Instead, do what you know everyone likes (even if they pretend they don't) and have job security.

Take the ME3 fiasco. Ignoring how the average gamer seemed to be unable to understand that ALL OF ME3 was the ending to the series (not just the last 5 minutes...), Bioware tried something interesting. They didn't do the standard "You saved the entire universe through the power of your guns!". The game starts out hopeless, and it didn't get much less bleak. The ending built on that: You spent the entire game trying to stop President Sheen, but he actually (might have been) right. You thought you were building a weapon to save the universe, but you actually just played into their hands. And finally, in a series known for hard decisions (not as hard as The Witcher, but its Bioware :p), you have to make a hard decision.
But gamers didn't like their choices, so they threw a hissy fit and pretended it was the worst game ever. Because we have been CONDITIONED to see the slightest flaw as a sign of something being garbage. Just look at pretty much any thread on this forum.

If anything, I think we need some more god damned optimism. Take Modern Warfare for example. The "intelligent individual" who went on a rant about how it scored awesome but had flaws that completely ruined the entire game (no dedicated servers) hated it. I went in with an open mind and loved it (it was flawed, but fun). End of the day: I am pretty sure I had a lot more fun than whatshisface.

I think a LOT of people need to ask themselves: Why are you here? (RvB reference! :p)
Are you here to bash games and hate things, or are you here to have fun? If the latter, I suggest keeping an open mind. Don't play garbage, but don't ASSUME things are garbage either.


A friend of mine thinks Dead Space is an incredibly scary game. I played it, and found the entire thing tedious and uninspired. Key differences between us are that he never played AvP2 or Penumbra/Amnesia. But neither have most (modern) gamers. So, for the purpose of a review for the mainstream audience, his opinion is more "right" and more "justified". Because I am desensitized as hell.

I wasn't saying that Conviction was a good or bad game, just that the review of it was bad because it made it sound like it was better than the rest of the games because it was a very different kind of game, not because the execution was necessarily better or worse.

I think the real problem with ME3 was twofold. People went into it expecting an end worthy of "the Star Wars of this generation," and found an average ending to a pretty good shooter. Critics howled bloody murder, partly because many of them looked stupid since they hadn't played the game all the way through before offering a review, and partly because it didn't match the excellent illusion of choice that the rest of the series had.

As a complete aside I absolutely loved AvP 2. I did not expect it to be nearly as good as it was. Anyways, I think a knowledgeable reviewer that does not share my tastes but gives a game a fair shot and offers a good justification for their review is more valuable than a reviewer that just agrees with me. In this case justification is not how well their opinions adhere to my own; it's how well they can explain their opinion of the game. I learn new perspectives from them, and have a better idea about the character of the game even if I disagree with them. The ability to justify one's perspective is greatly aided with a wider knowledge of the field.

I expect a professional to know more than I do.

gundato
14-10-2012, 08:40 PM
I wasn't saying that Conviction was a good or bad game, just that the review of it was bad because it made it sound like it was better than the rest of the games because it was a very different kind of game, not because the execution was necessarily better or worse.
But, for many people, that will make it a better game. The overall genre is "stealth game", and that reviewer (and many people, if current trends are an indication) would rather be a stealthy predator than a thief.


I think the real problem with ME3 was twofold. People went into it expecting an end worthy of "the Star Wars of this generation," and found an average ending to a pretty good shooter. Critics howled bloody murder, partly because many of them looked stupid since they hadn't played the game all the way through before offering a review, and partly because it didn't match the excellent illusion of choice that the rest of the series had.
I dunno, I really liked the ending, but I haven't played the DLC-version yet (waiting for the rest of the DLC to be released before my next run).

And I think the main problem was that it DID demonstrate the "illusion of choice". Most gamers hadn't picked up on most of their decisions being "meaningless" in the sense of impacting how things will end. If anything, I think ME might have been one of the best role playing games (but not necessarily RPG/CRPG/whatever Wizardry was arguign to be his distinction :p) in that the entire series was about being Shepard. Your decisions were your own, even if they didn't necessarily win the war.


As a complete aside I absolutely loved AvP 2. I did not expect it to be nearly as good as it was. Anyways, I think a knowledgeable reviewer that does not share my tastes but gives a game a fair shot and offers a good justification for their review is more valuable than a reviewer that just agrees with me. In this case justification is not how well their opinions adhere to my own; it's how well they can explain their opinion of the game. I learn new perspectives from them, and have a better idea about the character of the game even if I disagree with them. The ability to justify one's perspective is greatly aided with a wider knowledge of the field.

I expect a professional to know more than I do.
Seriously, go read some "real" reviews of movies or books by people who study films and literature. They are INSANELY knowledgeable on the subject and give a really deep insight. But they don't necessarily say "is it entertaining".

I don't think knowledge has anything to do with a good review. I think it is just a matter of being able to say why they liked it. I don't need an insanely detailed analysis, I just need to hear "The guns felt like they had a bit of kick to them" or "I loved the set pieces".

Because at the end of the day, I (and most people) don't give a rat's ass how "good" something is or how "well made" it is. We care about how entertaining it is and how much we will like it. And for that, you don't need to have played every game ever made or to have studied the field all your life. You just have to be able to say why you liked or disliked something.

Diesel-
14-10-2012, 09:41 PM
Splinter cell conviction was terrible game. they turn it into lame action game

RobF
14-10-2012, 09:53 PM
Games reviews. It's almost like people have different opinions of what's good and stuff.

Tikey
14-10-2012, 10:08 PM
Games reviews. It's almost like people have different opinions of what's good and stuff.

Preposterous!

dnf
14-10-2012, 11:17 PM
different opinions? Game reviews works more like a cartel.

RobF
14-10-2012, 11:42 PM
Pssst. Here's a secret of how game reviews really work. Promise you won't tell anyone.

People play the games then they write what they thought of the games and sometimes, publication depending, they put a score at the end of the review. And ssssh, this is the really super secret bit, most games reviewers have played lots and lots of games.

dnf
15-10-2012, 12:12 AM
Way to miss the point of the thread.

Kaira-
15-10-2012, 12:26 AM
As much as I love to throw baseless accusations, a healthy dose of realism is nice.

RobF
15-10-2012, 01:27 AM
Way to miss the point of the thread.

Not really, if you're going to make allegations of corruption or bull or accusing reviewing of being a cartel it usually helps to have more than a few isolated incidents where things went tits up a bunny and some general disagreement over whether a game was worth x rating or not, you know?

It's entirely true that there have been incidents where companies pushed and other companies buckled. Thing is, you don't really read about "company y told company x to go and screw themselves when they tried it on" because that stuff never sees the front page of a website. But there's an assumption there that because of a number of incidents in the past, everyone is in on it and everyone is screwing it up or the majority are. This simply is, point blank, absolute matter of fact, not true. Follow any number of journalists on Twitter and listen to them chatter if you want some insight into this. Or chat to them in a pub if you're ever around y'know?

OR! Here's a good one seens as Rich was quoted earlier in the thread, read his follow up piece (http://bootofjustice.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/the-echo-chamber-and-feeding-the-animals/) from the day after.


As a percentage of the number of people I’ve worked with, however, they don’t even register a single digit. The vast majority are nothing like this. But what I failed to realise is that when you talk about bad apples, people think you’re talking about the barrel. There is already this suspicion that games journalism is totally corrupt, with every score available for sale, and I fell right into the trap of adding grist to this mill.


Finding out that some PRs pressure or some advertisers push outside a comfortable level gets massively exploded into "it's all a conspiracy". Meanwhile most people get a copy of a game, they play that game, they review it then they slap a score on the end of it. Sometimes the publication will twiddle that score up or down a bit (a good editor should be ensuring the score matches the words) but the vast majority stand. This is exactly what happens. Even if you want to believe otherwise.

Even when you have extreme cases like Driv3r, you have actual real game journalists collecting the info, writing about it and reporting it. So where does that fit into the theory? That they're a couple of rogues on the sideline taking potshots at the majorly corrupt industry or that Driv3rgate is caused by a small number of idiots caving into publisher/PR pressures? Obviously, it's easier to figure it's the former because it suits the narrative here but realistically, the latter is more plausible. And obviously hilarious that anyone thought it wouldn't get picked up on too. It's still comedy gold after all these years. Revel in that rather than conspiratorially pointing fingers over mass corruption, there's a glorious absurdity to it all.

Most perceptions of score discrepancies are, well, they're just a matter of taste. Which some quarters then like to stack up with claims of THIS IS OBJECTIVELY A BETTER THING BECAUSE (metacritic/obviously this game is the best game/y game is better than this/x game is rubbishier than this/soup dragons) and you know, that's never not hilarious because all the complaints totally read like a 6.

Take the OP here:


Back in 2010. they claim Halo Reach and COD black OPS are highlight of FPS of 2010 when in reality Stalker Call of Pripyat and Metro 2033 were.

Stated as if some sort of absolutely objective incontestable truth. Shame Metro 2033 is a bag of guff, eh? Whoops! Opinions!

( Mind you, if you really want a giggle and to feed the flames, find a press release from one of the PRs who thinks it's a smart idea to send you actual copy or lead lines to put in your news report and google them. Then count how many sites run with it. Thing is, you'll find loads. Then look at the sites and say "man, you know, before googling this, I'd never even heard of that site" because the big proper journalists on the big proper sites tend not to run with the copy and fairly often openly question the claims the PRs send out too. Obviously I realise the claim would then be "ah, they're just being much smarter with it" but that's the kinda point where we're tinfoil hatting against all evidence, you know? )

deano2099
15-10-2012, 01:50 AM
Difference between reviewer and critic.

RobF
15-10-2012, 02:04 AM
So who exactly are we calling corrupt then? Not arguing there's a difference but y'know, who's corrupt here now what where or is that just a general statement?

I'm confused.

SirDavies
15-10-2012, 02:55 AM
I wouldn't say there is a difference, or at least there shouldn't be.

Finicky
17-10-2012, 10:58 AM
Another example of 'gaem junnalism'
http://uk.ign.com/articles/2012/10/15/wrc-3-fia-world-rally-championship-review
vs
http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/09/17/f1-2012-review

Those who played both will understand.

edit: they are by the same guy btw, which makes it extra hilarious.

Hypernetic
17-10-2012, 11:37 AM
Honestly this is the best example of bullshit critics. http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/star-wars-the-old-republic/critic-reviews

Kadayi
17-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Maybe you guys should start a podcast/website 'Angry internet gamer/pirate' or some such

Mohorovicic
17-10-2012, 01:44 PM
I always wanted to see a show like redlettermedia, but with videogames.

Finicky
17-10-2012, 03:56 PM
Honestly this is the best example of bullshit critics. http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/star-wars-the-old-republic/critic-reviews
I like the ones that say 'bold and new' or 'reinvents the genre':p
Tor was the safest mmo they could have possibly made, wow clone to the tee.

riadsala
17-10-2012, 04:00 PM
I always wanted to see a show like redlettermedia, but with videogames.


Zero Punctuation?

Mohorovicic
17-10-2012, 04:06 PM
If there was someone for Yahtzee to talk to, if it wasn't all scripted and if he actually knew something about videogames, yes.

Dexter
24-10-2012, 09:14 PM
So, this topic bubbled up again after this:
http://i.imgur.com/kLHUo.png


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjXSI6O9lUo

There was some fun had e.g. "Are Games Art?" and words exchanged:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/A51l4AdCUAUTSP5.jpg

And there's been some articles: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-lost-humanity-18-a-table-of-doritos
Including apparently the opinion of your very own John Walker: http://botherer.org/2012/10/24/games-journalists-and-the-perception-of-corruption/

Finicky
24-10-2012, 09:17 PM
That 'are games art' picture is one of the best things the internet has produced.
EDIT: eurogamer did a piece on the gametrailers whore :D
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-lost-humanity-18-a-table-of-doritos

from a similar thread on neogaf:
http://www.abload.de/img/1d9xvw.png
http://www.abload.de/img/251yrg.png
http://www.abload.de/img/38obb9.png
http://www.abload.de/img/45vxxm.png

Mohorovicic
25-10-2012, 07:21 AM
So, this topic bubbled up again after this:
http://i.imgur.com/kLHUo.png

This is beginning to look like a Sandler movie.

Jesus.

ado
25-10-2012, 08:26 AM
Dear God that picture of Keighley sums up modern mainstream games journalism perfectly.

The linked article from Eurogamer is a fantastic read and it seems to pretty much point to the main issue with modern game journalism, and to be honest it's our fault as much as it's their fault. We the gamers give traffic to these sites and with that endorse this behavior and until game sites like IGN and what have you don't start losing traffic to great sites like Eurogamer, RPS and Destructoid this shit wont change.

SirDavies
25-10-2012, 11:32 AM
How dare they call that an interview? It's fucking advert, just like the VGA's and the most of the E3.

Kadayi
25-10-2012, 11:36 AM
We the gamers give traffic to these sites and with that endorse this behavior and until game sites like IGN and what have you don't start losing traffic to great sites like Eurogamer, RPS and Destructoid this shit wont change.

Destructoid? Great site? Lay off the crack pipe ...

SirDavies
25-10-2012, 11:38 AM
Destructoid isn't great, but it isn't bad either.

Kaira-
25-10-2012, 12:29 PM
EDIT: eurogamer did a piece on the gametrailers whore :D

Great wording there.

dnf
25-10-2012, 12:49 PM
Destructoid isn't great, but it isn't bad either.

So 5\10(normal metric for mediocrity) or 8.5\10(game metrics)?

SirDavies
25-10-2012, 01:01 PM
So 5\10(normal metric for mediocrity) or 8.5\10(game metrics)?

lol, I'd say 6 in the normal metric.

Estel
25-10-2012, 01:05 PM
The Eurogamer article has just been amended to remove all mention of Dave Cook and Lauren Wainwright after Lauren allegedly threatened EG with legal action.

That's just... freaking bizarre and shameful. There's some mad crap happening in the specialist press for this industry.

Estel
25-10-2012, 01:10 PM
Should add that Rab is no longer writing for Eurogamer as a consequence.

oceanclub
25-10-2012, 01:13 PM
It says loads that, until this moment, I'd loved Florence's stuff and literally did not have a clue who this Wainwright person was.

P.

Faldrath
25-10-2012, 01:20 PM
Just looked at Rab's twitter... sheesh. That stuff is very depressing.

edit: I suppose this by RevStu is worth quoting, in the EG comments:


Or EG could just have told her to fuck off. The chances of a libel case being brought were 0.00000000% (margin of error 0%). The chances of one succeeding were substantially lower. An honest and valuable writer has just been sold down the river to appease a useless, worthless shill.

Jockie
25-10-2012, 01:51 PM
The whole thing is a bit mucky tbh, it might end up to be a good thing that this has been exposed, as it's likely a lot of journalists in the Wainwright mold (by which I mean someone who was a fan-girl blogger, with a pretty specific fan-girl blogger style) will now be a bit more careful about how they act towards PR and how they express themselves to their audience.

I think Lewis Denby makes some pretty good points over at Beefjack; a lot of this newer generation of journalists aren't professionally qualified, they've been plucked from popular blogs and asked to take on roles in which they have not been trained to a professional standard and as such don't really understand the ethical concerns around using Social Media. That's not an excuse, but more of a failing of the industry and the managers who do have that understanding.

I pretty much agree with the whole of Rab's article and understand why he exposed and named specific journalists, but I bet it feels pretty fucking cruel from their perspectives. That one mistake can end with what feels like the whole industry picking over their bones.

Gwilym
25-10-2012, 01:55 PM
This is awful. I really loved his articles, and this one I thought was especially great. It sucks that it's harmed him.

SirDavies
25-10-2012, 02:10 PM
If I understood it correctly, Eurogamer told him to change the article and he chose to resign as a consequence of that.

Mohorovicic
25-10-2012, 02:17 PM
I think Lewis Denby makes some pretty good points over at Beefjack; a lot of this newer generation of journalists aren't professionally qualified

And old ones are?

Estel
25-10-2012, 02:28 PM
New post from John: http://botherer.org/2012/10/25/an-utter-disgrace/

Namdrol
25-10-2012, 02:32 PM
There is no place in gaming journalism for serious critical professionals.

-It pays shite because so many people want to do it. Yeah, sure some sites make good cash, but the writers don't. So if a person is actually a talented writer, why would they stick to games journalism once the get past their 20s?

-They have a financial stake in the products they are reviewing. They need the trips and free products from the publishers in order to do their jobs, and the sites they work for rely on the advertising from the publishers. Car journalism if filled with the same bullshit.

-The gaming journos with any shred of talent who don't leave gaming entirely end up working for game companies.

I cannot believe that anyone doubts the compromised nature of the industry. http://www.pcgamer.com/review/dragon-age-2-review/

Having said that, a few gaming critics have been able to distinguish themselves. They do not, however, work for sites that rely on game industry dollars.

Faldrath
25-10-2012, 02:47 PM
Leigh Alexander has also weighed in here (http://gamasutra.com/view/news/180134/It_takes_all_kinds_Video_game_cultures_weird_ident ity_crisis.php#.UIlCN2fZ2So).

I do agree with John's pieces, and I hope that all of this ends up creating a good Streisand effect. We'll see.

Prokroustis
25-10-2012, 02:48 PM
New post from John: http://botherer.org/2012/10/25/an-utter-disgrace/

This should be an RPS piece.

ado
25-10-2012, 02:51 PM
1st of all, yes Destructoid. But just for Jim Sterling. A wonderful writer.

2nd. I'm pissed off that Eurogamer did not stick to their guns, that they made Rab quit and that they edited the article because of a threat. A threat that, if anything, proves Rab right.

Shooop
25-10-2012, 03:37 PM
1st of all, yes Destructoid. But just for Jim Sterling. A wonderful writer.

That clown oozes hypocrisy with everything he writes.

The First Door
25-10-2012, 03:37 PM
I've been following the twitter fall out with horrified fascination. The more I see of this type of behaviour, the more I realise why the RPS guys were so keen to set up their own website.

I agree with John, this whole thing is an utter disgrace. I don't think it is just journalists who have acted disgracefully, though. Some of comments from us gamers have been horrid and I bet much worse has been sent via email.

In the end, I can't help feel a little sorry for Dave Cook even though he clearly has made a mistake. Yes, both he Lauren Wainwright should have been called out for what they did (along with the others involved) and people should comment on it. Still, it's ridiculous how some people instantly resort to insults and mob behaviour. In the end, it's just not nice to see someone getting bullied by an internet mob.

Dexter
25-10-2012, 03:41 PM
Here's the original article, before it was amended: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-lost-humanity-18-a-table-of-doritos


There is an image doing the rounds on the internet this week. It is an image of Geoff Keighley, a Canadian games journalist, sitting dead-eyed beside a garish Halo 4 poster and a table of Mountain Dew and Doritos. It is a tragic, vulgar image. But I think that it is the most important image in games journalism today. I think we should all find it and study it. It is important.

http://images.eurogamer.net/2012/articles//a/1/5/2/2/9/2/6/lh18_1.png
This might be an image of Geoff Keighley if we're allowed to do that. If not, it'll be Dark Souls again.

Geoff Keighley is often described as an industry leader. A games expert. He is one of the most prominent games journalists in the world. And there he sits, right there, beside a table of snacks. He will be sitting there forever, in our minds. That's what he is now. And in a sense, it is what he always was. As Executive Producer of the mindless, horrifying spectacle that is the Spike TV Video Game Awards he oversees the delivery of a televisual table full of junk, an entire festival of cultural Doritos.

How many games journalists are sitting beside that table?

Recently, the Games Media Awards rolled around again, and games journos turned up to a thing to party with their friends in games PR. Games PR people and games journos voted for their favourite friends, and friends gave awards to friends, and everyone had a good night out. Eurogamer won an award. Kieron Gillen was named an industry legend (and if anyone is a legend in games writing, he is) but he deserves a better platform for recognition than those GMAs. The GMAs shouldn't exist. By rights, that room should be full of people who feel uncomfortable in each other's company. PR people should be looking at games journos and thinking, "That person makes my job very challenging." Why are they all best buddies? What the hell is going on?

Whenever you criticise the GMAs, as I've done in the past, you face the accusation of being "bitter". I've removed myself from those accusations somewhat by consistently making it clear that I'm not a games journalist. I'm a writer who regularly writes about games, that's all. And I've been happy for people who have been nominated for GMAs in the past, because I've known how much they wanted to be accepted by that circle. There is nothing wrong with wanting to belong, or wanting to be recognised by your peers. But it's important to ask yourself who your peers are, and exactly what it is you feel a need to belong to.

http://images.eurogamer.net/2012/articles//a/1/5/2/2/9/2/6/lh18_2.jpg.jpg
If I was to accept any kind of bribe to promote a game, I'd take the bribe to promote the amazing Hotline Miami.

Just today, as I sat down to write this piece, I saw that there were games journalists winning PS3s on Twitter. There was a competition at those GMAs - tweet about our game and win a PS3. One of those stupid, crass things. And some games journos took part. All piling in, opening a sharing bag of Doritos, tweeting the hashtag as instructed. And today the winners were announced. Then a whole big argument happened, and other people who claim to be journalists claimed to see nothing wrong with what those so-called journalists had done. I think the winners are now giving away their PS3s, but it's too late. It's too late. Let me show you an example.

One games journalist, Lauren Wainwright, tweeted: "Urm... Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that's a bad thing?"
Now, a few tweets earlier, she also tweeted this: "Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider pic.twitter.com/VOWDSavZ"

And instantly I am suspicious. I am suspicious of this journalist's apparent love for Tomb Raider. I am asking myself whether she's in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I'm sure she isn't, but the doubt is there. After all, she sees nothing wrong with journalists promoting a game to win a PS3, right?

Another journalist, one of the winners of the PS3 competition, tweeted this at disgusted RPS writer John Walker: "It was a hashtag, not an advert. Get off the pedestal." Now, this was Dave Cook, a guy I've met before. A good guy, as far as I could tell. But I don't believe for one second that Dave doesn't understand that in this time of social media madness a hashtag is just as powerful as an advert. Either he's on the defensive or he doesn't get what being a journalist is actually about.

I want to make a confession. I stalk games journalists. It's something I've always done. I keep an eye on people. I have a mental list of games journos who are the very worst of the bunch. The ones who are at every PR launch event, the ones who tweet about all the freebies they get. I am fascinated by them. I won't name them here, because it's a horrible thing to do, but I'm sure some of you will know who they are. I'm fascinated by these creatures because they are living one of the most strange existences - they are playing at being a thing that they don't understand. And if they don't understand it, how can they love it? And if they don't love it, why are they playing at being it?

http://images.eurogamer.net/2012/articles//a/1/5/2/2/9/2/6/lh18_3.jpg.jpg
And just in case we did use that image of Geoff Keighley, here's this week's Dark Souls repeat.

This club, this weird club of pals and buddies that make up a fair proportion of games media, needs to be broken up somehow. They have a powerful bond, though - held together by the pressures of playing to the same audience. Games publishers and games press sources are all trying to keep you happy, and it's much easier to do that if they work together. Publishers are well aware that some of you go crazy if a new AAA title gets a crappy review score on a website, and they use that knowledge to keep the boat from rocking. Everyone has a nice easy ride if the review scores stay decent and the content of the games are never challenged. Websites get their exclusives. Ad revenue keeps rolling in. The information is controlled. Everyone stays friendly. It's a steady flow of Mountain Dew pouring from the hills of the money men, down through the fingers of the weary journos, down into your mouths. At some point you will have to stop drinking that stuff and demand something better.

Standards are important. They are hard to live up to, sure, but that's the point of them. The trouble with games journalism is that there are no standards. We expect to see Geoff Keighley sitting beside a table of s***. We expect to see the flurry of excitement when the GMAs get announced, instead of a chuckle and a roll of the eyes. We expect to see our games journos failing to get what journalistic integrity means. The brilliant writers, like John Walker for example, don't get the credit they deserve simply because they don't play the game. Indeed, John Walker gets told to get off his pedestal because he has high standards and is pointing out a worrying problem.

Geoff Keighley, meanwhile, is sitting beside a table of snacks. A table of delicious Doritos and refreshing Mountain Dew. He is, as you'll see on Wikipedia, "only one of two journalists, the other being 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, profiled in the Harvard Business School press book 'Geeks and Geezers' by noted leadership expert Warren Bennis." Geoff Keighley is important. He is a leader in his field. He once said, "There's such a lack of investigative journalism. I wish I had more time to do more, sort of, investigation." And yet there he sits, glassy-eyed, beside a table heaving with sickly Doritos and Mountain Dew.

It's an important image. Study it.

http://i.imgur.com/45SS8.png


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v156/harlockmbb/mimimi.jpg

Xercies
25-10-2012, 04:05 PM
Looking seedier and Seedier, I'm sorry but people should be naming and shaming now, fuck the guys who want to libel on a writer just because they are hurt by something they are doing, complaining about it just makes their position much clearer they are corrupt especially that woman.

Makariel
25-10-2012, 04:19 PM
Yes, the image of Geoff Keighley really sums up everything that's wrong in mainstream games journalism.

@Dexter: thanks for posting the original article, I stumbled over the EG article only after it has been censored and didn't notice what was missing.

Dexter
25-10-2012, 04:20 PM
I'm rather disappointed that RPS isn't writing about any of this in an official way btw., this is exactly what they SHOULD be prominently writing about, but I guess there's a reputation to protect with sponsors and publishers and all that and John has to use his Blog for any of this...

gundato
25-10-2012, 04:20 PM
I agree that he shouldn't have named names (outside of worshiping the greatness that is Kieron "Man who writes good about video games and comic book characters" Gillen, of course :p). It contributed nothing to the original article and just served to potentially cause backlash against the named names (even John's article points out how people could get confused). And if you don't think people can get confused over who the "bad guys" are: Look at just about any thread involving a news story in these forums.

But threatening legal action was the wrong approach. A counter article is the right approach (and there is no way eurogamer would NOT post it).

Remember folks: Two wrongs don't make a right. If you don't like people for being unprofessional and advertising, don't be unprofessional and attack people.

And before people say "He was just reporting on the truth". Sometimes you name names, sometimes you don't. Sorry, but the world is not black and white. That article was complaining about general trends. The specifics should have been "Well known journalists have been doing this" and that is it. There was no need to specifically name names and question the integrity of other writers (who may or may not have any). Mountain Dew man was mentioned specifically because that aspect of the story was about him. Whatsherface and the other guy were just "one of many" in the other section of the story. Notice how John didn't specify which winner responded to him, and just gave a vague blurb.

If he thought that whatsherface was important, he should have said "A well known journalist defended the blah blah. But, at the same time, said journalist had previously gushed about the unreleased game, suggesting this might just be a symptom of a bigger problem". The exact same message is sent across, the comments section can name names, and people who aren't going to do any independent research won't be biased against an individual.

frightlever
25-10-2012, 04:21 PM
I agree with John, this whole thing is an utter disgrace. I don't think it is just journalists who have acted disgracefully, though. Some of comments from us gamers have been horrid and I bet much worse has been sent via email.

In the end, I can't help feel a little sorry for Dave Cook even though he clearly has made a mistake.

His first mistake was sticking with that name. He needs to own his brand. Pablo "Meth" Cook would make a far better byline. I digress.

I read Rab Florence's articles over at EG but I have no sense of history about him. I only really started checking out EG regularly this year. I can't say I'm a fan of his work, but it sucks to be put into a position like this. I read John's soapbox about the affair but it's easy to take a stand when you own your platform.

Greedy journalists? Shocking.

It's what happened afterwards, after everyone was caught out, that helps define my own reaction.

Owning your mistake would be good, and Pablo Cook appears to have done that. Others, not so much.

Estel
25-10-2012, 04:22 PM
I'm rather disappointed that RPS isn't writing about any of this in an official way btw., this is exactly what they SHOULD be prominently writing about, but I guess there's a reputation to protect with sponsors and publishers and all that and John has to use his Blog for any of this...

John said this: https://twitter.com/botherer/status/261456123855523842

I can understand that point, but this wouldn't be the first time RPS would have written about the industry rather than the games.

Squiz
25-10-2012, 04:22 PM
I'm rather disappointed that RPS isn't writing about any of this in an official way btw., this is exactly what they SHOULD be prominently writing about, but I guess there's a reputation to protect with sponsors and publishers and all that and John has to use his Blog for any of this...Let's wait a while and see what comes up. I am sure RPS won't let something like this go without mentioning.

Alex Bakke
25-10-2012, 04:24 PM
Dave Cook's stance: "I said something stupid and I am upset that someone had the balls to call me out on it."

Shane
25-10-2012, 04:24 PM
Edit: The link's been posted already.

@Dexter, appreciate you posting the earlier, unedited article here.

Gorzan
25-10-2012, 04:31 PM
I'm rather disappointed that RPS isn't writing about any of this in an official way btw., this is exactly what they SHOULD be prominently writing about, but I guess there's a reputation to protect with sponsors and publishers and all that and John has to use his Blog for any of this...
To be fair, maybe they are working on something, this looks exactly like the kind of thing they like to talk about. But it also looks like the kind of thing John can't just go and post, give them a day or two.

Shooop
25-10-2012, 04:32 PM
Legal action threatened for this? Seriously?

This is not libel. Not even close. If this counts as libel then why aren't comedians being thrown into prison for mocking Donald Trump?

http://www.theonion.com/articles/trump-announces-hes-a-very-sad-man,30077/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=standard-post:quote:default

There are no lies being told in that (Florence's) article. There are no personal attacks or character assassinations. It's at least ten times more civil than the advertisements that have been playing on our TVs since September for politicians looking for election and re-election.

Can it be argued that it's a bit rude to name names? Sure. But it's not being done here for the sake of being rude. And it's sure as hell not illegal.

If this had any chance to go to the courts and not be thrown aside by the judge with an angry complaint to the plaintiffs for wasting his/her time then there is something horribly, horribly wrong.

Jesus_Phish
25-10-2012, 04:32 PM
Dave Cook's stance: "I said something stupid and I am upset that someone had the balls to call me out on it."

What this guy said.




If he thought that whatsherface was important, he should have said "A well known journalist defended the blah blah. But, at the same time, said journalist had previously gushed about the unreleased game, suggesting this might just be a symptom of a bigger problem". The exact same message is sent across, the comments section can name names, and people who aren't going to do any independent research won't be biased against an individual.

I disagree. He was quoting items that they said. Using their names was mandatory for good journalism. You wouldn't write an article about someone having said something and never use their name. If Wayne Rooney (first person to pop into my head) said something to a fellow footballer along the lines of what Dave said (something small but insulting none the less), the news papers wouldn't run headlines "Footballer calls other Footballer out!!!". It'd use both their names and the quote.

And pre-empting you might suggest that he doesn't use either, and just starts saying "someone did this and someone else did that", then the article is even less meaningful.

gundato
25-10-2012, 04:38 PM
What this guy said.




I disagree. He was quoting items that they said. Using their names was mandatory for good journalism. You wouldn't write an article about someone having said something and never use their name. If Wayne Rooney (first person to pop into my head) said something to a fellow footballer along the lines of what Dave said (something small but insulting none the less), the news papers wouldn't run headlines "Footballer calls other Footballer out!!!". It'd use both their names and the quote.

And pre-empting you might suggest that he doesn't use either, and just starts saying "someone did this and someone else did that", then the article is even less meaningful.
Or you just don't do a direct quote, and you instead paraphrase.

You are talking about a story of "Wayne Rooney is a dick" not "Footballers in general are dicks". There is a difference. The former needs a direct quote. The latter can obliquely reference it without directly calling a person out. By directly quoting whatsherface, the article starts to shift into "Whatsherface is a sellout" not "Gaming Journalism has a lot of questionable people"

Imagine you are talking to your boss. Your team just failed to meet a deadline. It isn't a major failure, but the boss is asking you what went wrong. The problem was a general lack of understanding what the goals were.
I hope you can understand the difference between:
"We were unsure what the requirements of our end design needed to be. I think that if we spent more time narrowing down the requirements it would have been more successful"
and
"Bill dropped the ball by making crappy use-cases, Jim didn't bother to check with you, Ted misinterpreted what the customer said, and Jill didn't follow up with the customer"

The former says "There was a problem". The latter says "These people are problems". And it is hilarious that this occurred in an article about how people need to be more careful with how they present themselves.

Faldrath
25-10-2012, 04:41 PM
Yeah, it's not like Rab was hacking into people's private correspondence and posting it online. Twitter isn't confidential.

Shooop
25-10-2012, 04:48 PM
Imagine you are talking to your boss. Your team just failed to meet a deadline. It isn't a major failure, but the boss is asking you what went wrong. The problem was a general lack of understanding what the goals were.
I hope you can understand the difference between:
"We were unsure what the requirements of our end design needed to be. I think that if we spent more time narrowing down the requirements it would have been more successful"
and
"Bill dropped the ball by making crappy use-cases, Jim didn't bother to check with you, Ted misinterpreted what the customer said, and Jill didn't follow up with the customer"

The former says "There was a problem". The latter says "These people are problems". And it is hilarious that this occurred in an article about how people need to be more careful with how they present themselves.
The entire purpose of journalism to to explain what's happening. Paraphrasing like that is fine there because it's your boss and you (probably) don't want to get those people fired. But journalism is about telling everyone what's happened/happening.

By directly quoting people he is giving us real-world examples of what the problem is. Otherwise it's just "One guy somewhere, sometime took part in an ad campaign. And that's bad."

Jesus_Phish
25-10-2012, 04:50 PM
I hope you can understand the difference between:
"We were unsure what the requirements of our end design needed to be. I think that if we spent more time narrowing down the requirements it would have been more successful"
and
"Bill dropped the ball by making crappy use-cases, Jim didn't bother to check with you, Ted misinterpreted what the customer said, and Jill didn't follow up with the customer"

The former says "There was a problem". The latter says "These people are problems". And it is hilarious that this occurred in an article about how people need to be more careful with how they present themselves.

I do. In the first you're sugar coating the issues. In the second you're blaming everyone but yourself. What you should be doing is blaming everyone including yourself. I realize you gave a hypothetical and those two statements could be about two different projects, but since they're in relation to the same example I'll assume they're about the same project.

Saying "X in general is bad" without any proper references is crap journalism and comes across as mere speculation. I could write up a piece on a group of people, lets say footballers again, and not give any direct quotes/evidence to suggest they're like that. Now it's just a rag piece. It belongs in The Sun or The Daily Mail. By naming and quoting people you're giving meat to your news piece.

Mr. Cook shouldve thought about the knock on effects of what he was saying before he said it. He had time to. You always have time online to think before you say. And people who work online and in the media should be well aware of just how critical the internet can be and how important it is that they don't say or do things which can reflect badly on them.

hamster
25-10-2012, 04:51 PM
Not even REMOTELY libel.

Eurogamer got scared without consulting legal advice and erred on the side of caution. 'Course it could've been commercial pressure as well.

Dexter
25-10-2012, 04:52 PM
Calling people and publications out on going along with industry bullshit is exactly what this industry needs to win back some trust and maybe as a consequence some of these so-called "Gaming Journalists" (which nowadays are more often than not Advertisement Mouthpieces) would actually grow some backbone and develop some integrity in the process and less of what we read would look like directly sponsored pieces of "OMGOMGOMG! NEWEST GAME COMING OUT, BEST EVER, HYPE HYPE HYPE! 15/10, GOOOOOTTYYY!!! HYPE!" and regurgitating Press Releases in their "own style" instead of actual investigation and employing critical thinking to examine an issue or a product.

Drake Sigar
25-10-2012, 04:55 PM
Calling people and publications out on going along with industry bullshit is exactly what this industry needs to win back some trust and maybe as a consequence some of these so-called "Gaming Journalists" (which nowadays are more often than not Advertisement Mouthpieces) would actually grow some backbone and develop some integrity in the process and less of what we read would look like directly sponsored pieces of "OMGOMGOMG! NEWEST GAME COMING OUT, BEST EVER, HYPE HYPE HYPE! 15/10, GOOOOOTTYYY!!! HYPE!".
They remind me of a hyper seven year old who has a new favourite movie every week. It's almost endearing. But not really.

Jesus_Phish
25-10-2012, 04:55 PM
Calling people and publications out on going along with industry bullshit is exactly what this industry needs to win back some trust and maybe as a consequence some of these so-called "Gaming Journalists" (which nowadays are more often than not Advertisement Mouthpieces) would actually grow some backbone and develop some integrity in the process and less of what we read would look like directly sponsored pieces of "OMGOMGOMG! NEWEST GAME COMING OUT, BEST EVER, HYPE HYPE HYPE! 15/10, GOOOOOTTYYY!!! HYPE!".

Which raises a point. How many of the big gaming sites and their journalists do people actually respect the opinion of and would listen to them when reviewing a game?

I can't even read the words "game journalism" in relation to most sites without it sounding like "gayme jurnilzmmms" in my head.

Alex Bakke
25-10-2012, 04:56 PM
Mr. Cook shouldve thought about the knock on effects of what he was saying before he said it. He had time to.

I think this is a key point with regards to Cook. He was speaking on a public forum, where anyone who follows him/follows both him and John would have a direct view on what was said. All Rab did was repeat this, and explain the errors in integrity.

Finicky
25-10-2012, 04:59 PM
I disagree. He was quoting items that they said.

You're doing it again, don't feed the trolls.
People were happily ignoring him and now comes the thread derail.

OT:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...ouble-act.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gaming/4375406/Gamings-killer-double-act.html)
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...-dogs-lie.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gaming/4354817/Let-sleeping-dogs-lie.html)
http://ca.ign.com/articles/2011/11/0...-of-lara-croft (http://ca.ign.com/articles/2011/11/04/the-redemption-of-lara-croft)
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...evolution.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gaming/3769932/Lab-rat-revolution.html)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/07/clou...-dissidia-012/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/07/cloud-nine-mitsunori-takahashi-on-dissidia-012/)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/02/the-...rror-is-dying/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/02/the-3rd-birthdays-hajime-tabata-i-dont-believe-survival-horror-is-dying/)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/17/inte...oshi-minagawa/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/17/interview-tactics-ogre-director-hiroshi-minagawa/)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/11/inte...akamasa-shiba/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/11/interview-lord-of-arcana-producer-takamasa-shiba/)

Saw these linked, these are from the writer who threatened to sue.
Every single one of them reads as a PR release.

She should have kept her mouth shut... Where there is smoke there is fire.
From Robert Florence article the reader would barely get a momentary faint whiff of charcoal, but with how this has (d)evolved and you look closer it's an apocalyptic bellowing pillar of smoke with her name on it.

Jesus_Phish
25-10-2012, 04:59 PM
You're doing it again, don't feed the trolls.
People were happily ignoring him and now comes the thread derail.

One day I'll learn...

I'll put a post-it note up on my monitor reminding me!

Alex Bakke
25-10-2012, 05:00 PM
I can't even read the words "game journalism" in relation to most sites without it sounding like "gayme jurnilzmmms" in my head.

Game CHURNALIZM more like aha.

I don't look at the specific site before judging a piece of writing. I look at the writer. Quintin Smith for example, has written for IGN and Gamespy in the past (Both owned by NewsCorp IIRC). All of the original RPS guys worked for PC Gamer before starting the site, and PC gamer published the now infamous DA2 review, whereas Kieron Gillen wouldn't write about Blood Bowl because he once did some translation work for Cyanide for (IIRC) a manual for one of their games. It all depends on the person.

Winged Nazgul
25-10-2012, 05:18 PM
As pointed out in http://www.gatheryourparty.com/articles/2012/10/25/eurogamer-contributor-robert-florence-steps-down/


He also included a section about a certain writer named Lauren Wainwright, a freelance contributor for The Sun, IGN, GameSpot, and VG247. He cited some tweets she made about the upcoming Tomb Raider game, and said that they made him wonder about whether she was “in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team.” Maybe it was being a little disrespectful to make an accusation like that in a public place, but there are good ways to handle it, and the following is not one of them.
She threatened legal action, and, understandably, Eurogamer took down and revised the article to not include the part about Lauren Wainwright. Really, all she did was solidify the opinion by over-reacting so much to it. Another bit of evidence to heap on is on her is that her Journalisted profile (http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright) also lists Square Enix (the publisher for Tomb Raider) as a current employer. Sure, it isn’t proof, but it’s pretty bad.

L O L

Alex Bakke
25-10-2012, 05:21 PM
The company Wainwright represents has claimed they didn't threaten legal action, merely asked Eurogamer to take down 'harmful content'.

Barnox
25-10-2012, 05:22 PM
True story:

Recently I've been looking up people I knew from my old gaming days. XBL, WoW, some browser games. Found quite a few of them.

I remembered a woman who lives in the same town as me, worked in local GAME. She was some Xbox community champion or something during the Xbox Coke Zone promotion, wrote for some gaming blog as well. Had her own personal blog, with the word "Viera" in it, but I couldn't find it. Gave up in the end.

Today, I get around to reading Lost Humanity 18: The Shitstorm. I'm reading it post-edit, but see the uneditted version on a forum. I'm thinking "Wow, these people can't even back up their own actions. This Dave keeps backtracking, and that Lauren threatened legal action over copy-pasting. Mega bitch.". Read through more of the comments.

I come across her twitter handle. @athiestium. Its a word I've not forgotted over the many years since I played XBL, as it sounds odd and I could never pronounce it. It's her XBL username. I remember her first name at this point too. I laugh. Maybe it is for the better that I didn't remember her, seeing as someone I once enjoyed playing with has turned into the industry's PR pooch.


On a more on-topic note: I hope organisations are making a place for Rab as we speak. His articles are great. Also Dark Souls pictures.

gundato
25-10-2012, 05:23 PM
I do. In the first you're sugar coating the issues. In the second you're blaming everyone but yourself. What you should be doing is blaming everyone including yourself. I realize you gave a hypothetical and those two statements could be about two different projects, but since they're in relation to the same example I'll assume they're about the same project.

Saying "X in general is bad" without any proper references is crap journalism and comes across as mere speculation. I could write up a piece on a group of people, lets say footballers again, and not give any direct quotes/evidence to suggest they're like that. Now it's just a rag piece. It belongs in The Sun or The Daily Mail. By naming and quoting people you're giving meat to your news piece.

Mr. Cook shouldve thought about the knock on effects of what he was saying before he said it. He had time to. You always have time online to think before you say. And people who work online and in the media should be well aware of just how critical the internet can be and how important it is that they don't say or do things which can reflect badly on them.
Your proper references are "Supposedly unbiased journalists were causing readers to question their impartiality through a PS3 contest". Twitter lets you search by hashtag, right? Then the general hashtag used in the contest would provide all the twitter evidence desired while not singling anyone out.
BAM, a reference. Anything beyond that is just calling people out.

If you wanted to report on the footballers, I am sure there have been MANY previous articles that did say "Dick is a dick" or "Vinnie Jones is a psychopath, good riddance. In related news, he is a fun actor" that you can cite. But the moment you start quoting individuals during a "X in general are asshats" it becomes "X in general are asshats, particularly Y"

Makariel
25-10-2012, 05:27 PM
OT:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...ouble-act.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gaming/4375406/Gamings-killer-double-act.html)
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...-dogs-lie.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gaming/4354817/Let-sleeping-dogs-lie.html)
http://ca.ign.com/articles/2011/11/0...-of-lara-croft (http://ca.ign.com/articles/2011/11/04/the-redemption-of-lara-croft)
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...evolution.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gaming/3769932/Lab-rat-revolution.html)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/07/clou...-dissidia-012/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/07/cloud-nine-mitsunori-takahashi-on-dissidia-012/)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/02/the-...rror-is-dying/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/02/02/the-3rd-birthdays-hajime-tabata-i-dont-believe-survival-horror-is-dying/)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/17/inte...oshi-minagawa/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/17/interview-tactics-ogre-director-hiroshi-minagawa/)
http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/11/inte...akamasa-shiba/ (http://www.vg247.com/2011/01/11/interview-lord-of-arcana-producer-takamasa-shiba/)

Saw these linked, these are from the writer who threatened to sue.
Every single one of them reads as a PR release.
Wait, what? All of them are SqEnix games? That's funny, since she lists SqEnix as a current employer...
http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright
(http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright)
Edit: ah, has been pointed out already, didn't see the last couple of posts. But better be careful, don't want to be sued for libel :P

Shooop
25-10-2012, 05:34 PM
Wait, what? All of them are SqEnix games? That's funny, since she lists SqEnix as a current employer...
http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright
(http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright)
Edit: ah, has been pointed out already, didn't see the last couple of posts. But better be careful, don't want to be sued for libel :P

Something like this demands a 60 Minutes investigation. But that would mean of course people would have to actually take games journalism seriously like (most of) the people here.

Finicky
25-10-2012, 05:36 PM
Wait, what? All of them are SqEnix games? That's funny, since she lists SqEnix as a current employer...
http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright
(http://journalisted.com/lauren-wainwright)
Edit: ah, has been pointed out already, didn't see the last couple of posts. But better be careful, don't want to be sued for libel :P

I don't live in the UK, and I'm not anyone's mountain dew cheetos whore, so it's okay:p (I know you are kidding:p)

SirKicksalot
25-10-2012, 05:41 PM
IncGamers pulled Lauren's review of the isometric Lara Croft (https://twitter.com/Valdestine/status/261494985952722944)

Shane
25-10-2012, 05:47 PM
IncGamers pulled Lauren's review of the isometric Lara Croft (https://twitter.com/Valdestine/status/261494985952722944)

Haha, friggin Campbell, I love that man.

Edit: Shit, Rev. just retweeted that. I'm too tired to be making oherent posts, going to get some sleep now.