Has anyone else gotten the feeling lately that RPS' tone has become more negative, and that whatever they're talking about is more likely to be panned than praised? When I read an article on RPS today I have no expectation that the reviewer will like the subject of the article, and I am genuinely surprised when they do. I fully accept the possibility that I am too unobservant\dumb\optimistic to appreciate the truth in such comments, but the feelings I take away from a gaming session are far more carefree and fulfilling than the venomous accusations I too often read here.
I also feel this negativity is projected and pollutes the comments. Maybe it's just that the articles I've been reading lately are contentious (Indie Game: The Movie, Diablo 3, Alan Wake, OnLive\Gaikai, Windows 8) but the community comments are often sharp, vile, and personally insulting, and the only provocation is the simple statement of disagreement. RPS' community used to be video games' last bastion of the cheerful, intelligent peanut gallery, but too often it feels like this once genteel group has reduced itself to mud slinging (often suffexed with "sir", feigning class). These forums are the exception - the people who post here, behind the scenes, are my favourite members of the community and know the difference between discussing, arguing, and fighting, and it's telling that forum posts are in response to fellow participants and not to RPS journalists.
Video games have been my primary hobby since about 1984. I don't know about some people but I still enjoy this hobby. I recognize that video games are my escape from my working life, whereas games journalists remain permanently submersed, so maybe gaming means something different to me.
Am I arguing that RPS is becoming out of touch with the common gamer? Maybe. Or maybe I'm the one out of touch. All I know is that after reading RPS' take on a game that strikes my fancy I'm probably no more inclined to play it. Maybe it's my fault for assuming this would be their objective, but I'm often compelled to contrast RPS' words with Metacritic to answer my many remaining questions.
So I ask, Rock Paper Shotgun et al, where's the fucking joy? Far beyond the meanings, double meanings, technique, art, mood, comparisons, homages, control schemes, difficulty spikes, imbalances, oversights, disappointments, disagreements, and shortcomings, in the end isn't it about the joy?
To be devastatingly honest, for the first time in 2 years I'm reconsidering my $2/month subscription.