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June 19, 2008 at 9:14 pm #6798
Web2.0 is here if we like it our not, print is out of fashion and a quick Kotaku or Google Search will find you most any details about a game.
The Marketting arms of developers are taking respected names from the press and hiring them to manage their communities.
The enthusiast press are generating more and more buzz surrounding games, via podcasts, videos, extensive media coverage. This exposure to such extensive coverage whether they know it or is fueling System/Developer Fanboy idiots.
So does anyone else feel the enthusiast press are wiedling a double edged sword doing more for the publishers than they are for the gamer?
From my own personal experience I certainly didn’t feel that Portal, Mario Galaxy, Bioshock, GTA4 were as good as the media were hyping them up to be. Perhaps it was my own fault that I played Episode2 before starting on Portal which allowed the hype machine to manifest and left me feeling a little short on the experience. Similar experiences occured with Bioshock where it was sometime before I managed to get around to it and by the time I got to it I felt it was a great story that could have done with some decent editing.
Every game has issues but when members of the enthusiast are so heavily invested in certain titles they no longer become objective on games.
I would like to see review scores done away with and simply tell me if the game is worth my money. A critical analysis of the game would be appreciated, exploring the pro’s and con’s of the game in more detail. Instead of "Stroking a Game Bonner" over titles. Dennis Dyack made some compelling arguements about the preview process for games, whereby developers / publishers should wait until games are complete prior to ramping up marketting for them. This gives the enthusiast press a finished / near finished product to evaluate and allows them far greater time to formulate their "Reviews" on the titles. Instead of the current situation where titles are hyped nearly 2 years out from release date.
Christ I am as guilty as any other developer, as I have been doing it with 1944, hyping the game to gain support and attract the attention of investors and fellow developers, but at no point would I ever dare court Enthusiast Press to attempt and gain more favourable previews or reviews.
So what are your experiences with the Enthusiast Press, do you feel some have compromised their integrity to get access to games? Do you feel review scores are a valid mechanism for determining your purchase? Would you rather more abstraction between the publishers and press?
What I like least about MGS 4 isn’t MGS 4
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
What I Like Most About MGS 4
WARNING: CONTAINS SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS
IGN review: "Is it possible to give a game an 11? If so, this would be the game that would merit that score. Metal Gear Solid 4 is a title that exceeds all the hype that was attached to the title."
GamePro review: "Every once in a long while a game will come along and change all the rules. Final Fantasy VII transformed the RPG genre, Resident Evil helped create a new sub-category of gaming — survival horror — and GTA III single-handedly reshaped the gaming landscape. And now comes Metal Gear Solid 4, a game whose potential influence on the current state of gaming is nothing short of tectonic."
GamePlayers review: "Gamers should be eternally grateful that such a game exists."
I can’t believe my ears when, on 1UP Yours, Ryan Payton of Kojima Productions comments that "with triple-A titles, its almost like it’s inherent [for reviewers] to start tearing down [a game’s] different aspects." He’s complaining about Edge magazine’s 8-out-of-10 review score which sticks out where over a dozen 10-out-of-10s from other outlets don’t. He’s ignoring the many, many critics who sound more like a paid audience offering infomercial testimonials. MGS 4, they preach, is a rule-rewriting, paradigm-shifting, earth-moving, bar-raising, wheel-reinventing tour de force that presumably relieves headaches when applied directly to the forehead. We’ve left our own world at this point and find ourselves in a parallel dimension where man has invented fire, Alf, and little else. Throw in the insight of message board visitors like ThePure — who, on Gametrailers.com’s forums, posts that "Solid Snake is by far one of the best heroes of our generation, though it takes wise people to see this" — and we’ve entered an alternate time line where Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa never lived and the measure of humanity is a gun-toting Houdini.
June 20, 2008 at 8:46 am #41472
That an interesting article, would you be interested in posting it on dcemu.co.uk?
If you are, just post it in our submit news forum, and I will move it to the news/blog page . Oh and a little paragraph at the bottom to who you are and what you are working on (1944).
Back on topic, yeah I feel that games are more over hyped but is it just i’m older and more sceptical now? But then you look how many 10/10 reviews edge have given in the last year compared to the 10 years before.
But you have too remember that nostalgia is a powerful thing and games that were also hyped in the past now seem to have lived up to that hype( eg Golden eye)
I remember Micro machines turbo on the MD getting 100% in a review, so has over hype in the press always been about?
June 20, 2008 at 9:01 am #41473
I wouldn’t really be comfortable about posting something like that as news. Mainly because this is something that is being aired by alot of people and not just myself, so I would certainly feel like a tosser if I was to try and submit this as news, perhaps get in contact with Shawn Elliot or Jeff Green of GFW, they could give you a decent run down.
Regarding the review scores, it’s not so much the 10 / 10 reviews that are bothering me but rather the ways in which the enthusiast press are been drawn into the Marketting process for games and very few are being objective.
As pointed out by Pete
I like Kotaku’s reviews, no ratings/score system
This is a far better way of reviewing, you go into the good and the bad. Doing more critical analysis without nitpicking or praising the games as being flawless.
(Obviously this is all my own opinion and there are certainly far better ways of doing things.)
June 20, 2008 at 9:24 am #41474
It would be posted in the blog section on the site which is more on someone’s take on an issue in game industry, like the articles you get on gamasutra. We just call at the front page forums as "news" forums, its the system we use at dcemu, its a little different/funny.
back on topic, to simplify, is it the great marketing quotes that reviews give publishers that you have a problem with? Words like "Perfect" and "Flawless", like really is there any game, hell is there anything in any media that can be described as that?
June 20, 2008 at 9:42 am #41475
It’s a combination of how enthusiast press are cranking up the hype machine without being the slightest bit objective. Their job is to write objective information relating to a product and thus need to remain on the fence when it comes to "buying into" a product.
There are several issues with this:
1. The scores which are fueling Metacritic, fueling some developer bonuses and more importantly impact on Developer Publisher Relations. Effectively you have the Game Press determining the lively hood of one too many developers. This is wrong especially when certain members of the Press have already bought into various games emotionally and thus are not in a postion to be objective.
2. The fact that reviews are not objective / critical. They simply latch onto the hype and spew out the same tired words time and time again.
3. Marketting Teams courting the Game Press making it more and more difficult for the gamer to determine which members of the press are pushing their own agendas.
We all buy consoles, we all invest our time into gaming. What we don’t need is the Game Press acting like waves of retarded Fanboys who demand the games they buy into get 10 / 10. We need press who can appreciate the games, remain objective without being part of the Hype Machine.
June 20, 2008 at 10:00 am #41476
yeah but an non-objective press is not really a issue exclusive to the games industry. The problem is a general press problem, have you ever watched fox news? its crazily biased. The more money/power involved the hard it will be to find truly non-bias press. Having said that, the public love hype, the press is only giving us what we want! A mag with GTA4/MGS4/Halo will allways sell better than a mag with ikugura/Rez/Grimfandango.
June 20, 2008 at 12:41 pm #41478
There’s a flipside too, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Zero Punctuation reviews, but at least that guy tries to find faults in games he "reviews", if a bit over-zealously (which adds to the amusement factor though).
I do agree with you to a large extent Ronan, even reviews where they spend a bit of time going over the faults of the game and then still give it a 10/10 baffle me the most. Ultimately though, I don’t think it’s possible to review games objectively, as everybody has different tastes. If you get someone to review a sports games when that person hates them, it’s going to be a more negative review than if it was reviewed by someone who loves them. For the same reason I tend to take a pinch of salt with review scores, because the reviewer who gave the score might have a different taste to me.
June 20, 2008 at 1:52 pm #41479
Zero Punctuation is rather refreshing.
Regarding the subject of objectivity, when it’s your job to be objective I believe people can put themselves in a position where they are professional enough to be objective. Or it should be the job of their editor to pin point exactly when their own personal views are getting in the way of them being objective.
While I have no interest in most sports games, I am rather certain that if I were to sit down and play a sports game I could be objective and appreciate the game for what it is. I believe almost anyone could put themselves in the same position, obviously someone with a more indepth knowledge on the subject matter would be in a better position to go into the finer details, but not knowing a subject matter by heart does not restrict someone from being objective.
If anyone has ever listened to 1up Yours, The Hotspot and any IGN Podcast you can certainly tell which writers are heavily invested into certain games / franchises and even consoles. The question remains which of these writers / presenters can still remain objective in their work.
(GFW & GamersWithJobs appear to be some of the few crews who can buy into a product but still remain objective and informative at the same time. Certainly not without their flaws but I would highly recommend listening to them. Game Theory is also a good listen).
As it stands right now reviews are getting to the point where they have as much value as the content on the back of the box. Just give everything a 10, point out the positive factors and let’s all have a quick round of Hi-5’s
June 20, 2008 at 2:07 pm #41480
….let’s all have a quick round of Hi-5’s[/quote:be06304506]
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