Link Flush

It’s been a busy month for writing about videogame journalism. I’ve wanted to write something more substantial about most of these, but the queue is getting much too large. Here’s a brain dump of my link list, with a few words about each

Do Game Reviews Have To Be Puerile? (Kotaku) No, they don’t. There’s definitely a place for more abstract, experiential pieces about games like this this one. But they’re definitely not for everybody, or for every publication. I did a review of Space Channel 5: Special Edition for Gamecritics.com that was heavy on pop-journalism criticism and low on gameplay details. Not everyone was happy. If you’re audience is interested in these types of pieces, more power to you. If they are looking for a straight review, these kind of horizon-expanding writing should be used sparingly.

Mao and the New Games Journalism (game girl advance) When I first read that Maoist newspaper MIM was getting into game reviews, I thought it was a joke. No such luck. GGA asks whether game reviews with a political point of view are such a bad thing. We’ve already got Christ Centered Game Reviews that examine the moral issues involved in some of today’s hottest games. Imagine a review of WarioWare from a right wing think tank. A review of Blinx: The Time Sweeper from an animal rights group. Would these reviews provide a more palatable venue for propaganda or a more interesting perspective on games? My guess is the former more than the latter, but I’d love to find out.

<A HREF="http://www.igda.org/columns/clash/clash_Jan05.php
” TARGET=”_Blank”>But Seriously, Folks and No, Seriously (IGDA) Matt Sakey is not very happy about the state of the specialist press. Matt’s basic point isn’t too new — games journalism is too juvenile and focuses on pretty graphics rather than artistic expression — but he goes from there to argue bad games journalism is actually leading to bad games. Game developers aren’t going to change what they’re doing as long as the video game press tells them what they’re doing is perfectly fine. A wider variety of perspectives in the game writing world could easily lead to a wider variety of perspectives in the game development world.

Jack Thompson is a douche bag (Keep Your Killing Clean) Amen to that. This guy is the worst kind of press whore, seeking out only self-serving, softball press appearances and refusing to talk to any video game journalist who might want to cover both sides, or even just the side that isn’t his. I think he’s doing more harm than good to his image, here.

GameDrool – I’ve fallen in love with this “Game Journalist’s Diary” from a GamePro writer who seems to really love his job. The site gained a lot of links for a look at an angry Trip Hawkins letter but there have also been interesting posts about development systems and aggressive PR people. My only wish: more updates!

Chris “CJ” Johnston’s blog – Speaking of game journalist blogs that aren’t updated enough, Chris Johnston was an editor at EGM until relatively recently. His posts about the insider baseball in the EGM office are a great window in for a wannabe like me, and his general thoughts on video games are interesting too.

PSM sucks (render) I’m surprised at how bad PSM is, considering it has some of the same people that were on Game Players magazine in it’s heyday. And I loved Game Players! Then again, I was 13 when Game Players was in its heyday. Did Game Players actually suck? This requires more investigation.

Hardcore (gewgaw) Sometimes I think video game journalists are too close to their industry. I’d love to see some game reviews from people who are experienced with games, but haven’t spent their entire lives doing nothing but playing. Mix in some real world life experience with those game reviews and let’s see what comes up.

3 thoughts on “Link Flush

  1. Thanks for the links. I find it hard to keep up on all the journalism talk on my own, so it’s great to have one-stop shopping

  2. From what I remember, yes, Game Players sucked.

    The editors were obsessed with themselves. The letters section was filled with inside jokes, and each review was branded with a massive picture of the corresponding editor. I guess in their world, there was no better use for that space in a video game magazine.

    When it came to pre-release hype, their work was a caricature of the crap we endure today. In the months leading up to the launch of the PlayStation, they were hyping Battle Arena Toshinden as though it would be the BEST GAME EVAR!!! and cure all terminal illnesses. They even had a childish, fanboy-esque chart comparing it to Virtua Fighter, giving Toshinden every edge. Comparing that to the alleged PSP over DS bias that we have been discussing makes the latter look like a non-issue.

    Their reviews were often idiotic. SMW2: Yoshi’s Island was scored considerably lower than it was in most other publications (and lower than in the mind of any gamer I ever met), but the closest thing Chris Slate had to a credible complaint was that Mario was not in the starring role. The modern equivalent would be a reviewer giving Halo 2 a 7.0 and citing only contempt for The Arbiter. Chris would have been better off typing “ME NO LIKEY!” in 36-point font.

    Those are just a few points I remember. I have several copies in a box somewhere, I might chime-in with more if I have the time.

    (Deleted and re-posted to fix a spelling error that was driving me nuts. Copy editing!)

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