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03/17/2005

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bowler

Amen to that, sister.

I was pretty much floored when I read that piece on "NGJ." I mean, I'm actually of the opinion that game reviews are old hat. Like dead. I haven't read a single game review or score recently that made me want to run out and buy the game. If I have to read "cornucopia," "myriad," or "chock full" used to describe the number of features in a game review, I'm done. It's been done. Never mind the fact that review scores are on a bell curve and not an absolute score now. When's the last time you saw an honest review giving a game a 2.5? It's like they give it a 5 if it just works.

I'd much rather read Tycho or Gabe rant on how good a game is. Or read about different uses for a game on this blog. I'm much more apt to buy a game if a peer says it's fun rather than a review score.

Old Game Journalism is dead. Long live New Game Journalism.

eric

if i had to guess, it is because the gentleman in question has not yet rallied his own "special wanking club" as he puts it, to link to his site. what better way than to point out, in some no-nonsense, masturbation and buggery-laden diatribe, that other people are frauds?

i pay very little attention to review sites these days when i am looking at new games, partly because of the fact that they are in general, NOT as objective as they claim to be. hypocrisy is worse in my book than a little self-indulgence now and again. mostly, i just pick up the xbox headset or IM, and within a couple minutes i know if a game "suxxors" or is "rad". that's pretty much all i need to know before plunking down my dinero. what people i trust think. i would argue that, if i am any indication, the "old games journalism" is in danger of losing its standing, because of its credibility.

as games become more and more immersive and interactive, it is absolutely inescapable that writing about them will involve the writer, just as music journalism did during the 60's and 70's. games are much more about the player and the individual's experience these days, and writing about them should reflect that. in order to convey any sense of whether i might like a game, a writer needs to be transparent about what it is that turns her on about it, and what excites her about games in general. only then do i get a sense of whether i trust a writer's opinion.

i say, let the "old games" sites handle the two thumbs up, five star, triple happy-face rating stuff. i know which sites i am going to read.

Mister Toups

"New Games Journalism" is the new emo. No one wants to be called it, and everyone is accusing everyone else of doing it.

What I don't understand is the bitterness, the fury over what's being called NGJ.

You forgot paranoia. But, yeah. It is a little weird, isn't it?

DannoHung

I don't think there's anything WRONG with the classical way of doing it, very informative of course, but a bit dull usually.

Previews, I think, usually suffer less from this because a good one usually involves talking with the developer about what they're trying to do and discussing what's really nifty about an idea and where it could get kind of hairy.

I've pretty much stopped reading reviews altogether though because the problem is that I haven't got a clue if the reviewer shares my tastes or not. It doesn't have anything to do with whether the article is boring or not. I just don't know if the guy has my standards.

New Games Journalism avoids this problem (in particular I'm thinking about the Jedi piece), by making ME feel like I'm playing the game just by reading about the damned thing. It doesn't matter if the guy's got my tastes or not because I'm getting an idea of what it feels like.

paranoid koala

Meh.
"Bow, nigger" made me want to start doing some online PC gaming again.
"The Great Scam" reminded me of what I used to enjoy about massively multiplayer games.
I loved the Edge issue without scores at the end of reviews and got really disappointed when I found out it was just a one shot deal.

New Games Journalism makes me smile.
IGN scores, feature lists and screenshots are stupid. Unless the game is really, really bad.

Mike

I disagree both with you guys and the article itself.

First off, I don't think reviews are particularly dead. Even if I don't read them for the score, I still like to get a bit of a gist of what I'm buying. And if GameRankings shows a game I've never heard of getting amazing scores, I'm going to check it out. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Internet gaming reviews can help casual audiences find niche games such as Katamari Damacy. Reviews have their place and their future, I think.

But reviews aren't Journalism. At all. Never were.

In fact, look at half the features that Gamespot and IGN do. They all ask the writers what they think. And usually the writers try their best to write some comical / witty banter on a topic. Rather than traditional journalism where the writer is invisible, most of the two websites named as great champions of game journalism constantly talk about themselves, their tastes, and their thoughts on games.

Foopy

I think DannoHung makes an interesting point about how significant it is to not know what a reviewer's tastes are. In the film industry, a review is always tied to the reviewer, rather than the publication--i.e., it's Roger Ebert giving a movie 4 stars, not the Chicago-Sun Times. I think that's because most people only really value movie reviews if they share similar tastes as the reviewer, which makes a lot of sense. But "old games journalism" works against that: because there's so many reviewers at a single publication who review only a small selection of games each, I never really get a feel for what each of their tastes are. On the other hand, over the years I've found that almost anything Tycho of Penny Arcade likes is something that I like, and for similar reasons; so as soon as I notice him ranting about a game being great, I immediately want to play it.

But it also seems like standard game review sites and publications are reviewing games as though they're, well, products--like cars or blenders or word processing software. They're trying to be like a version of Consumer Reports for games, and I think that approach doesn't work very well: when you want to buy a car, you're looking for the best combination of price, features, interface, aesthetics, and reliability--which is exactly how traditional game reviews judge things. But when you want to play a game or see a movie or read a novel, you ultimately just want it to be a very entertaining, enlightening, or emotional experience; new games journalism gets at the core of that, but standard game reviews rarely do.

AGTMADCAT

I agree and disagree with the varied opinions that people have expressed so far.

I have to say, I really appreciate reviews in, say, PC-gamer, because they're not affraid to give a game a 4% (extreme paintbrawl...*shudder*), and they give me a good idea of what the game is like, and let me know something of if the game is fun. More to this "New Game Journalism" was PCXL, something I never really read when it was still around (PCG ate it), but now when I'm flipping through my friend's old copies, I see that the articles really talked about the people who wrote them as much as anything else, because these were writers who were really having fun with their writing. But I find that this sort of frank discussion is something that I just can't find on the Internet, so in depseration I've started to do it myself.


At the moment I'm reviewing "Act of War: Direct Action", Atari's new game. I was poking around looking for information on it, and I got the same press-kit drivel off every damn site. No one had an informative, fun to read preview or (now that it's come out), review. In fact, it was almost impossible to find any journalism at all, never mind the new stuff I'm so fond of. So I did it myself (Shameless plug: http://www.livejournal.com/~act_of_war )

-AGT

Dmark

Are you really girls?

Or better yet, lesbians girls?

No. 7

I think this sums up the whole dialectic in the modern games industry. If we are to consider the impact of Derrida on the issues of context within the confines of technical detailings of such values as 'polygon count' for instance, we can contend that the inherent gender issue of such specifics can generate much furore. Indeed the context brought up by the aforementioned UK:R posting can bring in many such points of view, "A confession has to be part of your new life." as Wittgenstein once remarked and has such a confession been brought fourth by this "new games journalism" of which the UK:R speaks of?

Links between the games industry and other forms of popular culture have been brought up and we have to asses the idea spaces brought up in this admittedly wide field. It is of vital importance that the NGJ writer involve themselves intimately with the social textures that surround the latest FPS, the synchronicities between Halo 2 and Kasabian's latest gig are many and obvious for instance, requiring a NGJ writer to confront the event as if the readers themselves were there and it mattered.

In the end it is up to the community to provide the essential synthesis needed to bring together the old and new worlds of not just games journalism but games reality, which is of course generated by the journalists as the write.

Dmark

Gawwww! Girls and games. You don't know how hard that makes me ladies.

So I'll tell you.....

I'm sensuously masturbating my magnificent erection with my mothers underwear at this very moment whilst simultaneously getting off to the Rez vibration thingy which I've got shoved up my arse.

Does that make you wet? You horny bitches.

J

Yeesh.

I think those kids need to (a) double-check the definition of 'manifesto' and (b) re-think points #4 through #1 if they want to be taken seriously.

Oh, wait. Their wanton use of the noun/verb "wank" pretty much precludes this. Clicking "About" is interesting, too; particularly when you note that their site is powered by Blogger. Tee hee.

A Rappy

Trying to sound clever and patronising rarely works online, as demonstarted by the above post by 'J'. Please note that not even "jane", author of the March 17, 2005 article "In Defense of Old Game Journalism" was trying to do this.

Funky J

yeah, like that article is going to convince me that "old" journalism is good... Is that written by a bunch of 12 year olds or something? I'm surprised they didn't add "w3 r l33t" at the end...

I agree with Jane that "old" and "new" are actually contemporaries, and should be seen as complimentary, not in opposition.

I think if you do see them in opposition, you're doing yourself and your writing a disservice.

In my own reviews, I fall somewhere in the middle, as do the others who write for [plug] http://www.xboxworld.com.au [end plug]

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