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06/19/2006

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T. Holbrook Walker

Threefold amen to that, sister.

greggman

Is this more a chicken and the egg thing? I enjoy reading Roger Ebert's movie reviews. Even if he doesn't like the same movies I like he's got such an extenstive knowledge of movies that he almost always points out something I hadn't throught about.

On top of that, being that he's seen so many movies he often notices the true flaws. Something that a fan like me or someone with less movies behind them might miss.

Are there ANY game critics that do this? I've never read one. Not on 1up, not Gamespot, not IGN, not even GameCritiques. The people that review games are fans. They almost always have no clue what it takes to make a game so they get awed by total BS and hype from the developers or publishers or their own fandom.

I've thought about starting a website, hardcoregamecritics.com or something like that were game reviews are required to actually be "crtical". Where you can point out a flaw or a great part but it's got to be backed up with well thought out arguements and not just "that totally rocks dude!" or "that suxor" attitude lurking behind most current game reviews.

Would anyone give a shit? Well, maybe not at first but I happen to think with some persistence quality game critism would actually have an audience.

Tetsuo

I think it's less that there needs to be a Lester Bangs of videogaming and more that there needs to be a Roger Ebert; what we need is a small group of critics, known and respected for their views, to rise. For too long the gaming media has essentially been full of interchangeable, faceless reviewers. Ask anyone not directly involved with games journalism to name, say, three reviewers of games on any platform, in any medium, and odds are good you won't get shit. I think the rise of podcasting is helping this, though - like the guys said on the latest 1up Yours, using audio and video helps inject more personality and emotion into it, and helps you get to know the people involved better. I'm starting to believe the Next Big Thing in games journalism isn't going to be in any of the traditional media - I think they're going to rise through podcasting or video podcasting. They could, can, and will still work in traditional media, but the identity will come through those other channels.

As for gamers not wanting to read about the emotional side - I think that's just because it's something totally new. It's a big adjustment. And virtually every big outlet that's tried it has pussied out far too quickly for anyone to get used to it.

Troy Goodfellow

"I think they're going to rise through podcasting or video podcasting."

If so, it will be a while. I have yet to find a podcast or even videocast that is compelling enough to make regular listening. (No offense intended to the 1up videocast, of course.) At this point podcasts are set up more like casual chats than anything else, so there is little room for much light and less room for heat. And videocasts try to cover too much with too many people. (Bangs was as much about self-promotion as anything else.)

Another thing standing in the way of getting a Lester Bangs is that there is no "go to" media outlet for gaming news and insight. The internet has let a thousand flowers bloom, so there are too many voices saying the same thing.

Too few outlets privilege feature stories or editorials over reviews and previews, further cementing the customer service journalism that permeates the field.

If we want a watershed journalist, we may only notice them in retrospect. There are a half-dozen writers, I think, who can make even a review of an average game interesting and can use them to say interesting things about game design. (I won't name names - yet - to avoid leaving out someone I work with.) Maybe in five years we'll look back on the Pinckard era.

Frank Lantz

Erik Wolpaw.

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