Your idea of game journalism

visiblenoise

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I would get rid of all opinion and opinion-related pieces (including reviews), apart from the opinions that are expressed in interviews with game studio employees, etc. The user reviews on Metacritic have become a good enough indicator of a game's decency that I think an entertainment site can get away without doing "official" reviews. The staff would have to find another outlet for their opinions, like a blog.

Not that I don't appreciate Yahtzee and Jim and some of the other opinion writers here.
 

tippy2k2

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visiblenoise said:
I would get rid of all opinion and opinion-related pieces (including reviews), apart from the opinions that are expressed in interviews with game studio employees, etc. The user reviews on Metacritic have become a good enough indicator of a game's decency that I think an entertainment site can get away without doing "official" reviews. The staff would have to find another outlet for their opinions, like a blog.

Not that I don't appreciate Yahtzee and Jim and some of the other opinion writers here.
Has Metacritic though?

Look me in the eyes (er...look my avatar in the eyes) and tell me that these scores are deserved:

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare (Xbox One): 5.4
Dragon Age II (360): 4.4
Madden 2015 (360): 5.8
Diablo 3 (PC): 3.9

I trust metacritic about as far as I can throw it.
 

blank0000

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I'd like to see more information on the development process. What's happening/ what happened for certain projects. What Kind of technologies are popping up. What went right and what went wrong NOT from an audience perspective (The story was X the gameplay was Y) but from a developers side (we tried to use this kind of pattern X we made decision Y because Z) ect.


An example:
Sonic 2006 is a notorious flop. It's flaws pointed out by every reviewer and youtube critic imaginable. However, there is absolutely no information about the process of the games production. Why things happened the way they did, where cuts where made, ect. As far as I know, it came out of the darkness ended up on a disk and I feel the fact that I cannot find any information, any interviews, or even a decent post-mortum speaks to how little "game journalism" is doing to report on the industry as opposed to hype up next months product.
 

Scarim Coral

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I guess I am navie to say my vision will be an honest one (honesty is the beat policy) meaning not taking bribe or lying and the reviews are written by real people. In saying so however the tone of the review should be a netural/ non bias one aswell mainly focusing on the core gameplay, story etc than to rant about the controversy. Granted I always put a disclaimer before the review.
E.g. I liked this review of Dragon Crown as oppose to that other controvisal review of the said game mention ages ago.
 

visiblenoise

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tippy2k2 said:
visiblenoise said:
I would get rid of all opinion and opinion-related pieces (including reviews), apart from the opinions that are expressed in interviews with game studio employees, etc. The user reviews on Metacritic have become a good enough indicator of a game's decency that I think an entertainment site can get away without doing "official" reviews. The staff would have to find another outlet for their opinions, like a blog.

Not that I don't appreciate Yahtzee and Jim and some of the other opinion writers here.
Has Metacritic though?

Look me in the eyes (er...look my avatar in the eyes) and tell me that these scores are deserved:

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare (Xbox One): 5.4
Dragon Age II (360): 4.4
Madden 2015 (360): 5.8
Diablo 3 (PC): 3.9

I trust metacritic about as far as I can throw it.
Fair point...but usually, if you skim through a few of the reviews, you'll know whether the average score was well-deserved or not. I mean, my point is simply that if all I had to go on to inform my game purchases were the Metacritic user reviews, or maybe the Steam user reviews, I think I'd do just fine.
 

CpT_x_Killsteal

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Zachary Amaranth said:
CpT_x_Killsteal said:
You keep saying "people". I am not "people".
I'm going to end this now. I did not say you were "people," I chose a different word to describe a group of "not yous" as a deliberate form of contrast. This diction choice should have made it clear that I was switching from the specific to the generic. And I simply will not tolerate this sort of bullshit anymore. I didn't read beyond this, I won't address any points further than this. This discussion is over as far as I'm concerned, as is any other that takes this route.

This is the exact sort of thing that seems to have set off Gamergate (She said gamers, even though she used quotes and clearly defined her terms, she must mean me, even though I don't fit the description, so now I'm angry that I think she was talking about me when she wasn't!), and really needs to just be smothered in its crib. In any case, I am just very, very tired of it.
...What? I meant that when you keep saying 'people keep saying' it has nothing to do with our discussion. I'm saying there's no point bringing in 'people' and 'not mes' because this topic isn't meant to veer into gamergate. I'm not even a bloody part of gamergate. I thought we were discussing whether or not there was something fishy going on with journalists releasing very similar attack pieces in a short time-frame, the fishiness of the mailing list, and whether putting in a disclaimer that you have some form of relationship with someone on the project is a good idea or not. I'm just trying to put things back on track rather than discussing what generic people think and do, not only because we're going to have different ideas and experiences on that subject, but it has nothing to do with what we were talking about (and goes into GG territory which the OP specifically doesn't want to happen).
I'm not angry with the use of the word 'people'. It's just off-topic.

Take a break. Remove The Escapist from your bookmarks for a while. Not permanently, just for like a week or something. I think this gamergate thing has gotten to you like it did to me once. Respond to this or the comment before-hand if/when you want, but please, for your own sanity, consider taking a break.
 

CpT_x_Killsteal

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visiblenoise said:
tippy2k2 said:
visiblenoise said:
I would get rid of all opinion and opinion-related pieces (including reviews), apart from the opinions that are expressed in interviews with game studio employees, etc. The user reviews on Metacritic have become a good enough indicator of a game's decency that I think an entertainment site can get away without doing "official" reviews. The staff would have to find another outlet for their opinions, like a blog.

Not that I don't appreciate Yahtzee and Jim and some of the other opinion writers here.
Has Metacritic though?

Look me in the eyes (er...look my avatar in the eyes) and tell me that these scores are deserved:

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare (Xbox One): 5.4
Dragon Age II (360): 4.4
Madden 2015 (360): 5.8
Diablo 3 (PC): 3.9

I trust metacritic about as far as I can throw it.
Fair point...but usually, if you skim through a few of the reviews, you'll know whether the average score was well-deserved or not. I mean, my point is simply that if all I had to go on to inform my game purchases were the Metacritic user reviews, or maybe the Steam user reviews, I think I'd do just fine.
I usually just look for the well written reviews. Not that I take them at their word, but reviews that are well set out with a low amount of grammatical errors are usually good ones to start with. Although certain Youtubers make better reviews and include gameplay, so they're usually what I go for (not sure if you already mentioned that in an earlier post).
 

Gordon_4_v1legacy

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I don't give a rat's arse where the money comes from (especially since items such as You-Know-What exist), because frankly most websites are totally shit at hiding where they ad revenue comes from.

Honestly, I don't care who's fucking who, who believes what, who hates what, who loves what: as long you aren't running illegal pornography or snuff films, drug cartels or slavery rings from your damned basement then what do I care. I'll view the content, and I'll like it or I won't. Because honestly, if I want to get my rankles up for Ethics in Journalism, I might start with something that would have repercussions to the world as a whole: like that small matter of Newscorp being busted hacking the emails and phones of private citizens.
 

CannibalCorpses

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I'm probably the worst person to respond but since the late 80's i realised that game reviews were obviously biased and many journalists were paid to say what they say rather than what they actually think. Under such conditions i walked away from mainstream media and basically rely on conversations with friends and other gamers via websites such as this one or by playing games at other peoples houses...the same way i have always found good games to play.

The whole problem with games journalism is that people actually believe some of the things they are told...
 

Callate

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Irick said:
Well, to be fair, this is true of journalism in general. Investigative journalism has been dead for quite some time, there just isn't the money there for it. The simulacrum of hard hitting news is enough for most people, those who really want well researched articles are niche.
Certainly. A perusal of most newspapers reveals an awful lot of repackaging of reports from Reuters, Associated Press, and the like. I think the best bet for acquiring people with a willingness to do investigative journalism would be to hire from local papers and journalism graduates and post-graduates. It would requiring carving out a niche in the space which it is entirely possible the audience for does not exist, at least on a large enough scale, containing enough people willing to pay for the content.

The 24-hour cable channel news cycle has done a lot to reduce the quality of what most people are willing to accept as news, and the Internet has done its own share of damage. In an odd way, the alleged triviality of video games might be its best hope for more rigorous journalism. The potential sources for information that could make a good investigative report aren't necessarily as guarded as those who might be referencing government policy or law enforcement.

Could the viability of, say, the more popular YouTube commentators scale upwards? Are there other sources of income than advertising for video games themselves, and products like Mountain Dew that consciously link to video games and gaming culture? Perhaps not, I recognize.

At the end of the day, a professional journalist is a professional journalist. In the world of the professional, 'Real artists ship'. It is a rare company, a rare industry and a rare audience that is willing to wait for something more than good enough. In general, it is time and not the whims of the market that end up distinguishing between good enough and high quality. Consider for a moment your involvement with news media. Can you, off the top of your head, name the top ten news articles you have read in your life?
That depends on how broadly you set the terms. There are reviews and editorials I remember, and pieces on particular events (The Tianmen Square uprising, the death of Mother Theresa, Newsweek's final interview with Charles Schulz, the Challenger disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall) that remain vivid in my memory. Could I remember, say, the authors of those pieces? Usually not.

Journalism is a lot like good industrial design. It's beautiful, but it's the background of your world when it is done right. It isn't something that most people stop to really consider, to learn the language, and to appreciate on a deeper level. Consider the design of the telephone. Consider the design of a door. These have mountains of theory, years of practice, millions of dollars put into them. There are true works of art in these fields, but to most people, it's just a phone. It's just a door. They may enjoy the better crafted experience but at the end of the day, they are probably not going to want to pay a premium (without serious social incentive to).
And yet, we notice when these things don't work. When a door doesn't close flush without exerting extra pressure, when a phone produces a background buzz. And arguably, when journalism no longer serves to inform, or to create an informed public/consumer base.

We may not have reached a level of frustration yet that demands better, let alone is willing to pay for it. But wouldn't it be wonderful if we did?

In somewhat of a unique dichotomy... the hard hitting stuff, the investigative journalism... that's the most expensive to produce and it's no more expensive to consume. Let us consider the traditional TV journalism. The real break winner there are the easy, cheesy, approachable and minimally investigated morning shows. They fund... everything. For the longest time it was the expected state of things. Your hard hitting, important stuff? Doesn't make a dime. It's that cheezy, feel good show that funds your whole operation. You do the other stuff for the love of journalism.

To me, it seems this mindset has faded. These days, if it doesn't make bank it's going to fade. The real solution here is... to value the reporting.

If we want games journalism to be better, we have to support it. We can do that by taking up the mantel ourselves and producing quality content, or by going out of our way to appreciate the good journalism we have. While debating ethics, or what we want to see helps us set up these formal metrics, what we have to do after that is... act by them.

We can't forget that part :)
I think we agree on that.

Zachary Amaranth said:
The short of it is that I don't think they can investigate in any meaningful sense, given the way the publisher can shut people out or down, you'd have better luck with state secrets. And with ad buys and such. I mean, there's little actual investigative journalism these days as it is, and it's in no small part because of the shift in "legitimate" journalism to a similar set of practices. Hell, it's not even new. Look at cigarette controversies right until they weren't allowed to advertise everywhere. It's worse in gaming, since games are the primary interested industry.

Maybe if everyone rose up and refused to deal with the industry, but I don't think you're going there. I don't think a publication could be built ground up on a major industry scale as you suggest. And I don't think legit journalists would adapt well here. Actually, I think they'd be forced to adapt too well.
You might be right. Part of my idea, as I mention above, is hiring from new graduates and "local paper" journalists who are actually used to the idea of investigative reporting. However, I grant that it's entirely possible the mission itself would grind them down over time, even with the best support.

I like to think that interviewers asking unusual questions could catch even the usual PR flacks off-stride, and highlighting when they're trying to bring things back to scripted messages might even serve to embarrass them and serve notice that the usual tactics weren't going to cut it. There are also instances where people closer to the actual production have gotten to speak to interviewers, even if those PR people later swooped in to "clarify" the statements of their excessively candid charges. We haven't quite gotten to the point where everyone involved in a game is buried under five feet of NDAs.

Of course, an organization attempting more investigative work might just end up blacklisted, officially or unofficially. It could be that overcoming such a blockade would require a far broader reform, rather than a single organization, and that goes from mere optimism to a truly pie-in-the-sky sort of naivete.
 

Scootinfroodie

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tippy2k2 said:
Look me in the eyes (er...look my avatar in the eyes) and tell me that these scores are deserved:

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare (Xbox One): 5.4
Dragon Age II (360): 4.4
Madden 2015 (360): 5.8
Diablo 3 (PC): 3.9
To be fair, that's a pretty accurate measurement of my interest in those titles
I think what's more important to look at though, is where things appear on the New/Recent titles lists and where the wide score disparities are. DA2 got rated down because it was rushed and clunky, for instance, and Diablo 3 had a laundry list of problems on release
I wouldn't use it as a buyers guide though, just a way of vetting a list you're already making

Gordon_4 said:
Because honestly, if I want to get my rankles up for Ethics in Journalism, I might start with something that would have repercussions to the world as a whole: like that small matter of Newscorp being busted hacking the emails and phones of private citizens.
It's a lot easier to fix niche hobbyist media than it is to fix large-scale mainstream sorts of corruption and general wrongdoing. As well, I suspect a lot of people are using this as a training run and figuring out what works and what doesn't.
 

tippy2k2

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Scootinfroodie said:
tippy2k2 said:
Look me in the eyes (er...look my avatar in the eyes) and tell me that these scores are deserved:

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare (Xbox One): 5.4
Dragon Age II (360): 4.4
Madden 2015 (360): 5.8
Diablo 3 (PC): 3.9
To be fair, that's a pretty accurate measurement of my interest in those titles
I think what's more important to look at though, is where things appear on the New/Recent titles lists and where the wide score disparities are. DA2 got rated down because it was rushed and clunky, for instance, and Diablo 3 had a laundry list of problems on release
I wouldn't use it as a buyers guide though, just a way of vetting a list you're already making
Isn't the entire point of "unbiased" game journalism; not letting your feelings go into play?

It doesn't matter if you are not interested in any of those games. There's no way in hell you could tell me that any of those games deserve that type of score. They are all functional games. They do not have major problems with them (Diablo 3 I suppose you could have argued that when it first came out and no one could connect but that's not an issue anymore).

Now granted, this is now my own bias coming into play. I don't trust user scores. I find that the majority of people are marking things as either the greatest things that have ever existed or the the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of anything. For titles that are not AAA, it might be great since you're going to have a lot less "CoD is the same game every time, I don't even have to play it to give it a 0 derp herp!" but for me, if I can't trust it for some things, I'm not going to trust it for anything.
 

Scootinfroodie

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tippy2k2 said:
Isn't the entire point of "unbiased" game journalism; not letting your feelings go into play?
I wasn't aware that metacritic users were journalists, and I can guarantee I'm not one
It was also a joke, though one based in truth (I really am pretty indifferent to those games) but I guess I could have made that clearer

tippy2k2 said:
It doesn't matter if you are not interested in any of those games.
It does if I'm buying them

tippy2k2 said:
There's no way in hell you could tell me that any of those games deserve that type of score. They are all functional games. They do not have major problems with them
So games can only go below 5 if they don't work? How broken must a game be to deserve a 2?
Again, I think scoring needs to go, partially for these very reasons, but I don't find it fair to suggest that someone cannot find a rushed game and a game with extensive problems to be less than average (read: what a 5 really ought to be on a 10 point scale)

tippy2k2 said:
(Diablo 3 I suppose you could have argued that when it first came out and no one could connect but that's not an issue anymore).
Most reviews are written on and shortly after the release date. User's aren't obligated to go back, play the game again, and update their reviews... especially when reviewers wont either

tippy2k2 said:
Now granted, this is now my own bias coming into play. I don't trust user scores. I find that the majority of people are marking things as either the greatest things that have ever existed or the the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of anything. For titles that are not AAA, it might be great since you're going to have a lot less "CoD is the same game every time, I don't even have to play it to give it a 0 derp herp!" but for me, if I can't trust it for some things, I'm not going to trust it for anything.
Cut out the 0's and the 10's (or at least the 0's and 10's that don't contribute anything. Sometimes someone really likes a game, and sometimes you'll get someone who hits the bug lottery and can't get the game to run). Look at the scores that remain. Read the reviews
I can guarantee you'll find fairly pertinent information. I've been able to with every title I've checked so far
 

tippy2k2

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Scootinfroodie said:
I wasn't aware that metacritic users were journalists, and I can guarantee I'm not one
It was also a joke, though one based in truth (I really am pretty indifferent to those games) but I guess I could have made that clearer
That's fair. I thought about it after I typed it up and realized that I jumped the gun. That's what I get for multi-tasking!

Scootinfroodie said:
Cut out the 0's and the 10's (or at least the 0's and 10's that don't contribute anything. Sometimes someone really likes a game, and sometimes you'll get someone who hits the bug lottery and can't get the game to run). Look at the scores that remain. Read the reviews
I can guarantee you'll find fairly pertinent information. I've been able to with every title I've checked so far
That's fair too. I suppose for myself, I just would rather get rid of that legwork and listen to the "professionals" rather than random users. But to each their own; as long as you get the games you want and avoid the ones that suck, that's what matters.
 

Emcee_N

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Your friends/lovers/relatives/Twitter followers/pet cat made this game, and now you're reviewing it? Fine. Review it anyway. But tell us.
You're being paid to like this game? Fine. Like it, and get paid. But tell us.

You don't like that this game has ? Fine. But a) tell us, and b) judge it against the redeeming value of the game itself rather than awarding an instant points penalty. If a game is good, give it a good score, theme you dislike or no theme you dislike. Tell us about the themes you dislike, and then perhaps say it again in a boxout below the score, next to any conflict of interest disclaimer.


Or even better, if you really feel that a score won't accurately reflect how you feel about a game, don't give one.
 

Nielas

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Callate said:
I like to think that interviewers asking unusual questions could catch even the usual PR flacks off-stride, and highlighting when they're trying to bring things back to scripted messages might even serve to embarrass them and serve notice that the usual tactics weren't going to cut it. There are also instances where people closer to the actual production have gotten to speak to interviewers, even if those PR people later swooped in to "clarify" the statements of their excessively candid charges. We haven't quite gotten to the point where everyone involved in a game is buried under five feet of NDAs.

Of course, an organization attempting more investigative work might just end up blacklisted, officially or unofficially. It could be that overcoming such a blockade would require a far broader reform, rather than a single organization, and that goes from mere optimism to a truly pie-in-the-sky sort of naivete.
The cynic in me questions whether the target audience of 'game journalism' even cares about the stuff going on behind the scenes. Most of us seem to only care if the final game is good or not and don't give a rat's ass about how it was made. It might be of interest to game developers or potential investors but the general gaming public will not really find it that interesting. The topic matter is just not very sexy. Investigative journalism does not really work if the audience does not care about what the journalist uncovers.
 

prpshrt

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Anything like the old the old school pc gaming magazines with screenshots, walkthroughs, and the occasional CD full of game demos.
 

MrBaskerville

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I wish it was more interesting to read. I'd like to see better written articles/reviews, more depth, more opinions and way less "consumer guides". To many sites focus a lot of their energy on bland reviews with the sole pupose of pleasint publishers while they try to say what their readers expect them to say, going through the check list of stuff a review is expected to contain. I wish it was more like reading movie reviews, where there's a wider variety of opinions and generally a more interesting way to tackle each individual movie. I would also like to see more investigative journalism and less reposts of the same press releases that each and every site reposts. I've found a bit of this in Super Bunny Hops videos, i think he has a very interesting and thought provoking way to approach reviews. I Wish there were more like it.

It would also be nice if sites stopped writing about steam sales and the like, i really don't think it belongs in news sections. You wouldn't see a newspaper writing about big sales in the local supernarket, unless they were paid to do it :/.
 

senordesol

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I suppose the main thing to keep in mind is that 'games journalism' is enthusiast press. GJs don't get paid dick and their skills do not lend themselves to a particularly long and productive career elsewhere; they do what they do because they LOVE VIDEO GAMES.

I'd expect any enthusiast outlet to attempt to bring all aspects of the hobby in question (be it movies, music, or toys) to the consumer. I'd expect them to have some kind of working relationship with the creators in the industry; so that they can bring me news, impressions, and reviews to me -the consumer and fellow enthusiast- as fast as possible.

If there's a preview event for my favorite strategy game; I want to know about it. If you have to have one reporter cover the preview while another covers the review (thus reducing biasing) that's fine, but I want the content.

And as an enthusiast site, I expect you to advertise for the industry. Why show me ads for stuff you know I'm not here for.

Basically, there is one Cardinal Sin so far as I'm concerned: crossing the line between Ads and Eds. If the game is shit, the reviewer must have free reign to say so regardless of who's paid for ad space.

Games Journalists, so far as I'm concerned, have ONE JOB: Keep me abreast of the goings-on in the industry. If there's something I should be excited about; tell me about it. If there's something I should stay away from; tell me about it.

Give me the information I need to make an informed purchase and our business is complete. Period.
 

ChaoGuy2006

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senordesol said:
I suppose the main thing to keep in mind is that 'games journalism' is enthusiast press.

If there's a preview event for my favorite strategy game; I want to know about it. If you have to have one reporter cover the preview while another covers the review (thus reducing biasing) that's fine, but I want the content.

And as an enthusiast site, I expect you to advertise for the industry. Why show me ads for stuff you know I'm not here for.

Basically, there is one Cardinal Sin so far as I'm concerned: crossing the line between Ads and Eds. If the game is shit, the reviewer must have free reign to say so regardless of who's paid for ad space.

Games Journalists, so far as I'm concerned, have ONE JOB: Keep me abreast of the goings-on in the industry. If there's something I should be excited about; tell me about it. If there's something I should stay away from; tell me about it.

Give me the information I need to make an informed purchase and our business is complete. Period.
You really hit the nail on the head with the interviewer/reviewer split. I'm glad to see some journalists have a strong enough moral code to be able to do both (while still disclosing and making a fair review). With all the revelations about what some developers and publishers offer reviewers a lot more need to say "no" if they think it would be impossible to do a fair review later, or if the gift is so great, no amount of disclosure would make the review seem trustworthy.

"The publisher took me to a party, we had a meal costing $200, an after party with drinks costing $400, all paid for by them. The publisher also gave me an envelope containing a cheque, just enough to pay my rent for 3 months.
But don't worry, I'll still give this game a fair review."