Endo's Game

Endo's Game
Videogame Print is Dead - Finally

Tom Endo | 8 Jul 2009 17:30
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A little over a decade ago, the sum total of gaming news could be condensed into a rumors page in the front of a magazine. The rest of the magazine was filled out with previews, reviews and the occasional feature or interview. Looking back, even though the issues were huge phone books, they were more like catalogs than actual news sources. Sure, there were exceptions, but these magazines delivered what most of the gaming populace wanted - pretty pictures and coming attractions. The information was, befitting the size of the industry, a carefully controlled trickle into the gamer's cup of knowledge.

In the intervening years, the internet took hold and the industry grew exponentially. The floodgates were opened and now, I find myself beer bonging information on a daily basis. Drenched in quotes, gossip, vendettas, Photoshop mock-ups and unconfirmed screenshots I trudge forward each day attempting to make sense of it all.

The volume and availability of videogame news is such that a game is no longer just a game, it is the sum total of all its rumors, layoffs, and outlandish PR quotes. The media build up to a major game can actually overwhelm the experience of the final product. Maybe Assassin's Creed wouldn't have been as memorable if it had lacked the countless trailers, Jade Raymond's smiling face and webcomic controversy. It's a magnificent mess, the lead up to a modern game release, and it makes the old PR friendly magazine model look stale by comparison.

This information overload initially led me to Analysis Paralysis. There was so much information to consume that it all turned into white noise, my brain unable to act on any of it. The excitement a new preview might bring was broken up into a thousand little pieces of blog postings. Developer comments and rumors created a cracked mosaic of viewpoints on the game or situation. Gaming news became another consumable, there for my brief entertainment. I became fixated on details like new combat systems and multiplayer options. None of which ever influenced my final purchasing decision.

This is symptomatic of the way I used to consume all my information a few years ago. It all ran through me and I made very little sense of it, nor did I let any of it spur me towards deeper discussion. Blogs became an enormous and nonsensical information dump. I think the rise of internet communities like 4chan's /b/ and all the stereotypes associated with forum culture arose as a literal expression of the confusion caused by information overload. Overwhelmed by Analysis Paralysis, forum culture, and by extension the way people engaged with news, became largely reactionary.

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