The Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story
Game Journalists on Game Journalism

Michael Zenke | 14 Nov 2006 11:00
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Frank Cifaldi: This is actually a major annoyance for me and always has been. Back in the Dark Ages when I actually had to preview games, a certain unnamed magazine encouraged me to up my would-be preview score by at least 15 percent, because it was their policy and always had been.

Chris Grant: The real ill is when publishers gain permission from outlets to use rose-colored quotes to promote their products to retailers, earning them proportional shelf space before the title is even released. There is no meritocracy in gaming, and one need only look at the relative failures of games like Psychonauts versus junk like Splinter Cell Essentials.

TE: Overall, do you think game journalists are doing a good job?

Chris Grant: Like anything, I think some are and some aren't. Speaking broadly though, overall, I'd say there is a great deal we could improve, including engaging non-gamers outside of the enthusiast press.

David Thomas: No. No I do not. I think we are doing an OK job. I think we are doing a remarkably better job than we were doing even five years ago. But now that we are off the short bus, that does not mean we're heading for graduate school. We have a lot of work ahead of us

Chris Morris: I'd say it's a mixed bag. Truth be told, there isn't a good definition of who is and who isn't a game journalist at this point. I mean, do you include people who simply regurgitate press releases and link to (or worse, rewrite) other people's stories? I wouldn't. Do you include fansites? Do you include bloggers who don't verify information? ... Until we know who qualifies as a game journalist and who qualifies as an enthusiast with a reader base, it's pretty hard to say if those people are doing a good job or not.

Simon Carless: Absolutely.

Greg Kasavin: I can say with confidence that I don't know. I know there are many game journalists who work very hard. The tireless work ethic is something I've always admired about the game industry in general, especially since the reality of it is so different than the lazy slacker stereotype that's still associated with game players. I suppose our collective audience can be seen as our stock value. If our audiences keep growing, we're doing all right. And if our audiences keep growing faster than the industry is growing overall, then we're doing better than all right.

Many thanks to the respondents for their time.

Michael "Zonk" Zenke is Editor of Slashdot Games, a subsite of the technology community Slashdot.org. He comments regularly on massive games at the sites MMOG Nation and GameSetWatch. He lives in Madison, WI (the best city in the world) with his wife Katharine. Michael is not a game journalist.

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