Why So Serious

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Cpt_Oblivious:
This seems to be saying that games journalists are like substitute teachers ("I'm not a real teacher!"). I think you're being a bit hard on you and your kind, Sean.

squid5580:
I hope this question isn't too off-topic. And I hope Sean reads through the comments. When you are doing a preview were you under a contract to give it a glowing preview no matter how bad the actual game is? I assume when you do a preview you get some hands on demo of the game and that it is not the full game. It just seems to me that whenever I read a preview the person writing it praises it to the high heavens. And any negative point (which is usually a technical problem like lag) is followed by "it should be fixed in the full version." Why can't I ever find a bad but honest preview of a game? Where they say you know the gameplay is broken or just not fun.

You wouldn't go up to guy guys building your house and start yelling at them for forgetting to include a roof when they're only thwo days into it, would you? A demo is going to be incomplete and there's no sense in criticizing things that won't actually appear in the game upon release. Previews are for telling peop;e about what new things are going to be in the game, but the review is where you actually turn a critical eye towards the game. Nobody expects their five-year old child to create a masterpiece in art class.

It sounds like journalist has become a fairly lose term.

randommaster:

Cpt_Oblivious:
This seems to be saying that games journalists are like substitute teachers ("I'm not a real teacher!"). I think you're being a bit hard on you and your kind, Sean.

squid5580:
I hope this question isn't too off-topic. And I hope Sean reads through the comments. When you are doing a preview were you under a contract to give it a glowing preview no matter how bad the actual game is? I assume when you do a preview you get some hands on demo of the game and that it is not the full game. It just seems to me that whenever I read a preview the person writing it praises it to the high heavens. And any negative point (which is usually a technical problem like lag) is followed by "it should be fixed in the full version." Why can't I ever find a bad but honest preview of a game? Where they say you know the gameplay is broken or just not fun.

You wouldn't go up to guy guys building your house and start yelling at them for forgetting to include a roof when they're only thwo days into it, would you? A demo is going to be incomplete and there's no sense in criticizing things that won't actually appear in the game upon release. Previews are for telling peop;e about what new things are going to be in the game, but the review is where you actually turn a critical eye towards the game. Nobody expects their five-year old child to create a masterpiece in art class.

So then a demo is useless? It doesn't give you an idea of what the full game will be like? And because of that a preview should be completely positive?

squid5580:

randommaster:

Cpt_Oblivious:
This seems to be saying that games journalists are like substitute teachers ("I'm not a real teacher!"). I think you're being a bit hard on you and your kind, Sean.

squid5580:
I hope this question isn't too off-topic. And I hope Sean reads through the comments. When you are doing a preview were you under a contract to give it a glowing preview no matter how bad the actual game is? I assume when you do a preview you get some hands on demo of the game and that it is not the full game. It just seems to me that whenever I read a preview the person writing it praises it to the high heavens. And any negative point (which is usually a technical problem like lag) is followed by "it should be fixed in the full version." Why can't I ever find a bad but honest preview of a game? Where they say you know the gameplay is broken or just not fun.

You wouldn't go up to guy guys building your house and start yelling at them for forgetting to include a roof when they're only thwo days into it, would you? A demo is going to be incomplete and there's no sense in criticizing things that won't actually appear in the game upon release. Previews are for telling peop;e about what new things are going to be in the game, but the review is where you actually turn a critical eye towards the game. Nobody expects their five-year old child to create a masterpiece in art class.

So then a demo is useless? It doesn't give you an idea of what the full game will be like? And because of that a preview should be completely positive?

A demo isn't useless, it's just not the time to start criticising things like lag and bad textures, as the developers may have simply put something together for the audience and didn't bother, or are unable, to clean the demo up much.

A demo's purpose, as far as preview articles go, is to show of the general ideas and mechanics the game will be using and it is generally understood by the people playing the demo that even anyhting they comment on could very well change by the time the game is released. A demo for the mass market, however, is different and should be bug-free.

randommaster:

squid5580:

randommaster:

Cpt_Oblivious:
This seems to be saying that games journalists are like substitute teachers ("I'm not a real teacher!"). I think you're being a bit hard on you and your kind, Sean.

squid5580:
I hope this question isn't too off-topic. And I hope Sean reads through the comments. When you are doing a preview were you under a contract to give it a glowing preview no matter how bad the actual game is? I assume when you do a preview you get some hands on demo of the game and that it is not the full game. It just seems to me that whenever I read a preview the person writing it praises it to the high heavens. And any negative point (which is usually a technical problem like lag) is followed by "it should be fixed in the full version." Why can't I ever find a bad but honest preview of a game? Where they say you know the gameplay is broken or just not fun.

You wouldn't go up to guy guys building your house and start yelling at them for forgetting to include a roof when they're only thwo days into it, would you? A demo is going to be incomplete and there's no sense in criticizing things that won't actually appear in the game upon release. Previews are for telling peop;e about what new things are going to be in the game, but the review is where you actually turn a critical eye towards the game. Nobody expects their five-year old child to create a masterpiece in art class.

So then a demo is useless? It doesn't give you an idea of what the full game will be like? And because of that a preview should be completely positive?

A demo isn't useless, it's just not the time to start criticising things like lag and bad textures, as the developers may have simply put something together for the audience and didn't bother, or are unable, to clean the demo up much.

A demo's purpose, as far as preview articles go, is to show of the general ideas and mechanics the game will be using and it is generally understood by the people playing the demo that even anyhting they comment on could very well change by the time the game is released. A demo for the mass market, however, is different and should be bug-free.

Maybe I didn't word this correctly so I will try once again. I thought I made it clear about there being tech issues like lag which in a preview demo is not a big deal. Although a preview demo will give you an idea of the gameplay whether good or bad. So when a developer incorporates a bad idea into a game why does that never come through in a preview. And why when the same staff that approved of said glowing preview rip it a new one when the review comes out? If a company goes out and changes the "bad idea" then the preview is useless since it is no longer the game they previewed. If they don't then aren't the previewers liars for not mentioning these things that don't work or sometimes claiming they are fun.

I am not talking graphics, textures or any of that jazz. I am talking gameplay.

If you don't want to be mistaken as a journalist, avoid seeming to put on the airs of one. But I refuse to have my desire for _actual_ reportage, _acutal_ reporting on the industry to be disappeared from the scene. Are you saying that no one who enjoys video games might want to see investigative stories on conditions for developers, US and abroad? The hits on the EA overtime issue should disprove that, in addition to that story's revelation of that topic as valid in the conversation about our past time.

Investigation and revelation of truth on controversial subjects, such as gold selling, working conditions, emergent play, and other topics seem worthwhile subjects. What's wrong with a gamer wanting someone in gaming to seek truth? What's wrong with wanting a clearly labeled divide between the editorial, reportorial, and critical sections of the industry's media output and the existence of standards in that media? What about factual things of interest, like giant robot statues or release events gone horribly right or spectacularly wrong?

I want those things. I want those things to be reported verifiable without intermixed editorial or criticism or obscured bias. I want part of my pursuit of information and facts about my hobby and passion to be subject to some of the same levels of vetting before publication that other sources of information and facts hold themselves to. That's what journalism is about.

My main objection to the current popular form of games journalism/analysis/criticism is that it tends to mix the reportage with editorial analysis and critique, most often without labeling any of it. You guys are the lucky bastards who have secured the Rolling Stone Magazine positions of our time, and it just kills me that a bunch of dirty f'ing hippies took their scribblings about Led Zeppelin and The Doors more seriously than you guys treat yours.

Just sayin'.

You had me at the title (Joker ftw).

I'm glad to hear from he journalist's point of view for once, I'm sick of the 'peoples' -_-

Echolocating:

Ray Huling:

Echolocating:

And maybe that's why video game journalism doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves because the industry is really devoid of human beings; it's all about the games and the companies. And faceless corporations and electronic games give really shitty interviews.

Won't anyone think of the players?!?

What do you mean?

Ray means the players are the human beings in the gaming industry. Here we are on a forum, giving our voice, being the human element, are we not counted? Somewhere we fit into the system not just our money.


Can you give me an example? I read a bunch of preview articles, but I'm not quite sure that I've encountered what you're talking about.

Frankly I don't think gaming would really warrant any hardcore Hiraldo-style journalism. What is there to be done with all that professionalism, except maybe hard-hitting exposes on EA?
I see game journalism as being pretty akin to movie journalism--keeping us up to date with how such and such plans to adapt thisnthat, what new copyrights have been taken out by which company, interviews with the talent, participating in the pre-release build-up, etc.
Even all that aside, the really good game journalism sites (ie The Escapist) are more about targeted, speculative articles written about developments in the industry and where we see things going. This is in stark contrast to, say, more traditional forms of journalism, which are straight fact-finding expeditions with no personal opinion or bias pushing things one way or another (ideally, at least).
I guess I'm really saying that The Escapist is probably more like AintItCool than the New York Times, and I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that.

Gyrefalcon:

Echolocating:

Ray Huling:

Echolocating:

And maybe that's why video game journalism doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves because the industry is really devoid of human beings; it's all about the games and the companies. And faceless corporations and electronic games give really shitty interviews.

Won't anyone think of the players?!?

What do you mean?

Ray means the players are the human beings in the gaming industry. Here we are on a forum, giving our voice, being the human element, are we not counted? Somewhere we fit into the system not just our money.

I'm talking about what the author writes. My comments don't affect an article that's already written.

Being casual is not an excuse for poor and biased writing. Yes, gaming journalism is just furthering the entertainment provided by the games - most of the time. There is actual news in the industry that's often overlooked by "journalists." It's damn hard to find decent gaming journalism, especially with the abundance of blogs. While Sean's points are completely legitimate it would be nice to see at least a few unbiased (or as close to unbiased as possible) gaming journalists who, though obviously aren't participating in dangerous tasks, are still "real" journalists. The line between blogging and journalism is a blurred one with games as the subject.

If anyone has had the misfortune to stumble across a website like N4G they have seen a perfect example of the worst the industry has to offer labeled "news." That needs to stop. Blogging is great, but it will always be blogging. Calling it news, or even journalism, is lying.

Of course I'm biased and casual, but I don't pretend to be a reporter or journalist.

Sean, I think you have really created a false opposition between "fun" writing about games and "boring" journalism about games. Good journalism is just as entertaining as amateur criticism or games writing, probably more entertaining since it often tells an original story with the facts and interviews to back it up and make it relevant.

I also think you've gone overboard trying to argue that everybody who's a journalist should be out in some foreign country risking their lives to write articles. That's like the old argument about how every scientist should be working on a cure for cancer. Different strokes for different folks, and to say someone with journalism training can't choose their career is a little demeaning.

There is plenty of room for good game journalism because in an industry so huge, there are countless stories to be told. And I'm sorry, but I just don't see the bloggers and amateur websites telling those stories. I personally am sick of reading opinion pieces, which completely dominate game writing.

Learning to practice journalism gives people a toolset for writing professionally, but more importantly, for finding, gathering and telling stories. I don't see why we would want to get rid of that from games writing.

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