Games Journalism! Wainwright/Florence/Tomb Raider/Eurogamer/Libel Threats/Doritos

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Jun 13, 2012
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I just wanted to give a shout out to gamecritics.com because they actually say how they obtained the game, how long they played it etc. They actually buy some of the games they review, wtf? Also, Chi Kong Lui is as big a nerd as me.

I also like the fact that they never have day one reviews.
 
Oct 27, 2011
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- As someone acutely pointed out, the whole "sameness" between reviews is suspicious because well, it is not normal.

Different people have different tastes, and the game that to some person is genious, to another one is unplayable. Thing is, there is a huge hivemind - like mentality among reviewers that it is fueled by... the audience. No, not videogame companies: readers. Try giving a bad review to a flagship title, a stablished franchise or a media darling and see the tsunami-sized shitstorm coming your way. Accusations of being a "hater", "xboxer/sonier/nintendite", "sellout" or "elitist" will hit you forth and back and most importantly, rather than mark you as an independent writter or give presige to your site, most times it creates the very opposing effect: visits are cheap, but devoted readers are valuable and (easy) to loose out to a hissy fit (Gamespot VS Zelda anyone?).
I said it earlier that I wouldn't attribute this just to the readers. You have to look into why such fanaticism exists. And that definitely has to do with the form (and in turn content) marketing and press coverage takes place of a big AAA game leading up to its release.
 

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
Nov 26, 2008
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In case Totilo comes in on this page - why hasn't there been an in-depth article about the PS3 Skyrim debacle and how Bethesda (or Sony) allowed that nonsense to go to retail? What about the current PS3 dlc situation? Why aren't those kinds of stories being investigated instead of Silicon Knights?
 

Oxx

Member
Oct 9, 2005
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That's either a really mean or a really nice thing you are saying about Jeff Green. Oh well, at least he has job security now. :)
Ha, even those that we trust have been part of the machine.

I seem to recall mention on a podcast that Shawn Elliot wore a TF2 t-shirt at some point.

Some of the funniest parts of GFW Radio involved PR guff (Bobito's adventures in Europe, Shawn getting pulled-over in a van full of writers with guns, being trapped at a Godfather 2 event on a boat, reading extracts from books they were sent etc).

All of which gave products attention whether or not they were being mocked.
 
Dec 23, 2007
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Austin
In case Totilo comes in on this page - why hasn't there been an in-depth article about the PS3 Skyrim debacle and how Bethesda (or Sony) allowed that nonsense to go to retail? What about the current PS3 dlc situation? Why aren't those kinds of stories being investigated instead of Silicon Knights?
They were going to run an article on it, but couldn't find a sponsor.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Ha, even those that we trust have been part of the machine.

Even Shawn Eliot wore a TF2 t-shirt.

Some of the funniest parts of GFW Radio involved PR guff (Bobito's adventures in Europe, Shawn getting pulled-over in a van full of writers with guns, being trapped at a Godfather 2 event on a boat, reading extracts from books they were sent etc).

All of which gave products attention whether or not they were being mocked.
True but some of that was probably required to get access or "play ball" as Jeff said. And they ridiculed all of it mercilessly. I can't help but think if a lot more outlets were that transparent and did cutting criticism like they did on GFW then there would be way less of that nonsense.
 
Oct 27, 2011
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Hah, surprisingly enough, even RPGCodex has done an article on the games journalism scandal. It's pretty vitriolic.
Codex doesn't disappoint. That's definitely my favourite article on this debacle. Should be in Lesden's summary post.

I like this:
Even John Walker and Rob Florence themselves issued milquetoast oil-on-troubled-waters follow-ups to their initial condemnatory statements, urging the gaming public not to think too badly of gaming journalism as a whole, since from personal experience they can testify that most of the people they know are hardworking, decent, and trustworthy.
 
Jun 4, 2007
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Also...

Does anyone really believe publishers hire game writers to be pr reps and community managers based on education, training, and experience within the field?

No...

Publishers hire them on order to access and manipulate their already established personal networks within the gaming press.
This is an excellent point that hasn't been discussed all that much. While there seems to be an agreement among the more ethically inclined journalists that you shouldn't befriend PR or have personal relationships with them, it's very hard not to do the same with your fellow journalists. So what happens when they migrate to PR? It puts everyone in an uncomfortable position.

As for reviews being low variance in review scores in games vs say movies, I think there's a perfectly logical explanation for it.

In games much more than in movies, the technical aspects of a game are very important. Even games with decent budgets can run like shit or be bug ridden, something that is almost unheard of in film. So if a game is technically sound, but you find it boring, it should get a higher mark that a boring game that also runs like shit. So even if tastes vary wildly person to person, most can agree on the technical quality of a game, so a big part of a review would essentially be the same for every reviewer, leaving them only to add their impressions on the actual content of the game.

I hope that made sense.
 
Sep 1, 2011
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True but some of that was probably required to get access or "play ball" as Jeff said. And they ridiculed all of it mercilessly. I can't help but think if a lot more outlets were that transparent and did cutting criticism like they did on GFW then there would be way less of that nonsense.
Yeah, they were pretty merciless in their ribbing on Shawn for his TF2 shirts. There was even a point during the podcast where, when they were making fun of the ridiculous shit that was that Gamecock book, they all immediately clammed up and moved on once Ryan noted that it got them to talking about it.

The Brodeo are all good people in my eyes.
 
Dec 23, 2007
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Austin
Even John Walker and Rob Florence themselves issued milquetoast oil-on-troubled-waters follow-ups to their initial condemnatory statements, urging the gaming public not to think too badly of gaming journalism as a whole, since from personal experience they can testify that most of the people they know are hardworking, decent, and trustworthy.
That's hard for me to do today. The responses from the gaming media in general have been so fucking gross.
 
Dec 23, 2009
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there's nothing wrong with metacritic...

metacritic's constructed to function as a shepherd. it's there to guide the flock. it decides for them which games are most worthy of their money. by doing this, it also not-so-subtly contributes to defining for the flock which types of games/gameplay are 'best' (& which types are not), & which levels of production values are important/vital (& which are second-rate). its mission, basically, is to quantify the concept of 'fun', utilizing the group expertise of 'professional fun authorities' (seriously :) )...

as a mechanism created to both sell particular products to an audience, &, at the same time, to also mold that audience, metacritic works extremely well...
Metacritic is busted for games. There are nearly 20 games released this year with Metacritic scores of 90 or above. In films there have been two. Music there's been 11 new albums.There's been five for TV.

Games are critique din a way that seems to place too much emphasis on being functional and not enough on personal experience/enjoyment. There's also the problem of getting fans of a genre/series/company to be the only person on your site to review the game because that's useless to people who are indifferent to the genre/company/series.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Hah, surprisingly enough, even RPGCodex has done an article on the games journalism scandal. It's pretty vitriolic.
Awesome:

Wainwright, as it later turned out, had in fact worked as a creative consultant for Square Enix - Tomb Raider’s publisher - to the point of listing them as a current employer on Journalisted, and had provided several Square Enix products with previews and reviews for various publications, in which words and phrases such as ‘badass’, ‘awesome’, ‘innovative’, ‘deep’, ‘additive’ (sic), ‘fantastic’, ‘Lara Croft is a feminist symbol’ (sic), ‘breath-taking’, and ‘extraordinary’ predominate (after these revelations were made public, by Stu Campbell and others, this information began to magically disappear from the internet, although more material continued to surface including posts on Wainwright’s blog that reference her close friendship with Square Enix Marketing Manager Korina Abbott, repeatedly regurgitate Square Enix press statements, describe her trip to the Square Enix offices in Japan, encourage fans to vote for her in the very same GMAs organised by her employers at Intent Media who she later felt the need to defend against Florence, announce her intention to go into Games PR herself, show off the free ‘swag’ she’s been given by publicists, and explain that ‘when I was a little girl I wanted to work for Square Enix.’ Obviously, though, there's no way you can take any or all of this information to cast any doubt on the impartiality of the journalist.)
At one point, I kind of felt sorry for her. She deserves a lot more than mere Internet vitriol, though.

Also, dude, that is not merely a run-on sentence, it is an outright marathon. Very good and very funny article, but the guy needs an editor.
 
Jul 24, 2011
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In case Totilo comes in on this page - why hasn't there been an in-depth article about the PS3 Skyrim debacle and how Bethesda (or Sony) allowed that nonsense to go to retail? What about the current PS3 dlc situation? Why aren't those kinds of stories being investigated instead of Silicon Knights?
It really makes you wonder what 'gaming journalist's' priorities are... Are they really out to help a gamer decide on something? Or are they just in it for the luxuries 'they' seem to be getting out of it? I think it's plainly obvious and as of late (the last 2 years, maybe even more) has just been filled with moneyhats for reviews and other types of coverage of games. Enough to cloud them from covering anything bad about a game.

Look at the ME3 ending nonsense. All these 'journalists' came out of the woodwork with the "artistic integrity" bullshit, defending Bioware to death despite how horrifically bad the ending was and the promises Bioware made leading up to the game's release. Nevermind the promises from the prequels where, "your decisions will affect the ending of the 3rd game" or whatever. There's even a video where one of the devs was like, "a final boss is too 'video gamey'" how do you defend someone who says something like that? It's easy: they get freebies and other privileges. They don't want to sabotage any of that, because for some reason being even slightly critical of a developer means the end of your relationship with them.

What about Black Ops PS3 version being a nightmare to play online for a whole month and a half straight? Where was the coverage of that? Nowhere. The only way you found out what was going on with that was searching through Google and going to Treyarch's forums. And even then, the consumer who bought the game is still left in the dark because the developer doesn't say much about progress on fixing it. Maybe my memory's a little murky on this fiasco, but it wasn't made to be real well known by the media when it should have been. And of course, the PS3 version was rated the exact same as the 360 version.

Part of a journalist's job is to make the people they're covering feel pressured. It shouldn't be the other way around, which is what it seems like it is. A journalist should be trying to get a scoop of something that sets the industry on fire. Not everything is a perfect field with rainbows and sunshine. A journalist should be uncovering the truth, but the fact these 'gaming journalists' hold no interest for this topic (enough to somewhat investigate it or even just report it) shows they have no real idea of what a being a journalist means. Yes it's about giving news to the gaming audience, but it's also about delivering truthful information with the facts. And that's the bottom line.

I really doubt any of these 'journalists' are being true to their audience. And Florence's piece highlights exactly why that is or how they aren't being true. It's sad, but that's how things are probably going to continue unless the people behind these sites and reviews reflect over their decisions in the last few years and notice something is wrong.
 
Oct 6, 2006
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Chicagoland
It really makes you wonder what 'gaming journalist's' priorities are... Are they really out to help a gamer decide on something? Or are they just in it for the luxuries 'they' seem to be getting out of it? I think it's plainly obvious and as of late (the last 2 years, maybe even more) has just been filled with moneyhats for reviews and other types of coverage of games. Enough to cloud them from covering anything bad about a game.

Look at the ME3 ending nonsense. All these 'journalists' came out of the woodwork with the "artistic integrity" bullshit, defending Bioware to death despite how horrifically bad the ending was and the promises Bioware made leading up to the game's release. Nevermind the promises from the prequels where, "your decisions will affect the ending of the 3rd game" or whatever. There's even a video where one of the devs was like, "a final boss is too 'video gamey'" how do you defend someone who says something like that? It's easy: they get freebies and other privileges. They don't want to sabotage any of that, because for some reason being even slightly critical of a developer means the end of your relationship with them.

What about Black Ops PS3 version being a nightmare to play online for a whole month and a half straight? Where was the coverage of that? Nowhere. The only way you found out what was going on with that was searching through Google and going to Treyarch's forums. And even then, the consumer who bought the game is still left in the dark because the developer doesn't say much about progress on fixing it. Maybe my memory's a little murky on this fiasco, but it wasn't made to be real well known by the media when it should have been. And of course, the PS3 version was rated the exact same as the 360 version.

Part of a journalist's job is to make the people they're covering feel pressured. It shouldn't be the other way around, which is what it seems like it is. A journalist should be trying to get a scoop of something that sets the industry on fire. Not everything is a perfect field with rainbows and sunshine. A journalist should be uncovering the truth, but the fact these 'gaming journalists' hold no interest for this topic (enough to somewhat investigate it or even just report it) shows they have no real idea of what a being a journalist means. Yes it's about giving news to the gaming audience, but it's also about delivering truthful information with the facts. And that's the bottom line.

I really doubt any of these 'journalists' are being true to their audience. And Florence's piece highlights exactly why that is or how they aren't being true. It's sad, but that's how things are probably going to continue unless the people behind these sites and reviews reflect over their decisions in the last few years and notice something is wrong.
None of this should be a surprise. The enthusiast press is here to serve publisher interests, not the interests of the consumer.
 
Jun 13, 2009
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Zero Punctuation is successful because it gives gamers what they crave.
Silly web videos that make them laugh?

egotistical wish fulfillment for children and small-minded buffoons
Hahaha, wow. I think you are looking a little too far into things. Just because something is related to videogames in the slightest doesn't mean it needs to be held up to some kind of journalistic/artistic morality compass.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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Those posts were in response to

"- As someone acutely pointed out, the whole "sameness" between reviews is suspicious because well, it is not normal.

Different people have different tastes, and the game that to some person is genious, to another one is unplayable. Thing is, there is a huge hivemind - like mentality among reviewers that it is fueled by... the audience. No, not videogame companies: readers. Try giving a bad review to a flagship title, a stablished franchise or a media darling and see the tsunami-sized shitstorm coming your way. Accusations of being a "hater", "xboxer/sonier/nintendite", "sellout" or "elitist" will hit you forth and back and most importantly, rather than mark you as an independent writter or give presige to your site, most times it creates the very opposing effect: visits are cheap, but devoted readers are valuable and (easy) to loose out to a hissy fit (Gamespot VS Zelda anyone?)."

;)
 
Dec 23, 2007
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Austin
Hahaha, wow. I think you are looking a little too far into things. Just because something is related to videogames in the slightest doesn't mean it needs to be held up to some kind of journalistic/artistic morality compass.
While I agree in theory, it's this line of thinking that has led us to this place right now, where no gaming site thinks it needs to have any moral compass because, hey, it's just gaming.
 
Listening to that old GFW radio episode about the Gerstmann debacle, it's amazing how little has changed. And how all the concerns brought up now were the same they brought up then. And really, it comes down to Metacritic.

Metacritic is a PR wet dream, and it's no surprise that the publishers and the PR departments embraced it so willingly. And it's pretty easy to see why...All reviews carry the same weight and there are so so many reviews. Back in the day, a single review could wreck your movie; it just took somebody with the clout and readership of Roger Ebert. Those high level gatekeepers mattered and their integrity carried so much premium with the public. And unfortunately for PR, they were far more difficult to influence.

These days, those high level gatekeepers hold far less power. In determining the metacritic score, a review from Eurogamer has the same weight as a review from Kotaku and a review from Rad Dudes Review Emporium. You get one bad review from a big magazine, who cares? It just a drop in the thousands of reviews that form a metacritic score that everybody is looking at. And of course game companies are eager to help out blogs and little start ups, recommend them for inclusion in Metacritic, because it's just adding more and more noise to the machine.

As well, for those game press people saying they haven't been effected by PR? Ludicrous. The very fact that PR decides when to give out review code is just one way they influence a
reviewer. There's a reason why they want people to review games in a weekend , because they know that pressure works in their favour. You don't think a review written in a weekend vs a review written over a month would read differently?

And then there's confirmation bias. It doesn't just affect readers, it's effects reviewers as well. It's how get you those ridiculous Diablo 3 and GTA IV reviews. PR amps up hype on both the press and audience sides, trickling out exclusives and material. At the apex of hype, give a reviewer a weekend to review a game when they don't have to really process their thoughts or reflect. A game then only needs to meet a certain quality threshold to become a "Brilliant. 10/10! WILL CHANGE GAMES FOREVER!" review. Of course, game press will say they're immune to that, but the orgasmic and hyperbolic language they use in their reviews of AAA games say differently.
 

McBradders

NeoGAF: my new HOME
Mar 26, 2007
12,541
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London
It really makes you wonder what 'gaming journalist's' priorities are... Are they really out to help a gamer decide on something? Or are they just in it for the luxuries 'they' seem to be getting out of it? I think it's plainly obvious and as of late (the last 2 years, maybe even more) has just been filled with moneyhats for reviews and other types of coverage of games. Enough to cloud them from covering anything bad about a game.

Look at the ME3 ending nonsense. All these 'journalists' came out of the woodwork with the "artistic integrity" bullshit, defending Bioware to death despite how horrifically bad the ending was and the promises Bioware made leading up to the game's release. Nevermind the promises from the prequels where, "your decisions will affect the ending of the 3rd game" or whatever. There's even a video where one of the devs was like, "a final boss is too 'video gamey'" how do you defend someone who says something like that? It's easy: they get freebies and other privileges. They don't want to sabotage any of that, because for some reason being even slightly critical of a developer means the end of your relationship with them.

What about Black Ops PS3 version being a nightmare to play online for a whole month and a half straight? Where was the coverage of that? Nowhere. The only way you found out what was going on with that was searching through Google and going to Treyarch's forums. And even then, the consumer who bought the game is still left in the dark because the developer doesn't say much about progress on fixing it.

Part of a journalist's job is to make the people they're covering feel pressured. It shouldn't be the other way around, which is what it seems like it is. A journalist should be trying to get a scoop of something that sets the industry on fire. Not everything is a perfect field with rainbows and sunshine. A journalist should be uncovering the truth, but the fact these 'gaming journalists' hold no interest for this topic (enough to somewhat investigate it or even just report it) shows they have no real idea of what a being a journalist means. Yes it's about giving news to the gaming audience, but it's also about delivering truthful information with the facts. And that's the bottom line.

I really doubt any of these 'journalists' are being true to their audience. And Florence's piece highlights exactly why that is or how they aren't being true. It's sad, but that's how things are probably going to continue unless the people behind these sites and reviews reflect over their decisions in the last few years and notice something is wrong.
Good post overall. Been wanting to make this point myself for a while but have had trouble articulating it.

I feel betrayed, as both a consumer and a developer. As a consumer because of late, more often than not, my opinions and values have been belittled or attacked (Mass Effect 3 being the most recent example). As a developer because stories like Team Bondi, Silicon Knights, are broken well, well after the fact and those that break in a timely fashion are done so by families of those affected (Red Dead Redemption, EA Spouse) and then picked up then swiftly forgotten.

The press do not have the right to attack the very people they are supposed to be representing. It is not their place to point fingers at their audience and label them as 'entitled', it's my belief that they should be working for their audience, not judging them.
 
Oct 27, 2011
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Metacritic is a PR wet dream, and it's no surprise that the publishers and the PR departments embraced it so willingly. And it's pretty easy to see why...All reviews carry the same weight and there are so so many reviews. Back in the day, a single review could wreck your movie; it just took somebody with the clout and readership of Roger Ebert. Those high level gatekeepers mattered and their integrity carried so much premium with the public. And unfortunately for PR, they were far more difficult to influence.

These days, those high level gatekeepers hold far less power. In determining the metacritic score, a review from Eurogamer has the same weight as a review from Kotaku and a review from Rad Dudes Review Emporium. You get one bad review from a big magazine, who cares? It just a drop in the thousands of reviews that form a metacritic score that everybody is looking at. And of course game companies are eager to help out blogs and little start ups, recommend them for inclusion in Metacritic, because it's just adding more and more noise to the machine.
Huh? I'm pretty sure Metacritic gives weights to review sites.

rpg codex, you just made the list
of sites I read and recommend
They made my list when I learned Avellone drew them the troll they use as mascot.
 
Sep 5, 2006
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What's being missed when the discussion becomes boiled down into a "game journalism is corrupt" argument is the fact we as gamers want "more" from the game press.

What that "more" is is hard to articulate but we know we want it.

PS

Please excuse use of the royal we.

PSS

Jeff Green for EiC
 
Jun 7, 2004
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In case Totilo comes in on this page - why hasn't there been an in-depth article about the PS3 Skyrim debacle and how Bethesda (or Sony) allowed that nonsense to go to retail? What about the current PS3 dlc situation? Why aren't those kinds of stories being investigated instead of Silicon Knights?
A lot of major sites ignored the Skyrim problem. We dug up a lot of dirt on Bethesda through that discussion. The one that stuck out the most was the CGMonthly story about how they were also concerned about the PS3 version because Bethesda refused to show it. So, they decided to put in a request for a PS3 review copy. Bethesda agreed to send it and the they even repeatedly checked in to make sure that they were down for the PS3 version. They ended up sending them the 360 version without any explanation.
 

JeffGreen

97.5: The Brodeo
Mar 22, 2007
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>.>

sorry jeff! definitely a nice thing, how the person (ab)uses the trust is up to them ;)
Zero apology necessary! I am 100% conscious of my shilldom. I took the paycheck, cuz I had to. (I'd have stayed in the press if there'd been a paying job for me.) My own internal policy is I just never shill something I don't believe in (I tried that once and, umm, it didn't quite work out for me.) I went to PopCap - one of only 2 or 3 companies on my short list - because I was always a fan, as anyone who read my columns/reviews/podcasts knows. It was NOT an easy decision for me, after my (first) stint at EA, because after a career lifetime of getting to say whatever the hell I wanted to, I wasn't sure I could - or wanted to - represent a company again. But my options were limited. And in negotiating the job, I made sure of two things: 1) My twitter feed stays MY feed, and I can continue to just do my own thing there, which I think it's obvious I do and 2) I never have to push a product I don't personally like. And they've been awesome about both since I started. And since buying us, EA has also been great about giving me the same space.

But yes I have now drank from the Game Company Money Teat, so you can take anything I say on this thread or elsewhere with that grain of salt. Hard for a guy to throw stones when he's sitting comfortably in ye olde glasse house. :)

Also: eat Doritos. They're awesome!
 
Jul 7, 2009
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Zero apology necessary! I am 100% conscious of my shilldom. I took the paycheck, cuz I had to. (I'd have stayed in the press if there'd been a paying job for me.) My own internal policy is I just never shill something I don't believe in (I tried that once and, umm, it didn't quite work out for me.) I went to PopCap - one of only 2 or 3 companies on my short list - because I was always a fan, as anyone who read my columns/reviews/podcasts knows. It was NOT an easy decision for me, after my (first) stint at EA, because after a career lifetime of getting to say whatever the hell I wanted to, I wasn't sure I could - or wanted to - represent a company again. But my options were limited. And in negotiating the job, I made sure of two things: 1) My twitter feed stays MY feed, and I can continue to just do my own thing there, which I think it's obvious I do and 2) I never have to push a product I don't personally like. And they've been awesome about both since I started. And since buying us, EA has also been great about giving me the same space.

But yes I have now drank from the Game Company Money Teat, so you can take anything I say on this thread or elsewhere with that grain of salt. Hard for a guy to throw stones when he's sitting comfortably in ye olde glasse house. :)

Also: eat Doritos. They're awesome!
 

RionaaM

Unconfirmed Member
Jul 6, 2012
14,850
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They were going to run an article on it, but couldn't find a sponsor.
Ice cold.

This is an excellent point that hasn't been discussed all that much. While there seems to be an agreement among the more ethically inclined journalists that you shouldn't befriend PR or have personal relationships with them, it's very hard not to do the same with your fellow journalists. So what happens when they migrate to PR? It puts everyone in an uncomfortable position.

As for reviews being low variance in review scores in games vs say movies, I think there's a perfectly logical explanation for it.

In games much more than in movies, the technical aspects of a game are very important. Even games with decent budgets can run like shit or be bug ridden, something that is almost unheard of in film. So if a game is technically sound, but you find it boring, it should get a higher mark that a boring game that also runs like shit. So even if tastes vary wildly person to person, most can agree on the technical quality of a game, so a big part of a review would essentially be the same for every reviewer, leaving them only to add their impressions on the actual content of the game.

I hope that made sense.
Yes, it did. So that's why the PS3 Skyrim debacle is inexcusable.
 
Sep 1, 2005
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Also: eat Doritos. They're awesome!
I like Doritos!

(once a year)

It's an annual ritual to purchase Doritos and Mountain Dew, consume them both together, and stay up until 4am playing the latest CoD/Halo/whatever midnight release with friends until I pass out, nauseous and red eyed.

It's like an epic rock star bender, except completely lame.
 
Apr 23, 2011
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Heh, if some people think NeoGaf is a forum full of negative assholes, just imagine what they'll think when they look over RPG Codex.
The mind will just shut down.

egotistical wish fulfillment for children and small-minded buffoons
Yeah or an honest impression without the worry of being locked out by PR or desperate need for clicks.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Emerald City
Zero apology necessary! I am 100% conscious of my shilldom. I took the paycheck, cuz I had to. (I'd have stayed in the press if there'd been a paying job for me.) My own internal policy is I just never shill something I don't believe in (I tried that once and, umm, it didn't quite work out for me.) I went to PopCap - one of only 2 or 3 companies on my short list - because I was always a fan, as anyone who read my columns/reviews/podcasts knows. It was NOT an easy decision for me, after my (first) stint at EA, because after a career lifetime of getting to say whatever the hell I wanted to, I wasn't sure I could - or wanted to - represent a company again. But my options were limited. And in negotiating the job, I made sure of two things: 1) My twitter feed stays MY feed, and I can continue to just do my own thing there, which I think it's obvious I do and 2) I never have to push a product I don't personally like. And they've been awesome about both since I started. And since buying us, EA has also been great about giving me the same space.

But yes I have now drank from the Game Company Money Teat, so you can take anything I say on this thread or elsewhere with that grain of salt. Hard for a guy to throw stones when he's sitting comfortably in ye olde glasse house. :)

Also: eat Doritos. They're awesome!
this is possibly the most refreshingly honest thing I've read about this issue. please come back to the 4th estate some day jeff, we need a hero like you now more than ever.

but I still hate doritos ;)
 
Jul 29, 2010
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Yeah or an honest impression without the worry of being locked out by PR or desperate need for clicks.
I agree. I was referring to:

"Thing is, there is a huge hivemind - like mentality among reviewers that it is fueled by... the audience. No, not videogame companies: readers. Try giving a bad review to a flagship title, a stablished franchise or a media darling and see the tsunami-sized shitstorm coming your way. Accusations of being a "hater", "xboxer/sonier/nintendite", "sellout" or "elitist" will hit you forth and back and most importantly, rather than mark you as an independent writter or give presige to your site, most times it creates the very opposing effect: visits are cheap, but devoted readers are valuable and (easy) to loose out to a hissy fit (Gamespot VS Zelda anyone?)."
 
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