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Game Reviewers Face Odd Bribery From Publishers

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the stranger-than-fiction dept.

Advertising 148

eldavojohn writes "You might be used to the idea that game reviewers receive games free and ahead of time, but Ars opens up a darker side to the mystery box. Like a $200 check from Dante's Inferno, reading, 'by cashing this check you succumb to avarice by hoarding filthy lucre, but by not cashing it, you waste it, and thereby surrender to prodigality.' Or how about a huge-ass sword from Darksiders. Or brass knuckles (illegal in some states) from the makers of Mafia II. Or rancid, rotting meat mixed with spent shell casings, teeth, broken glasses and dog tags from Bulletstorm. NCSoft gave out flight suits and trips to weightlessness. Nintendo apparently likes to send all manner of food, including elaborate cakes shaped as their consoles and games. Squeeballs sent a crate of stuffed animals. iPods from Activision and Zunes from Microsoft seem to be pretty tame bait for reviewers ... but there's one reason why this continues to happen: more news-starved review sites and blogs report on the extras and the publisher's game gets spread around just a wee bit more. Even if it is as freakish as bracelets from an insane asylum spattered with blood." I think we must be doing it wrong around here... we usually can't even get games before the release date, much less get free rotting meat.

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148 comments

Threats (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734538)


Publisher: Give our game at least 8/10 or it's Two Girls, One Cup for you.
Reviewer: And if I refuse?
Publisher: Three Girls, One Cup.

Re:Threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735128)

Wait what? They already started out with the threat, why would he ask?

And 3 girls 1 cup is if he refuses, what was the 2 girls 1 cup they started with? A treat if he complies?

I am so confused right now..

Re:Threats (1)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735402)

The milkshake is a lie.

Re:Threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735760)

You noticed treats is one h short of threats?

Re:Threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735868)

Publisher: Give our game at least 8/10 or it's Two Girls, One Cup for you. Reviewer: And if I refuse? Publisher: Three Girls, One Cup.

I would refuse

Don't take this wrong (-1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734550)

I love Ben Kuchera as a writer, and this was a really cool article...but considering it's pretty much just a "greatest hits" kind of thing, does it really belong on Slashdot?

Video games, Ars, etc...I know, I know, it is News for Nerds. Still, this seems like a story slot that could have been better served covering something else...

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734708)

You could always submit something yourself you know.

Re:Don't take this wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33734716)

Still, this seems like a story slot that could have been better served covering something else...

Is there a limit to story slots on Slashdot?

Re:Don't take this wrong (-1, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734744)

I meant a story that gets to the front page. Again, I thought the article was great...I just think more "important" things should have taken its place, that's all.

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734764)

No, but he just has to chime in somehow, even if he has nothing to say.. as usual.. he even admitted in another story that he is just posting these comments to advertise his website :/

Re:Don't take this wrong (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734894)

In the spirit of being completely honest, yes, there are times when I do that...but this is not one of those times.

There are only so many stories that make it to the front page of Slashdot every day...my point is, why use up one of those "slots" with a retrospective on stories, some of which are well over a year old, instead of something that covers modern events?

Is that not a legitimate starting point for conversation?

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735074)

There are only so many stories that make it to the front page of Slashdot every day...my point is, why use up one of those "slots" with a retrospective on stories, some of which are well over a year old, instead of something that covers modern events?

Why not just ignore the stories that you don't consider news? It seems slashdot is often at least a few days behind whenever I talk about stories with one of my geeky friends, but I don't mind much as I don't often browse any other tech news/aggregation sites really.

I just was getting frustrated at the number of times I've seen you post near the top with some really obvious observation. I'd seriously just prefer you to say "first post!". I probably have done/will do this from time to time too, but most of the time I only post jokes, the occasional bitter/flamebaitish remark when I'm having a bad day, or comments that I think are relevant to the topic at hand (I can't help chiming in when people discuss driving for example :p ).

Re:Don't take this wrong (0, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735090)

Obvious post is obvious...yeah....:/

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735178)

I usually want to say "don't you have a job or something?", then realise it would be amazingly hypocritical considering I'm often browsing /. at work ;)

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735290)

I do have a job, but it involves a lot of downtime :)

Seriously though...you're right. It is a bit overboard. Tell ya what, I'll keep my mouth shut unless I have something good to contribute (or if there's a joke just hangin' out there, waiting to be posted)

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735430)

You maybe have the same issue I have - things that you have to point out to other people irl, are obvious to most Slashdotters :p

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735572)

It's integral to my job, actually...business ops tells me what they want, I translate that into tech speak, and tell the production team what needs to be done. I also do the opposite, taking the production team's technical specifications and translating them into "business speak".

Re:Don't take this wrong (3, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735110)

No, because slashdot has slow news days where one story pops up every 3 hours and it has hell-ass-balls-on-fire days where there's a new story every 10 minutes. There isn't a quota.

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734994)


he even admitted in another story that he is just posting these comments to advertise his website

Not me, sorry. Provide a link and prove me wrong.

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735054)

Haha... burnt by the slashcode.

Those post you were responding to was a response to a post by Pojut that got modded to -1 Troll; so in certain views, it appears that YOUR post was the parent.

Slashcode pwnage strikes again.

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735096)

Wha? I was talking about Pojut dude :)

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735114)

Ah ok, sorry man. My apologies. :)

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735000)

Well I don't mind slashvertisements if it is in the scope of intereseting, pressing todays issues and news for nerds. Games certainly is one of them and it is journalistic independance. You might not thinkg of games reviewing as journalism, but that's a different topic.

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735148)

I think this article is amusing (well, the summary is, haven't bothered with the article tbh!). I wasn't referring to that.

Perhaps you are browsing with -1 or 0 level comments hidden. I only hide -1 comments but I still get thrown off by it sometimes. Have a look through the parent posts!

Re:Don't take this wrong (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735426)

Moderators are humans ;) I always read at -1 for that very fact.

Well some are basement crawlers...

I'm Not Taking It Wrong (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734986)

Still, this seems like a story slot that could have been better served covering something else...

That's why I, as the submitter, tagged it as idle & humor. Because that's all it is. Something that's funny enough to read when you're idle. CmdrTaco put it under games and he, as the editor at the moment, has that choice. I mean, is it any less newsworthy than your submission on PS3 Trophies [slashdot.org] ? At least your attention is being brought to potential bribery here.

As always: If you're using the new index, there is an edit button in the upper left near the 'Stories' tab that will allow you hit 'Exclusions' and add 'idle' to your exclusions.

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735052)

It's not that it isn't newsworthy, it's just that it covers old stories (as previously said, some of them more than a year old).

That being said, thanks for the tip regarding exclusions...never really messed around with it before, so I wasn't even aware you could do that.

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735180)

That was a fucking hilarious submission. What a fucking idiotic fanboy you are.

Sony and Isomniac invented Skill Points all the way back in the 1990s - long before Microsoft even started to think about dumping a bunch of expensive desktop PC parts in a big ugly box and try to pass it off as a console.

http://www.spyrohints.com/spyro3/secrets.html [spyrohints.com]

"You've earned a Skill Point!"

"You've unlocked an Achievement"

What is hilarious about Microsoft's ripoff of Sony's Skill Points is they didn't even understand what they were ripping off. Skill Points rewarded the player for earning and completing them.

Microsoft stole the concept and used it for the braindead and absolutely worthless 'gamerscore' that means absolutely nothing other than how many games you have bought.

At least Microsoft is now scrambling to come out with a copy of Sony's Trophies to fix their shoddy copy of the older Sony Skill Point system.
 

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735252)

That's right...I'm a fanboy who hates Sony. I've only owned every gaming system Sony has ever released...as well as every gaming system Nintendo has released (minus all of the Game n Watches) and both gaming systems Microsoft has released. Just like how I owned an SNES and a Genesis way back in the day.

Yup...I'm a fanboy alright. A fanboy of video games. My allegiance is to fun, not a particular brand.

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735368)

Clicks on the foaming at the mouth fanboy submission. Laughs...

You're an embarrassment to real gamers.

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735508)

I've made my case against fanboys [livingwithanerd.com] , and I've presented a shortened version of my gaming history [livingwithanerd.com] , which spanned many gaming platforms from many different manufacturers; that includes Atari, Sega, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and PC gaming.

Full yet, or do you need to be fed more?

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735644)

LOL! Who didn't see that coming!

Pathetic fanboy writes diatribe about 'teh fanboys'. Never seen that before! You're a fucking joke. A sad and pathetic joke.

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735706)

In that case, I'm glad I could make you laugh :) Have a great day!

Re:I'm Not Taking It Wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735802)

Aww, the dumb liddle fanboy is trying to be clever. No wonder your posts are nothing but braindead fanboyism. You really are just a stupid fuck.

Pojut - Fanboy Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735564)

The little fanboy probably calls Microsoft's ripoff of Sony's old Eye Toy tech, Microsoft being "innovative".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gOVj_I5npA [youtube.com]

Or Microsoft's creepy ripoff of Nintendo's Mii as yet another example of Microsoft being "innovative".

Even funnier is the fact that Sony's motion track wand tech goes all the way back to the early PS2 days. Long before Nintendo started working on their own motion tracking tech. Too much to expect a fanboy like him to actually be aware of the Sony patents on the tech.

Re:Pojut - Fanboy Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735830)

Haha -- 'I sure like whacking balls' 2.52

Reviewing specialists (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734590)

In these dire times, were I a reviewer, I'd specialize in Dead or Alive spinoff games.

Just in case they up the ante.

Re:Reviewing specialists (3, Insightful)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734652)

In these dire times, were I a reviewer, I'd specialize in Dead or Alive spinoff games.

Just in case they up the ante.

Yes, because nothing guarantees a good review like sending a woman who can break your neck with her thighs.

Re:Reviewing specialists (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735040)

I don't know how you mean that, as in good or bad, but in case of good; I want gamplay, mutherfscker, I couldn't care less about gimmick shit like that.

Yes gamer of the very first commercial hour (read pong, Wolfenstein3D and PacMan), but games these days are movies.

Call me frustrated all you want, but games used to be tools to entertain yourself with, like chess, but today games are made to entertain you instead. No wonder multiplayer is so popular these day, but oh well...

Re:Reviewing specialists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735042)

In these dire times, were I a reviewer, I'd specialize in Dead or Alive spinoff games.

Just in case they up the ante.

Yes, because nothing guarantees a good review like sending a woman who can break your neck with her TITS

FTFY and, what a way to go!

Re:Reviewing specialists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33734660)

Just in case they up the ante.

By sending dead hookers? Meh ... if you are into necrophilia it's a boon I guess.

Re:Reviewing specialists (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734752)

By sending dead hookers?

I swear they were alive when I put them in the shipping box!

Re:Reviewing specialists (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734940)

In these dire times, were I a reviewer, I'd specialize in Dead or Alive spinoff games.

Just in case they up the ante.

Sounds like the cheerie Siberi-a of journalism.

Real Money Is Taking Microsoft Halo Bribes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735322)

Journalist to MS: Take your $800 Halo 3 bribe back, Halo 3 isn't all that
http://www.qj.net/qjnet/xbox-360/dean-takahashi-halo-3-press-kit-nothing-less-than-a-bribe.html [qj.net]

Even more lucrative were the game 'reviewers' at sites like 1Up/EGM who were rewarded with jobs at Microsoft studios for giving absurdly high review scores to Microsoft games and equally bad reviews for games one competing consoles.

Nintendo, Sony, and PC game publishers aren't in the same league. Microsoft is really the only publisher who outright bribes the gaming media.

Not bribery; just PR stunts. (3, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734592)

It's not (always) bribery, but just a PR stunt. They don't do these things for better review scores, but for media attention.
Serious, what good is "rancid, rotting meat mixed with spent shell casings, teeth, broken glasses and dog tags" or "brass knuckles"?
If it's not cash, or some other thing they can cash in then it's not really bribery.

Re:Not bribery; just PR stunts. (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734792)

Brass knuckles make it easier to acquire your own cash!

Re:Not bribery; just PR stunts. (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734844)

It's not (always) bribery, but just a PR stunt. They don't do these things for better review scores, but for media attention.

Reviews really aren't about the numbers though... They're about the publicity. Yes, sure, folks talk about what score some game got from some site... But the review itself is more than a number. It's generally several pages of description, a bunch of screenshots, opinion bits, memorable quotes from the dialogue... That's all PR. Even if a game gets a bad score, some folks will buy it because of a cool screenshot in a review.

Serious, what good is "rancid, rotting meat mixed with spent shell casings, teeth, broken glasses and dog tags" or "brass knuckles"?
If it's not cash, or some other thing they can cash in then it's not really bribery.

Pretty much all of that could be converted to cash on ebay. People will buy just about anything. Especially if it's branded merchandise.

Re:Not bribery; just PR stunts. (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734928)

Yes, they even say in the summary that the reasoning behind these gifts is not so much bribery to ensure a good score but merely to get the gifts themselves (and therefore, by extension, the games) talked about a little bit more in the media. I guess "bribery" was used in the title because it sounds more salacious than "gifts", although if someone sent me a crate of rotting meat I think I'd be more inclined to call the police.

Agreed (3, Informative)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735276)

But what is the rest of the coverage besides recycled PR anyway? Personally I just try and get a sense of a game I'm interested in and then stop looking at coverage on it. I just want to see the basic idea of the game and what mechanics it uses, as soon as I'm interested then I cut off coverage because I don't want anything spoiled, not even the introduction. In other media I also avoid trailers because of how much they will spoil the actual movie for example. The way a game starts is meant to draw you in and intrigue you, and if you hear a lot about it beforehand, it doesn't have the same impact when you actually play the game.

There have been situations with games such as Super Smash Bros Brawl where they drip feed you with information, every day you see a new character, or a new move, or a new item you will be using in the game. By the time the game comes out I'm sick of it already and I don't even want to see it anymore. Or sometimes development time will drag on and paying attention to a game's coverage is like torturing yourself, such as with Dragon Quest IX or Duke Nukem Forever. In that case, coverage will often turn me off of a game, and if I already know I want to play it, what's the point? I've got better things to do.

Nowadays I just listen to a few podcasts where people don't talk so formally about their experiences and they often talk game theory which is much more interesting to me compared to regurgitated PR. I would recommend A Life Well Wasted [alifewellwasted.com] , The Brainy Gamer [feedburner.com] , Gamasutra Podcast [libsyn.com] , In-Game Chat [ingamechat.net] , Irrational Behavior [feedburner.com] , Mobcast [feedburner.com] , and Retronauts [1up.com] . If you also like those, you might like Geekbox [libsyn.com] , RebelFM [libsyn.com] , 1up Oddcast [1up.com] , Weekend Confirmed [shacknews.com] , Player One Podcast, [libsyn.com] Joystiq Podcast [joystiq.com] , Gamers with Jobs [gamerswithjobs.com] , Drunken Gamers Radio [robotpanic.com] , IGN GameScoop [ign.com] and CAGCast [cheapassgamer.com] . Hey, it makes work and commutes go by fast.

Re:Agreed (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735524)

Wow. That's a massive list of podcasts. I'm in desperate need of commute fodder, and those sound pretty entertaining. Thanks for the links.

Re:Agreed (1)

Salamande (461392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735890)

Don't forget the Giant Bombcast [giantbomb.com] . One of the best out there.

No, actually it IS bribery (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735618)

Giving someone a $2 piece of swag with a review copy of a product is OK, but once the value of "gifts" exceeds some amount then it becomes an inducement. Even more insidious is the implicit threat that if a product does not get a good review, more goodies and early access to future products won't be forthcoming.

it's widespread among all industries - which is probably why there are so few reviewers who have anything approaching credibility. (not sure about what it's like in your country) In the UK there is a standard for travel reviewers that they should declare who paid for the trip / accommodation that's being reviewed - maybe it's time any product review carried a qualifier as to what benefits or freebies the reviewer received, too.

As it is the only real indicator of whether a product is worth a dam' is from people who have bought it with their own money. Having someone who had a product dropped in their lap, telling you that it's definitely worth the money (what money?) is so hollow as to be laughable. Hopefully as more bona-fide owners write about their experiences, all these media-tart reviewers will be shown up for what they really are: entertainers.

I'm With the Author (1)

wbav (223901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734616)

I started a gaming blog an not one company has tried to buy me off.

Guess they're too focused on the Lame Stream Gaming Media to care about us gamers on main street.

Re:I'm With the Author (2, Informative)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734806)

Well, your gaming blog needs to seriously ROCK! If you don't influence enough of the worlds population of gamers into making decisions about game purchases, you're likely never to get a bribe, or even a goody for that matter.

Re:I'm With the Author (2, Insightful)

wbav (223901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734992)

So here's the thing I've found, people want previews and reviews of games before they come out to figure out if they want to buy it.

In order to get that, companies would have to send me a game early.

For that to happen I would have to give people what they want (previews and reviews of games before they come out).

Yup, that'd be what's known as a circular reference.

Re:I'm With the Author (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735720)

No, it's just that you have to have patience and build yourself a reputation (a step businesses always seem to want to skip over), and then you get those pre-release privileges, but only for games you like. It goes like this

Game X comes out. You buy it on release day and post a favorable review.
Game X part 2 comes out. You buy it on release day and post a favorable review.
Game X part 3 is about to come out. The manufacturer says "hey, we like this guy's previous reviews". A week before release, you get a review copy of the game in the mail.
Game Y is about to come out. Manufacturer looks at your previous reviews and tries to anticipate if you will be favorable or unfavorable in your review. You may or may not get a pre-release copy, depending on their determination.

Re:I'm With the Author (5, Interesting)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734862)

I've been doing game reviews for almost a decade, and while I receive free games in abundance (and Microsoft has been trying to send me a XB360 for several years now, but I only do PC game reviews), I've never received cash or other swag. in fact, most recently, I get Steam download codes or similar, and I don't even get a physical copy of the game anymore.

Re:I'm With the Author (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735130)

Well, if you'd be willing to review or discuss my web-based superhero MMO, Twilight Heroes (www.TwilightHeroes.com), on your blog, I'll give you a FREE lifetime membership on your account. Does that count?

Disclaimer: it's already free to play for everyone, but I figured I had to try. Hopefully, in some small way, this lame attempt at bribery will make your day.

Re:I'm With the Author (1)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735586)

I was playing your game for a short while after seeing you talk about it on here a couple of months ago. It was fun for about a week and then it was just boring and repetitive. I hope I can come back to it in a few years and find that it's become more than what it is right now.

Re:I'm With the Author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735434)

I tried (and failed) to break into the Video Game Blog market a couple of times myself, and I couldn't get anywhere with it, mostly because every Tom, Dick, and Harry with an Internet connection and a couple of video games has already started a gaming blog. Seriously, a Google search [google.com] for "video game blog" gets over 360 million results. Which makes it nearly impossible to get noticed by anyone, much less the guys who send out review copies of stuff. If your blog doesn't immediately somehow have advance access to screenshots, insider contacts, early reviews of the latest and greatest titles, a gigantic marketing budget (or an existing marketing machine behind you), and the ability to update the thing at least a dozen times a day every day, it's pretty much doomed from the start.

Getting swag (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734624)

Since you mentioned that you can't get any swag from publishers, here's the answer: get your reviews on metacritic.

That score determines a lot of things and you're much more likely to be bribed if you can make it look good.

Indeed, HTML5 and Microdata (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735488)

A book (that I even reviewed on Slashdot [slashdot.org] ) has a section on just this sort of thing you can read here [diveintohtml5.org] . It tells you how to use HTML5 microdata to mark up reviews so that search engines and sites (like metacritic) can utilize your HTML to build indexes of reviews.

Slashdot's always been a little behind the curve but considering what their review form looks like, you'd think it'd be a trivial thing to have the end product wrap the review in microdata so they too are suddenly influencing metacritic and coming back a real review site in Google.

Re:Getting swag (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735504)

I also use http://www.gamerankings.com/ [gamerankings.com] to read various scores, reviews, etc.

Gee, what does that tell you? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734728)

I think we must be doing it wrong around here... we usually can't even get games before the release date, much less get free rotting meat.

Even by the extremely low standards of video game journalism [tumblr.com] , Slashdot can't get any respect. Maybe you should think about focusing on the writing/editing. Or fix the awful bugs on this site that have been around for... well, decades at this point. (How about a rich text comment field? Let's join 2005!)

Re:Gee, what does that tell you? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734988)

Slightly pedantic, but decades plural would suggest the site has existed with said flaws since at least 1990.

Re:Gee, what does that tell you? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735152)

Slightly pedantic, but decades plural would suggest the site has existed with said flaws since at least 1990.

More pedantic: Only if you're expressing it as a whole number.

Slashdot has been around for 1.3 decades.

Re:Gee, what does that tell you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735086)

(How about a rich text comment field? Let's join 2005!)

How about let's not? How about we keep it so that people need to know what they're doing insofar as simple HTML if they want to annoy the shit out of us with their formatting? I know I, for one, don't want every other post written with every emphasis method on evey other word...

Re:Gee, what does that tell you? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735328)

Adding a rich text command field is useless for the half dozen of HTML tags you can insert. Adding more tags would be counter-productive - the existing ones already let you structure your post, which is the important part; enabling style changes for each comment would make the site unreadable.

So that's not really important. I would prefer if they fixed the CSS for Idle - the comment textarea still doesn't use the whole width.

Slashdot book reviews? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734748)

Or rancid, rotting meat mixed with spent shell casings, teeth, broken glasses and dog tags ...

So, are you trying to say McDonalds, or Taco Bell? (That editorial "food" review is probably not going to get me a new ipod...)

In comparison, what do slashdot book reviewers get? About the same?

The old Chaos Manor (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734776)

Back in the day when everybody read Byte Chaos Manor was probably the most important place outside of the cover you could be.
Jerry Pournell wrote what we would the column based on what he used.
His system was simple. Send me your stuff and I get to keep it all.
If he didn't like your stuff he would say so or just not write about it.
If he did like your stuff it was fantastic for you.
Borland as a company pretty much was born when Jerry Pournell wrote about how great this cheap Pascal compiler called TruboPascal was. Borland to a loan for their first full page ad based just on that column.

Now that would be considered not legit but at the time no one minded. Truth is that his reviews where brutally honest and very good.

Re:The old Chaos Manor (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735250)

His system was simple. Send me your stuff and I get to keep it all.
If he didn't like your stuff he would say so or just not write about it.
If he did like your stuff it was fantastic for you.

...

Now that would be considered not legit

Why? Game companies give review copies to reviewers all the time.

Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (3, Insightful)

gravos (912628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734804)

I don't play games very often anymore, but I've found the easiest way to get an honest opinion of a game is to do the following:

  • Wait for a few months after the game is released (initial or pre-release reviews are always too positive)
  • Go to a game review aggregator site (metacritic, gamerankings, etc)
  • Start reading from the lowest-scoring review, up

That works well.

Reviewers who scored a game low were not compensated by the publisher, almost definitely had to buy the game themselves, and usually point out legitimate flaws instead of glossing over them. It's a great way to innoculate yourself against hype.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734898)

Unfortunately, just about all reviews are garbage - even the ones by folks who purchased that items themselves. It's like they get it and see shiny package - 5 Stars!

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734944)

I don't play games very often anymore, but I've found the easiest way to get an honest opinion of a game is to do the following:

        * Wait for a few months after the game is released (initial or pre-release reviews are always too positive)
        * Go to a game review aggregator site (metacritic, gamerankings, etc)
        * Start reading from the lowest-scoring review, up

That works well.

Somewhat earlier in the release cycle, I've found torrent seeder/peer counts and especially torrent site comments help separate the wheat from the chaff. P2P sharers are brutally honest, especially if the software isn't even worth stealing or simply doesn't do what its supposed to. I have in fact purchased and paid for software on this basis.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734950)

I wait an depend on my social network.
People who no me know what I like and visa versa. TI's the best way to predict enjoyment of any product.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735046)

Personally I feel you can't beat a demo, but failing that find a few reviewers who seem to share your likes and dislikes (an easy way to do this is to read some of their past reviews for games you loved/hated and see if they gave the same reasoning) and follow them. They won't always agree with each other or with you, but if you find four or five you can average out the reviews. The metacritic method is also good as a last resort, but even if you read in reverse order you're not guaranteeing that the reviewer is picking up on real flaws as opposed to venting because he doesn't like the company, or doesn't like that particular genre, etc.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735242)

Just a quick counterpoint: The demo of Brutal Legend was awesome. The game, not so much. Also, if you're lucky enough to find a reviewer who hates the things you like, you've found a good measuring stick. Yahtzee tends to hate most of what I like in a game (that's not obviously bad design, etc) so I find I his reviews most helpful for getting a feel for a particular game. He also likes several games I enjoyed deeply and consider fairly unknown, so to me his credentials for reviewing certain types of games are impeccable.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735370)

Personally I feel you can't trust a demo

FTFY. I can't count how many times the game as a whole sucked much more than the few moments they put on the demo.

Personally, I like Zero Punctuation [escapistmagazine.com] reviews.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735198)

Another reason to wait is that a lot of games tend to be fairly buggy on release and this can siphon off a lot of joy. I bought Civilization V and while it's not a bad game and I haven't had to deal with crashes, the game balance is horribly off and it doesn't feel as polished as Civ IV with both expansions. I like the direction the game has taken, but it needs a lot of polish and the AI really needs to fixed. The computer is horrible at combat and seems to do other odd things such as acting perfectly friendly after I just finished burning one of their cities to the ground.

I don't think reading reviews bottom-up is the best method though. Just as some people will gush over a game, some have some kind of vendetta against it. I recall reading a review for a generally well-received game that was given an abysmally low score because the author felt that the games plot too closely mirrored a science fiction novel he had read decades ago and that therefore the game was a blatant ripoff. Personally, I prefer reading reviews that focus less on a score and more on talking about the game and comparing it to previous titles from the genre. I think a "buy now, wait a while, rent first, skip" scale would be completely adequate for reviews. A number scale is really meaningless, especially when the review numbers or inflated. For most organs anything less than an 8 means the game is probably not worth buying or even playing.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735604)

You can do this with many products. The high-scoring long reviews of a mobile phone are probably written by fanbois, the short ones which list the defects are the ones written by people who know what matters.

Re:Honest Game Reviews: A Procedure (1)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735612)

I do something similar, but different. I think low outlier review scores often has to do with reviewers using a point deduction scheme, which isn't all that indicative of how fun a game is.

What I do instead is I go to metacritic and note both the aggregate score for critics reviews and the aggregate score for user reviews. Critics reviews can be paid for, or sometimes nitpicky, whereas user reviews can be a gut reaction, based on superficial impressions, and susceptible to 'fanboi/hater' extremes. However, I find that the contrast between the two aggregate scores can be an indicator of shenanigans (an over-hyped game, or a flawed but really fun game)

Money hat (2, Interesting)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734808)

Many reviewers just refuse them and don't let it influence their decision. There aren't just tchotchkes knick-knacks and gewgaws, but actual games given in order to review them, and some places keep them, but many don't. At Joystiq [joystiq.com] for example, they pay for trips on their own dime to attend previews, demos and conferences. They also give away reviewed games in contests, and refuse any extras. At 1up.com:

"We do not accept any gifts--such as video iPods, World Series tickets, cash (in the form of contest prizes)...all of which were actually offered to us at one point. But we are allowed to keep cheap, promotional items, so you'll see game posters or XXXXXXXL T-shirts around our offices. We also keep the games that the companies send us, but EGM's rule is to put one away for the office library copy, and the rest get evenly distributed to staffers who will actually play them (absolutely no trading them in or eBaying them for profit or gain of any sort)."

The rules are different at different outlets but you'll find most try to think about this subject and let their audience know how it affects or doesn't affect them. Giant Bomb [giantbomb.com] are headed up by people who left after a related incident at their previous employer. One of the founders fought to defend their review against a publisher and editor who wanted them to give it a more glowing review, and their previous job [wikipedia.org] was terminated for doing so, certain people quit in disgust and joined together to form a new site.

Re:Money hat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33734936)

"One of the founders fought to defend their review against a publisher and editor who wanted them to give it a more glowing review"

LOL!

You're a fucking idiot. That fat fuck got his ass fired for being an obnoxious and incompetent waste of space.

And now the loser runs a shit site no one gives a crap about. He should go back to jerking off over Halo games in his mom's basement. No one gives a fuck what the retard has to say about games.

Re:Money hat (2, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735318)

I used to write game reviews. I was provided the games by the site, and got to keep them in lieu of payment. On occasion, I would buy a game and review it too, but more often than not, I received the games for free. I'm not sure if the guy who owned the web site got them for free or if he bought them, but there was never any pressure for me to give a game a positive review.

Here's the real question. (2, Funny)

ACKyushu (1626689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734824)

Are they giving away Time Machines with Duke Nukem Forever?

Re:Here's the real question. (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735008)

Yes, and the game was fantastic!

Re:Here's the real question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735358)

Yes, and the game will be fantastic!

FTFY

Re:Here's the real question. (2, Funny)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735638)

Yes, and the game IS fantastic!

when you have a time machine, was and will be become is.

Bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33734858)

The sword, brass knuckles and rotting meat etc. I wouldn't consider a bribe, since it somehow fits the respective games and are clearly not selected for their monetary value.
But checks, IPods and Zunes are obvious bribes.

Re:Bribe? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734972)

well, maybe not a Zune...

Re:Bribe? (1)

shikaisi (1816846) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735220)

I thought that sending someone a Zune was more or less the hi-tech equivalent of leaving a horses head in their bed.

Re:Bribe? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735372)

The sword, brass knuckles and rotting meat etc. I wouldn't consider a bribe,.

Plus, they are useful in fighting off the zombie hords. Bait your traps with the meat, then beat them up with the knuckles, and wack them to pieces with the sword, which will leave you with more rotting meat for your traps.

Re:Bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33735768)

Since when were zombies real?

Bribery? (2, Interesting)

Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734924)

Really? I always attributed it to outright silliness (or perhaps pride) on the publisher's part. I mean, imagine you just made some kind of hardcore cover-based shooter with, oh I don't know dinosaurs as handguns. Work with me here. This hypothetical dino-gun game is your pride and joy, and you want to make a good impression on a small subset of important reviewers. You don't want to bribe them, exactly, but you want them to know that you think highly of your game, and of their capacity as high-power reviewers. So you send them a knickknack of some kind. Like, a model replica of the basic pistol-type weapon. Or a fake dinosaur tooth, or whatever. The point of the exercise is to one-up the other weird knickknacks the other publishers send so that your knickknack (and consequently your game) stick in the reviewer's minds. Bribery might be an element to it, but more valuable is the sticking-in-the-reviewer's-mind part. Ever seen professionals auditioning for a part in theatre? They're all basically excellent choices, but they've all got some kind of gimmick to get the director to remember them better than anyone else. That's the objective, anyways. Same idea, different area. Not bribery, not really.

haha (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33734934)

"much less get free rotting meat"

That will go down in history of /, as the most regrettable thing ever posted.

Prepare for waves of rotten meat.

Same advice I got for consumer car reviews (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735452)

When you're looking at reviews, you can almost always ignore the Five Star and One Star reviews. Five stars usually don't provide insight (giddy cheerleading) and one star reviews are usually hyperbolic reactions to problems.

Re:Same advice I got for consumer car reviews (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735752)

If only that worked in the computer / games world. ISTM reviews start at 3 stars, just for providing a cardboard box. If there's anything in it, the product automatically gets 4 stars, and if they have an advertisement in the magazine or website then 5 stars is a shoo in. I have seen mini-reviews of products that the reviewer admitted didn't even work get a 3* rating on the basis of what the product description said (and an assurance from the supplier that the example they got "must have been a flook"). it's also obvious in many, many reviews that the reviewer has never even seen the product and is writing a piece simple from the suppliers promotional literature - who do they think they're kidding?

There used to be a time... (3, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735640)

There used to be a time when those gimmicks would be included in the retail box of the games.

Infocom comes to mind.

ok,no rotting meat, but a blood splattered bracelet would SO be in Infocoms style.

makes me want to be a reviewer (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735676)

I've thought a few times that I ought to get into the review business, just for the free games. That there are other bits of entertaining swag just makes it more appealing. I think I'd be willing to write a few short essays in exchange for a lot of free entertainment. Heck, I'd probably write an entire thesis to get one of those gigantic swords.

What happens is I can never decide whether I should sell out completely to get the most stuff, or I should try to maintain integrity and relish the occasional opportunity to tell off a company that threatens me for giving their game a bad review (you want 100% positive? buy an ad. You want a review, you get an actual review.)

Then I realize I don't have time to play all the games I own now, and I'd probably come out better financially by working and buying the games than writing reviews and getting free games.

Damn Publishers (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 3 years ago | (#33735748)

I wish the article really went more into depth. IMHO Publishers these days are not all that what they are cracked up to be , bunch of marketing whores. Look at the fiasco with CIV5 from 2k almost unplayable on most non english windows systems and the crash issues with most nvidia cards. http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88969 [2kgames.com]

Every major gaming magazine has given it almost 8/10 , while actually (as I long time civ player) I don't think it is all that great except for the perty graphics. Dumbed down for the console. At least this guy over at 1up got it right, I guess 2k didn't send him any gifts.
http://www.1up.com/do/reviewPage?pager.offset=1&cId=3181540&p=1 [1up.com]

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