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Magazines Faking Game Reviews?

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the but-it-would-have-been-really-nice dept.

The Media 247

lunchlady doris writes: "With videogames becoming a huge business and magazines having large lead times, something has got to give if they want to compete with web sites. Planet GameCube has a story where it seems that some magazines have decided that eschewing actual journalism is the way to go, with both Extreme Gamer and Request Magazine having reviews for Nintendo's Eternal Darkness, a game that is currently incomplete and is only expected to arrive in stores at the end of June."

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Science rules (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012798)

It's easy to get first post with a time machine.

Magazines Faking Game Reviews? (5, Funny)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012802)

Why not? Publishers have been faking good games for years now...

I've seen this for years. (4, Interesting)

Blaede (266638) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012829)

My particular addiction is NASCAR simulations. I used to love reading reviews raving about certain tracks and features being in the game, when in reality they weren't. When they touted great coding features that in reality were the opposite and serious gameplay bugs, that really cracked me up. Any player of those games would immediately have know the reviewer hadn't even bothered installing to game. As of now, I couldn't care less about magazine reviews. The critical (and sometimes overtly negative) observations made by posted in those game's forums help me out better in making my purchases. Fake journalism? Nothing new, kinda reminds me of the fake citations I had to make up for a college paper (although in this case I truly made my own observations and analysis throughout the paper, but yet the instuctor insisted on me citing people, so I "did").

Try EBs list for fake "top selling" charts. (5, Interesting)

Blaede (266638) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012841)

I forgot to add this in as an example of other types of fakery. NASCAR Racing 2002 Season came out this Wednesday. But if you checked EB's top selling charts last week, you would have seen this game listed at #4 among the top sellers. Huh?

Re:Try EBs list for fake "top selling" charts. (0, Informative)

Ralph Malph Alpha (551824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012895)


Uhhhh....pre-sales??

Re:Try EBs list for fake "top selling" charts. (2)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013132)

Right. `Hey, buy this game. We did. Please buy it? Or we`re stuck with 5,000 games at £35 each`

Re:Magazines Faking Game Reviews? (1)

weetabix (320476) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013020)

Reguadring penny arcade from last week, lithtech comes to mind.... Fake it till ya pass out from exhaustion...

sorta like... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012804)

sort'a like Kathleen Fent faking orgasms?

Re:sorta like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012883)

awww i thought it was funny

Re:sorta like... (-1)

Ralph Malph Alpha (551824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012901)

but it was!! IT WAS!!!!

this is me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012814)

first posting a story that hasn't been written yet

good thing i dont read them anyhow. (0)

Fred Millington (444639) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012815)

How many people will actually care though? For that matter, companies included? Im sure that the game manufacturers dont care much either way as long as the reviews are good.

Not very unusual (5, Interesting)

bjelkeman (107902) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012817)

I know someone who used to work for a film review magazine in London who said that the last year she worked there they hardly went to see any films at all. They were so understaffed that they didn't have time to see the films and wrote reviews of them without seeing them.

She got fed up and left. I think you will find this practise is not as unusual as one would hope.

Re:Not very unusual (2)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012860)

That explains all those sparkling reviews of Shrek; I actually went to see it and found nothing but crude fart jokes.

Re:Not very unusual (1)

Drunk4Free (550420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013008)

That's why I liked shrek.

Re:Not very unusual (1)

Vidmaster_Steve (455301) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012928)

So, let me get this straight? There's a company that PAYS PEOPLE TO WATCH MOVIES, and it's UNDERSTAFFED.

I've got a film degree, and am UNEMPLOYED. Would you happen to have the adress of said film review rag in London?

Re:Not very unusual (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012961)

Um, no. Obviously, they are paying people to write reviews, and they need so many reviews to be written and can afford so little staff that there's no time to actually watch the movies.

Re:Not very unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013069)

You don't get it : they are understaffed because they don't have the money for more people, not because they lack candidates!

Pretty common (1)

balbuzaro (159796) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012947)

Whenever you have media that covers a certain market, mainly provides information on upcoming products and hence gets most of its advertising from the same industry this could happen.

In addition to video games you can see it in other entertainment. Also in car magazines or electronics.

You should always make a judgement of the credibility of any information you receive.

Bb

-- where to go for University of Waterloo news [uwstudent.org]

Re:Not very unusual -reminds me of Manchette (RIP) (4, Interesting)

dario_moreno (263767) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013065)

The quite famous (at the time) french writer
JP Manchette got away with this for three years or
more ! He wrote film critics for "Charlie Hebdo"
from a remote mountain commune, based on what
his 12 years old son would say to him on the phone, and critics from daily newspapers. So he was the only french intellectual to (rightly) praise "Indiana Jones I" or "1941" !
The critics were actually so good that they were
recently released as a book.

I think he did it as a mixture of situationnism and despise for the readers, whom he may have considered of the same mental age as his son.

He ended the game when the journal went bankrupt
by announcing a sneak preview of a Georgian stalinist movie of the late 40's, without
subtitles, in a remote suburb of Paris, staged at 11:30 PM (so everyone would miss the last subway). Pitch : love story between a sovkhoze farm worker anda tractor repairer. Indeed, he just
wanted to make fun of snob, left-wing
pseudo-intellectuals. He then revealed that
he had cheated on all of his movie reviews.

Maybe this stuff with videogames is related : journalist just exploting the sheepy attitude
of teenagers (or not grown ups 20-30 yo),
only wanting to impress their friends with
their knowledge of the newest games.

Re:Not very unusual -reminds me of Manchette (RIP) (1)

a random streaker (538956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013125)

Sounds like the way I used to write my 10th grade English papers.

In France... (5, Informative)

mirko (198274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012818)

Some years ago we had some similar situation when a journalist, Francis Rozange, got some acrimonious game reviews stolen, then corrected to please the announcers who would not spend a single cent for advertising in a magazine that would just let such disadvantageous reviews...
Actually, the French law allow a typical magazine to be classified as information-press if its percentage of ads remains lower than 66%.
Where that's becoming quite outrageous is that most "honourable" magazine maximize this percentage to 65% so that they get the bucks along with the status.
Now, the problem with the press is that the newspapers mostly belong to some big media lobbies ...
So, I wonder why one should be surprised of such headline...

French ?? Dirty ?? Go on.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012884)

Are you implying that the French and -in their upity ways- aren't really holier than thou?

Are you saying that perhaps they could take a bribe??

Maybe even judge something to be better than it really is??

Go on... get out... like that would ever happen...

Re:French ?? Dirty ?? Go on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012908)

you seem to be quite uninformed about France.
Maybe because you are either something else or a French from France : which means either uninformed or hypnotized...

Obvious reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012977)

he was talking about the winter olympics, where it is claimed the french judge fixed the result. Not how the french kept fixing the german elections by secretly funding Helmut Kohl.

Re:Obvious reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013091)

sorry, I don't watch television and I am not interested in sports.
but it is sure that Mitterrand was a tough bastard who taught a lot to his political heirs...

Re:Obvious reference (-1)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013111)

It is against the law for a monster to enter the corporate limits of Urbana, Illinois.

And that's not all (4, Funny)

evil_roy (241455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012819)

In further news ....

It is believed a politician has lied

The bank doesn't really care about you

There is some rude stuff on the internet

Cigarettes are not good for you

Don't chew glass

Re:And that's not all (1)

Anarchofascist (4820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013082)

To summarise your argument... "Corruption is becoming more common, everyone knows about it, so it's time to ignore it."

You and your joe sixpack mates are not only part of the problem, you're a major part of the problem. The corrupt media and the corrupt politicians are relying on your attitude to keep their trough full and the swill tasting sweet.

Don't chew glass
HA! I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me. [harvard.edu]

Re:And that's not all (1)

RatFink100 (189508) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013116)

I don't think he was making an argument to ignore this, I think he was saying this is not a surpise

Cigarettes are not good for you ? (3, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013164)

But.. But... If they're not, then why are they being sold? You aren't implying that the government would allow something dangerous to be sold to the public are you?

Happens all the time... (5, Informative)

monkeywez (444761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012820)

Most games mags get "special" versions of the game at least a month before the game goes gold, along with a list of things that will be fixed before it hits the shops (frame rate improvements, bugs fixed, etc.).

The only time mags get final versions are if:

(a) The game is finished long before its release (i.e. they are delaying the game for the Xmas rush).
(b) The mag in question can't be trusted to ignore the faults in their review copy (mainstream "lifestyle" mags for example)

If you look carefully at the screenshots they use you will occasionally see how they are subtly different to the finished product.

Reading comprehension... (1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012910)

Nintendo will not release reviewable copies of the game (or any game) until it is completed.

Re:Happens all the time... (2)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013022)

Well, this may be the case for most game mags. But then again, I don't read any of them. The only game mag I read and love is Electronic Gaming Monthly. Over the 10+ years I've been subscribed, I've noticed that not only do they have the highest qualities of journalism, but they also have a strong ethic on game reviews: they will only review final versions of a game. This is the reason I actually _trust_ their judgement.

More mags should try delaying reviews until a final version is available. The timetable generally works out so that by the time you get the magazine in the mail, the game has been out for a week or two. Perfectly reasonable, and creates more accurate and trustworthy scores.

Re:Happens all the time... (0, Offtopic)

Chasuk (62477) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013053)

Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

I'm probably going to get modded down for this, but yours is probably the most unfunny .sig I have ever seen. I do understand the sentiment, yes. However, deliberate cruelty and unkindness should never be humorous, and your .sig manages to be both. Might I convince you to change it?

Or are you going to tell me to fuck off?

Re:Happens all the time... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013127)

Damn, it must just absolutely SUCK to be you.

Let me guess...you've probably got a retarded kid brother or some shit like that. So now you feel that you have to protect the retarded people of the world by stopping "cruel" (how the FUCK does that word apply here?!) comments. Well I got news for ya, pal...retarded people are pretty fucking hilarious (except for that retard bitch at Wendy's that one time who got to the point where she had to give me change, looked at the money I'd given her, looked at the cash drawer, back and forth a few times, and said "Gosh...this is hard!"). Hell, half the reason to go to WalMart at all is to see what apparent mental disability plagues the greeter.

So, in summary...in case the other poster does not, I shall say "Fuck off, sir, and have a lovely day."

Now I shall go kick some retarded people in the head. *THAT'S* cruelty. The sig isn't anything of the sort.

Re:Happens all the time... (-1, Flamebait)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013159)

Shut up, you boring retard. Its a true statement! And its also very funny.

I suppose you complain about the Goatse links as well?

And that's news because? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012822)

It's called Hype. Nothing to see here.

Tux olympics! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012823)

Just in time for the winter olympics, this fun game is realesed by Tuximo Torvoldias! You pkay as Tux the Linux penguin competing against over 1000 other penguins in your goal to be penguin master!

Unfortunately it is only avalible in source form for linux on the Altair 8800, you need a Xorac inc, Neoterm to play it, and it is basicly the worst game since Final Fantasy XXX edtion. But if you win, you get a gold MEDAL! This 'Medal' is kernel patch that makes your 8800 run 2x faster using the G_mach1(!) call!

Conclusion
A fun game on a computer that is obsolete and only nostalgic geeks own it. I had to run it on a emulator :(.

0%

Review vs Preview (5, Funny)

Performer Guy (69820) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012831)

It's obvious that Eternal Darkness skated much better than Half Life2 and that tripple Lutz was obviously a mess. I blame the judges they made their mind up way before the competition. Blame the French.

Entertainment or information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012832)

What's the scandal?
Well, it's non ethical, it is weird.
It is a non respect for our intelligence.
There's no legitimity of giving us irrelevent information like that.

There's AFP, Association France Presse, there is.
Near each and every of their technology news are 'fake', they looks and sounds made up by some public relations contractors.

Video Games Magasines are doing it too. Well, I suppose it is non correct.

In fact, the question is : Are the videogame magasines entertainment peoducts or information medias?

Re:Entertainment or information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012842)

Dude you can say both but you can't deny that everybody who read them THINKS the information content is legit.

I suppose this is a case of misrepresentation.

Re:Entertainment or information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012858)

Who are you to ask this question? A dude on dextromethorphan? lol

If they make a review of a game, call it 'review' and sell the thing as 'magasine', in that case it's effectively an information product.

If they sell it as 'entertainment' I see no preoblem to make fake 'review' but they are not presenting their product this way.
People who bug the mags buys them to be informed about entertainment products, they do not buy them AS entertainment products.

No, videogame magasines are not entertainment products.

Game Reviews as PR tools (5, Insightful)

CptLogic (207776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012839)

To be honest, all Game Reviews are suspect anyway, as Games magazines get review copies from the developers. If the Magazine writes bad things about a game the developer has been pinning big bucks on, the developer gets pissed off and stops supplying review copies (as well as other perks like invites to seminars, launches and other Things To Write About) to that Mag.

Essentially, the safe option is to spout whatever Press Release blurb the developers give you right back, translated through a Journalist with maybe 2 hours experience of that game. Just enough to put a personal spin on the Party Line.

If you're an online review site not out to recover printing costs, it's not quite so crucial to your bottom line to pander to the games developers, but for a print mag whose very existence depends on them, the guy who gets the first exclusive sneak peek because the developer likes his mag, shifts more copies of his publication.

So, if the developer says "Hey, want an exclusive sneak peek in return for saying what we want you to say about something you can't really test properly anyway?" most Editors are going to jump up and down singing "Free Content! Gimme Gimme Gimme".

And then theres the guy who writes a review because he's a writer, based on what his mate said about the game, but he's a different story.

Chris.

Re:Game Reviews as PR tools (1)

CptLogic (207776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012855)

Silly me forgot the obvious and forgot to mention Advertising revenue as a "perk" (in fact the main source of revenue, I believe).

I shall now go beat myself with bamboo in penance for being a moron.

Chris.

Re:Game Reviews as PR tools (1)

a random streaker (538956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013144)

Advertising goes for a lot more than just games magazines. Witness a fashion magazine with an article (not a layout) about a fashion model or a teen mag with an article about Sarah Michelle Gellar, only to see ads with them covering the very expensive first few pages and foldouts.

Anyway, previews are also not the most accurate. I have an issue of some old games magazine that lists "Quake killers"

- Diakatana (it will r00l!)
- Sin (it will r00l!)
- Half Life (it will be an also-ran, look at that boring looking single scene, a guy standing in a doorway.)
- Duke Nukem 4 (it will be released soon!)
- Another I can't remember, probably for what would be an obvious reason.

etc.

Re:Game Reviews as PR tools (0)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012917)

True, but websites seem to be better at this. Even fan sites seem to be able to dish out the truth. I used to be subscribed to game magazines for 2 years till I found I could get better informatoion sooner online. Then IE6 comes out with this cookie cutters and I stop receiving ads from the game sites I read online. I guess I've been sucking down info and not paying very much for it. However, dont we all notice the success of Cable Radio and now satellite radio? And that its about the fact that some of us will PAY to get rid of stupid SPAMesque commercials?? Remember, usually small companies actually hae HUGE companies behind them. Like some small unknown long distance service could just be another name for ATT. Unfortunately, game magazines really seem to be independent and fighting for life where the web has pretty much eliminated the chance for it. Its ashame. But they were kind of backed into this corner.

Merely the influence of the big corporates (2, Interesting)

phil_atk (545228) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012845)

This is nothing new, although this is a topical subject at the moment - corporate influence on everyday life.

There are numerous examples of bias within the games reviewing industry. It is common knowledge that some magazine publishers have a higher standing with certain games publishers *cough* M$ *cough* - it's the way the system works.

By giving favourable reviews, the magazines get more inside scoops, get the review bundles earlier and make more on circulation numbers.

I guess many of you are questioning why the magazines aren't just favourable to all publishers, but the answer would be that they need to maintain a modicum of journalistic integrity to 'sell' reviews in the first place.

It's all part of the machine!

No surprise (3, Informative)

Little Dave (196090) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012846)

To be honest, I just take this kind of thing as read. Here in the UK it seems to be par for the course that certain unscrupulous magazines will review unfinished code (favourably in most cases) and in some instances, you get the impression that the reviewer hasn't even seen the game. The cynic within suspects that deals for advertising may have been done...

One incident that sticks in my mind is the CUAmiga review of Elite: Frontier, which scored very highly, yet there was no mention whatsoever of the showstopping bugs that ruined the game. Having said that, CUAmiga was usually one of the more trustworthy magazines.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012865)

Really? I remember Amiga Power ripping the living piss out of CU Amiga over their "reviews".

Anyone remember the peice Amiga Power did on how to spot a bad review? 73%, the score of the DEVIL?

Shit like this has probably been going on since someone lied about having played Spacewars!

Re:No surprise (1)

Little Dave (196090) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012963)

Ahhh, Amiga Power. Now there was a fantastic magazine. None of the DEVIOUSNESS and DEVILRY that are to be found in most PUBLICATIONS. Just plenty of words emphasised in CAPITALS and a general lack of knowledge, interest or concern for the computer market around them.

And lets not forget that this fine body of men brought us Gravity Power - OFFICIALLY, The Finest Game Ever.

Such memories..

Re:No surprise (2)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013044)

So maybe that's the "Major PC Industry Magazine" Steve Gibson [grc.com] mentions in his resume [grc.com] .

woof.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013074)

Indeed, I've read reviews in magazines that publicly state they do not review unfinished games of games that haven't gone gold when I'm reading the review... (and article was prob. written 1 month before that) I know the smell of rat when it wafts my way...

I have no problems if the review states it is of a pre-gold beta, or if its called a preview, but saying you don't review unfinished games and then doing so... Folks, just say NO! :-)

p-review (3, Funny)

Xerion (265191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012851)

Dont be so hard on these magazines, guys.
Maybe the editor's keyboard got messed up, and the key "p" stopped functioning.

Wheres the NEW in NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012853)

This is old news, ive seen it happen a lot, some magazines make up a fake game and review it. Its a joke!

reviewing styles reflect the game. (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012854)

could this be a by product of the fact that a lot of games have the same gameplay whether you are 5 mins or 5 hours into playing it?

if you are playing one of those boring, linear, 'shoot 5 million identical creatures from their pre-determined postions' with their scripted, unchanging responses, vacant AI, and no more than one way of doing anything, max payne style games, which this game seems to be, then who cares if the review is early?

if the game is a dead duck before its even released, just spare a 1/4 page review of the demo, give it 60%, and forget about it. save the time, effort and review space for developers that take the time to make a decent game ...

Re:reviewing styles reflect the game. (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012875)

i would like to rebutt my own posting ... if i may ...

linear, 'shoot 5 million identical creatures from their pre-determined postions' with their scripted, unchanging responses, vacant AI, and no more than one way of doing anything

that describes DOOM perfectly, and i wasted years of my life playing that game ... hehehe whoops :)

Magazine reviews + pinch of salt (3, Interesting)

Scorchio (177053) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012863)

It seems difficult to get true unbiased reviews of games these days. After all, it's in the interest of the magazine publisher to keep a good relationship with the game developer, because a) they want to sell advertising space to these people and b) they want to be invited back to see the next games. I've been in games development for several years now and I've seen reviews vary from 20% to 90%, depending on whether the journalist was taken to lunch or not. Also, in the rush to be first to cover a new game, they can create a preview with the skimpiest of factual information on the game design. That's always fun when the end result has varied considerably from the initial design.

The fault is probably equally shared between games developers and the magazines that (p)review their games. I just try to remember to these facts while reading reviews, and bear in mind that those lovely screenshots have probably been carefully selected and touched up by artists on the project. Who knows, you might really enjoy a game marked as mediocre by the reviewer because it's something that he or she personally doesn't like all that much. Best to wait and read the comments from people who have bought and played the game, on the forums and newsgroups out there.

When Romero met Sally (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012864)

"Oh god. Oh god. Daikatana is great. The game is incredible. Please keep it coming. Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, keep on fragging. Boring medival Japanese plotline, oh god. More, more, more!!!

Good Salad."

See, it's quite easy to fake a good game review.

Don't have much problem with this. . . (3, Funny)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012872)

A couple of guys with the word, 'journalist,' printed on their business cards are presenting half-informed opinions as media content?

Jeez! I can flip to CNN for that!

The only difference between these guys and every second person on the web is that they're getting paid to do it.

Except, weirdly enough, in this case, I can't actually blame them.

--Game titles offer few surprises these days. Plus, the description and declared subject matter offered by the publishers to the reviewers sounds both sick and lame.

The only thing these reviewers did wrong is to not say up front that they were only looking at demos and press kit material. The fact of the matter is that they've told me all I want to know:

"Newsflash: Another cookie cutter over-violent FPS released by some company run either by (a)Sick juvenile twit programmers, or (b)Unimaginative corporate executives trying to make a buck by designing what their market analysts tell them is 'hip with the kids'."

Yep. Now that's reporting!


-Fantastic Lad

Same with.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012876)

PC Gamer in Europe, especially the British version. I remember when they gave Game of The Month to some game a couple of years ago (must have been a FPS, it's the *only* thing they like - probably Messiah) which was then delayed months because of severe bugs. They have also referred in reviews to features which have been dropped in the final version of the game.

The game publishers allow it becuase it helps build hype around their games before they are published. The game magazines do it because the one to publish the review first of the currently #1 hyped game sells lots of extra issues. The gamers do it because appearently the majority are idiots who don't notice or don't care that they are reading a review of an alpha version mixed with rehashed press releases and official screenshots!

One of the few magazines which have tried to change the trend is Computer Games [computergamesonline.com] , they have a policy (at least they used to) of reviewing only released games, as they are out of the box without patches.

/Lars Westergren

I remeber that . (1)

modipodio (556587) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013010)

Yeah I remember pcgamer in particular used to do things like that a lot , review a crap game,(and give it a good review),which would get delayed and come out months later , but better still were the games that got reviewed way after they were released. This , if I remember right used to happen alot when there were two competing games in the same genre.Pc gamer would give one ,(the one who had the bigger budget presumably),a really good review and then wait for a good 2 months and then review the other, both games would be released about the same time, this used to really piss me off.

Slashdotted! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012880)

Planet game cube have been slashdotted, serves them right for using Windows 2000! [netcraft.com]

Seen it at both IGN and Gamespot, too. (5, Informative)

MWoody (222806) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012881)

I ran into a problem with folks not reviewing games when the GBA (Game Boy Advance for the un-anointed) first came out. My brother and I were trying to decide which games we should both get vs. which we should just share. Bomberman Tournament was the title we'd anticipated most, so if there was any possibility of increasing the gameplay value by buying two, we were gonna do it.

And, after a quick perusal of two of the largest gaming sites around - Gamespot.com and IGN.com - we decided two cartridges were the way to go. After all, in Gamespot's review [gamespot.com] , Frank Provo writes:

The game supports both multi- and single-cartridge multiplayer options, although the load times for single-cartridge hosting are somewhat excessive.

Sounds good, especially when paired with David Zdyrko's comments in IGN's review [ign.com] :

The only downside to the one-cart, four-GBA setup is that you'll have to deal with a tremendous amount of load time at the start of each contest, before the victory screen and before the start of the next battle.

This is only a minor annoyance, though, and can be remedied a lot if you happen to have a friend or more that also has a copy of the game.

So, we went and bought two copies, whipped those babies out, and set up a game. And, lo and behold - no multi-cartridge support. Yes, indeed, the single gamepak mode had lots of slow load times. But having more than one doesn't do you any good unless you lose a game in the couch cushions.

There was some moaning about this issue on the Gamespot forums, and as it turns out, the multi-cartridge support had not been brought over to the US version. Some of the reviewers had been given bad data by the company.

To which I first though, "OK, no big whoop. Shit happens." But the more I considered it, the more it bugged me. These two reviewers made claims based on information they got from the company that made the game - NOT their own experiences. They didn't test these features; they just threw them into the review.

I understand the most probable reasons: lack of time, only one cartridge to test with. But all I'm asking is for a simply "We didn't have two copies, so we can say for ourselves, but apparently..." Yes, it sounds a little wussy, but it makes the difference between journalism and an ad. At the very least, they could have corrected the error when they were notified; I'm aware of several people who have contacted both sites, including myself, and one Gamespot official even bothered to reply about it in the forums, but both still stand unchanged.

OK, this is a minor thing, I know. But it did cost me about 30 bucks, and it makes me wonder: how much else in these "reviews" is straight out of a press release?

Re:Seen it at both IGN and Gamespot, too. (2, Interesting)

bungo (50628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013101)

I understand the most probable reasons: lack of time

You meant to say 'lack of integrity', didn't you?

Confusing 'time' with 'integrity' is something that happens quite often to over generous slashdot posters, as well as corrupt hacks which can be bought by as little as saving an hour by using a press release as their review.

I wonder if that would work for my MSc thesis? .... "of course professor, I didn't really have time to do all of the work myself, but I found a press release telling me it was true....."

A clear case of "one hand washes the other" (5, Interesting)

philipx (521085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012891)

I have a friend who while working for a Games magazine was assigned to review an upcoming game. The game was planned to be released no sooner than two months.
So she got a copy of the "close circuit game preview" CD and thought to give it a fair ride.
It took 3 days to install the game - it was so poorly written it only worked on a single test machine and it was UGLY and slow like hell.
So acting in consequence, my friend wrote the review and give it a 3 out of 10 :).
Suprise, surprise ! The editor was pissed and started to yell something along the lines of "yo' tryin' to ruin us or what ?!".
It turned out it was (guess still is) common practice to write good reviews in order to get early previews. You see, the magazine sells because it features early reviews, hence it has to get early game releases and has to write GOOD reviews in order for early stuff to keep coming and readers keep buying.
OTOH, the game companies obviously need to have good publicity so they use (among other stuff like PR and paid trips to nice resorts in order for editors to get a "preview" of the new stuff) this mechanism of early reviews.
Needless to say the game ended up as a complete failure, but all things considered who remembers the article that gave the game 8.8 out of 10 ? :)
Who said politics is the only whore ?

Talk about an old chestnut... (5, Informative)

briggers (32641) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012903)

'Exclusive' reviews of incomplete (or in some cases entirely non-existent) games have been around almost as long as computer games magazines themselves. I remember back in the glory days of the classic UK games mags of the 80s and early 90s - the likes of ZZap, Crash, Your Sinclair, Commodore Format, Amiga Format etc - the surprise was when a review of a real, *finished* game was published (it was not unusual to see rave, 95% reviews of games which were never even written :-)

UK and Australian readers will probably know what I am talking about: I'm sure I'm not the only one who misses the zany yet sophisticated humour, and complete and utter lack of moral fibre, of the great UK games mags. The copious pop-culture references, the disturbing running gags and in-jokes, the barf-inducing layouts.... all seem to be missing from today's sanitised publications.

There was a terrific site set up by the staff of the short-lived (but truly surreal while it lasted) Amiga Power magazine, telling the inside story of the fake reviews, blatant plagiarism etc of the UK games mag scene of the period. Unfortunately it seems to have vanished.... hopefully someone might turn up with a URL.

Re:Talk about an old chestnut... (1)

tyl (520631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012952)

Anybody remember the ad for, what was it, Nighthawk ? The Spectrum computer game based on some TV series about a fancy motorbike (Airwolf style). The ad ran for years, if memory serves me correctly. The game never came out, as far as I know.

So it's not just the reviewers...

Re:Talk about an old chestnut... (0)

yatest5 (455123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013023)

Anybody remember the ad for, what was it, Nighthawk ? The Spectrum computer game based on some TV series about a fancy motorbike (Airwolf style). The ad ran for years, if memory serves me correctly. The game never came out, as far as I know.

Same with KnightRider, by Ocean. That had me in tears two christmases running, let me tell you!

Re:Talk about an old chestnut... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013049)

what was it, Nighthawk ? The Spectrum computer game based on some TV series about a fancy motorbike (Airwolf style)

Sounds like Streethawk. So did they actually ever release the game?

Re:Talk about an old chestnut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012965)

right here, bud [pipex.com]

Re:Talk about an old chestnut... (1)

dustpuppy_de (322556) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012975)

hopefully someone might turn up with a URL.

I don't know if this is what you were talking about, but try the Wayback Machine entry here. [archive.org]
Even some of the links are working...

Re:Talk about an old chestnut... (5, Informative)

Fluffy the Cat (29157) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013025)

http://ds.dial.pipex.com/ap2/ [pipex.com] is probably what you're looking for. This page [pipex.com] is especially topical, but the rest of the site gives a great deal of insight into what the games magazine industry is really like.

Great Idea! (3, Funny)

1/137 (179946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012916)

I should use this approach on my thesis...to think of the time I've wasted waiting for data!

This has long been the case (3, Interesting)

rcs1000 (462363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012918)

In the UK, the magazine Edge (http://www.edge-online.com) has a column called Red Eye by a veteran video game journalist.

About six months ago the column was about a journalist who boasted of writing a review of a game without even playing it. According to Red Eye, the practise is remarkably common - as magazines and web sites fight to make sure they aren't caught out by scoops from others.

Red Eye also criticises video game journalists from acting like a pack. He cites Driver 2 as an example where the universally positive reviews ignored significant flaws in the game.

Anyway, just my thoughts,

*r

Its not just games reviews. (2, Insightful)

stevey (64018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012943)

Its not just games that get reviewed incorrectly, its software too.

Many computer magazines will have glowing reviews of software products that aren't available, aren't complete, or are broken in major ways.

A good current example of this the reviews that many magazines have run recently of Windows XP, these reviews started coming out at the release of the first betas - with little mention of the fact that the final release would be different.

PC Gamer (2)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012945)

...gets early builds of games and hardware before it's out. Geforce 4 and P4 2.2 are perfect examples of this. They reviewed hardware right on time based on early silicone. Meaning they had it in their hands almost 2 full months before it was released to the public.

Most recent "scoop!" was SOF2 described as a "playable late-beta build". Anarchy Online was reviewed during it's beta testing and given a 72%. It went on to win their best massively multiplayer game of the year over dark ages of camelot, rated at 90%.

Please ... Not GamesDomain ... (2, Interesting)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012959)

I always read GamesDomain [gamesdomain.com] for online PC game reviews. They always seemed much more uppity about things. Although lag was sometimes a bit painful for certain key reviews, it contributed to my impression that the reviewers actually played the games in question. I have to know, though, were they just taking their time, or was the lag some by-product of its (British?) origin? Or did they skate by like other reviewers, using the free time to pursue less noble goals?

Go ahead. Burst my bubble. I stopped reading the site compulsively after the last round of layout changes and site reorganization (more ads, less intelligent design). I just want to know the truth.

I can handle it. Honest.

Re:Please ... Not GamesDomain ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013028)

Speaking as an ex-reviewer for them I can say that the lag was due to having to actually play the game (to completion where that was possible) and fit this in around your life before writing the review.

I realise that everybody wants timely reviews of hot new games but doing thorough and useful reviews eats up a lot of time.

I stopped doing reviews for them when it became too much like an unpaid second job.

There were also increasing pressures to rush out reviews and not write bad things about games that might upset publishers.

Re:Please ... Not GamesDomain ... (1)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013061)

Too bad they started to rush reviews. That was the main reason I went to the site, because I knew the reviewers would actually spend an appreciable amount of time paying the game.

If they've stopped doing that, they may as well not exist. There are plenty of other rush-review sites in the world.

could be worse (5, Funny)

discogravy (455376) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012966)

Could be worse, I guess. They could post duplicates of the same articles and reviews over and over without even checking for copies....

Re:could be worse (-1)

Ralph Malph Alpha (551824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013041)

Redundancy is worse than fiction, from your news sources?? DISCOGRAVY, THATZ SO CRAZY.

Re:could be worse (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013060)

Or reviews of linux 2.5.x.prex
which we all know is not complete, it is very much beta.

Re:could be worse (1)

Rentar (168939) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013115)

And again I very much ask for a "Moderate Modration" features on /.. Moderating the parent "-1, Redundant" is "+1, Funny".

This what exactly what put me off buying pc mags (2, Interesting)

modipodio (556587) | more than 12 years ago | (#3012969)

I used to spend money on mags like pc gamer and pc zone , but I got pissed off at both the tone and content of there review's and found that on the whole better and more up to date reviews with in depth commentary from gamers and a wider scope of opinions could be found online .I now do not see the point of spending money on pc gaming magazines who constantly have to do a balancing act bettween advertisers and there reader base which often leads to comprimise's in the quality of a review .

and in old news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3012988)

duke nukem forever got 10 from 10 points.

..
..
..

2 years ago.

independant reviews (3, Interesting)

nukey56 (455639) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013002)

As long as I can remember, I have always hated the journalistic hogwash that gets thrown into places like PC Magazine, Windows Magazine, etc. Half their articles are just buzzwords and their own interpretation of them. I'm sure there are "review lobbyists" of some sort from software publishers that push for softer reviews of their products. As an effect of this, I would guess that more products are rated highly than those graded harshly, even though a large amount of software out there is utter crap (especially closed-source commercial stuff).

Personally, I enjoy reviews from actual gamers, like the horde at shacknews. Seeing multiple opinions of a game helps put it into perspective, taking the subjecticism out. However, these types of reviews usually don't come out until after the game is released, so the first wave of gamers are usually influenced by the larger, lobbied reviewers.

I guess what im trying to say here is that waiting a little while for a game to be released and tested by the masses might be worth popping $50 for something that isn't what you expected it to be *Cough*daikatana*cough.

not suprising (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013034)

Suck it Trebek!

Why the '?' mark? (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013040)

You'd have to be pretty bad with a calendar (and know nothing about games development) to believe that a review written at least six weeks before a game goes gold could be of anything even remotely resembling the finished version. I know for a fact that "Braveheart" was given 95% by one (ahem) reputable UK games rag based on a 10fps demo that crashed every 2 minutes and a promise that the development team was working 20 hour days to get a patch done in time for the boxes hitting the shelves (which was true, but signifies nothing).

Look, picture for a second how this works. A sales weasel turns up from the publisher bearing a package. In the package is a shitty beta version of the game, a promise that it will be fixed (so the magazine won't look like chumps), the advertising material, and a blank cheque. The cheque is ostensibly to pay for the advertising, but the number that goes on it depends on a lot of things. How many eyeballs the magazine is attracting; how understanding the reviewer is going to be about the bugs; how much the reviewer is prepared to just flat out lie; who is buying lunch for who.

The problem is really that the readers put up with it. Specifically, that we reward magazines for running rave review in every issue purely to tempt you to pick them up. Imagine a games mag with the cover page: "All the games reviewed this month suck." Would you buy it? Probably not, but that's exactly the kind of issue you should buy.

You want to know what a game is like? Play a downloadable or cover disk demo, or a friend's copy (local laws allowing, hey ho). Wait until it reaches budget, and see if people are still talking about it. I bought Diablo II + the expansion + Diablo + a strategy guide on Monday, for less than the original cost of Diablo II. Strangely enough, it's still the same game that it was when it first shipped - only without many of the bugs.

Games magazines are an irrelevance now, other than as a means of distributing advertising and cover disks. Online mags are a little better, partly because they don't have print deadlines to hit, but mostly because you can generally read player comments and get a feel for what the title is actually like.

Re:Why the '?' mark? (2, Interesting)

JohnBE (411964) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013048)

I do have to wonder what percentage of games are not reviewed but based on superficial reasoning. I've worked places that basically re-work the press-releases they are sent and then add to that any further lobbying. Generally when a company is onto a winner (and they know it) they'll lobby extra hard, lots of 'big lunches' and visits from PR folk with free T-Shirts etc.

I like your term 'sales weasel' although this is a bit sexist for female weasels who should be called a bitch, doe or jill. So sales weasel should become:

Sales weasel/jill
Sales weasel/bitch
Sales weasel/doe

I like 'sales bitch' best. ;-). Or is that offensive to weasels?

Faking Game Reviews (-1, Flamebait)

Innominate Recreant (557409) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013058)

Not only are they reviewing games that are still under development, but then they become Slashdot Stories [slashdot.org]

Whats bad or wrong? (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013067)

All the games play with the same rules. Que mas da? si todos los juegos se enfrentan a las mismas reglas duras... en comparacion quedan igualados. Esto puede ser una escusa de varios.. Ademas las criticas son importantes por su subjetividad, el periodismo de critica no es periodismo objetivo sino opinion.. y la gente lo que hace es LEER la firma del critico, para saber si es bueno o malo que lo recomiende o lo desrecomiende, de echo... conozco algunos criticos, que cuando les leo criticar una pelicula, libro o videojuego.. es como si me lo recomendaran, basandose en mi experiencia de otras criticas anteriores donde su mala critica, resulto de un juego genial!.. 1 saludo Tei

Hmmm (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013068)

I write for several sites... Ive wrote reviews before on hardware like this, but that is all. For instance I had a review of Firewire vs. USB 2.0 spec at one point, and it wasn't released yet. However all my data was based on the FAQ's and tech data provided for both technologies. I don't know how that compares, but it may help to show this prcatice is very common. After all how many times have youo watched election results, and seen them tell you who won (a guess) before that person ever won the election? Happens a lot. Welcome to Journalism

Pah! In my day... (4, Insightful)

Spoing (152917) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013075)

...we'd be lucky to understand the writers, let alone believe them. This was way back in the Atari 2600 era.

Seriously. The people writing the game articles looked like they were -- like me -- also in thier teens. Unlike me, they had access to press releases, and did a fine job of mangling them.

As an adult, I've been interviewed by reporters and had projects I've worked on reviewed. Nothing makes me wince more then having to read something that is simply wrong -- even if it's a "positive" error. I don't lie, so why should I expect someone else, supposedly objective, to hype or lie for me?

That the articles are still being faked isn't a surprise at all. Ethics and objectivity in popular tech journalism (ZD) is rare, and sometimes missing even at the bottom of the totem pole (Mozillaquest).

Tech TV anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3013077)

tech TV often has the worst games reporting, so bad I've always wondered if they were even playing them. Now I know!

Silly Question (1)

saihung (19097) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013095)

How many times have you read a movie review that described the film in question as a "magical romp" or "delightfully funny" when it is obvious even from the ads that no one, even people who liked "Glitter", could possibly enjoy such rubbish? Is there really any difference between reviewing something that you haven't seen and reviewing things with a complete disregard for their actual quality?

Ever see a bad preview for a game? (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013122)

In the case where a magazine previews a game instead of reviewing the pre-release version, we're still no better off. The preview is always positive because the magazine doesn't wnat to lose the advertising. When was the last time you saw a preview that said "This game sucks! We recommend you don't buy it unless major changes are made!"

unsuprising... but stil.... (1)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013149)

i don't play a lot of games (actually, besides GTA3 and dynasty warriors 2 - i don't play any), so it's no suprise that I don't see a lot of reviews.

But what bothers me is that I used to. It seems like game magazines USED to have a ratio like 30% review, 25% featured-item, 20% advertising, 10% news and letters, and maybe 5% for editorials, and 5% for "previews" -- and the previews rarely showed much of the game at all. Normally it was a mention of a particular title being licensed, a sequal game, or something like that.

Those previews were also explicitly labled that- they didn't pass off as an actual game review. And most of the actual game reviews were for games no less than a month old. Maybe the magazines only had previews then, but it seems like they at least passed it off better.

Or maybe it's just that video games weren't as big an industry back then. Or maybe games were finished sooner (distribution costs higher== more time to get out the door)

But something did this. It doesn't suprise me that this happens, but it seems suspiciously creeping: like Mcdonalds cheeseburgers shrinking over the past ten years, or television shows getting shorter.

I can understand the economic ramifications, but surely these must be reduced to advertising - and as such, shouldn't there be an explicit truth-in-advertising?

I don't want my kid comming up to me saying "OOH I WANT THIS GAME" -- I'd like to look at the bottom of the page or something and see a little label like they put on packs of cigarettes that says something like "WARNING: THIS GAME MAY NOT EXIST, AND THE PICTURES ARE FABRICATED" so I can tell the difference between a fun-looking and sounding game, and a fun-looking and sounding advertisement.

Anyway, I guess I'm glad this hit slashdot -- I might not have thought about this otherwise...

I think (1)

Anztac (322182) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013150)

A review of Duke Nukem: Forever is in order. That's coming out soon enough, right? Well... we can specualte at least and make some money...

It is PR mostly geared towards kids (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3013167)

Imagine Teen Beat magazine giving a bad review to the latest CD by Brittany Spears or some boy band.

It just ain't gonna happen cuz its all a scam.
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