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Gamespot's Editorial Problems in Perspective

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the good-guys-finish-last dept.

The Media 79

Sam Kennedy is a guy you can respect. As the Editor of the 1up site, he's overseen some great features and some unbelievable breaking news; he also has a great point of view on the games industry. So his massive blog entry posted today talking about Gamespot's sad state of affairs post-Gerstmann-gate is something you should take seriously. Sam runs down the sordid affair itself, the changes to C|Net and Gamespot management that led to unreal expectations at Eidos, and what this could mean for the future of game reviews. "Shortly after Gerstmann was fired, I got a call from a friend at one of the major nationwide news networks asking me what I knew about what happened, as he was considering trying to pitch a story to his editor. You want to know what it was? 'Game Reviews: can they be trusted?' Basically, 'You're a parent and you're going to buy a videogame for your kids this holiday season, but can you trust those reviews you're reading on the web?' That's why this story matters so much. Gerstmann-gate ... made him want to give the industry a nice kick in the pants. I applaud his motives, but again, it's a shame to have this sort of doubt hanging over us all."

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79 comments

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133000)

_0_
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click here for the proper perspective [goatse.ch]

Speaking of good journalism... (5, Informative)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133084)

"GameSpot's cheat site" is called GameFAQs. The poll wasn't "hacked" - an employee apparently created it as a joke and let it go up on the site for 45 minutes, either intentionally or accidentally (the official story from Allen Tyner, the GameFAQs editor, was that it was accidental).

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (0, Troll)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134478)

I really don't see how anyone could take GameSpot or 1up reviews seriously. Both those sites layouts are so terrible and add-ridden they give me a headache. I really put more faith in the random comments left by users on the tracker sites when I download the torrent.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134490)

Both those sites layouts are so terrible and add-ridden they give me a headache.
Come join those of us living in ad-free bliss [mozilla.org] .

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134500)

Oh yes, I'm running ABP & Noscript ;) Just saying...

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134906)

If you are just pirating the game via bittorrent I don't think reviews are very important. If you are intending to fork over $50 for a game a quality review can help you.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22136612)

I sincerely doubt it. I find reviews much more useful once the price of the game has dropped to $20. By then there are so many reviews by critics and users alike that it becomes pretty obvious when someone is just plugging the game. Not only does it save me from wasting money on a crap game, but I've saved $30-40 on the titles I actually buy.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140282)

I agree with this. While professional reviews can be a bit helpful to ferret out a potential stinker, all too often the reviewers fall victim to the hype surrounding the game, causing them to either be overly-critical (What?! This isn't the last thing I'll desire?! 4/10!) or view the game with overly-optimistic rose-colored glasses (e.g. just about any review of Halo3.)

Instead, I go onto usenet and look for reactions from the regulars there. These will be the folks who not only paid for the game with their own money (as opposed to having a copy mailed to them with a goodie basket from the publisher) and have put in more than the requisite 5 or 6 hours the reviewers play.

I really wish that more people would revisit a game 3 or 6 months after their first review. This would give them time to get rid of the unrealistic expectations and rose-colored glasses. In the case of PC games, it would also give the developers time to patch the game.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140916)

In all honesty, I trust most review sites more than most user reviews. This is because there are two types of reviews. The good objective type comes from someone who has played many games in their lifetime and recognize that games can be bad, miserable, decent, good, great, and every shade in between. They're forgiving of a game series' past trangressions but also realize that a sequel in a well established franchise doesn't guarantee quality.

And then there is the other type, the fanboy/hateboys, that have only two opinions about a game, usually based on console/pc preferences or brand loyalties. They think the game is either the greatest in the world, blessed and sanctified by God himself, or that it's absolute garbage and deserves to be burned in the fire pits of hell along with anyone who thinks otherwise. In my experience, it's far more likely to find the good kind of reviewer in a well-established company, and it's far more likley to find the fanboy in the user reviews section.

Now, of course, it's possible for this general rule to be incorrect at times. I've read fairly bad reviews in game magazines and fairly good reviews from random users, but in my experience, this is usually not the case.

One last random observation, why does everyone have to hate on Halo so much? It's a good game.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

jdjbuffalo (318589) | more than 5 years ago | (#22145628)

I have found that if you find reasonable (not fanboys) user reviews that it can be a good balance to a professional review.

I've found this to be the most reasoned approach. Often times professional reviewers don't have the time they need to fully review a game and what they might think of "innovative new feature" can actually be a game breaking issue for the gamer. The best example I can think of is that there was all the hype surrounding Oblivion (while I didn't play the previous installments of this series I have played other games in the genre). After reading a few professional reviews, I decided that I wanted to get the game since every professional reviewer and the general user rating had it at 9+. Then I got to playing it and quickly ran into a wall where I didn't enjoy the game after only a couple of hours and I wasn't really sure why.

I read several of the negative reviews and found what the source of my dis-satisfaction was. It was primarily that the enemies leveled with me, it was too open-ended, and the game areas were either expansive and sparsely populated or confined and full of enemies.

If I had bothered to read these negative user reviews then I would have seen that I wouldn't have liked this game despite it's near universal acclaim and could have saved myself $50.

Also, while I thought I was one of only a handful, I was surprised at how many people agreed with my criticisms of the game when I posted it up on Gamespot's User review section for Oblivion.

In conclusion, I really think you need a balance with the professional reviews to get you interested in a game and then using the user reviews (negative ones especially) to confirm whether the game is really worth the hard earned money.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22142018)

requisite 5-6 hours? Only if its a review of heavenly sword. In almost all cases, reviewers are required to finish a game before writing their review, the exceptions being puzzle games with no real ending, or MMOs where there may be 100s of hours of content. To this end, they'll play the game like a full time job, since it is their job. Most reviewers have spent 20-30 hours on a game when they write their review, or will make it explicitly clear if they did not finish the game.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22135402)

If GameFAQs is GameSpots cheat site then I wonder what metacritic is.

Re:Speaking of good journalism... (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139854)

I'm nitpicking a bit since GameFAQs was purchased by the CNET conglomerate which also owns GameSpot, but it technically is not GameSpot's cheat site - GameSpot has their own Cheats and FAQs.

Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133108)

We all realize the importance of advertising; we're Slashdot users. We've been wallowing in it ever since CmdrTaco sold us out as a userbase to VA Software, a public company concerned only with the bottom line.

But Gamespot went over the line.

It's one thing to inundate users with annoying ad after annoying ad, as Slashdot does, and quite another to modify site content to pander to advertisers. It's the difference between barely-watchable, ad-saturated broadcast television and unwatchable, ad-saturated broadcast television with product placement.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1, Insightful)

knivesx11 (1085179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133226)

I'm not really that sure that gamespot fired him solely because he gave the game a bad review. I mean how can you watch his review of the game where he used the F-word three or four times. That and his comment that no one should ever buy this game was probably not the best. Its one thing to honestly point out flaws in a product, which he did and I'm not saying it wasn't a bad game. Its quite another to tell people that something is terrible and they shouldn't buy it. Especially odd is that this story is on 1up which had themselves a little trouble after a terrible review of Neverwinter Nights 2. http://www.joystiq.com/2006/11/03/1up-pulls-neverwinter-nights-2-review/ [joystiq.com] if you want to read some of the more eye raising excerpts. What these people need to realize that if they want to be treated like journalist and have there editors go up to bat for them if they give a product a bad review, then they need to hold themselves to some journalistic standards.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (4, Insightful)

The PS3 Will Fail (998952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133466)

"Its one thing to honestly point out flaws in a product, which he did and I'm not saying it wasn't a bad game. Its quite another to tell people that something is terrible and they shouldn't buy it."
Yeah, that is different. What's your point? Ostensibly, if a reviewer says a game is terrible and no one should buy it, he or she should be able to point out flaws with it. On the other hand, pointing out flaws doesn't mean that the game is not worthy of a purchase. I don't see your point because your statement is flawed. The two possible positions on a game you cite aren't mutually exclusive. Now, as far as the F-word being used in his reviews - that's up to an editor to handle. If Gamespot doesn't want video reviews with the F-word in it, that's fine but the editor would make that happen.

What exactly is your point? Ebert tells people not to go to movies all the time and calls movies terrible. Are you saying Ebert deserves to be fired?

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22136186)

The review was shallow and didn't really say much about the problems of the game and failed to demonstrate any complaints he had (if you're doing a video review you should at least show what you're complaining about, not run a trailer while you babble positives/negatives). Supposedly it was rushed and only contained footage of the first level of the game and was only one entry in a long series of half-assed reviews by Gerstmann. In other words, he just sucked at his job so he lost it.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (2)

The PS3 Will Fail (998952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147992)

I was more discussing the OP's statement that: "Its one thing to honestly point out flaws in a product, which he did and I'm not saying it wasn't a bad game. Its quite another to tell people that something is terrible and they shouldn't buy it." - not the specific reviews of Gerstmann. It is well within the range of a review/critique to call something terrible and suggest people not buy it. I'm not sure your reply really addresses the content of my post.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22136794)

Pointing out flaws and describing the game is fine reviewing work. At the point that a person tells others to not buy a game, it's no longer just journalism; they're trying to instill bias in their audience.

Journalism should be unbiased as much as possible, and that does not describe that particular review.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (3, Insightful)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133804)

>Its quite another to tell people that something is terrible and they shouldn't buy it.

I KNOW, THIS IS THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF GAME REVIEWERS

omg am I just missing the sarcasm because I'm tired and drunk or is this post insane?

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22136668)

I read game reviews to get some idea of what I can expect from a game - not to have someone tell me whether or not to buy it. They're called 'reviewers' not 'deciders'. I can think for myself.

A reviewer who tells me to buy a game loses credibility. I'm skeptical enough of glowing reviews. Actually telling me to buy something just screams 'shill'. A reviewer who tells me not to buy a game (especially the way this guy did) is not only unhelpful, but may be insulting if I happen to actually like the game. The audacity of either to presume he or she knows what is best for _me_ - who they ostensibly do not even know - is beyond the pale.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133842)

Seeing as how one of Jeff's complaints was the repetitive & uncreative swearing, don't you find it somehow relevant to the material that he actually use the word?

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133984)

Are you trying to say that he lacked journalistic standard because he was inaccurate or because he used 'the F-word'?

if it's the former, i can assure you that he was, in fact, accurate.. and if it's the latter.. can i please point out that he was objecting to the gratuitous and 'lazy' use of the word, that he felt that it was used as an excuse for sloppy writing, and that if someone watching the review was offended, well.. they may also have been offended by the game?

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134756)

No matter the site's target audience, using the word "fuck" (apparently, as cited, three seperate times) in something set up for general consumption is not appropriate. Journalism is the art of effectively conveying information to a very large audience -- the largest; the masses. If the way you present the information is unnecessarily repulsive, or otherwise gratuitious, then yes, you lack journalistic standards in that instance. That's exactly what "journalistic standards" means.

Even though I have no problem with this word, and many people I know do not, that is not the point. Everyone knows, or should know, that many people are highly offended when they heard the word, AND another very large group of people feel it is not appropriate for children to be exposed to this word. Such individuals are quite likely to stop using (or forbid their children from using) the entire site, to varying degrees. That's bad on two counts -- one, you fail to convey your message to your audience (they tune it out), and two, your business is hurt. If the game features language commonly considered graphic, all the review needs to say is "This game frequently makes use of certain four-letter words". If the game used racial slurs frequently in the dialog, would it be appropriate to use those same slurs in the review?

It is a matter of basic politeness. The communication is specifically intended for some people who will be offended; in fact, if you are correct, then he specifically pointed out that he knew that, but used the language anyway, without real warning. This is the same basic reasoning behind noise pollution and other public nuisance laws. There comes a point where it's just impractical to defend one person's right to make huge numbers of people feel uncomfortable, even if you think it's unreasonable for them to be offended; they are, aren't they?

Note: I am not condoning Gamestop's actions; they appear to be guilty as sin, and I have no doubt that this was anything but a pretext.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135026)

hmm.. what about if it's cited (as noted) in context, protesting the gratuitous use of the word in the game?

As i said in the previous post, if people are offended by the word 'fuck', Gerstmann basically did them a favor by pointing out exactly how gratuitous and unwarranted the use of the word was.

Sadly, Gamespot is more than just their management. Until recently, Gamespot was a credible site with ridiculous advertising. Since the people in charge of said advertising started messing with the editorial content, well.. something had to give.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22135070)

Oh please, grow the fuck up. Typical american bullshit, you show your kids violence on tv all day long and get your panties all up in a bunch if someone swears or shows a pair of titties.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22136236)

To be fair it was a video review (i.e. contained both video and audio, he didn't just sit in front of a blank screen) of a game rated M for severe violence and swearing, even without him swearing it would not have been appropriate for children. I think it actually showed a warning that the game is rated M before the review started so people offended by swearing had plenty of time to stop watching it.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22141642)

Why are so many people suddenly speaking up in favour of censorship, when that censorship doesn't even protect anything important like national security or public safety, but merely insulates a thin-skinned minority of the population from any exposure to some arbitrary taboos?

If the game features language commonly considered graphic, all the review needs to say is "This game frequently makes use of certain four-letter words".
No, that conveys no information at all. Which ones? "Damn" and "shit" are totally inoffensive in many contexts these days. "Fuck" is only offensive to a minority. "Cunt" is very offensive to a lot of people. This is relevant information that parents should be provided with to help them make purchase decisions for their children.

If the game used racial slurs frequently in the dialog, would it be appropriate to use those same slurs in the review?
It would certainly be appropriate to quote them, yes. Whyever wouldn't it be? Again, different slurs are offensive to different people in different degrees and contexts, and therefore people should be aware of the language used so they can make an informed decision about the game.

Sure, there are some slurs that can be evoked with common euphemisms, but there are plenty of racial slurs that can't be got around that easily: how do you convey to people of Japanese ancestry that a game refers to the Japanese as "Nips" unless you actually tell them that? You can't exactly say "the N-word" and expect people to guess that you don't mean "nigger", while if you just say that the game uses a racist term then they might think you meant "Jap", decide they don't find that offensive, buy the game for their children, and get an unpleasant shock. Just tell them what the game says, and if they're offended then they'll know not to buy the game. It's hardly rocket science.

If you're worried that this will make easily-offended people too uncomfortable, then just give the damn reviews ratings too. It's not hard to stick a little box on the screen saying "this review quotes language that some people may find offensive". Then those of us who are able to listen to taboo words without freaking out -- the great majority of people -- will be able to find out what language the game uses, while the tiny minority who faint at the first sound of obscenity will be able to avoid stepping outside their narrow comfort zones. Problem solved.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22136702)

Its one thing to honestly point out flaws in a product, which he did and I'm not saying it wasn't a bad game. Its quite another to tell people that something is terrible and they shouldn't buy it.

I really don't agree with this. There is a long tradition in mainstream journalism of giving no holds barred bad reviews. Sure you don't say "this movie was fucking shit", but you might well see something along the lines of "the movie started badly and by the half hour mark my brain had crawled out of my ears and was quivering under my seat." Outspoken reviewers who can lambast a bad movie or restaurant in an entertaining way tend to be highly valued at any major publication.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (5, Funny)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133530)

I think that the product that Gamespot sells most effectively is... ... Firefox Adblock.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137450)

Agreed, but what happens when they skin their site with images provided by advertisers? Those wouldn't qualify as ads, unfortunately.

Re:Gamespot sold out. That's the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22142946)

It's one thing to inundate users with annoying ad after annoying ad, as Slashdot does
You consider Slashdot inundated? Are you for real? I'm curious as to which internet you've been using. To my 21st century perspective, as far as ads go, Slashdot might as well be N P fucking R.

Gamespot is run by NIGGERS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133132)

Niggers will stoop to any low.

Gamespot corrupt? What is the world coming to? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133152)

Well, at least I can still trust in the objectivity of Nintendo Power.

A reputation (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133216)

The value of a reputation is difficult to quantify. Blizzard has a great reputation because all of its games have been solid. But what is the value? A Blizzard title may sell just as many as many other titles that year. So suits may look at that and say that the reputation itself has no value. They they calculate the profits from a cheap spinoff title, and release Starcraft:Ghost.

Except they didn't, because they realized the value of their reputation. Ghost may have made a chunk of money in the short term, but it could have tarnished the reputation. And reputation ensures that the next great Blizzard game cuts through the noise and makes it to the top of people's shopping lists, instead of becoming yet another Ico or Beyond Good and Evil.

A reputation does not ensure a hit. But it does ensure that things deserving of becoming hits, do so.

GameSpot isn't selling advertising space. It's selling viewers. Its reputation as one of the better news sources out there draws in viewers. Selling off that reputation in the long term sells off viewers, and reduces what they have to sell.

I hope GameSpot finds itself soon.

Re:A reputation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22134400)

Blizzard has a great reputation because all of its games have been solid.

Blizzard has a great reputation because all of its games have been popular. Starcraft: Ghost was canceled because the development team quit and the project was FUBAR. No noble intentions involved at all.

It's not as if "Blizzard" is an entity with any decision-making power that matters -- they are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vivendi, who does not have any reputation for customer service or satisfaction.

A reputation does not ensure a hit. But it does ensure that things deserving of becoming hits, do so.

Sega had a nearly pristine reputation and failed twice with the Saturn and Dreamcast. Nintendo had a great reputation and failed twice with the Gamecube and Nintendo 64. (These are game consoles, but the manufacturers were also game developers.)

There are also many game developers with good reputations that have histories of releasing buggy and/or unsatisfactory titles: Bioware, Sir-Tech, Black Isle, Troika, Bungie, Bethesda Softworks, iD, and so on.

Re:A reputation (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134832)

Within the industry, Blizzard has a reputation for being a massive meat-house with crushing grinds and soul-sucking levels of authority. That having been said, they're willing to iterate on a title for a tremendous amount of time until it is really done. Warcraft 3 is a great example of this: The game went through much balyhooed RPG and action iterations before returning to an RTS with RPG elements. Ghost is another example. It went through several developers (not just one development team) and many years before it was scrapped.

Blizzard has free reign within Vivendi. Nobody earns that much money that consistently without gaining self-determinism.

Sega, on the other hand, had their reputation completely shot to heck by the time the Dreamcast came around. After the mess that was the infighting between Sega US with 32x versus Sega JP with Saturn, (and the debacle that was the Sega CD), Sega's reputation was in shambles. The Saturn provided a super polished sprite-based experience, but was a nightmare to make those newfangled polygons and 3d games that everyone was so eager to try. It's no wonder that the Dreamcast did much better in Japan, where the Sega CD and the Saturn weren't complete failures and therefore weren't huge tarnishes upon SEGA's reputation.

WRT Nintendo, don't forget that the N64 (which was greatly overpromised and underdelivered) was competitive until a severe lack of titles became apparent. Titles were lacking largely because the cartridge mechanism provided such slim profit margins that it wasn't profitable to make games for, even ports. Many Nintendo fans got burned on this lack of titles, and many developers became wary of working with the big "N". Even then, the space afforded to disk-based games were just much more shiny and impressive. The GameCube suffered from the reputation that N had built up over the years.

Re:A reputation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22135174)

they're willing to iterate on a title for a tremendous amount of time until it is really done

Who isn't? While that used to be the standard long ago, PC gaming is nearly dead and the supermajority of developers don't get that luxury. It's literally publish or perish in most cases. Anyone that holds publisher insistence against a developer's reputation is just being unfair.

Personally, I don't see what the big deal is about Blizzard games. They aren't perfect. They ship with bugs and require patching when distributed wide like any other game. None of their games are especially well-balanced, even after multiple patches. They're one of a million Dune II-clone developers that happened to survive by branching out and making a Nethack-clone. They've built a name on stealing ideas and pandering to the stupid. They don't have my respect.

Raph K.

Kind of ruining your own argument with blizzard (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135162)

Until WoW SOE was the big (western) MMORPG company and seemed to have the market in its grasp. People tought that the half a million or so subscribers to EQ at one point was the maximum market.

And then Blizzard came along and didn't so much raise the bar as send it into orbit.

Currently SOE has a lousy reputation, which makes me extremely reluctant to try any new MMO from them, Pirates of the Burning Seas is the latest and altough it was developed outside SOE, well so was Vanguard.

I on the other hand would have little trouble in putting in a pre-order for the next Blizzard MMO title (Sorry, never was much of a RTS fan).

Rep matters and the suits know it. Why do you think suit run companies change their name constantly and have huge marketing campaigns? Because when all else sucks you hope you can bluff your way into having a good rep.

Re:A reputation (2, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135320)

The value of a reputation is difficult to quantify. Blizzard has a great reputation because all of its games have been solid. But what is the value? A Blizzard title may sell just as many as many other titles that year. So suits may look at that and say that the reputation itself has no value. They they calculate the profits from a cheap spinoff title, and release Starcraft:Ghost.
Reputation has a great deal of value. They operate in a market that usually sells titles in the hundreds of thousands on average. They sell millions. They release a small 30s snippet from a game and get more free advertising then most titles receive in paid advertising. They have a user base that will buy the game first and then look for reviews only to re-affirm the value of their purchase. I know that if Diablo 3 comes out, I will first check into a rehab isolation clinic.. then check out 15 min later check out and buy it. For SC2, I have 2 weeks vacation I rolled from last year and all my vacation this year reserved so I can use it to take a month off when it comes out. etc...

Re:A reputation (1, Troll)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135878)

For SC2, I have 2 weeks vacation I rolled from last year and all my vacation this year reserved so I can use it to take a month off when it comes out.

Are you being serious?

Re:A reputation (1)

bioshake (793163) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139310)

Please don't ever site Blizzard has making 'solid' titles in any argument in the gaming world for OR against something.

Blizzard old out a long long time ago. You speak affectionately about a company called VU (Vivendi Universal). This entity is all about the bottom line like any other large corporation.

Blizzard's success is one that is of pure dollars and zero sense. Their games are well, their games and their EULA and TOS will beat you over the head about how you are blessed to be playing their game and you will play it the way THEY want not the way you want.

Last time I checked corporations do not know how to mass reproduce fun which is where VU / Blizzard fail miserably.

They do retain an astounding and probably the largest fanboy base of any game publisher / developer on the planet though. I just do not understand how this is justified.

And now World of Warcraft doubles as a Trojan Horse.. incredible innovation for sure.

Re:A reputation (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194646)

I'll give you a hint as to how Blizzard has retained its fanbase: we like their games. No, we are not just blinding ourselves, as you insinuate. Hell, I don't even like every Blizzard game (I practically hated Starcraft), but the majority of them are really damn good. If you disagree, well, there are more games out there, so you're sure to find the ones you do like... but it's ridiculous to say Blizzard has their fans for no reason, just because you don't like their games.

Gerstmann Was Nothing More Than A Halo Fanboy (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133288)

Just like sites that have been overrun with Xbox/Halo fanboys, Gamespot had a foaming at the mouth Halo fanboy in charge with Gerstmann.

Management there had grown tired of his unprofessionalism for month and finally fired his ass. Gamespot will be a better place in the long run after all the fake cries of 'outrage' and the rest his sympathizers there at Gamespot.

Gamers want unbiased information about games. Not fanboys with platform agendas or using game reviews and news as a springboard for their own self promotion. Gerstmann can now sit at home blogging about how much absolutely loves his Xbox 360 and Halo 3 and thinks its the best game ever 24/7. The rest of the gaming world outside of the Xbox niche doesn't need or want to hear that crap. Nor will they tolerate Gerstmann type crap for long be it in reviews, news, or an overall editorial tone.

Microsoft and hardcore Xbox fans did a very good job of setting up 'marketing arrangements' and landing jobs or using their existing jobs to hype the Xbox 360 and slam other platforms in news and reviews.

Sites like EMG recently got bitchslapped by a group of publishers over their fanboy review games.
And now Gamespot has been effectively purged and is on its path to once again becoming a legitimate gaming news site.

Good news for gamers. Bad new for Xbox/Halo fans who have been reveling in their fellow fans at review sites abusing their positions.

Re:Gerstmann Was Nothing More Than A Halo Fanboy (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135982)

Gamers want unbiased information about games...
No they don't. They want the opinion of other gamers on games so that they can make a more informed purchase decision.

...how much absolutely loves his Xbox 360 and Halo 3 and thinks its the best game ever 24/7.
If that's his honest opinion, then by God, he should be talking about that in his coverage of those things. And if you don't like it, that's quite honestly too damn bad for you, because he's there to express his opinion.

Re:Gerstmann Was Nothing More Than A Halo Fanboy (2, Insightful)

Vaffelen (889175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138582)

Parent should be modded troll. First of all, Halo 3 was praised [metacritic.com] by pretty much every reviewer, not just Gerstmann. Gerstmanns score, 9.5, is just 0.1 above the average on Metacritic. Every reviewer out there is an Xbox fanboy? Right. And besides, Gerstmann could hardly be considered a Halo fanboy. Citing Gerstmann's personal blog [jeffgerstmann.net] :

If you had told me a year ago that I'd be sitting here, telling anyone who will listen that Halo 3 is one of the year's best games, I'd call you a liar. Then I'd kick you in the stomach, because that's what liars get. Between its cliffhanger ending and its asshole-filled multiplayer, I had a real disdain for Halo 2 and saw no real reason for Halo 3 to be any different. Back when the multiplayer beta came out, it looked like it was just going to be more Halo--exactly what the Halo faithful wanted, but not really the sort of thing that's going to change anyone's mind. ...

Parent post is full of misinformation. All evidence points to the conclusion that Gerstmann was fired because he was too harsh on high profile games such as Kane & Lynch, not because he was a Xbox 360 fanboy. If you have any evidence to the contrary, you should put it forward.

Trusted? (3, Insightful)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133332)

Of course game reviews can't be trusted. Or I guess they can be trusted insofar as your experience matches the reviewer's. It's like movie reviews- you find a reviewer who seems to share your likes and dislikes and stay with them. This is, of course, if you look at reviews as purely a buying guide. For game criticism of a more literary caliber there's no real source that I know of. Frankly I don't think most games would stand up to that, and I've been playing games since 1980.

Re:Trusted? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133368)

I think the use of "trusted" here is as in, hasn't been paid or pressured to give it an undeserved score. As in, we'll get an honest impression of what is being reviewed, rather than playing the part of a shill or glossing over problems.

Re:Trusted? (2, Informative)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133884)

>For game criticism of a more literary caliber there's no real source that I know of.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation [escapistmagazine.com]

Re:Trusted? (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141238)

I love zeropunctuation. He's hilarious and enjoyable to watch, but he's actually a bit biased in his reviews. He obviously has a preference for PC gaming (which is actually slowly subsiding as he grows more familiar with consoles) and he doesn't care for multiplayer games. Hell, he said so outright in his Halo 3 review. Still, I can forgive all that because he's hilarious.

Re:Trusted? (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 5 years ago | (#22145604)

Though I thoroughly enjoy it, I'm not sure I would describe Zero Punctuation as "literary" in any normal sense of the word. Perhaps more so than most of the dross out there though...

Re:Trusted? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 5 years ago | (#22144378)

It's like movie reviews- you find a reviewer who seems to share your likes and dislikes and stay with them. This is, of course, if you look at reviews as purely a buying guide. For game criticism of a more literary caliber there's no real source that I know of. Frankly I don't think most games would stand up to that, and I've been playing games since 1980.


This is one of the biggest reasons I enjoy reading Gabe and Tycho's (of Penny Arcade, for those under a rock ;)) views on games. Tycho likes really strange crap, or likes the same things we do but for completely different reasons (e.g., playing an Engineer in TF2? ;)) than most of us. Still, he manages to often find the kernel of neatness in the gameplay of just about anything he talks about (or, presumably, he wouldn't be mentioning it). Also, most importantly, he talks a lot about the social aspects of gaming, and the effect this has on his game choices. (For example, when he noted that the entire PA crew went to play R6:Vegas, rather than some other game which (I think?) he preferred on technical merits. I may have that migration backwards.)

More importantly ... Jerry (Tycho) is a Gaming Nerd, and I am too (though in different ways). We like "traditional" RPGs, interesting game mechanics, and a bunch of other things... and I find that, somehow, his opinions about games often resonate deeply with me. I don't understand it, either, since many of the games he talks about are ones I don't play (since I don't have a newish console).

Gabe (Mike Krahulik) weighs in less often on games, but when he does, it's like a refreshing reminder of what it's like to hear a friend's honest opinion about something. When a game sucks, he'll say so. When it's awesome (like Assassin's Creed), he'll tell you also -- even if the reason for Awesomeness is something which "reviewers" might not grok.

Interestingly, today they mentioned their OWN game, which has been in the works for a while. Gabe said that games in general (and thus presumably this one) suck, until such point as they graduate to awesomeness. I don't know how good this game will be, but I'm very intrigued. It'll have to pass Gabe's highly tuned Fun Filter, and yet it seems like it also has a large amount of retro-ish gaming aspects which Tycho surely had a hand in bringing. Seriously -- rolling for initiative?? power-up combos?? This looks like it could be pretty darn fun. (Of course, I also felt the same way about SERPG, and have been playing FF1 these past three weeks. ;))

Anyways ... yeah. Find critics/reviewers that you like, and trust them to give you good info. =)

("Yahweh Doesn't Exist" (a sibling poster) mentioned Zero Punctuation -- which I also enjoy; not just for his scathing exposition of all that sucks, but also for the entertaining way he does it.)

Who would trust game reviewers anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22133358)

Game reviewers should only be trusted to the extent that their past reviews line up with what you (or the person you're buying for) think about a game. If this is the case, it shouldn't matter whether the reviews are being bought by game companies. Parents who know nothing about video games might as well ask a store clerk as read a review.

Driv3r (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133498)

I thought it was leaked that Atari out-right paid for Driv3r reviews, many of which were extremely high despite the game sucking. When it came out, many sites claimed they only gave high reviews because they tested an early very-buggy build for a few hours, and then was told all the bugs would be fixed before retail ship. When the game actually shipped as a buggy mess (not to mention, a piss-poor game) the reviewers were claiming they never played the retail game and gave a review based on hype and expectations.

Either you believe what I consider a lie, and then reviews are worthless because they're based on hype, or you call them liars and reviews are worthless because publishers pay for them.

Take your pick. Personally, what I'm looking for (and what I rarely see) is a good description of how gameplay goes down. I don't need an arbitrary score, because the reviewer and I might not have the same tastes. We all like differen genres of games. But if the review does a very good job describing objectively what gameplay is like, then I might be able to decide for myself whether or not I will enjoy the game.

Re:Driv3r (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22136620)

I still remember how an Atari Australia employee bragged about Driv3r getting a high review score from the Australian Official Playstation 2 Magazine. This was on Atari Australia's forum. This also occurred a month before that issue came out.

Guess who accounted for all the most prominent (expensive) advertising spots over the next few months.

Re:Driv3r (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22136866)

"But if the review does a very good job describing objectively what gameplay is like, then I might be able to decide for myself whether or not I will enjoy the game."
+1 Spot-On.

I wrote computer game reviews for more than 10 years for a handful of niche-market websites and even a magazine or two, more as a hobby than anything else. We were fairly small potatoes, and the money was trivial.
So I definitely had less riding on the reception of my reviews and my continuing as a writer for a specific outlet. But at various times I felt both the overt and implied pressure from games companies, one blatantly saying "if you don't change that review, you'll never see another game from us" - not much of a threat, since if we'd really wanted to review it we'd have bought it anyway and in any case they were really relying on US to get their game publicized. But the fact that they'd have the nuts to come out and say it was stunning.

From the point of view of someone who's been in that market, I'd make some recommendations:
- A review should state clearly if the reviewer or his firm was GIVEN the game or BOUGHT the game. The cost of an individual game is a meaningless amount of money for a business, yet there is still a large step up in credibility and editorial freedom when one is not beholden to the game company by even that small amount. There's a reason Consumer Reports has done it for all these years on all the products they review.
- the game reviewer's machine specs need to be stated clearly in the review. Optimally, the game should be run on both 'min spec' and 'recommended or better' machines.
- the game should be reviewed AS RECEIVED; no last-minute patches, no 'supplemental' disk that the consumer isn't going to get. Anything that's not a 'gold' version going on the shelves is a PREVIEW not a REVIEW. (Another reason why buying a copy off the shelf is a sound practice.) *Any* other swag from the company should be refused or donated away.
- I like reviews that set out the reviewer's bias at the beginning; it lets me know outright if they want to like the game or not. Usually that's clear from the text, but stating it explicitly is more transparent.
- As the above-poster said, a review is strongest when it's descriptive. Hyperbole should be at a minimum, and the best reviews never say anything as bluntly as "this is a good game"...such should be clear from the text.

Re:Driv3r (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139250)

Unfortunately, reviewing "retail copies only" means that your review isn't going to come out until at least a few days *after* the product hits the shelves (a month later if you're doing a magazine review). Which is fine if you're reviewing vacuum cleaners, but not okay in the gaming world, when you can get a million people shell out $60 to get a copy the first day of release.

Re:Driv3r (2, Insightful)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140984)

Magazine reviews already come out AFTER the game anyways. Halo3, for instance, had been out for weeks by the time I got my copy of GameInformer which was practically covered in drool from the reviewers.

Game reviews should, at worst, be based on the golden master. This is the version that is sent to manufacturing, meaning, it's also the version that shows up on shelves for regular folks like you and I to buy.

Game reviews based on "near final" versions or earlier are almost useless. Sure, you could get a rough idea about the game, but until it's "Finished" - you can't really give a review of it. After all, customers won't be buying that version, so what's the point? Take the hit and wait a week to do a proper review. Seriously, if you're gung-ho on buying the game on release day (or were stupid enough to pre-order it), you don't care about reviews since you've already decided to buy the game. It's also pointless to review a non-final version since there will be bugs and unfinished items in it. There are literally reviews out there that say "Despite some crashes to the desktop, which we hope will be fixed by ship-time, this is a good game." and give it a 7/10. What the heck?!? A major bug, much less a crash, is not the sign of a good game, much less one deserving anything above a 4 or a 5...

Ars Technica (was Re:Driv3r) (1)

GamerCowboy (954246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138472)

You should check out Ars Technica's game reviews. They don't attach a number but go into the gameplay details with a discerning eye. Unfortunately, they only seem to review the most hyped games and so you'll most likely miss the hidden treasures if you rely solely on them.

Long-Term Impact (4, Insightful)

kidcharles (908072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22133974)

One thing Kennedy didn't address fully was the long-term impact on Gamespot of its behavior. In the short term, they can make some cash selling ads and boosting associated review scores to please game distributors. In the long term, if their credibility is shot among the community, they will see fewer and fewer website hits as people find their reviews elsewhere. As the hits dry up, so will the advertisement money. Internet traffic can shift quite violently when better alternatives come along (e.g. the "Friendster -> MySpace -> Facebook -> ?" progression), Gamespot would do well to take heed and clean up their act before they become irrelevant.

Best article on the whole nasty affair (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22134512)

If you are a gamer "READ THIS ARTICLE."

Lameness filter encountered.Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

-gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22134772)

Why is everything whatever-gate? It's a lame copycat piece of syntax, overladen with too many stereotypes and layers of emotion.

Let's make up some new words, that one's played out.

Re:-gate (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137284)

I agree. Take a page from Garfield and let's start using "-splut"

Are there really any trustworthy reviews? (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135826)

A few days ago I was at the magazine shop of the local train station trying to get me something to read for my 5 hour trip. I was thinking of getting me some Nintendo or Wii magazine...but I found out that reviews don't get much more biased than when it comes to console games.

I know that a game review is mostly a thing of opinion and matter of taste...but the way most of those magazines kept portraying games was so shallow and obviously trimmed for "buy this, get that, spend money here" that I was afraid some advertiser drone would jump out of the magazine right into my face any second.

I find it hard that with a market this big there's really any worthwhile "independent" reviews for games anymore. Are there any gems among the magazines and/or review sites anymore? Where do you turn to if you want to get your hard facts about games these days?

I found that metacritic is a really good starting point, from there you can gather multiple opinions fairly quickly...anything else that's worth browsing?

Re:Are there really any trustworthy reviews? (2, Informative)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22136224)

Edge and Games TM, both UK publications from different publishers, are well worth seeking out a subscription for. Both are very well written and appear to be without bias, I would thoroughly recommend either of them as they are both designed well (Edge beautifully so) and have a much more mature side to them then many of the XBox/Ps3/Ninty Official etc mags out there. Also, flick through Edge and you will find very few game ads in there - their main ad revenue appears to come through ads for jobs in the games industry, which is one section in the back.

Some controversy (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137606)

For all this hand-wringing and talk about how this is going to affect Gamespot in the long term, I would point out that this "great controversy" barely even warranted a brief mention on Gamespot's wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] and had virtually no effect [alexa.com] on their site traffic.

This controversy is only known to a handful of geeks and will be forgotten a year from now.

Re:Some controversy (1)

Murrquan (1161441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137742)

And every one of those geeks will be telling the people they know not to go to Gamespot for reviews.

Re:Some controversy (1)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138700)

It's not on wikipedia due to concerns with a living person being involved. And who'd have thought that /. was the appropriate place to discuss a topic relevant only to a subsection of the geek crowd.

Re:Some controversy (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22142380)

not on wikipedia due to concerns with a living person being involved

WTF is THAT supposed to mean. Since when has wikipedia banned controversies involving living people (and well-known journalists no less)!?! I suppose they're no reference to the Stephen Glass or Dan Rather controversies either?

Re:Some controversy (1)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22142768)

Read the talk page for the article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons

"Biographies of living persons (BLPs) must be written conservatively, with regard for the subject's privacy." from the policy. Basically, since there's no actual confirmation of the events from either side, only speculation and (honestly) rumor being discussed, they won't put it on there. Rightfully so, in my opinion. If Wikipedia wants to be taken seriously, it should act seriously. No place for tabloid style "reporting" in something that is purporting to be a neutral, factual repository of human knowledge. Controversies regarding other people (like Stephen Glass) are mentioned because there is factual information available.

Not that they succeed, based upon information I've seen in other articles, but this is a sensible approach.

Re:Some controversy (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141392)

Sadly, to some extent, you're probably right. It's like when some employee pisses you off at Wal-Mart and you tell the manager you're never coming back to the store again. He might act apologetic, but you know in the back of his mind he's thinking "who cares, we have enough customers."

Still, they've lost me as a customer, and not really because I'm angry or anything, but rather that all my favorite reviewers like Alex, Greg and Jeff have left. So why stick around?

Re:Some controversy (2, Insightful)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 5 years ago | (#22145806)

How big an entry do you want it to have in Wikipedia? Should the entire article now read, "GERSTMAN FIRED, GO ELSEWHERE?" Clearly there is a section which outlines the controversy, in generally the same area of the article as controversies always seem to appear. In fact, for it to appear at all on the Wikipedia entry for any length of time is a clear indicator of its level of importance.

As for the effect of this whole deal on the company, I think you're being a trifle naive. The majority of Gamespot's traffic is from this "handful of geeks," although I'd say a great many more than anything that could be called a handful are aware of this. If Gamespot takes the same attitude as you, they'd be thumbing their noses at the very people who ultimately make them a profitable venture. Not very bright.

I always read Gamespot reviews (1)

Murrquan (1161441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137712)

... because I normally go to GameFAQs as a starting point to learn about any game.

Sounds like I can't exactly trust them for honest coverage anymore.

Where can I go to find honest reviews, plus FAQs and the like?

Re:I always read Gamespot reviews (2, Funny)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141046)

I dunno, what's wrong with GameFaqs? Read the forum for the individual game to get reactions from folks who actually bought the game. If it's a bad game, you're going to find out pretty quick in the forums.

That might be true ... (1)

Murrquan (1161441) | more than 5 years ago | (#22144496)

But if they're changing their reviews based on the whims of their advertisers, then I'd prefer not to grant them more ad revenue.

Re:I always read Gamespot reviews (1)

jdjbuffalo (318589) | more than 5 years ago | (#22146056)

And what happens if the mods delete most/all the bad reviews?

Plus GameFaqs is owned by CNet, who is the parent company of Gamespot. CNet's management is where most/all the blame lies for this Gamespot issue.

Re:I always read Gamespot reviews (1)

PopeGumby (1125507) | more than 5 years ago | (#22146086)

i dont read any forums, before purchasing games. i read reviews, and just find out what the game is actually like. whats the gameplay like? whats the little things that the reviewer finds annoying? one of my pet peeves is bad camera work, especially in platformers of various kinds, so if a reviewer goes "the camera work is a little iffy", that usually sets off MAJOR alarm bells for me.

one review is better than a whole forum of tweens going "Hal03 rulz 4eva!" "Nuh-uh!" "STFU N00B!"

I also usually check out Gamerankings.com, and see which reviewer gave it the highest and lowest scores, and read those reviews to find out why they're on the extremes of the spectrum

of course, this is all if I'm not quite sold on a game. Some stuff, I buy on the opening day, reviews be damned! I've had GTA4 preordered since June last year, for example :)

EA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138976)

The article mentions that EA has a "hands off" approach when it comes to review scores. Part of why this is key is the upper management decides if a game was "good" not just on sales, but directly on its metacritic score. If they mucked about with the scores, they would not then be able to use those scores as a good metric on what games to make in the future (and thus make more games people wanted to buy and thus make more money).

As much as people hate EA in these parts, they understand the business and they understand what's important for the long term, rather than the short term.

Sam Kennedy (1)

Cyborg Ninja (954796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149970)

I'm surprised to see such an in-depth editorial on GameSpot's problems. Late last year, other sites seemed to take a hands-off approach to the subject, almost in fear of what CNET might do or claim (i.e. slander). Hsu recently said on a GameTrailers' Bonus Round interview that he has no idea what happened to Gerstmann, when in my opinion it seemed obvious. Maybe that's the fair way to play, but I appreciate seeing a guy like Kennedy get out there and tell it like it is.
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