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Thursday, December 06, 2007

On Gerstmann, On Reviews, On WTF Else Is There

I wasn't going to blog about this as it is hard to care about a review I didn't watch for a game I'm not going to play anytime soon or what happened after. But I started to rant on when Thomas brought it up and so here it is.

So I watched the video review and thought it was honestly a pretty bad review. Bad as in quality of the review, although I don't think K&L looks like it is exactly masterpiece theater. Jeff complained constantly about how dark the characters were and how much swearing they do and how he thought it was an ugly game - and by constantly I mean he kept bitching about it even when talking about the multiplayer at the end. Really, I got it the first fifteen times. That K&L is trying some of the most inventive multplayer we've seen in a few years and that is so rare it really, really isn't funny might have been mentioned a little more instead of complaining about the ugly any more.

Not saying he should get fired over it - but honestly if that was the standard he held, I'm not going to cry over it. And no, I don't think Gamespot should have behaved like the electronic three stooges in trying to deal with the onslaught of negativity that followed it. Half of what they did either was conspiratorial or almost looked like someone trying to look conspiratorial, not the opposite effect one would have thought they were going to try to achieve. Heck, if the conspiracy theory is true then think of trouble they could have saved if they had just waited a couple of months.

Honestly, I believe Gamespot's PR at this point simply because it has been my experience that companies which are both evil and stupid don't last very long.

My other thought with it is that gamers are really, really harsh about the connection between publishers and reviewers but really, really don't want to do a damn thing about it. What I mean by a damn thing is pay for it. Gaming mags either routinely fail or run on shoestring budgets (which are also paid for with advertising cash), the Internet is the the primary source for gamers information largely because it can be advertised based.

So let's say there is bias and it is based on who pays the checks ... what's the alternative? Do we think some ultimate good or virtuous state will arise if everyone just boycotts Gamespot? There's never going to be a certificate of honesty from an organization which is paid by the people they review ... so you either have to take their word at face value or change the model. And just because this dusted into a real storm this time doesn't mean there isn't a constant dialtone of complaint amongst gamers that reviewers are held in hock ... so I'm not sure how many were taking them at face value.

Course that dialtone might just be out of sync with reality, as forum chatter doesn't really reflect the real world. I've never really bought into this particular theory and honestly think most game reviews are more burdened by short turn around times than any adversarial advertiser.

Point is - if you don't like it, stop waiting for moments of dramatic crucification and figure out something different. Go support smaller sites like GamerDad or the like.

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