1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Gamereviewers errors

Discussion in 'Playground' started by Merlanni, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    2,445
    Media:
    23
    Likes Received:
    52
    Gender:
    Male
    Well I was surfing to past the time and visited the Gamespot webpage. they have a top-someting of games releasen in the last year. RPG of the year was selected by vote's and an editors choice. Voters gave the witcher 50 % and Mass Effect 38%. So far stil ok.

    The editors choice however was: shin megami tensai. Really it is his/her choice. whit 3 % of the vote I an sure it is an supurb game, made for the playstation2.

    And, this is for game developers, the only pc game scores 50%. To make it more silly: The orange box wins the puzzle game trophy due to Portals.
     
  2. Apeman Gems: 25/31
    Latest gem: Moonbar


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    3
    I don't know if anyone followed the kane and lynch debacle, but that should say enough about gamespot.

    If you don't know, GS fired a 10 year loyal editor because he gave a terrible review for a terrible game. A few hours later he got fired and the review was altered. Now it just happens to be that the week before the review the entire GS site was adorned with Kane and Lynch advertising.

    They are all a bunch of sellouts.
     
  3. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    23,260
    Media:
    494
    Likes Received:
    511
    Gender:
    Male
  4. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    5,521
    Likes Received:
    20
    Yeah, Gamespot has no credibility. Pretty much none of the big games sites do anymore - and that's including The Escapist, who at the beginning of this year I considered pretty reliable.
     
  5. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    4,088
    Media:
    57
    Likes Received:
    47
    Same here Aik. I was really very disappointed by The Escapist losing credibility - only last year they were the only ones I went to for good articles.
     
  6. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    5,575
    Media:
    102
    Likes Received:
    135
    Gender:
    Female
    Which is why I pay no attention to what the official reviewers have to say and only what the players say. :)
     
  7. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    2,445
    Media:
    23
    Likes Received:
    52
    Gender:
    Male
    That is why I like Gamespot. The gamers reviews are better and played by gamers on the right hardware. Ofcourse other sites do the same.
     
  8. Register Gems: 29/31
    Latest gem: Glittering Beljuril


    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Really? I find The Escapist to be pretty honest and reliable in their dealings; could you point me to some faulty reviews?

    (And you better not mention Zero Punctuation as Yahtzee himself have said that he is overly critical to everything as people don't like him when he's nice.)
     
  9. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    5,521
    Likes Received:
    20
    The main one was a 'Fallout in review' type piece that they did early in the year (IIRC). The main problem with it is the blatent factual errors - it was clear that they hadn't done very much research. There was also a review of The Witcher where the reviewer played only 10 hours of the game and announced it to be not all that great.

    On the box of The Witcher it says it's an 80 hour game. It certainly took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish it, and there is no way in hell that anyone could get a good representation of the game by the first 10 hours of it.

    I did a poke around for the articles in question but didn't turn up anything. Here's a quote from the RPG Codex Year in Review though:
    So yeah, there was also the 'unlicensed criticism' as well - in response to NMA's excellent article on the Fallout 3 preview put on by Bethesda, IIRC. Let's face it - if we went with the Escapist's version of events when it comes to the Fallout series, what we're actually getting is what Bethesda is saying, what the Escapist thinks/would like the fans to be saying about it, a small amount of shoddy research, and some added journalistic nonsense of the sort that could only appear in game journalism because game journalism is the only sort that can get away with having no credibility whatsoever.

    So ... yeah, that's why I think The Escapist has gone to ****. I have, of course, only been following it as it relates to cRPG news, so have no idea whether the rest of the magazine is any good.
     
  10. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    23,260
    Media:
    494
    Likes Received:
    511
    Gender:
    Male
    Yea, getting a single fact about Fallout wrong is tantamount to genocide with the hard-core fans. Game reviewers make mistakes and present facts inaccurately all the time (and no one cares or notices), but if there's one mistake in a 10k word article on Fallout, they will notice. They should have known better. :shake:
     
    Apeman likes this.
  11. Apeman Gems: 25/31
    Latest gem: Moonbar


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    3
    That's for certain, you'll get skinned alive at no muties allowed.
     
  12. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    5,521
    Likes Received:
    20
    If people stopped giving the gaming media a completely free ride, perhaps it wouldn't be so ****.

    Here's the article on The Witcher: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/2672-Review-The-Witcher

    I think that pretty much invalidates his opinion right there. SP's rules for writing reviews are stricter than that, ffs.

    Here's a Fallout 3 piece of theirs: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/1279-E3-2007-Fallout-3

    It's really not all that different from most Fallout 3 pieces - it tells you nothing, assures you that Fallout would be 'deeply unsatisfying' if it was released today, discounts Van Buren with some really strange hand-wavium, and showers Bethesda with love and appreciation. The purpose of the piece seems to be to give you reassurance that it's a great game and dampen your enthusiasm for 'hardcore' cRPGs.

    I know I'm going to get dismissed as some kind of rabid Fallout fan or something, but honestly - have a look at this line:
    Count the buzzwords there. It sounds like something directly from Bethesda's PR department, not from a supposedly credible magazine like The Escapist.

    I'm not trying to turn this into a Fallout 3 discussion - in fact, if it turns into one I'm leaving the thread, it's just that this Fallout 3 preview has the exact same crud as every other games magazine. When it publishes previews like this and reviews like the one above, I don't think there's any reason to consider them a reliable source of information.

    It's not that they're wrong about Fallout that worries me so much or whatever - I'm not *that* rabid a fan (though honestly, some of the things people wrote about Fallout following E3 was painfully stupid). Fallout and Fallout 3 are just the best examples I have because that's what everyone was slavering about this year. I'm sure other companies with PR departments at the same level as Bethesda's (who seem to be incredibly effective...) will be able to get free hype from The Escapist as well as all the other worthless gaming sites out there.
     
  13. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    23,260
    Media:
    494
    Likes Received:
    511
    Gender:
    Male
    The problem is, the gaming mags know not to bite the biggest hands that feed them. Fallout 3 will be one of the largest, if not the largest title of the year it'll be released in, same as Oblivion. And Bethsoft has been around for a long time, and will continue to make the highest-selling games in the future too. Every magazine that writes anything remotely critical risks being spurned by Bethsoft in advertising as well as any kind of PR attention. So they all play along and do what they have to do to remain in good graces with Bethsoft. That's just how it works. It happens with most of BioWare's titles too. In fact, the bigger the game maker/publisher, the more the pattern repeats.
     
  14. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    5,521
    Likes Received:
    20
    Yep, that pretty much sums up the problem.

    Honestly, I think the only solution is to ignore the big magazines - the so called 'professionals' entirely. Amature websites with specific and narrow focuses tend to give more informed views anyway, and if their own biases come through, well, at least it's the bias of someone who cares about the subject rather than the bias of the publisher, who is only concerned with money.
     
  15. Apeman Gems: 25/31
    Latest gem: Moonbar


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    3
    In my opinion gamereviewers and game developers are not solely responsible for this current trend. Gamers are more responsible than anyone. I think PC games have a more mature audience who activily research their games before and after launch. Console players are, in general, a younger audience. I remember that I took a lot of nintendo games for granted in my younger years, even though they sucked bad. (that's why I think the angry video game nerd is brilliant)

    Unless buyers think before they buy, that means reading more than one biased review on the net or magazine, this will never stop.

    Recent mergers of game developers are also a problem. Even more power to the developer.

    Last issue is the overhyped term, 'next gen'. Every game developer that uses these words for their games recently have not delivered on their promisis (crysis, bioshock, oblivion, assassins creedetc.) The only aspect that can be considered next gen are the graphics, but that aspect is also the least important.
     
  16. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    4,088
    Media:
    57
    Likes Received:
    47
    I agree with this in theory, but the truth is the bias of the amateur sites are no better than that of Gamespot/Gamespy/whatever. Take RPGcodex and No Mutants Allowed. They're good because they're the opposite end of the bias spectrum from the Big Sites, but they're also completely unhelpful because they're the opposite end of that spectrum. They don't give you news, or even informed opinions of whatever game you're reading about. Take RPGCodex and their hatred of Bethesda. This hatred has nothing to do with Fallout or Fallout 3, it's much, much older than that. Back in the days of Morrowind the Codex said Morrowind was a terrible game. Yes, it did list some things which some (many?) people would find very irritating about the game, but it also completely failed to list anything that someone (including hard-core RPGers) would like about it. With Oblivion it was even worse: the Codex stated very clearly that the game was going to be rubbish, then on release stated that the game was indeed rubbish, without anyone having played it. In this respect they're no better than the Escapist and their "I've completed 5% of the Witcher but can judge the entire game" sillyness.

    To sum up my point (should have done this to begin with ;) ): if you're a [insert big company name here] hater, you go to RPGCodex. If you're a [insert big company name here] lover, you go to Gamespot/Escapist/etc. And if you're looking for actual news from people who have actually PLAYED the games you want to read about, you're out of luck, because you're not getting it from either the Big Sites or from the independant hate-filled sites. As I've said previously, the only reliable way I find is to go on Mobygames or Gamefaqs and read user reviews. No one review will be perfect, but several of them will give you a pretty good idea of what the game is about, and then YOU can form your own judgement. This is what reviews should be about. They shouldn't be telling you if game X is amazing or if you're an idiot for liking game Y, they should be telling what is IN those games so you can decide for yourself what's amazing and what's not. Anyone remembers the old CGW reviews from the 80s and the early 90s? This was what it was all about back then.
     
  17. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    5,521
    Likes Received:
    20
    I'm not going to go much out of my way to defend RPG Codex against those charges - they're largely true and I really wouldn't have it any other way :p You overstate it a little - RPG Codex's reviews are very good. Sure, they might make snarky comments on the company and such, but the core of the review tends to be balanced, well thought out, and sensible. They don't sabotage their content in order to bash the game.

    The news posts and entire forum is an entirely different matter :p

    NMA has always seemed fair to me, though I don't check it that often. Perhaps a little harsh, but still fair and well informed.

    But these aren't the be all and the end all of amateur sites. Not *all* of them are filled with bitterness and intense loathing :p

    Eh, I go to sites that have people who share my taste in games and get their opinion. RPG Codex is useful - in addition to the ****s and giggles that are unique to it - because they have a very clear idea of what makes a good RPG. If you happen to share that idea of what a good RPG is, they're incredibly useful - far more so than a generalised website because they mightn't value the things that you're actually interested in.

    But hey - if their idea of a good RPG is not your idea of one, there are other RPG sites. RPG Watch is more moderate, I think, though I don't browse it often. The joy of the internet is that anyone can get their opinion out their - not just the so-called professionals, and so somewhere out there you will find an amateur site that's reliably useful to you :p
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2008
  18. Cal Jones

    Cal Jones I'm not dead yet

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    9
    As a former games journo, perhaps I can give some insight into this issue. Admittedly, I was writing for magazines during the 90s (93 - 2000 to be precise, though I did the odd bit of freelance after that).

    Back then, not many people had 'net connections, or if they did, they were generally dial-up (certainly in the UK - we were way behind the US). Magazines sold not on their witty, informative writing and incisive reviews but on what demos were bundled on the cover disk. This was much to the disgust of people like me who put their heart and soul (and time) into writing, but hey ho, that's besides the point.

    The magazine with the best demo(s) usually outsold its rivals, and therefore there was competition to get those demos on an exclusive basis. Games company PR people would offer exclusives in return for extensive coverage, covers and, in some instances, guaranteed scores.

    Even if the PRs and magazine editors were a bit more scrupulous, it was always common practise for the PRs to buy you lunch when they came down to demo a game for you. Sometimes there were jollies (especially in the early - mid 90s when there were more games companies, more competition, and things were a lot less corporate - everyone was happy to flash their cash and to hell with consequences). Parties, trips, you name it. There was always alcohol, and quite often, there were drugs. It wasn't so much that these things were on offer in exchange for coverage and good scores, but more that the fact the PR had been so nice, friendly and generous would make you feel guilty if you were harsh with a review or ungenerous with the amount of pages accorded to the game they were promoted.

    Of course, PRs had a stick as well as a carrot. If they didn't like a score, they could threaten to pull their advertising, give any promised exclusives or demos to rivals and even refuse to deal with you at all. I got in trouble with SSI when I wrote a very unflattering review of one of their games in '93, but my editor more or less told them to get stuffed. Unfortunately, these days things are a little different.

    Thanks to the games industry becoming more corporate, there are fewer games companies out there - instead there are huge multinationals like EA and Vivendi/Activision. Back in '93, SSI was one company of many. If they pulled their advertising, big deal. Now, if EA decides to pull all its advertising from your magazine or website, it's a huge problem (especially for websites whose entire revenue is based on advertising).

    Then we have the issue of thorough and objective reviews. The last magazine I worked on, PC Gaming World (96 - 2000) was aimed at adults rather than young teens. We had strict rules about reviews. A game must be reviewed by someone who enjoys and has knowledge of that genre. We had a guy with an PhD in aeronautics reviewing our flight sims, for example. The game had to be complete (gold masters were OK, but no beta versions), and the reveiwer had to finish it, or in the case of a game that has no specific ending, play enough of it to give an informed review. That meant our games were reviewed later than most other magazines, but the reviews were fair. (A pity the magazine no longer exists!)

    However, most other magazines and sites don't have that luxury. Some magazines/sites want to have the first review; therefore they will review buggy, sometimes unplayable beta or even alpha code. Sometimes they will go to a company's offices and play the game for an afternoon and write the review based on that. What you get is not a fair review of the game you end up buying. It's largely guesswork.
    The same goes for games that just make it into the office as the magazine is about to go to press. The editor wants to get it into that issue but the review is rushed. The reviewer might have spent only a few hours on it in order to meet deadlines. Again, the same problem applies.

    Sometimes a game is farmed out to a freelancer for review. The freelancer may not be chosen for their knowledge of that genre, but because they happen to be available, or perhaps because they are the only person with a machine powerful enough to run it. Again, you get the problem with the review not being representative, because that writer, however good a wordsmith they are, is not an expert on the genre and has little basis of comparison. I used to review a lot of RPGs, adventures and god games, along with the odd action game, but I wouldn't have had a clue what to do with a hardcore simulation because I just don't enjoy that type of game.

    So, what with buggy code, PR threats and promises, and deadlines, can you trust the majority of reviews you read? Some, yes, but certainly not all. I like to think most of mine were accurate, but even then reviewers have their own likes and dislikes and may score down a game for exactly the reason you love it.

    As for Kane and Lynch, apparently Gamespot claim to have fired the writer for reasons other than that, but this remains a contentious issue. Is Eidos the villain? Some PRs and marketing people can be jerks, but a good editor should stand up and defend their staff in such situations, as mine did when I gave that SSI game a poor review.
    Needless to say, Eidos got a lot of flack for it, but if indeed the writer was fired over the review, and not over their other behaviour, then their editor was at fault for not having enough spine.
     
    Montresor and Apeman like this.
  19. Apeman Gems: 25/31
    Latest gem: Moonbar


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    3
    I always see rockstars in this picture, not computer geeks!:D

    Nice post though. It sounds like a sad business to be in.
     
  20. Cal Jones

    Cal Jones I'm not dead yet

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    9
    Oh believe me, some of them thought they were rockstars... *cough*Ion Storm*cough*

    Actually it was terrific fun to start with. I'd been a teetotal gym rat until I joined my first mag in 93, but being one of the few female journos around at that time I tended to get plied with drinks at most industry events so that didn't last long. I can honestly say I had a blast.

    I wasn't much one for the drugs - there were certain games companies and magazines that had that reputation. I briefly dated a journo on one of those magazines and he was taken to E3 by the most notorious company. I was in his hotel room and he opened the drawer of the nightstand and there was a HUGE bag of coke in there. It was like Scarface. Almost.

    Most of the ridiculous behaviour and partying dropped off a lot around 96 due to increasing corporate mentality but there were still instances.

    The sad part was how most of the journos who were around at the same time as me started off really passionate about their jobs, and ended up cynical. I have to say after a few of the things that happened, I ended up the same way. I must admit I don't read the games press or get involved in that side of things any more (I just help programmers and artists find jobs these days) and it's nice to be able to play games for fun rather than for a review and within a deadline and under pressure from an editor and a PR person...!
     
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.