Gaming Journalism == Shit
  • I saw this interesting article on ars-technica and thought I'd share:

    "A great unspoken truth is that those involved in games development and publishing feel that many journalists feel a sense of entitlement—that they deserve to have their asses kissed because of the power they wield over the sell-in (convincing retail buyers to take a game) and the final sell-through of games to gamers," the anonymous poster states. "The fact is game journalists—of which there are hundreds at the moment—are living off the blood, sweat and tears of creative people who love games and regularly work 100 hours [sic] weeks. The fact they casually rip on a game gives others involved in the development and marketing process good reason to pissed."

    They link to a new blog that just came out by Dan Hsu, former editor in chief of EGM, called Sore Thumbs. They're trying to be more of a muckraker and behind the scenes blog about the world of gaming journalism. I highly encourage everyone to check it out and read the four part "Behind the Scenes of Gaming Journalism" posts:

    Dan is one of the few journos I've come to respect. He's written quite a few articles on the awful things that go on in his industry, and has at least tried to put up a pretty solid front, integrity wise. The stories he tells in this new blog nets him a lot of bonus points as well.

    At PAX we spoke to quite a few industry folks while drinking, and you'd be surprised to hear that most of the random shit we pull out of our ass regarding bribes and the like _actually_ happen. There was a great story of one company blackballing a magazine entirely because the magazine didn't give the score that was "agreed upon" in exchange for the exclusive. I couldn't believe it.

    One of the things we wanted to do with NooBTooB is to provide an outlet free of the conflicts of interest that many gaming sites have. We don't take any ad money from game creators, and rarely (if ever) get games early for review. Plus, the ones we've gotten early so far we've panned. 99% of the games we buy or rent at retail, just like all of you.

    We're viewer supported, just like NPR. :)

  • Thanks you YUZO for posting this link. I believe this article captures all my thoughts perfectly about gaming journalism.
  • And I hope you stay viewer supported, and never give in no matter how much people offer! It's ludicrous how reviewers are not allowed to give their honest opinions of a game because they are receiving cash payments. The mind automatically goes back to the gamestop Gerstmann fiasco.
  • great article.
    yes dont change the toob of noob. gaming journalism is shit and will be shit, until the gaming community grows up a bit and real journalists with real experience get the jobs. the gaming industry is so immature and juvenile atm, but hopefully in the next decade it will grow up.....or at least go through puberty
  • It seems the entire industry is cut throat, whether you're a journalist trying to make a name or a struggling developer, you're gonna have to fight an up hill battle to ever really be majorly successful. I suppose this is understandable though due to the amount of money that is on offer to the lucky few that do make it big. As the Internet has become a mainstream source of information for gamers we have truly begun to see how corrupt the industry really is. I once had a burning passion to become part of the industry but the more I read about behind the scenes the more I see straight software engineering to be my path of choice. It's not all doom and gloom though, as long as you keep your eyes open and are aware of the reputation of certain sites and make your own judgement, great games are still always going to be available to play and as a gamer, thats all that really matters at the end of the day.

    It's like the majority of things out there, it's all about money at the end of the day. Having such a passion for gaming though it's easy to become deluded and believe that everybody in the industry is all about gaming.
  • Nice article lots of good points!
  • New Games Journalism for you, bring back Old Games Journalism when reviews wheren't bought out. Good post Yuzo cheers!
  • Every industry where there is a product that is sold to an end user and there is a magazine, journal, online website, etc that reviews these products is like this. The reviewers make their living by selling ads based on their readership numbers. The producers and manufacturers of the products make their money by selling to the stores and middlemen that in turn sell to the end user. Manufacturers and producers purchase advertising space from reviewers and treat them to things such as advanced releases, free items, wining and dining at conventions, trips, tours of the facilities, etc and they expect a good rating for their product in exchange for these things. Reviewers get a huge following and they get to the point where they expect the freebies and ad sales because with a good or bad rating they can make or break your product. Take for example the wine publication Wine Spectator. It is common knowledge in the wine industry that good ratings on their 100 point scale can be bought by purchasing advertising space. In the end the ones getting hurt are the end users because they are misled into thinking that a bad product is good or vice versa.

    What is so great about NoobToob is that Tobin and Yuzo review games that they spend their own hard earned money on and then they tell us whether or not the games suck. We don't have to worry that they gave EA's Latest Game of the Week a thumbs up because EA had the game delivered by strippers. On top of the podcast is the community which is also out there every day reviewing games and posting about them. None of you at least that I know of are professional game reviewers, you're students or people with jobs just like me and I don't have to worry that you're going to tell me to buy a crappy game. The site was built for us by us and I think Tobin and Yuzo will keep it that way.
  • Great article, Yuzo.

    As I've said in the past one BIG problem with this idustry is how insestuous it is. If game companies would push to go BEYOND the standard game magazine ghetto that seems to be the major source for game news and enter into more mainstream media, such as other kinds of magazines, then a lot of this crap would cease.

    In any event, I'm glad we have Noobtoob, because Yuzo and Tobin's vision of a pure gaming resource is solid and well concieved.

  • Fanboys should definitely read these articles and do some self-reflection on what shaped their warped views of some games/franchises....(cough....mgs4...)
  • Going back to what I said in my reply above about the wine publication Wine Spectator here is a link to an article released earlier this week in the Chicago Tribune about a restaurant in Italy that "won" an excellence award for its wine list.,0,7875970.story

    If you don't want to read it, in essence what happened was a wine critic created a phony restaurant compete with a website and a phone number. He applied to Wine Spectator for a chance to win the award - the application included a fee of $250. His phony restaurant won an award and was listed in the magazine for having a top wine list. In defense of itself a spokesman for the magazine said that they attempted to call the restaurant several times and just got an answering machine, and that they were able to find reviews of it on a restaurant review website. They also denied that this award was a revenue generating scheme for the magazine even though there are apparently over 4500 restaurants a year applying for this award and that provides the magazine with over a million bucks in increased revenue per year. The magazine also said that it never visits 200 or so winners of the yearly award.
  • Man, the bullshit that happens in every industry is incredible. If any of it goes public, it could ruin the whole thing. I won't get into my feelings about the news industry in general and instead offer this: if one of the big names in gaming journalism was called up/emailed/paged/whatever by, in this case let's say EA for the sake of simplicity, denied their offers, and saved/recorded the whole conversation or email exchange and made published it in their magazine or on their site or whatever, and enough people read it, EA could be ruined. (that was a long sentence!) They would notice a huge decline in sales because people would think they were dishonest (and they were) and are not deserving of any cash. If they didn't learn their lesson and did it again and again, it could bankrupt them!

    I think all journalism works this way. It's either censored flat out because the folks higher up don't want you to hear a certain point of view, or the journalists take bribes or occasionally even threats and change what they say because of it, which isn't fair to the listener because this alters their point of view as well, which they talk about with other people and possibly change their views and the whole thing gets out of hand from there. I hit a brick wall, I'm out of thoughs. YOW!
  • I'm glad you all dug the article. I'm pretty excited to read Dan's final piece of the series to see if he digs up any other good dirt.

    One of the great (non-NT) moments at PAX was having a discussion with an industry guy who also watches our show, and to hear him go on about how all the big publishers need to stop chasing the metacritic scores and start listening to _real_ gamers. I'm hoping that as we get bigger, more industry folks start to tune in and check out these forums for some real insight into how pure gamers regard their wares. Checking out any of the main game threads in the Games Discussions board is a gold mine of constructive criticism that you won't find at places like GameFaqs or NeoGAF.

    Also, Tobin and I are in a perfect situation where there is no leverage game publishers have on us to try and make us give good reviews. All of the servers and day to day costs of running the site (and wine!) are funded by all of your donations. All of the games we either rent or buy with our own money (or donations if there's anything left, which we then give away). And lastly, we have no qualms about pissing off anyone in the industry if they put out a shitty game, cause there's no way they can hurt us.

    Speaking of pissing off the industry, thanks to a bunch of free beers from NooBTooBers at Gameworks, I was a bit wasted and I yelled at a couple of Nintendo guys at the shitty job they did at E3. The funny thing was, they actually agreed with me (and even made fun of Cammie). I told them they've forgotten their core and if they had only showed WarioLand or Pikmin, all would have been forgiven. They agreed again, but then tried to convince me to check out Wii music at the exhibit hall. sigh.

    When we were at the Sega booth I spent about half an hour telling one of the marketing girls there how much all of the sonic games sucked, and how bad sonic dark brotherhood looked. I think she actually appreciated the criticism since she didn't tell me to leave the area. But then Tobin tried to get an advance copy of Yakuza 2 out of one of the PR girls there.

    Point being, we won't kiss people's ass to get free games. :) But if they'll take our crazy rants, _and_ give us advance copies, we won't complain. Sure, we may be harsh at times, but at it's core, our criticism always has a reason.

  • This is nothing unique to the gaming industry. Most reviews you read for movies, books and most other things are done by total idiots. Most of them get their jobs because they are either not qualified to get a real journalistic job or because they had sex with someone. Few start because they like watching movies, read books or play games with serious critical thinking in their heads.

    The best reviews are almost always from people that have no reason to actually do the review they just feel like it. Sure they can get paid to do it, but the money should come from people that have nothing to do with video games, like McDonals or Coca Cola(if they own a game publisher just understand that they are just examples.)

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