Another blog about gaming journalists, by a gaming journalist.
Gaming Journalists: How We Ruined the Industry
January 27, 2009 | 10:30 PM PST
by: Matt Furtado
Say what you will about the video game industry, the gamers, and the gaming media. Sure, the industry is full of flamboyant fanboys, ignorant journalists, and biased authors. It may seem a bit odd for me, a gaming journalist, to be publicly bashing his own position. The truth of the matter is, I'm just as tired of reading reviews, previews, and news filled with bias and fanboyish opinions as much as everyone else.
Even as journalist, we have an opinion and form a bias on our select favorites. Does this mean we should carry this over into our work all the time? Of course not. We shouldn't favor Game A because it's a sequel to our all-time favorite title, or hate on Game B because it doesn't deliver what Game A does. However, this happens a lot in this industry and there's really nothing that will change that. When the industry is run by hype and massive media events, you see titles get over hyped and, thus, they receive great critical acclaim. Then, as time passes, the gamers speak out and verbally bash the game for what it was: an over hyped average title.
Last year, we had a number of titles get hyped as the Games of Forever. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, and Gears of War 2 were the top runners in this category. Were these necessarily bad games? No, none of them were bad titles, but they were hyped to be the second coming. I don't feel that any of those titles succeeded in delivering the hype they created. Even when reviewers noted the titles noticeable flaws, they simply overlooked them and continued to handout huge review scores. We are once again about to embark on an over hyped journey with Killzone 2, Resident Evil 5, and Street Fighter IV. The honest truth is none of us want to hate these games.
So, why can't gaming journalists go into a review with a clear conscience and unbiased view before reviewing a title? Are we afraid to voice our true opinion on the game because a developer or publisher might pull support from us? If that is the matter behind it, should we even bother covering those kinds of companies? In a perfect world, the answer would be no. But yet we go out there and perform these actions. These actions don't only interfere with reviews, either. They get carried into our opinions of companies, console manufacturers, etc. Journalists will hop onto every word Kaz Hirai makes to find a mistake and ridicule him to please the rampant Microsoft fanboys and to stir up the Sony defense force. That's just how things work.
Our job as gaming journalists is to inform you on the matters happening in the industry and provide you with the best reviews and information on upcoming games so you may go out and make a wise decision on purchasing a game. We shouldn't be hyping the game and having it carry over into our reviews. We owe you, the gamer, our true feelings on the game. At the end of the day, we don't work for the game developers, publishers, or console manufacturers. We work for you, the reader and the gamer. Without you, there wouldn't be a video game industry.
Discuss if you wish.