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Monthly Archives: May 2011

My immediate conclusion is: Yes.

This especially applies to reviews and other, similar controversial topics. The question of the moment is what makes a site more popular than another? Being accurate or having a reputation for credibility doesn’t matter these days, it’s all about the money, and money comes from either advertising or other sources of funding. You have to wonder whether a site that’s got its background plastered with ads, header ads, and ads between articles is really credible at all if it gives the subject of the ads a positive review (which is invariably the case). But what do you do if you don’t get a publisher to pay juicy amounts of moolah for you to advertise for them?

Well then… then you have to bring in people to view other ads, you have to write controversial clickbait, just to get people clicking your links. If you write something bad about a decent game, then usually people will click the link just to see what the hell you’re on. A great example of this is Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s review of Fallout: New Vegas. Apparently someone didn’t give them enough cash to cover their needs, because they wrote a hateful review of that game, a nonsensoleum-fuelled mess of epic proportions, where the reviewer was called on outright lying about the game. This same reviewer has had reviews pulled from Eurogamer for the same sort of nonsense, but at RPS, this is pretty much an everyday thing.

But here’s where it gets funny: There was an outcry against this review, and though there are hundreds of comments there, many of the comments that pointed out where the reviewer was outright lying and provided proof of it were deleted. I think over 200 comments got deleted from that article by the end, just to cover their arses. Take a look at Reddit’s reaction to this farce. As you can see, there are people complaining there about how the review was problematic. And the staged screenshots designed to make the game look worse were the least of this article’s worries. IF you liked Fallout: New Vegas, then you’d have a right to be angry about this.

This is something that RPS does on a regular basis. Their BioShock 2 review was the same, except there they had ads, so it felt like the review was doing its best to try and convince people that it was something more than an average game. It actually came over strongly as such. And when there’s a game that doesn’t, well, it sounds like they’re just trying to slam the game unfairly, like with Fallout: New Vegas, even if they have to lie through their teeth about it.

Eurogamer has had problems as well, they’ve had reviews pulled and some reviews are still full of lies, designed to be controversial, because what you’re not told is that these reviewers get rated based on how read their article is, so they have a reason to try to make you angry, to try to get you to get others angry, to then look at their review and thus make them look better for Eurogamer, more profitable. And being profitable these days has more worth than being credible. I can’t speak for other sites, I’m just talking of the ones I’m most familiar with, but these guys are rank with greed. I can’t remember the last time I read an honest, balanced review on RPS or Eurogamer. It’s either picking out the few good things a game does well and praising it up based on that, or slamming a game for a couple of minor bugs and issues and claiming it’s the worst thing ever.

Another great example is their review of Precursors. Apparently Fallout: New Vegas was a terrible game because of a few bugs, but Precursors is an amazing game, apparently, and they did all they could here to brush their coverage of the bugs under the mat, to try to downplay how incredibly buggy and broken that game is, it even had some game-breaking bugs, which New Vegas did not, but hey, apparently someone paid for background ads, so it’s all roses!

How can you look at all this and not see the bullshit?

That’s why I think I’m done with reading reviews. Reviews and Metacritic are all pointless, because there are so many reviewers that play about an hour of a game so they have some familiarity with it and some screenshots, just doing a quick review, and how highly they speak of the game in question has nothing to do with the games own merits or pitfalls at all. I mean, if a game was great and they wrote about how great it was, and they did have the ads to back it up, where’s the money in that? And money is what makes this world go around, even for games journalists. And they’re not afraid of stooping to Daily Star levels. They embrace it.

But that’s not the end of the problems, either. You have to realise that some reviewers just probably aren’t all that bright. So if they claim that there are issues with a game, you can’t really know if there’s really a problem there or whether it’s just PEBCAK. (PEBCAK – Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard.) The issue here is that with only a couple of hours allotted to have a look at a game, they rush, and they make stupid mistakes, which the games are inevitably blamed for. I felt a lot of that sort of vibe coming from the New Vegas Wot I Think. Read it and tell me that you don’t see that.

So I just think that it’s a steaming pile of shit, really.

My conclusion is that there’s no worth to it there at all, none.

And from now on I’m going to just be watching sneak peeks and Let’s Plays, because not only do they tend to be more honest, but you can actually see if the reviewer is being an idiot. One of my favourite examples of this is one where a video reviewer was completely misunderstanding how a cursor worked. Everyone saw it, except the reviewer, and it was obvious. Of course, the reviewer saw it after the fact, too. But that’s why video reviews are great. There’s just very little room for doubt. Whereas I find that anything cranked out by games ‘journalists’ is rife with troubles.

This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while, because my faith in games journalism has bottomed out lately, it started off with RPS and Eurogamer’s antics and went from there. At least Eurogamer have had the decency to pull some of their reviews though, but hey, some of the horrible ones are still there, that people are disagreeing with, that were obviously a rush job. So what can you do? It’s a bloody joke.

I’ve had my say, and I feel better about it. If games journalists had more self respect then I wouldn’t have had to have said this, but when you’re writing controversial reviews and deleting people who point out your shit, well… you know things have bottomed out fairly objectively.