#1 Edited by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

I'm sure that you guys have gotten a lot of messages on the latest games journalism scandals that have occurred recently. I'm sure you're all done with it and wish to move on to reviewing games and whatever else you guys do. I just wanted to thank you guys for what you said last night on the bombcast and for defending games journalism. I've never heard people in the media be so open and honest about the problems with games journalism. I thank you for standing up for what you do yet admitting the problems that revolve around your line of work. I still don't wholeheartedly trust every games journalist, but I do trust you. It may be hard to take me seriously since I am a paying member and have my biases in thinking that this is the best damn site on the web. There is a reason so many people love you and what you do for games journalism and for entertainment as a whole. Jeff, I'd also like to address your thoughts on outsiders questioning Giantbomb as it does include game industry people in several Giant Bomb videos(Dave Lang, Brad Muir, Eric Pope, etc). I'd like to believe that most people that view this site know that these interactions don't effect review scores and critical thoughts on games. I still understand your concern with perception and maybe being too close to these people that work for the games that you sometimes review. I don't know what you'll do to change this perception but I hope you keep these returning personalities as they are a part of the site to me. You guys and your job has gotten a ton of shit over the past couple of weeks and I know I'll just be joining the choir of duders that'll defend you and games journalism. Just know that what you say in the bombcast is important and did convince me to cool off on being overly critical on the media. I know your job is weird and that you're doing everything you guys can to keep yourself from making mistakes like other game sites have done. So yeah, as long as you guys are as open as you have been I'll continue to trust you and thank you for what you do. I feel vindicated for paying for this site and for continuing to support whatever you guys do. This may sound too much like sucking up to you guys, but I'm not fully sold on games journalism yet. I'll still be critical of the things that this site such as the lack of video reviews and reviews in general. You guys aren't perfect, but you're better to me than other game sites like being honest about your opinion on games journalism. Sorry for the wall of text and hope that you guys can respond whenever you have time. Keep up the good work.


(I sent this to the GB staff so this is why it sounds like I'm address someone. I just thought it'd be a good idea to share this to duders.)

#2 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

A not An on the title of this thread. I apologize for the typo.

#3 Edited by algertman (852 posts) -

Fuck games journalism. Which has now never been called journalism all of the sudden and that word was completely made up out of thin air by internet posters.

Here is the issue. People got caught with one hand in the cookie jar and giving hand jobs with the other one. So a lot of people got super defensive about when they got called out on it.

#4 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

This is essentially the only game website I trust.

#5 Posted by gamefreak9 (2359 posts) -

I'm a little behind the curve so... what's this thing about the guys being criticized? Where and when was this? Any links?

#6 Posted by laserbolts (5323 posts) -

@gamefreak9 said:

I'm a little behind the curve so... what's this thing about the guys being criticized? Where and when was this? Any links?

http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/ im sure you'll find more than enough criticism in there.

#7 Posted by impartialgecko (1531 posts) -

@algertman said:

Fuck games journalism. Which has now never been called journalism all of the sudden and that word was completely made up out of thin air by internet posters.

Here is the issue. People got caught with one hand in the cookie jar and giving hand jobs with the other one. So a lot of people got super defensive about when they got called out on it.

Uh oh. They let him out without taking his meds.

#8 Edited by Oscar__Explosion (2325 posts) -

They talk about it on the second half of the latest bombcast

#9 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@Oscar__Explosion: Got any timestamps? I kinda wanna hear what they have to say but not 3 hours to spare right now

#10 Posted by SSully (4199 posts) -

I feel like I have been under a rock the last few days. I have seen numerous posts on twitter alluding to some bad shit in the industry, but have no idea what actually happened? Someone want to give me the break down?

#11 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2325 posts) -

@Azteck it starts at 2:27:12

#12 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2325 posts) -

@SSully This thread has the info on the situation: www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion/30/gmas-the-uk-games-industry-and-rab-florence/565014/#196

#13 Posted by Cronus42 (276 posts) -

@SSully: The GMA's (Games Media Awards), an award show for euro writers, is funded and sponsored by games companies. Also this year anyone in attendance could win a free ps3 if they tweeted about the event. So games journalists getting awards and prizes from the companies they are supposed to be writing critical content about. Someone called them out and used some peoples (public) tweets as quotes in an article and it was forced down because someone didn't like how it was used and didn't see a problem with what was going on. That basically kicked everything off.

#14 Posted by TruthTellah (9151 posts) -

@Phatmac: I agree that their candidness was fantastic, as usual.

Though, you can add at least five line breaks to that original post. You should consider editing it to add line breaks, allowing it to be a tad more readable. :)

#15 Posted by Brodehouse (9966 posts) -

I actually think Jeff especially is actually more severe on games industry friends make. I'd also put Ryan there too. I think Brad Muir actually said that after Brutal Legend got a 3 from Ryan it made things awkward and tense for a while.

Conversely, I think Patrick is more likely to overrate a game based on having a relationship with the creator. He makes a specific point of mentioning how he was talking to the creator about this or that whenever he brings up any game he wants to talk about, it always puts me off. It feels like self-serving name-dropping and it feels like he cares more about its indie credibility than the quality of the actual gameplay. Maybe when I see him actually be critical of any indie game I'll feel differently, so far it's been an incessant fountain of praise.

#16 Posted by Brodehouse (9966 posts) -
@Brodehouse actually I guess Scoops has been critical of Sony's experimental games they've released. But maybe that's because it's Sony funding them and not real indie development.
#17 Posted by h0lgr (908 posts) -

Fucking come on. Win a PS3? You think any games journalist who's been in this industry for more than one year would sacrifice their integrity and respect from real readers over a fucking PS3?  
As if they don't have PS3's already. Anyway, this whole thing is blown way out of proportion, yes the European press is way shadier than most US sites, but it's been that way for years and years.  
We've got small-time journalists doing all they can to get a foot in the big leagues, of course shit's gonna take a turn for the shady.  
Just read and watch things with a grain of salt, and yes OP I agree, Giant Bomb is truly outshining the vast majority of journalists out there. 
Apart from maybe Mark from CGR. He's just always excited about all games.  And beer.

#18 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3782 posts) -

You PM'ed that to them? That's... weird.

#19 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

@TruthTellah: Sorry, English isn't my first language. ^^'

#20 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

@Wrighteous86: I guess?

#21 Posted by Brodehouse (9966 posts) -

I'll just add that there's three types of writing you can get regarding media (that doesn't qualify as media unto itself); product guide, journalism, and editorial.

The product guide portion are the reviews, previews, and perhaps the Quick Looks (more and more they seem informational rather than for pleasure). Giant Bomb kind of has it right; reviews are not a time to hum and haw about game design in theory, they need to serve a purpose; a trusted source giving a recommendation. The score system is a shorthand for a recommendation, not a be-all end-all adjudication of arbitrary quality. Most sites are based around being useful product guides.

The next is journalism, which is stories not directly about video games but the people around video games; the developers, the players, and everyone in between. It isn't read to make value judgements on games, it's read for its own enjoyment, and it's up to the journalist to decide if the stories are worth telling. People have misconceptions that to qualify as journalism it has to be strident or aimed at 'taking down The Man', or even that it has to include opinion of the writer; both are not necessary, but can be involved.

Lastly is criticism, or editorials. This is disconnected (though obviously inspired by) games or people, it is the writer sharing their thoughts and opinions, and is meant for the readers entertainment. The Bombcast serves as this mostly, the cast doesn't necessarily hold itself up as a professional product guide, it serves as a low-entry editorial forum. Criticism is little different, though often involves a more abstract (and thus, somewhat academic) subject matter; games as a whole viewed through games in particular. Tom Bissell is doing some of the best work here, making it both accessible and scholarly, but he's also not writing a product guide. His writing is meant to be enjoyed on its own qualities, not used as purchasing advice.

Jeff's review of Most Wanted; product guide.
Patrick's interview with Slaczka; journalism.
Watcha Been Playing?; editorial.

#22 Posted by Apocralyptic (164 posts) -

I think one of the big challenges of video games journalism is that compared to other kinds of media journalism, the subject matter is so highly technical that writers need to have a greater level of familiarity with the engineering and design processes involved in creating games. I tend to trust more the opinions of people who actually know about what goes into making a game, the same way I have greater trust for the opinions of sports commentator who actually played or coached the sport. Unfortunately, it seems like in games journalism, that level of familiarity makes you an "insider" who is unfit to render trustworthy critique.

I understand the concern for the boundaries of journalistic ethics, but instead of automatically assuming that familiarity with the industry will make these peoples' opinions biased, maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt, and use our own judgement to determine what we think about the quality of their reporting?

#23 Posted by Apocralyptic (164 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Also, I hear what you're saying about Patrick, but I also think that meeting and talking to the creator (or even just knowing more about them) gives you an important and interesting perspective on a game, one that necessarily changes how you think about it. I struggled with this when I tried to write my review of Dust: AET, because I had talked to the creator at PAX, and I knew it was all the work of a single dude, and that it was a very personal creation to him. Perhaps the best thing is to try to be honest about how you think those interactions change your bias toward the game.

#24 Edited by Nodima (1225 posts) -

I feel the opposite about reviewers; my favorite music criticism often comes from writers (like myself) who have very little practical knowledge of how an album could be made. To them, like I'd assume the majority of music listeners, the process of music creation is a magical one. It allows for a more layman response to the record, rather than someone who plays in, say, a local funk or speed metal band belaboring over the technical performance of the musicians. I'd rather read physical and emotional reactions to a creation than a sort of "well this isn't as enjoyable as this other game, but the tech used to make it is new and exciting and here's why and so, again, it doesn't work all that well, but it's a hell of a challenge for these two guys to have pulled off and I commend them for it."

It's an extension to me of the tendency to take a game that's gorgeous graphically and competent action-wise as an automatic three at best, on other sites an automatic 7.5 or 8. Just for achieving basic competency. I don't know if that's a result of critics knowing game designers or just ignoring the fact that you review on a 10 point scale yet most reviews are clumped into the upper third of it, but I feel like SHOULD a critic have knowledge of shaders and middleware and coding and all of that, it takes away from their wonderment at what's on the screen in front of them. And, in turn, can create a lenient tendency towards the final product that only exists because of the work they know it took developers to get there, not necessarily because the game itself is as competent as the tech behind it.

As someone said during the E3 roundtable podcasts earlier this year, "Good developers make bad games." And yet unlike music or film, it seems game critics are much more hesitant to say "this was a bad idea, better luck on your next one."