All of this is just my opinion, and I look forward to reading the inevitable disagreements. I expect to catch a lot of flak for this post, but I think that this is a discussion worth having.
My "History" With The Staff (so that you see where I'm coming from)
- I visited Gamespot on a daily basis from 2000-2008.
- When the the firing happened, I "migrated" to GB and have been visiting every day (usually multiple times a day) since. I visit other gaming sites, but GB is easily my favorite.
- I used to be the type that watched just about any video on here due to my general interest in gaming and for the entertainment value. I got pretty involved with the community as well, helping run the short-lived community magazine.
What is the Purpose of Giant Bomb?
- I'm operating under the assumption the purpose of GB is to be informational and humorously entertaining in regards to video games. That Too Human video set the tone pretty well, but obviously a dude like Jeff has a vast knowledge of games.
- To serve as consumer guides, to some extent. Aren't reviews just buyer guides at the end of the day? The staff are telling you if, in their opinion, you should buy certain games or not.
- Another purpose for GB is to serve as a premiere wiki for gaming (though I will not be focusing on that in this post).
My Beef (moooo)
- The 2011-2012 period has seen a significant drop in the informational and entertaining aspect of the site, and a general lack of effort.
- Quick looks are more misinformed/unprepared than ever. Don't get me wrong, it's hilarious when the guys don't know something "obvious," and I understand that the crew don't always have time to brush up on all aspects of all games. However, I feel that the last 2 years have gone from "funny unprepared" to legitimately misinforming the public (whether through incorrect statements or omission). I'm not usually the type that goes "HHRRRRRRR, YOU'RE NOT PLAYING IT RIIIIIGHT!!!," but I do get frustrated when games get misrepresented.
- The general jadedness about games and the industry has been steadily increasing. I think this point is nearly inarguable, and that comparing coverage from say 2009/10 to 2011/12 will demonstrate it. I get it, this console cycle has really gone on for too long. There are too many sequels. There is too much gross DLC. There have been six hundred Call of Duty games. The list goes on! But if the point of this site is to be humorously entertaining as well as informative, it would be unprofessional to not be entertaining. I argue that part of the staff's job is to entertain us regardless of their opinions on a specific game. To be a little more specific, a Battlefield 3 quick look full of sighs and disinterest tells me that Jeff is not stoked about that game like he was for Battlefield 2. He can also write that on Twitter. How do you make such a video with such feelings entertaining? Well, I really don't have an answer to that, that's for the staff to figure out (like they have in the 2008-2010 period). At the end of the day it's their job to do this. I know that this might sound cold hearted or that I'm an entitled prick, but that's just how it is, and I'm sure the staff would agree based on how they present themselves at least.
- The discussions and opinions presented through video, audio, and text are starting to not match the scores given to games. The most recent example of this is Halo 4. On one of the recent (if not the most recent) Bombcasts, they spend quite a big chunk of time talking about the negative aspects of the game, only to conclude that it's pretty good. This isn't the first time this has happened, and I find it baffling. Yeah, it's always easier to talk about the cons, but there should be a balance. That or give the game a lower score to reflect your opinions. What's even weirder is when the podcast discussions don't match the review text.
- I feel that the staff have fallen into this hole of having an increasingly growing fan base which mostly understands their opinions (at least the die hard ones do), so the staff don't have to try as hard.
- This is more for 2012 than 11, but the amount of premium content has been rather poor. I'm a fan, on some level I want reasons to subscribe.
These are just my general points, I have a lot of other nitpicks which don't really warrant too much discussion. I think that the only two people that has been putting in the same effort and attitude have been Vinny and Drew (I am not counting Dave or Alexis in any of this because they are very rarely involved in video/audio/text productions). If I were to review 2011 and 2012 (thus far), the former would get 3 stars and the latter would get 2. I just want my favorite gaming site to stay awesome! I know the main weakness of my argument is that I barely give any super specific examples, but that's only partly because I'm a lazy bastard. The other reason is that I feel this way about the site in general (over the past 2 years), and not just regarding specific pieces of content here and there.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that GB has not been so hot over the last 2 years? Why or why not? As I said, I'm expecting to catch a lot of flak for a post like this, but I'm interested in the response regardless. My secret hope is that a staff member will read this and agree, if partially at least.
Edit: some folks are telling me to go to other sites, I do already. This happens to be the best one in my opinion, despite my complaints. I'm not saying the site sucks overall. In fact, I'm glad that a site like GB exists to begin with.
Edit 2: November 19, 2012 (400 posts in): I've read over every single post so far, and I feel that both sides have presented most if not all of their arguments in general. A lot of what I would reply with has been said by others. I just want to pipe in again and say thanks to every person that respectfully contributed to this thread, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with my points. We've given the staff some fantastic feedback from paying and non-paying users, and hopefully some of them will have read a post here and there. These sorts of discussions are not easy to have on an anonymous message board, but they can definitely be of significance.