#1 Posted by murse2008 (240 posts) -

This morning while reading a post on another game site, I started wondering about video game journalism and critique as opposed to other entertainment journalism and critique. In the movie industry, movie journalists visit the major film festivals, dig up celebrity gossip and visit movie premieres but are never the ones that review movies for publications. Movie reviewers on the other hand are a whole separate breed and although they visit movie events like the ones mentioned it is usually with the goal to review them or to form an opinion for upcoming award shows. Now I'm not saying that the movie industry is perfect by any means, but shouldn't the games industry follow suit and not let the same guys that rub shoulders with developers at trade-shows be the same ones to review those games later? I'm not making any allegations about fixed review scores here, it is just a question about conflict of interest. If the video game model was followed by the movie industry you would have Roger Ebert as a host on E! and Ryan Seacrest reviewing. Both are great at their jobs, but can one person typically be great at both and do so without one influencing the other? I'd love to hear your thoughts on why this specialization has not occurred in the video games industry and what you think the effect may be.

#2 Edited by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

What a great point, I never thought of it that way.  
 
Then again who is going to write the preview of the game? journalist? Not the game reviewers? They can't give their impressions if they can't play the games. Videogames are interactive, movies are not.

#3 Posted by HellBrendy (992 posts) -

I've been thinking the same thing. So yeah, I totally agree. 

#4 Posted by TheBlindChessman (241 posts) -

I take your point, but I think it just depends how profesional the reviewers are.
 
Jeff certainly didn't cut Tron any slack

#5 Edited by Geekcore (86 posts) -

I think that it is a question of man/woman power. Most sites just don't have the money to have people just covering events and people just reviewing games. Even at bigger sites there is a lot of bleed over between the two departments. 
 
I think your point is valid, but at this point in the industry, it's just unrealistic.
 
Also, (former 1up writer) Sharky's did a whiteboard video about this issue. It's not a solution or anything, but it is one journalist's view on this issue.  

http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/29448  

#6 Posted by GhostlyEnigma (253 posts) -

Despite all of that, game journalist are still A LOT more reiable than metacritic's user reviewers. 

#7 Edited by ProfessorEss (7281 posts) -
@TheBlindChessman said:

 Jeff certainly didn't cut Tron any slack "

We can't be totally sure of that, not even Jeff can really. Maybe Tron's would've been a 2-star game if it wasn't for the relationship? 
But I digress.
 
Game journalism is so effed up I don't even really know how one would go about fixing it up. Currently the only answer I see is to leave it how it is, take it with a grain of salt, and try to have fun with it.
 
That's probably why I gravitate towards Giant Bomb. Maybe they get a fact wrong here and there, miss a story or event, or breeze past things I would like a deeper look at but at least they seem to be having some fun with it.
#8 Posted by dragonzord (811 posts) -
@TheBlindChessman said:
" I take your point, but I think it just depends how profesional the reviewers are.  Jeff certainly didn't cut Tron any slack "
Mickey should've been the same rating if not more than Tron. That's all I'm saying.
#9 Posted by TonicBH (268 posts) -

Most game sites already do that. 90% of the time, the reviewer does not go to previews or trade show events involving said game.

#10 Posted by Supermarius (1196 posts) -
@murse2008 said:
" This morning while reading a post on another game site, I started wondering about video game journalism and critique as opposed to other entertainment journalism and critique. In the movie industry, movie journalists visit the major film festivals, dig up celebrity gossip and visit movie premieres but are never the ones that review movies for publications. Movie reviewers on the other hand are a whole separate breed and although they visit movie events like the ones mentioned it is usually with the goal to review them or to form an opinion for upcoming award shows. Now I'm not saying that the movie industry is perfect by any means, but shouldn't the games industry follow suit and not let the same guys that rub shoulders with developers at trade-shows be the same ones to review those games later? I'm not making any allegations about fixed review scores here, it is just a question about conflict of interest. If the video game model was followed by the movie industry you would have Roger Ebert as a host on E! and Ryan Seacrest reviewing. Both are great at their jobs, but can one person typically be great at both and do so without one influencing the other? I'd love to hear your thoughts on why this specialization has not occurred in the video games industry and what you think the effect may be. "
i don't think you are right about movie reviewers being separate from movie news writers.  There is overlap especially with smaller review sites. 
#11 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -
@murse2008: Videogames are far more of a team effort than films. Films are easy to review/criticize because of the easily-accessible human faces e.g. interviews with the actors, directors and/or writers - all of which can give a fairly comprehensive insight into the film. The video game industry is a whole different ballgame. While you might be able to review the finished product (the game itself) without any trouble, digging up gossip or trying to tease out info from game designers rarely happens for numerous reasons (fiscal ones, mostly). 
 
Bear in mind as well that the deck is heavily stacked in the industry's favour. The overwhelming majority of video game 'coverage'  comes from press releases, obnoxious virals or leaks (which were, like, TOTALLY not planned), or from well-rehearsed conventions like E3 - not because Brad Nicholson spent all day making phonecalls to developers.
 
And anyway, with designers like this:
 
   
Why the hell would you even want to hold an interview?
 
It's simply just not worth the trouble trying to have investigative journos in the videogame industry, so we're left with this mesh of reviewers covering all bases at the office and the conventions etc. So the real question is: does it even matter? Is Joe Public missing out on something that we're somehow meant to be entitled to? Do we really need to know the bitchy goings-on between the programmers and artists? That said, there must be SOMEONE who can write a book on the 13 years of Duke Nukem Forever's development hell.
 
Needless to say, there are a few folk out there that are slowly giving games a human face, such as Tim Schafer and Cliff Bleszinski, who actually have public relations skills.
#12 Posted by Eurobum (244 posts) -
@TonicBH said:
" Most game sites already do that. 90% of the time, the reviewer does not go to previews or trade show events involving said game. "
Yes, I've heard the same discussion on the last 1UP podcast. 
 
This policy isn't perfect. If the reviewer didn't hear about preview coverage, then he isn't really representative of the audience, which has been exposed to the hype. Example:
A blank slate reviewer might write a glowing review for a good game, while we the people -exposed to the hype and preview promises- might feel disappointed or even betrayed.  
 
Great thing about GB, is that the reviewers possibly got over the desire to please everyone and past the worry about careful developer relations. This has to do with  maturation, smartening up, developing an integrity - something that fake, pretty twenty-somethings on other sites simply can't deliver. Mostly because they were hired to be a face and a voice and instantly appeal to a young audience. Conflict of interest policies aren't going to remove their nativity or their youthful desire to please, belong and conform.