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#51 Edited by Levio (1781 posts) -

They're hired based on their speech skills and camera skills. At no point does any ever stop to ask if they understand basic game theory or economics (specifically opportunity cost) both of which need to be understood (or at least performed through instinct) to play games professionally.

#52 Posted by Canteu (2814 posts) -

@echoecho: Thanks, and since it's like 3am I guess I get to smile for like 21 hours.

@cthomer5000: Embarrasing to you or to me. Because I feel great.

#53 Posted by wjb (1552 posts) -

I'm cool with them providing commentary on Google image searches and Youtube videos, which seems to be the direction they've been headed towards if the live-streams tell me anything.

"WHY SHOULD I USE THE INTERNET WHEN THEY CAN DO IT FOR ME?!"

#54 Posted by Hailinel (22711 posts) -

bigjeffrey marked this as the best answer

They play tons of games in a short amount of time. Unlike the rest of us, they don't have time to dig into the depths of the mechanics, so they rarely become great at anything.

Which of course, goes hand in hand with the problems that Zeboyd recently called out in the press's ability to review games like Wonderful 101 that are both esoteric and require skill.

#55 Posted by Andorski (5108 posts) -

They're not bad. You are just a god at games!

#56 Posted by None_Braver (80 posts) -

Who said they had to be good at playing games? They are making their money writing and talking about games.

#57 Posted by Mezmero (1644 posts) -

I blame all the methamphetamine. That stuff rots your brain.

#58 Edited by GnaTSoL (778 posts) -

Different breed of gamer. They are 'Volume Gamers' who align themselves with quantity and don't allow themselves to get enamored with anything beyond a very specific point.

#59 Posted by mrcraggle (1698 posts) -

I'm in 2 minds on this matter. It can be absolutely frustrating to watch a QL for example and have one of the GB crew miss something so obvious and blame the game for their own incompetence but on the other hand, that stuff can be hilarious to watch such as Jeff and Vinny fumble their way through sports games.

#60 Posted by kishinfoulux (2077 posts) -

The time crunch excuse I don't buy. Obviously they won't be good at some games, but they seem to stink at just about everything on top of getting information wrong constantly. I can't count how many games they say are "too hard" and penalize them for it.

#61 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

I agree that maybe there should be some balance. Someone who is good at specific types of games could give better incite to them but the thing is most gamers aren't dedicated like that so that kind of information would only be useful to a niche audience. There are sites for that sort of thing.

#62 Posted by Hunter5024 (5173 posts) -

I think turning video games into a bragging contest is pretty juvenile. Skill in something comes down to how much time you've spent with it. Congratulations on having more free time than Jeff and Brad guys.

#63 Edited by BrunoTheThird (8 posts) -

They aren't paid to be good at games, they're paid to tell us about them, so it ultimately means nothing. Getting more into the science of it though, I don't know how I'd feel at a big event with constant noise, people right next to me -- some of them possibly dressed up as Sonic the fucking Hedgehog -- whilst playing a game, whilst thinking about what to say about the game as I'm playing it, whilst standing up (that's our Kryptonite, man). My guess is I might not be quite as good. It's not always like that, of course, but they're usually not in their ideal gaming environments.

Outside of the performance anxiety that can occur playing games publicly, some people just aren't very good at them. That's why there are difficulty options and such. The controllers we use become third arms once the right amount of time has been sunk into games, but if that learning quota isn't met, you're fucked. It's time, always time. I think I read that it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours to become fully proficient in any craft.

A lot of people in the industry plain love games and just want to talk/write about them. I would hate it if one of the criteria for becoming a games journalist or whatever was, "Must be good at games." On the other hand, I have had the same reaction: seeing someone play a game so amazingly badly that you have the urge to switch the machine off. In my head that makes the same sound as a heart monitor when the cable is disconnected.

#64 Edited by Aterons (198 posts) -

I always thought that the level most "press" plays games at is fine, if they would play game at a level higher than average their opinion would not be valid for most people.

Just to give an obvious example I would point out Civ and Total war games, as someone who is a strategy junkie both those kind of games will fell horrible to me after getting to know them better... how slow they are, how on an easy difficulty there is no challenge and on hard difficulty the challenge is to exploit all the horribly broken things and the dumb AI... etc. 90% would probably disagree with me, simply because they don't dig into the "strategy" part so deep and they can enjoy other things in those games while still liking the strategy.

It's basically the same for any genre, to the average guy the multi-player of BF or CoD is bliss, I'm not into shooters personally but I bet that if you had the reviews done by a Quake pro they'd point out 100 little things that are totally valid for their level of player but wouldn't influence 90% of the audience and thus you wouldn't get an accurate review.

TL;DR: Most people are average at games, that's why it's called average, and reviewers make reviews that most people should be able to watch and draw a conclusion from hence they should be average at playing themselves.

Also, quick note, if you play games a lot that doesn't mean you are good at them. One of the best players in the world, at a variety of games, didn't have much more experience under their belt than your average Joe playing the game.

#65 Edited by Nodima (944 posts) -

It's also worth noting that these guys are just trying to show you the game, not how good they are at playing it.

I'm always a little confused when I see people saying these guys, or any other press, are "terrible" at games. Have you seen someone play a game who's objectively terrible at it? Because it looks a little bit different. I often hear (and see) the Bomb crew talking about how the game isn't very challenging or fun without bumping the game up to Hard difficulty; to me, that's absurd as the A.I. often becomes less interesting to compete with when it starts locking on to your every action.

Sports games are the only genre of games I play on "Hard" anymore; for the most part, they always have been. I think Uncharted 3 and Bioshock Infinite were the only non-sports games I played through on Hard this generation, and neither game was "more fun", I just felt like doing it for some reason. And even then, in a genre (sports) I've logged thousands of hours and games in, I don't play on the "Expert" settings. I haven't since I was 15 or 16 and realized I was just trying to impress myself, but I wasn't having much fun.

As a result, as @aterons wrote above, the way the press covers games is perfect for someone like me. If you want an enthusiast website that plays all their games on Insane Go Fuck Yourself and looks great doing it...why don't you build the site and record the videos and prove it can be done?

#66 Posted by MildMolasses (3194 posts) -

@milkman said:

Am I the only person on the internet who doesn't think they're some sort of pro gamer? I kind of suck at games.

No, I'm pretty terrible. I die on bosses a lot, I seldom play higher than normal difficulty. Often I will play on easy because I'm more interested in seeing the story play out than overcoming a challenge. And I will often commit to foolish actions rather than think them through

#67 Posted by ShaggE (5982 posts) -

@milkman said:

Am I the only person on the internet who doesn't think they're some sort of pro gamer? I kind of suck at games.

No, I'm pretty terrible. I die on bosses a lot, I seldom play higher than normal difficulty. Often I will play on easy because I'm more interested in seeing the story play out than overcoming a challenge. And I will often commit to foolish actions rather than think them through

Same. It took me nearly three hours to beat Dark Souls using only well-timed pelvic thrusts in the general direction of the controller. I hardly deserve to even play games. :(

#68 Posted by MonetaryDread (1955 posts) -

@believer258:

@bigjeffrey:

I think that game writers being a volume gamer is only a small fraction of the issue. The enthusiast press is a competitive field so most people in the industry have to be a writer first, gamer second.

#69 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

So I was watching some gamescom gameplay video for some upcoming vidia games, and holy crap the person playing the game was terrible. I mean isn't this all they do? Play games, and this was not a new franchise or anything. It's a established series that really isn't really difficult to pick up and play. It was like seeing someone play a video game for the first time. Why do they suck [not everyone]? Im not complaining that they don't chuck down some mountain dew with 3 boxes of dominos and play a game for 20 hours straight.

I liken it to when you download an old console emulator and suddenly have access to hundreds of games and no real reason to be attached to any of them. You give each game like 15 seconds of patience and then if it doesn't wow you, you move on to the next thing.

I think that's why, to some extent, game reviewers are the LEAST qualified people to review games. They have very little stake in any one game, and they don't have a vested interest in the game being any good. They're more prone to like games that offer immediate gratification and less likely to enjoy games that have challenge or difficulty.

#70 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

@aterons said:

I always thought that the level most "press" plays games at is fine, if they would play game at a level higher than average their opinion would not be valid for most people.

Just to give an obvious example I would point out Civ and Total war games, as someone who is a strategy junkie both those kind of games will fell horrible to me after getting to know them better... how slow they are, how on an easy difficulty there is no challenge and on hard difficulty the challenge is to exploit all the horribly broken things and the dumb AI... etc. 90% would probably disagree with me, simply because they don't dig into the "strategy" part so deep and they can enjoy other things in those games while still liking the strategy.

It's basically the same for any genre, to the average guy the multi-player of BF or CoD is bliss, I'm not into shooters personally but I bet that if you had the reviews done by a Quake pro they'd point out 100 little things that are totally valid for their level of player but wouldn't influence 90% of the audience and thus you wouldn't get an accurate review.

TL;DR: Most people are average at games, that's why it's called average, and reviewers make reviews that most people should be able to watch and draw a conclusion from hence they should be average at playing themselves.

Also, quick note, if you play games a lot that doesn't mean you are good at them. One of the best players in the world, at a variety of games, didn't have much more experience under their belt than your average Joe playing the game.

When I observe the press playing terribly, it's not that they even play "average" levels of competency. They are frequently just flat out running through badguys and whatnot. Watching Jeff play the Ducktales quicklook is a good example of that. You can say "oh that's just because they're being videotaped", but a lot of comments they make, like Jeff's comments on the Double Dragon Neon quicklook make it seem like that's the way they play in general. Just kind of plow through.

#71 Edited by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

If you ever heard of DSP(Don't watch his stuff, it's LPing at it's worst. He's a horrible monetizing, rude cunt), you know why.

When games become a job and you have to complete tons of them in a short amount of time, you kind of lose interest and don't pay attention to tutorials or what characters say, which leads to you fucking up. It's no longer fun and is work instead of entertainment.

#72 Posted by RazielCuts (2711 posts) -

Jeff 'Professional Videogamist' Gerstmann is better at games than everyone! -

#73 Posted by Superfriend (1458 posts) -

They don´t actually play a lot of games. You´d think that would be the case, but it kinda isn´t. Like with every job, there is more to the video games journalism field than just playing games.

Aaaand if you work for a big company like CBS, there are going to be meetings up your ass. All the time. For stupid shit nobody cares about. Yeah, most of these guys are probably too busy writing stuff, editing stuff, being in front of the camera and most importantly planning and scheduling trips and stuff. Add to that a relationship and or family and you basically get.. well, a freaking overworked banker who sometimes plays games on the weekends.

Yeah, I know this is exaggerated- but there´s a grain of truth in it.

#74 Edited by Demoskinos (13856 posts) -

@milkman said:

Am I the only person on the internet who doesn't think they're some sort of pro gamer? I kind of suck at games.

For me depends on genre. Games like DmC, Ninja Gaiden ect. I'm good at really good at. I've gotten top world leaderboard scores on several of those kinds of games. Now, shit like RTS games I'm just a fucking mess at. Even Civ V which is turn based strategy I can barely win on Normal.

#75 Edited by SaturdayNightSpecials (2235 posts) -

Because if you're really good at one particular game or type of game, anyone of average competency will seem to "suck" at it.

Compounded by the actor-observer bias inherent in watching anyone play a game.

#76 Posted by RazielCuts (2711 posts) -

If you ever heard of DSP(Don't watch his stuff, it's LPing at it's worst. He's a horrible monetizing, rude cunt), you know why.

You can't say something like that and not expect me to check that out now!

#77 Edited by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -
#78 Edited by RazielCuts (2711 posts) -

@nekroskop:

Ha! I checked out his YouTube channel and was watching the intro to the channel vid and I wondered why he harped on so much about 'I don't do what other channels do, I play it RAW, I don't rehearse things.' Now checking out this I realise why...oh man, that MGS footage is p-a-i-n-f-u-l. First rule of Let's Play, don't play HD remakes if you're not familiar with the originals/ not very good at games because you'll be crucified in the comments from all the fans of those games!

I thought we had it bad with Brad sometimes but jeez, this guy takes the cake, quite hilarious though :D

#79 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

@razielcuts: Brad is a fucking grand master in video games compared to him. Just watch some more, it gets worse.

#80 Posted by CircleNine (380 posts) -

Because they never actually pay attention to any on screen prompts and then they fumble around for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do until they accidentally do what the game just explicitly told them to do.

#81 Edited by Castiel (2420 posts) -

I'm more interested in knowing why so many professional game reviewers write like a 8th grader. I'm not talking about gramma here, just the very plain and boring sentences they string together. I'm not talking about Giant Bomb which actually write really good reviews, even though they are few and far between, but when I see the reviews IGN put up I can't believe they actually get paid to write that shit.

I'm tired of almost every game review containing words and sentences like: visceral, breathtaking, the citizen yadda yadda and [blank] is like [blank] on speed.

Also I know that my own English sucks, but it's not my native language so I cowardly hide behind that.

#82 Posted by Nodima (944 posts) -

Yea, I've often thought about trying to get into games writing not because I'm any good at games, but because I feel bad for the people who have to read what most people put on the page.

But then I look at all the potential places to work and think...the places I'd want to work barely feature the written word.

#83 Posted by Tireyo (6382 posts) -

@jz said:

@bigjeffrey: they have to play a lot in a short time. No time to get good at the game.

Agreed.

#84 Posted by Slag (3339 posts) -

If you ever heard of DSP(Don't watch his stuff, it's LPing at it's worst. He's a horrible monetizing, rude cunt), you know why.

When games become a job and you have to complete tons of them in a short amount of time, you kind of lose interest and don't pay attention to tutorials or what characters say, which leads to you fucking up. It's no longer fun and is work instead of entertainment.

Oh God, I hadn't heard of Dark Syde Phil. And now I can't unsee the youtube vid of him being absolutely terrible at Street Fighter I just watched. That dude is like every horrible Xbox Live troll experience rolled into one.

#85 Posted by Hailinel (22711 posts) -

@believer258:

@bigjeffrey:

I think that game writers being a volume gamer is only a small fraction of the issue. The enthusiast press is a competitive field so most people in the industry have to be a writer first, gamer second.

Which is actually hilarious given the number of people in the enthusiast press that are horrible writers.

#86 Posted by Capum15 (4571 posts) -

Because they never actually pay attention to any on screen prompts and then they fumble around for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do until they accidentally do what the game just explicitly told them to do.

That's the only thing that ever really gets to me when watching someone - not even just press - play a game. Being "bad" at a game is one thing (I'm terrible at lots of them), but not paying attention just makes it a bad experience all around.

#87 Posted by AMonkey (116 posts) -

Their job isn't playing games, their job is reporting about video games. There is a big difference. It means they are exposed to a wide variety of games, but rarely spend a lot of time on one game. When they are at work they may be watching trailers or press news from dozens of different sources. They may be playing half a dozen games a work week to review. When they are at home they are probably relaxing with friends or family.

Its totally different from when you are a high school or college student, or someone who has a poor social life and can spend several hours a day playing 1 or 2 games a day.

#88 Posted by Sinusoidal (1152 posts) -

Talking (more specifically thinking of things to say) and playing at the same time isn't easy.

Anyhow, they really need to stop giving the skill-based platformers to Brad to play. It's painful watching him die over and over and over. The recent Sonic quick look being a great example. Though admittedly the game looked kind of shitty (not graphically, but game play) anyway.

#89 Posted by masterpaperlink (1823 posts) -

because they don't care anymore

#90 Posted by Cubical (637 posts) -

The gaming press sucks at most things like human interactions. Never talk to them at e3 twitter or anywhere else.

#91 Edited by ripelivejam (2787 posts) -

i think it's because some people get that impression of journalists because they are judgmental elitist cunts who want to measure their epeen at any given opportunity, but that's just me. ;)

(speaking generally here, so no one get offended...)