I don't think video round table discussions should be a substitute for written reviews

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teo22

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#1  Edited By teo22

A video is not a substitute for a written review.

I love GB video content as does probably anyone reading this, but a round table discussion will never equal a well-though-out written review. Written language can be much more nuanced than speech, especially when said speech isn't from a teleprompter. I am not illiterate. I don't consider reading a "chore". I don't go out of my way to avoid reading. It is still the best method of conveying information from one person to another.

Video reviews are a welcome addition to the site, but they should be exactly that. An addition, not a replacement.

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liquiddragon

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#3  Edited By liquiddragon

While I agree, at this point at this site, it’s either this or nothing at all. If this encourages the staff to play through more games, that’s what I’ve been preaching for more than anything.

The main problem I see is the length. Everything at this site is too long.

Edit: Also, I think you should change the title. It's so passive aggressive and flamebait-y

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Christoffer

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As much as I like a long form written review I don't know if I agree that writing is the best way to convey information. At least not for everything. Remember "writing about music is like dancing about architecture".

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cikame

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"a round table discussion will never equal a well-though-out written review"
Why not? Arn't you learning about the game either way?
I haven't watched the video, but it seems like multiple members of the staff had been playing the game and all had different opinions, so a discussion about it seems perfectly normal, it's like the discussion they had on the Bombcast but extended now that, i assume, some of them have finished it.

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xanadu

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Couldn't disagree more.

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teo22

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#7  Edited By teo22
@cikame said:

it's like the discussion they had on the Bombcast but extended

And that is fine, a discussion about a game can be interesting content as well.

A written review is like an essay. You can work on it for days, perfecting it, making sure it covers all the angles. The author can go back and edit the structure freely until they're satisfied with the end product all the way until publishing to make sure their opinion is expressed as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

A discussion is closer to a live situation even if it is pre-recorded. It's people talking, reacting on the fly to each other, trying to remember everything they had to say on the spot. It's not as polished.

Both definitely have their advantages, and that is exactly why I'm not rejecting the idea of podcasty video reviews as an addition. I'm rejecting it as a replacement, which is how it was used.

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Sahalarious

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#8  Edited By Sahalarious

You're taking this the wrong way I think, this is a way to keep a detailed account of a game review without adhering to an antiquated format. They've been talking about how its time to move away from the essay review for ages now. I will miss Brads writing, that motherfucker is a real wordsmith, but this is a change I support overall. A main issue I suppose I have is that I listen to/watch ALL GB content, so I'll have heard these takes already from the podcasts.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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Congrats. Being illiterate or not has nothing to do with their decision to try this out. I love the new format. It allows multiple people to express extended thoughts on the game.

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ghost_cat

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#11  Edited By ghost_cat

I too sometimes need to declare my literate prowls by pointing out certain content formats as inferior to the majestic sight of written columns.

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teo22

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#12  Edited By teo22
@gtb08 said:

without adhering to an antiquated format.

Written text is not an antiquated format, no matter what Mark Zuckerberg says. We're choosing to have this discussion in text right now despite the fact that there is a plethora of video and voice chat platforms out there to choose from.

Voice recording is a very inefficient medium. It takes 5-10 minutes to read a lenghty review that can cover everything an hour long video does. The major advantage of the written form is that the author has unlimited time to perfect their sentences. The information can be condensed in a way no man is able to do on the fly. As the classic quote goes "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter."

Even in the case of video essays, which are written text read out loud, it's much faster to just read it yourself. This format is even worse than that, since they're not reading off a script. Obviously an essay takes requires more work than an off the cuff podcast, but now they're simply pawning off that time investment to us, the consumer.

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cikame

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Personally discussion and raw gameplay have replaced reviews for me, i still read them on occasion, but i learn what a game is and what you'll actually be doing in it when watching someone play a final copy.
About to watch the Spider Man quick look, £5 says main missions will have cutscenes and side missions will involve swinging to a location and clearing it of enemies.

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hermes

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#14  Edited By hermes

Personally, I love the new format. It suits better with my lifestyle, when I have long commutes that have to be filled with podcasts and audiobooks... Having what is, ostensibly, a dedicated bombcast is a welcome addition. I am not against reading a written review, but it doesn't needs the same amount of attention.

If anything, my suggestion would be to include an audio version of the new format, since they are not really adding much with visual content, and it takes more to load.

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Retris

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I liked the podcast format, it was a good listen and they went through all the essential parts that I needed in it.

However, I still vastly prefer a written review. It takes much less time to read a written review than to listen to an entire podcast and like said, written reviews can be more eloquent than spoken reviews. Waypoint's way of having a written review and then having a round-table discussion of that review is, to me, the preferred way of doing a review.

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TheHT

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@teo22 said:

Video reviews are a welcome addition to the site, but they should be exactly that. An addition, not a replacement.

This made me chuckle more than it should have.

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CupOfDoom

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Eh. I really enjoy reading, and agree that has advantages over improvised video, but this doesn't really bother me. If anything, this move is exciting as it shows that GB is trying to experiment with ways to review games that are more in line with rest of the content on the site.

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soulcake

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Video Reviews are kinda back! I have being begging for this for a long time, glad they did it! I don't think written literature ever fitted the videogames format, leave the writing to political opinion pieces and university essays. And if that makes me a simpleton i am okay with that.

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Sahalarious

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@teo22: its not about efficiency, or about written word as a medium, but specifically how we consume reviews as gamers. I'm not telling anyone to stop reading books, or writing articles.divisiveness between the GB team is usually pretty high, I love Jeffs arguments but almost always disagree with him on games that aren't Titanfall 2. This gives a game more voices and allows for counterarguments. I think its interesting.

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Humanity

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I am not illiterate either and I advocate for exactly the opposite. A 2-3 person spoilercast where the guys (and gal) have a nice in-depth back and forth about a game seems way better to me than a classic written review. The idea of two two bouncing ideas and emotions off one another is especially intriguing.

Reviews are fine, but a bit dry at times. When Dan is gushing about Mario I feel like I can stop about halfway through the read because I know everything I need about the piece - but having another person there to counter or interject their own ideas, now that’s a lot more interesting.

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haneybd87

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#21  Edited By haneybd87

It seems to me like we might not have had a review of this game at all if they didn’t do this podcast format. For one they do barely any reviews anymore and secondly I don’t think Ben is a writer is he? There are several staff members now who aren’t really writers and this is a good way for them to be able to review a game as well instead of the usual Jeff, Dan and Alex reviews.

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soulcake

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@humanity: Yeah totally agree, I know Dan is gonna like the next Mario game, but give me some counter weight to Dan's nostalgia feels and i would be more interested in reading set review.

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imhungry

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Did I miss the part of the video where the GB crew said this was the confirmed, 100% complete, perfected format for all reviews going forward and absolutely no changes are going to be made from here on out and reading is for suckers?

What's that you say? They actually said the exact opposite of that? This is an initial test, ideas are still being kicked around and feedback would be appreciated? Huh, I guess we really do need written reviews because apparently it's hard for some to digest information that they only hear.

In all seriousness, I probably agree with you in that I'd ideally like to see a nice, well-written review in addition to the group discussion (which I think is a great idea) but this is a pretty ridiculous shape for your feedback to take. Maybe tone down the outrage a bit and your point will be heard better. Personally I think the group format is a fantastic way to tease out thoughts and opinions that might otherwise get cut from a written review and might be forgotten about in the fast pace of a Quick Look. And if we're being honest, it's not like GB was putting out many reviews anymore to begin with so if this is a way to increase output in that sector I'd be even more down for it.

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htr10

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#24  Edited By htr10

Unfortunate choice of a thread title. You are giving feedback, which was requested by Jeff, but you decided to set the stage with an aggressive tone about it right from the get go. This tactic is almost never well received by the staff here.

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mellotronrules

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#25  Edited By mellotronrules

@theht said:
@teo22 said:

Video reviews are a welcome addition to the site, but they should be exactly that. An addition, not a replacement.

This made me chuckle more than it should have.

i was going to say...found the rookie.

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teo22

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#26  Edited By teo22
@mellotronrules said:
@theht said:
@teo22 said:

Video reviews are a welcome addition to the site, but they should be exactly that. An addition, not a replacement.

This made me chuckle more than it should have.

i was going to say...found the rookie.

https://www.giantbomb.com/reviews/braid-review/1900-41/

Braid received a full-lenght written review alongside the video, so that is not a comparable situation. Like I said, I have no issue at all with GB discussing games they've reviewed as well. It's also a 3-minute video with a script, editing and gameplay footage as opposed to a 62-minute discussion without footage, so grouping them together as examples of the same format is more than a stretch.

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mellotronrules

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#27  Edited By mellotronrules

@teo22: it's all good, no need to get defensive. i found your language humorous ("Video reviews are a welcome addition to the site...") given there were video reviews posted on the site a decade ago.

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teo22

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@mellotronrules said:

@teo22: it's all good, no need to get defensive. i found your language humourous ("Video reviews are a welcome addition to the site...") given there were video reviews posted on the site a decade ago.

Fair enough. You're correct in that I didn't use Giant Bomb in 2009, but it's an issue of semantics more than anything. What they're now calling a video review is a new format to the site, even if they used the same name previously for another type of content.

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ripelivejam

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#30  Edited By ripelivejam

I love written reviews too, but I feel this came off as a bit antagonistic. They are trying somewhat different things, and I generally like when the site does that. I personally wouldn't want it to replace the written review, and I feel it's at least possible to cater to both audiences (as they've obviously already did in the past). I do understand that a well organized written review can take more time, though, and maybe the onus is more on them nowadays to produce as much content by the path of least resistance possible maybe for business reasons. Or the tide is changing and they just have to run with it to keep up, and it's still Giantbomb but you can't really go home again. That is a lot of speculating though, I will admit. I still think you could have voiced your criticisms in a more diplomatic fashion.

BRING BACK GUNS OF NAVARRO

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deactivated-5d5f33a6b34f9

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Personally I like the formula that Waypoint runs with. They have a long written review (or article), and then a audio version attached to it with the author reading the text and then there is a discussion about it afterwards.

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kcin

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this is the rudest, worst post ive seen on this website in a long time, and that's saying a lot!!

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jaycrockett

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I do miss the new articles and structured game reviews. It seems all that's left is opinion and freeform discussions. Giant Bomb is certainly not the only outlet that has changed in this regard. Just a sign of the times I suppose.

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nnickers

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This argument for the site’s direction is, like, nine years too late buddy.

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BoOzak

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#36  Edited By BoOzak

@farleyslundgren: I've always thought Waypoint reading their own articles/reviews seems a bit like self felatio but I agree that discussing a game after giving a written review is the best way to go about it.

I'd imagine written reviews probably dont get the kind of clicks they want but I feel like the lack of a written review takes away any well thought out reflection on the game they've played. I remember when they were discussing that Felip guy and how they were angry that he said critics read other reviews as research and how that went against the notion of forming their own opinion before it becomes diluted by discussing the game with other people. This just seems like that, which is fine, but as the OP says it's not a good replacement for a review.

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blackichigo

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Come on OP chill. People trying new things isn't some affront to you.

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BabyChooChoo

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#38  Edited By BabyChooChoo

I...I actually think I prefer this? Everyone does written reviews. Everyone else does flashy edited 5-10 minute video reviews. Outside of podcasts, I don't know of anyone else who just puts some dudes in a room together and talks for an hour. And even then, outside of Waypoint and the Jimquistion, I can't think of many gaming podcasts where I actually find their discussions interesting.

So yeah, I genuinely hope that this is a recurring thing for them. I liked it.

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BladeOfCreation

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God forbid that after a decade of doing things one way, they try something different and new.

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FrodoBaggins

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Nope can't say I agree OP. I 100% think this is better.

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KillEm_Dafoe

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I agree with your sentiment, but I don't really see the need to get that aggressive about it.
I definitely don't want these discussion videos to replace written reviews either. I'd love to know Ben's full thoughts on the game but I seriously don't feel like listening to an hour-long podcast just about that at the moment. Not that I don't think it's nice to have more content, but I think it should be purely supplemental.

It's unfortunate that there is so little appreciation for the long-form written piece these days. There is no substitute for a thoughtful, carefully constructed article where a writer can flex their vocabulary. Giant Bomb especially has/had some fantastic writers. Brad and Ryan are two of the most exceptional writers I've seen in the gaming industry, and with Ryan gone, I would hate to never read anything from Brad again, too. At the same time, I am glad to see GB trying new things. They could again prove to be ahead of the curve before everyone else catches up.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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@boozak said:

@farleyslundgren: I've always thought Waypoint reading their own articles/reviews seems a bit like self felatio but I agree that discussing a game after giving a written review is the best way to go about it.

Article reads are a perfect compromise between accessibility to consumers and the benefits of written reviews. Calling that "self-felatio," is a bit harsh.

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Seikenfreak

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Haven't listened to it (waiting til I play it a bit myself) but in terms of the general idea, I'm for it. I can read perfectly fine of course, but I'd rather watch or listen to a discussion.

If I were to guess, I wouldn't be surprised if this was a combination things:

  • Giving staff an option to review something without the pressure/difficulty of writing and crafting a piece, which I'd be grateful for if I worked there because I don't like writing even though I sort of can (I don't think I can. My friends/family think I can..) I just feel like I can convey my feelings and tone better via verbal discussion. Jeff, Brad, Alex, and Dan have years (decades) of professional writing experience and everyone else doesn't or doesn't want to write. If this means Jan, Jason, Vinny etc can review something, I'm all for it.
  • Lightening the load on the Bombcast/Beastcast. It seems lots of people complain about the length of stuff on this site; something I wholeheartedly disagree with. If they can break out a long form discussion about a game and make it its own thing (which also potentially allows for more revenue?), then that means in the main podcasts they can discuss it for a quick 10 mins and then say "If you want more, we talk about it for an hour in this other piece." Thus cutting time off the main podcasts.
  • This potentially allows them to have maybe like a follow up review? If its an MMO or service based game, they can make another discussion like a year(s) later if someone wants to and add it to that page or whatever? Writing something would be more of a time investment.
  • I guess people who primarily just consume content from GiantBomb via RSS feeds and podcasts apps, they can now have a separate feed for reviews giving a whole new piece of content that is automated for that group of people.
  • Seems like no one reads reviews anymore. As I said, I know I can read, I see all these reviews all over various sites, and I don't look at any of them because I'd rather just watch something.
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Wrighteous86

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#44  Edited By Wrighteous86

@imhungry said:

What's that you say? They actually said the exact opposite of that? This is an initial test, ideas are still being kicked around and feedback would be appreciated? Huh, I guess we really do need written reviews because apparently it's hard for some to digest information that they only hear.

What's that you say? They said that feedback would be appreciated? Huh, I guess that's exactly what this thread is that you're shitting on the OP for providing. They are giving their feedback, and you're jumping to Giant Bomb's defense over it, because apparently it's hard for some to digest information that they don't want to hear.

The thread title was a bit more combative than necessary, but I don't see anything out of bounds in the opinion.

Take it easy.

@kcin said:

this is the rudest, worst post ive seen on this website in a long time, and that's saying a lot!!

Don't worry, yours is a close second!

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SunSpark

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This seems like a bit of an overly confrontational way to title a thread, especially since the crew is still experimenting with these reviews and willing to take feedback.

That being said, I don't really like this format either. It's kinda felt for a couple years to me that Giant Bomb had been chasing trends, and switching to this kind of video review seems like a calculated move to get more views. A lot of decisions they've made the last few years feel sort of corporate, which doesn't gel quite right with a website that bills itself as unprofessional.

I do still love Giant Bomb though, and I think it's possible to change up the review system in a meaningful and fun way. If they're going to go the video route, I'd prefer them to just make the old style video reviews that are under 10 minutes long, in addition to writing full text reviews.

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UnrealDP

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The new format's fantastic. Giant Bomb's strength has always been their conversational take on games, and if someone's looking for a good opinion on a game and don't listen to the bombcast, it's not like they can be reasonably expected to sit down and scrub through one/listen through one to find the opinion. This is just playing to the site's strengths, and honestly what is a regular review but an unsatisfying middle ground between an in-depth discussion and a byline. If you want something short, there's a succinct few paragraphs and a score, but otherwise there's an hour long discussion. Seems fine, honestly losing 4-5 paragraphs and gaining an hour long conversation is a pretty good trade off.

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nutter

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#48  Edited By nutter

I haven’t read a review of a game in years. I might skim them. I just don’t have the time.

This thread brought the new format to my attention (I wouldn’t have clicked on the review otherwise), which makes me FAAAAR more likely to consume it as a podcast while driving or handling some brain-dead chores.

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sravankb

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#49  Edited By sravankb

@liquiddragon said:

The main problem I see is the length. Everything at this site is too long.

Bingo. This right here is the #1 reason why I stopped watching most GB videos. I simply don't have the time for it anymore. Podcasts are another beast, though. I can usually do something else while a podcast is going on.

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Slag

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#50  Edited By Slag

I've got no interest in audio reviews myself. There's already 6-7 hours of great audio content in podcasts that I don't have enough time for.

If audio reviews are the only way they can do reviews going forward (I admit I struggle to see how a written review is somehow more labor than an interview involving 2 people for an hour), then frankly I wish one of the podcasts was replaced by a Spoilercast or something like that, as the Beastcast & Bombcast are pretty redundant. Maybe it's more about the monetization aspect (I'm sure banner ads pay peanuts these days). I dunno

that being said

please consider changing your thread title @teo22. It's unnecessarily hostile and really prevents this topic from being discussed productively.