Why does the game press suck at playing games?

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bigjeffrey

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#1  Edited By bigjeffrey

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.

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TheManWithNoPlan

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I don't know. Personally, if I knew I was being watched playing a game I'd probably be a little more than nervous while doing so. Resulting in me playing absolutely terrible.

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JZ

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#3  Edited By JZ

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

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Canteu

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Because talking and playing games is hard (no it isn't)

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Oscar__Explosion

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Knowing your being watched probably gives them a bit of nerves, but also having to having a coherent conversation while playing must be much harder than it looks.

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jimmyfenix

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#6  Edited By jimmyfenix

Could be the pressure of people watching you play, man

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SpartyOn

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Could be the fact that people tend to think they're better at something than they really are, so everyone watches the press and thinks "THEY SUCK I'M SO MUCH BETTER"....yet in reality everyone else runs off cliffs or uses the wrong item etc. every once in a while. It's like driving in that way...everyone thinks they're a great driver and it's everyone else that "doesn't know how to drive."

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ll_Exile_ll

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Was this like show floor gameplay? Because playing a game on the show floor is nowhere near the same as playing it at home on your own terms. At PAX East, I was dying over and over in The Last of Us demo. A combination of standing while playing, knowing the people standing in line right behind were watching my every move, the glare on the screen, the hot and unpleasant temperature of the crowded show floor, and playing an out of context portion of the game all contributed to me playing poorly.

When I played the full game from the comfort of my own home, I didn't die at all on the same section of the game I couldn't get past at PAX.

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FluxWaveZ

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#9  Edited By FluxWaveZ

Well, concerning Giant Bomb, I'd say it's really Brad who's not "good" at video games because he consistently refuses to experiment, oftentimes ignores on-screen instructions and has a tendency to ignore others' advice (going back to reason #1).

I'd say the other members are just fine. Everyone can miss obvious things in a game or make dumb mistakes, but frequently being filmed performing them can make them seem worse than they are.

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Bollard

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@jz said:

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

This is the correct answer.

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JasonR86

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Cause they be da worse?

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hatking

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#12 hatking  Online

@spartyon said:

Could be the fact that people tend to think they're better at something than they really are, so everyone watches the press and thinks "THEY SUCK I'M SO MUCH BETTER"....yet in reality everyone else runs off cliffs or uses the wrong item etc. every once in a while. It's like driving in that way...everyone thinks they're a great driver and it's everyone else that "doesn't know how to drive."

I think this about sums it up. It's easy to spot errors and peripheral text when you're not actively controlling everything, and trying to maintain a thoughtful conversation. We all make mistakes like this. We all quit paying attention for a half second and miss some important text or direction cue.

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Justin258

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#13  Edited By Justin258

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.

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MormonWarrior

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I imagine a lot of it is the breadth of games they play. Jeff is significantly better than I'll ever be at shooters, but I'm worlds better at platformers than any of these guys. They need to cover a little of everything and can't be good at it all. I mean, Brad's gotten kinda good at Dota and StarCraft, even though he's often bad at certain games on Quick Looks. It's just preference and tendency, that's all.

Also, yeah, playing and having intelligent conversation at the same time are a recipe for disaster. Also, a lot of these videos are done after almost no time playing the game.

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GreggD

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#15  Edited By GreggD

Even I, the lowliest of idiots, am humble when it comes to games. People have told me before that I'm good at games, but I always say that in reality, I'm not. If you practice enough, you'll get better, but even the inordinate amount of time I spend playing games has not prepared me for everything, especially the first time I'm playing a new game. Never assume that proficiency and skill is required to cover games, and if they're in a loud, crowded showfloor environment, then yeah. They're gonna look like they suck badly.

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EchoEcho

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@canteu said:

Because talking and playing games is hard (no it isn't)

I would beg to differ. Splitting your concentration between a conversation and focusing on the game you're playing will affect one or the other -- and when you're posting video content to a website where people are interested in what you have to say, you're probably going lean more toward speaking coherently than playing flawlessly.

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Animasta

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oh is this when we get to crow how much better we are at games than the staff are?

because I could run rings around all of them in Europa Universalis 4.

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EXTomar

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#18  Edited By EXTomar

Is anyone "good at playing games?" If they are why would they be a games reviewer?

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Canteu

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@echoecho: Beg all you like. It's still not even remotely difficult to talk and play at the same time.

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The_Nubster

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#20  Edited By The_Nubster

@echoecho said:

@canteu said:

Because talking and playing games is hard (no it isn't)

I would beg to differ. Splitting your concentration between a conversation and focusing on the game you're playing will affect one or the other -- and when you're posting video content to a website where people are interested in what you have to say, you're probably going lean more toward speaking coherently than playing flawlessly.

Exactly. Not to mention that there are myriad scientific studies out there about how humans are horrendous at multitasking, not to also mention knowing that hundreds of thousands of people are watching will affect how anyone plays. @canteu, I doubly-doggy-dare you to record a video of yourself playing CoD multiplayer or Super Meat Boy whilst maintaining a coherent, uninterrupted conversation with another person or two. I bet you'd do very poorly.

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mithhunter55

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@canteu said:

Because talking and playing games is hard (no it isn't)

@canteu said:

@echoecho: Beg all you like. It's still not even remotely difficult to talk and play at the same time.

I used to play a lot of league of legends and talking while playing was just very distracting and when yelling started I couldn't focus properly. It breaks my concentration. The occasional voice chatter about enemy locations and things like that does not distract me. Not everyone's brain in terms of thought process, reaction time, ect. operates the same as another.

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Clonedzero

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I don't think they care enough to do well. Not damning them for that or anything.

Like if i was playing some dumb game i didnt really care about, i wouldnt try all that hard to be good at it either. If its my first look at a game, i'm probably just gonna check stuff out and mess around instead of playing well.

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Mcfart

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#23  Edited By Mcfart

A - talking and playing games

B - Perhaps pressure of being scrutinized

C - They have time limits

D - They have to play many varieties of games. They can't necessarily get good at one, or hell, even a genre, since they play so many different types.

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pyromagnestir

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All that video game press groupie sex they be having throws of they game yo. Why you think Brad's so sleepy all the time?

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Fredchuckdave

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They don't all suck, as to why they're below average they don't play single games as much as most people do and play a whole bunch of crap. Also if you're Jeff you go through it as fast as possible which doesn't really leave much room for improvement.

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Canteu

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@the_nubster: Well considering I don't own a camera, recording software or a capture kit. No.

However, I only play multiplayer games with a friend of mine, and have conversations when them almost constantly while playing. Maybe it's because I'm very well practised?

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cthomer5000

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#28  Edited By cthomer5000

@canteu said:

@the_nubster: Well considering I don't own a camera, recording software or a capture kit. No.

However, I only play multiplayer games with a friend of mine, and have conversations when them almost constantly while playing. Maybe it's because I'm very well practised?

I have phone conversations with friends all the time = therefore I'd be a great TV presenter or talk show host, right? It's all just talking!!!

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SniperXan

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#29  Edited By SniperXan

It must be so hard to be so humble about your own video game skills. I mean... to not even mention how amazing you are at video games in a comment about how other people are not good at video games... it's certainly not a thinly veiled attempt to say how much better then them you are..no, you're muuuch to humble for that.

I think you should be the professional game journalist mr. humble. You are obviously the best person alive for the task. yes sir.

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Milkman

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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.

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Canteu

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@cthomer5000: Not sure how that crappy analogy is related, but good try anyway.

Talking and playing games is not hard.

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keris

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They are not paid to play games. They are paid to relate their experiences with games. Whether it's through writing, videos, or podcasts; that's what their jobs entail. Improving their writing or speaking does more for their work than learning all the combos or remembering where all the bottomless pits are.

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Gruebacca

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#33  Edited By Gruebacca

Because the human brain has been proven to focus its attention on only one task at a time. Playing video games well and talking are two tasks, and ultimately it is talking that is most important when you are showing off a game. It's still possible to do both, but people who can play games well and talk well are few and far between.

Edit: For a good example, watch the Papers, Please quick look.

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Levius

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I think a lot of it is how scrutinised the video is by the audience. I've certainly spent like 20 minutes figuring out a dumb puzzle or gone hours into a game missing a key mechanic, but I'm not playing the game for an audience so I can just brush it under the carpet and forget about it. When your watching the game every mistake gets noticed, and a slight hitch in progress seems to last hours. Furthermore, the audience is free to focus on the deeper mechanics of the game without having to think about actually playing the game getting in they way, so of course the viewer will be a step ahead.

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deactivated-59123fe38ab28

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A better question is why am I so bad at games? I spent all kinds of time playing, but I'm terrible at just about everything, save for a handful of games.

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cthomer5000

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#36  Edited By cthomer5000

@canteu said:

@cthomer5000: Not sure how that crappy analogy is related, but good try anyway.

Talking and playing games is not hard.

Because game critics/writers aren't playing a game and talking. They are playing a game and presenting/hosting/analzying a game. There is a huge difference between talking over a headset or even a phone to your friend while playing a game versus playing a game while dissecting it for a an audience, whether live or recorded.

It's so incomparable that It's actually pretty embarrassing that you can't seem to understand the difference.

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Jeff

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#37 Jeff  Staff

You play one game for two months, we play two to five games a week, depending on the time of year. I don't have time to get good at most games, and when I do, I certainly don't have time to stay good at anything.

People used to challenge me to Halo matches and stuff and say HEY MAN I BET I'M BETTER THAN YOU AT HALO HAHAHAHAH and I would say YEAH I BET YOU ARE, I HAVEN'T PLAYED THAT HALO GAME SINCE THE DAY AFTER IT CAME OUT AND YOU PLAY IT FOUR HOURS A DAY, KID.

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EchoEcho

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#38  Edited By EchoEcho

@canteu said:

@echoecho: Beg all you like. It's still not even remotely difficult to talk and play at the same time.

Then congratulations, you're better at this one, specific thing than the majority of other human beings. Something to smile about for the rest of the day.

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EXTomar

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It should also be pointed out that the environment they are forced to play in often isn't the best for concentrating let alone practicing games that emphasize skill shots.

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ArtisanBreads

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#40  Edited By ArtisanBreads

Get over yourself.

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audiosnow

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They don't have time to really get into any particular game.

It's difficult to talk meaningfully about a game while playing it well.

It's difficult to play a game while knowing that thousands of people are or will be critiquing your abilities.

Those are all of the reasons my tired brain can come up with.

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Kevin_Cogneto

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@jeff said:

You play one game for two months, we play two to five games a week, depending on the time of year. I don't have time to get good at most games, and when I do, I certainly don't have time to stay good at anything.

People used to challenge me to Halo matches and stuff and say HEY MAN I BET I'M BETTER THAN YOU AT HALO HAHAHAHAH and I would say YEAH I BET YOU ARE, I HAVEN'T PLAYED THAT HALO GAME SINCE THE DAY AFTER IT CAME OUT AND YOU PLAY IT FOUR HOURS A DAY, KID.

...and that's when you totally school that kid and it turns out you were hustling him the whole time and then you and Wesley Snipes win the neighborhood Halo tournament, right?

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Sambambo

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@canteu said:

@cthomer5000: Not sure how that crappy analogy is related, but good try anyway.

Talking and playing games is not hard.

Presenting a game, or talking about something else other than the game while playing the game will naturally take concentration away from the game, meaning that you will be worse.

Talking and playing games is easy, but your ability in one/both will suffer.

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Clonedzero

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#44  Edited By Clonedzero

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.

That's alittle harsh. They're good at plenty of things.

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Nodima

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#45  Edited By Nodima

If the gaming press were actually good at their jobs, readers would have nothing to feel good about. We already have to pay for the games, do you really want to feel inferior to the men who don't?

One day we will lord over them the way they now lord over us. Today is not that day.

...but seriously, as someone who consumes video game media at a rate roughly 10 times how often I PLAY games (the only game I've played to completion this year that I can recall is GTA V, but I spent the entire morning and afternoon catching up on Address the Sess and Casual Friday videos at Rev3 since I'd avoided most of their stuff until randomly getting SUPER into it last night), I enjoy watching people play games the way I would likely play them. Clumsily and for "dem lulz???"

(For another longwinded parenthetical aside, I've now spent all day obsessed with the idea of asking Jeff if he'd ever consider doing an Address the Sess like feature considering his often unironic love of live caller hijinks, and then him saying yes and it becoming a weekly feature like yesterday. But I also think his audience is too scary for phones, as his google voice mails can attest. Or maybe just scary enough.)

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stryker1121

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#46  Edited By stryker1121

Frankly, I find it annoying when people complain about how "bad" VG journalists are at playing games. Are you watching for a perfect speed run or to enjoy the guys' banter? Who gives a damn if they miss prompts, are shitty at platforming, don't follow instructions or whatever OCD pet peeve is irking you. Sit back, relax, have a Fresca.

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Butler

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#47  Edited By Butler

Sometimes they're just Brad. ;)

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tourgen

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compared to 99% of everyone else out there they are probably pretty decent. They don't compare favorably to a serious fan of any particular genre though. I mean, if you care enough to post to a video game forum you probably have no concept of how terrible the average gamer is.

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Ramone

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I dunno man, I heard that that Geoff Gerztmon is straight outta Headshot City.

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A_Talking_Donkey

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It's not so much that talking while playing is hard, but doing both well simultaneously is. These people are journalists so they have to focus on the talking. If you watch speed runs with live commentary you'll see the opposite happen, where someone will be great at a game and have a ton of pauses in their speech.

On top of that they often don't spend a lot of time with any one game, their job is to experience a lot of games in a relatively short amount of time and report back. It's hard to get good at a thing you're not spending much time. Sure, a lot of fundamentals will carry over but most people who are really good at games are really good at specific games.