Jump to content
IGNORED

Reviewers don't play games long enough


Gwynster
 Share

Recommended Posts

With the exception of Bernie and the copper bloke, every character I met past the first island was piss-poor.

Out of all the characters you could have picked as not being piss-poor, a horrendously lazy stereotype should not have been one of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, quite, Bully and Warriors weren't made by Rockstar North.

I'm just wary of ascribing a creative reputation to a constantly changing group of people. We don't even know who designs the games beforehand.

I did say Rockstar, and not Rockstar North specifically. Regardless of which arm of Rockstar made the game, they're undeniably similar in how they play, and especially how they look, and satirise (affectionately or not) things from movies/real life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If only you'd titled the thread slightly differently, I think we might've had ourselves a conversation. Looks like it wasn't to be though...

It's certainly an interesting topic, perhaps presented slightly wrong or something. I wonder if between us here we could come up with any viable solutions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I PMd Uzi about it when he was online. For all I know it got lost somewhere in IPB hell.

If you edit the first post you can change the thread title. I think you can even do it by clicking and holding on the title. No need to even enter the thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you edit the first post you can change the thread title. I think you can even do it by clicking and holding on the title. No need to even enter the thread.

Shit, you're right as well.

I've edited the first post, and am eating humble pie out of a dish on the floor like the dog I am. Cheers. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did say Rockstar, and not Rockstar North specifically. Regardless of which arm of Rockstar made the game, they're undeniably similar in how they play, and especially how they look, and satirise (affectionately or not) things from movies/real life.

I know, I was just making that point to attack the argument of it being like something from the same author. I don't think the corporate veil is something to which authorial integrity can be applied, and certainly authors' moral rights don't work that way in law either. We hear names like Molyneux, Miyamoto, Spector, Levine etc for games that are seen as very much the singular visions of these people, but we hear no names applied to the GTA titles in spite of their proud reputation for being well written.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think anybody needed a review of GTA IV to tell them whether to buy it or not. You were going to buy it no matter what. The only purpose GTA IV reviews ever served was to give you some scores to argue about.

However, I think it's absolutely true that GTA IV is a game that feels like a 10/10 for the first day of play, then hovers anywhere between 7/10 to 9/10 thereafter.

What you can't tell after 10 hours of plays is:

- How repetitive and unimaginative the missions turn out to be.

- How the main plotline (the reason Niko came to Liberty City) becomes very minimal, and the rest of the plot is a meandering pointless stream of crime bosses.

- How bland Alderney is.

- How frustrating and badly-designed some missions are, after the first "tutorial" stages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HURRRR I'm going to make massive run-on sentence posts and not read the topic, thread, article, or any dissenting opinion, la la la can't hear you HURRRR

I read the article and the thread in full. I think it's an interesting topic to discuss, I still find it incredible Gwynster even considered that magazine/online reviews consisted of viewpoints from people who have finished the game in question in most cases. I'd say it's probably very rare indeed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still find it incredible Gwynster even considered that magazine/online reviews consisted of viewpoints from people who have finished the game in question in most cases

I found it incredible you managed to provide evidence of me saying any such thing. How embarrassing for me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That CVG special had a good article by a reviewer about how San Andreas was reviewed. He explained the whole process of spending four entire days locked away in a hotel, playing San Andreas in a small room for 12 hours each day, always watched by a Rockstar employee. By the end, the person watching him allowed him to play it for a few hours longer than scheduled, because he was almost at the end of the story. He was told, "If you can finish it in the next few hours, you'll be the first journo in the world who has finished it." I seem to recall that the journo rushed the next few hours in a state of panic, then screwed up the last mission and didn't finish the game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the real subject here, is, who, ultimately, is in charge of the 'what, why and when' of a game review? Is it: (and before we start, most of my limited spelling and grammar skills have jumped out of the window, but let's not worry about that too much, eh?):;?/

- The reviewer:

Underpaid, overworked and hacking-out shite (often 'uniformed' and pissed-up shite). S/He needs the internal/external freelance money 'real bad baby' (because the basic wage of a staff writer is so small) for the next drink/line. Let's not forget that something has to take away the pain of knowing that their boss is really splitting them in two, but they're too much of a pussy/idiot to leave. Anybody, remember those motorcycle sections from Headhunter 2? It's all good.

- The mag publisher/owner:

They do love all that tasty ad revenue and, of course, the promise of another ABC boosting exclusive!!!!!!, but can't risk raping the ever-dwindling readership too much with utterly misleading editorial; it's a fucking tightrope eh? Poor lambs.

- The game publisher/developer:

These lovely people want to generate sexy/cool word-of-mouth hype via early and continued specialist press buzz. Give them a bad preview and you can fucking whistle for early review code (then again who ever needed review code to write a review?)

Moving slowly on,

Would GTA IV have sold any more or less if Rockstar had simply ignored the gaming press/websites completely and just given consumers (via Xbox Live, etc) the odd, carefully-selected, choice-cut mission? Are print/net reviews really that important anymore?

Certain people seem to be convinced that there's some sort of Watergate/JFK/Roswell-style cover-up going on with the gaming press (just ask The RAM Raider, or whatever he/she/they are called these days). I never saw it happening. Granted, I was right at the bottom of the ladder and a shit writer, but was never (well, not quite never) told what to write about a game; why would a game's publisher care, what difference will it really make these days?

I'd say most of the *ahem* poorer calls in reviewing are down to idiocy on the part of the writer and management and maybe some corruption involving that big old, bad old, outdated mag format (again). Why must a preview always be positive? Answers please.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the real subject here, is, who, ultimately, is in charge of the 'what, why and when' of a game review? Is it: (and before we start, most of my limited spelling and grammar skills have jumped out of the window, but let's not worry about that too much, eh?):;?/

- The reviewer:

Underpaid, overworked and hacking-out shite (often 'uniformed' and pissed-up shite). S/He needs the internal/external freelance money 'real bad baby' (because the basic wage of a staff writer is so small) for the next drink/line. Let's not forget that something has to take away the pain of knowing that their boss is really splitting them in two, but they're too much of a pussy/idiot to leave. Anybody, remember those motorcycle sections from Headhunter 2? It's all good.

- The mag publisher/owner:

They do love all that tasty ad revenue and, of course, the promise of another ABC boosting exclusive!!!!!!, but can't risk raping the ever-dwindling readership too much with utterly misleading editorial; it's a fucking tightrope eh? Poor lambs.

- The game publisher/developer:

These lovely people want to generate sexy/cool word-of-mouth hype via early and continued specialist press buzz. Give them a bad preview and you can fucking whistle for early review code (then again who ever needed review code to write a review?)

Moving slowly on,

Would GTA IV have sold any more or less if Rockstar had simply ignored the gaming press/websites completely and just given consumers (via Xbox Live, etc) the odd, carefully-selected, choice-cut mission? Are print/net reviews really that important anymore?

Certain people seem to be convinced that there's some sort of Watergate/JFK/Roswell-style cover-up going on with the gaming press (just ask The RAM Raider, or whatever he/she/they are called these days). I never saw it happening. Granted, I was right at the bottom of the ladder and a shit writer, but was never (well, not quite never) told what to write about a game; why would a game's publisher care, what difference will it really make these days?

I'd say most of the *ahem* poorer calls in reviewing are down to idiocy on the part of the writer and management and maybe some corruption involving that big old, bad old, outdated mag format (again). Why must a preview always be positive? Answers please.

I'm glad I skipped to the end of the thread and saw this post. Speaking as someone who has worked as a game writer/reviewer, and in more senior roles for a publishing company in other markets, I can probably clear up some reasons why these things happen...

The crux of it though is that it's bloody hard to sell the idea, or sell, a magazine with reviews of games that came out 2 months ago, and that the reviewer has actually completed etc. The traditional magazine/newspaper market is built on the latest news available now, despite the fact they never beat the internerd.

There are magazines etc which are starting to do this more...one has just launched in the States covering news, but it takes time to change the tradition of the last 100 years. Online mags have a better chance (obligatory Disposable Media plug).

The writer/mag gets the benefit of an exclusive/timely report due to the embargo. The PR gets to look as if they're pulling favours for their favourite mags to enhance the relationship. And the pre-internet reader gets the excitement of exclusives to justify paying for a print edition.

The internet is killing that method, but it'll take time to die. And in the meantime, it starts to look sillier and sillier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3:08

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?showt...p;#entry5102862

Just received a review code of the DS version of this. Since Create & Race was rather nice, my expectations of this are rather high.

I just hope they will be justified.

3:57

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?showt...p;#entry5103024

ARGH! What have they done?! Create & Race was so much fun, and it al felt so nice. But this DS version of GRID... it's just awful

Guess I'll have to try out the PS3 version some time soon.

can anyone beat 49 minutes?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badger, I'd agree with most (if not all) of your points, yet, still, I see little sense in the current situation. To a great extent almost everyone, including: the reviewer/mag publisher/smaller-sized game publisher/retailer/consumer is on to a bad thing with the current set-up/set up/setup (told you I had spelling and grammar problems). Obviously, it would take a big man to slay the Internet beast, but there are alternatives.

"The crux of it though is that it's bloody hard to sell the idea, or sell, a magazine with reviews of games that came out 2 months ago, and that the reviewer has actually completed etc. The traditional magazine/newspaper market is built on the latest news available now, despite the fact they never beat the internerd."

Partly true, but I'd say it also seems bloody hard to sell a magazine with 'print exclusive' reviews of games (that haven't officially come out yet) when you're being beaten to the punch almost everytime by some kid on the net who has the import/pirated version and the time/desire to play the thing. This is getting into a print vs. non-commercial-net conversation (which is kind of going off topic a little).

To be honest, I wouldn't dream of saying that I know what the videogame magazine-buying public wants, but it doesn't seem to want the exclusive!!! hacked-out stuff that it is getting at the moment. I also don't know much about ABCs and profit margins, but as an outsider, the traditional print magazine market appears to be dying and I'd say this is down to its blunt refusal to change. The Internet has been around for years and yet still the mag publishers haven't tried to adapt.

The official mags sucking-off their respective sponsor(s) for the next big thing is a given, but, rather than trying to lick up the remaining drops of cum, why don't the unofficial mags play their strongest card(s) and champion some of the more interesting stuff and allow their writers to let rip. Pay the extra peanuts to good writers (good writers, with extensive knowledge of videogames and these are few in number) to write about, well, videogames and maybe the sort of jokers who have turned up to read this thread might start buying the mags.

Reading back through this, I'm talking bollocks and don't really understand what my point was/is. It may come back to me tomorrow, until then...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Magazines in the old style are pointless now, no real valued opinion on the games just rewritten press releases, old news that's been on the web already and shite like tips guides stuck the the front.

I'd read a games magazine for articles, interviews and features. Not intrested in old news and safe reviews, I can make my own mind up from playing a demo and reading forum comments that are not held back from to keep the publisher happy and if you know the posters you'll know if it's a genre they know about and like adds more weight to thier comments.

Best games magazine out there now is Retro Gamer, becuase it passes all the faults of current console magazines. It has character and is varied and well written.

Games magazines need to change but they won't until the publishers run them into the ground and someone new comes along with some fresh ideas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In return for letting us play Metal Gear Solid 4 before its release, Konami issued us with a list of things that we're not allowed to discuss.

Not entirely on topic but in the same ballpark. That's virtually bribery. One of the things on the list is the length of cutscenes - what reason would Konami want that information held back other than people being put off by it? Do these early, priveleged reviews ever give out bad or mediocre marks? Driver 3 springs to mind. It seems that the grip developers have on reviewers is getting ever tighter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest, I wouldn't dream of saying that I know what the videogame magazine-buying public wants, but it doesn't seem to want the exclusive!!! hacked-out stuff that it is getting at the moment. I also don't know much about ABCs and profit margins, but from as an outsider, the traditional print magazine market appears to be dying and I'd say this is down to its blunt refusal to change. The Internet has been around for years and yet still the mag publishers haven't tried to adapt.

Trufax: the mag I work for (PC Gamer) sees significant sales spike when we run major exclusive reviews. We navigate some of the same PR that's mentioned in the piece laid out in the OP (GTA, from what I gathered was an extraordinary situation). But we also try to explain to our readers the situation in which we reviewed the games - we've been completely open to the fact that we reviewed the Orange Box stuff at Valve, say, or Bioshock at Irrational.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know, I was just making that point to attack the argument of it being like something from the same author. I don't think the corporate veil is something to which authorial integrity can be applied, and certainly authors' moral rights don't work that way in law either. We hear names like Molyneux, Miyamoto, Spector, Levine etc for games that are seen as very much the singular visions of these people, but we hear no names applied to the GTA titles in spite of their proud reputation for being well written.

Apart from the Housers you mean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Magazines in the old style are pointless now, no real valued opinion on the games just rewritten press releases, old news that's been on the web already and shite like tips guides stuck the the front.

Hmm, Edge isn't like that though is it? Aside from the out of date news.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trufax: the mag I work for (PC Gamer) sees significant sales spike when we run major exclusive reviews. We navigate some of the same PR that's mentioned in the piece laid out in the OP (GTA, from what I gathered was an extraordinary situation). But we also try to explain to our readers the situation in which we reviewed the games - we've been completely open to the fact that we reviewed the Orange Box stuff at Valve, say, or Bioshock at Irrational.

To be fair, I really didn't make myself terribly clear when I was rambling on earlier, but rather than attacking exclusive reviews alone, I was attempting to suggest that the whole news/previews/reviews topped-off with a big fat out-of-date exclusive review!!!!!! format, doesn't seem to be 'doing it' for the vast majority of potential mag purchasers these days; hence the general decline in mag sales figures over the last decade (the net and a whole bunch of other shit probably hasn't helped sales either).

Talking of sales spikes, I'd say these could arguably be put down to any number of factors, an exclusive review may help, but I know with a lot of the mags I worked for it all often seemed to boil down to pot luck. I'd say the consumer has become very fickle, the odd exclusive review may boost sales for a month, but quality content would, I suspect, ensure stable (and importantly, healthy) sales throughout the entire year and *gasps for air* maybe (God forbid) even some brand loyalty. Have you seen the current crop of Xbox 360 rags? Christ, they're all so dull and samey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I tested FFX-2 at EA (a sort of 2nd QA dept) we had one person whose job it was to get 100%. She sat there with a GameFAQ guide and burned through it.

I don't remember how long we had with the game but I seem to recall the projection was ~80 hours to 100% (multiple routes? I don't recall). I'm not sure if she would have been able to add anything significant to her opinion of the game after hour 20 (or 10 even) apart from with respect to the story.

Do you need to play 30 or 40 hours of game to form an opinion about a story? Why can't the devs/publishers provide a detailed plot synopsis for single player epics? Then the reviewers can concentrate on the rest of the game with the code that they have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, Edge isn't like that though is it? Aside from the out of date news.

No it isn't, but you knew what he was getting at. I'd say most games writers/reviewers are simply "not fit for purpose". I was able to work for a number of magazines for about four years and I can barely put together a coherent forum post, but hey, I was cheap so they didn't fire me. As you're hinting at, what sorts the men from the boys is the ability to write an intelligent feature or regular (regular and interesting) column. Most mag staff are either too overworked (often down to having to rely on doing tons of freelance to make ends meet) or just plain shite (but willing to work for sod all, so it's all good maan). The end result of this is dull, boring mags (packed with poor reviews) that aren't selling and an ill-informed general public. Everyone, as they say, is a loser.

The typical videogame consumer really has changed over the last five years, but the magazine market hasn't exploited this; for such a greedy and stupid 'take the money and run' industry to miss a trick like this is odd, but to be expected I suppose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Talking of sales spikes, I'd say these could arguably be put down to any number of factors, an exclusive review may help, but I know with a lot of the mags I worked for it all often seemed to boil down to pot luck. I'd say the consumer has become very fickle, the odd exclusive review may boost sales for a month, but quality content would, I suspect, ensure stable (and importantly, healthy) sales throughout the entire year and *gasps for air* maybe (God forbid) even some brand loyalty. Have you seen the current crop of Xbox 360 rags? Christ, they're all so dull and samey.

You could, unless you had a big fat pile of market research and feedback that said that readers want to read exclusive reviews.

To be fair, I really didn't make myself terribly clear when I was rambling on earlier, but rather than attacking exclusive reviews alone, I was attempting to suggest that the whole news/previews/reviews topped-off with a big fat out-of-date exclusive review!!!!!! format, doesn't seem to be 'doing it' for the vast majority of potential mag purchasers these days; hence the general decline in mag sales figures over the last decade (the net and a whole bunch of other shit probably hasn't helped sales either).

Maybe. I can't speak for other mags, but I know that a couple of years ago, we decided that the news/preview/review stuff just wasn't working for us, and tried to round it off with a major chunk of post-release coverage and analysis that we bundled together as an 'Extra Life' section. I think we made a couple of mistakes when doing that (we unintentionally ghettoised the content, and we started the section on the wrong foot, but actually, our readers really appreciated it. We also committed ourselves to long-format features on anything that interests us (I'm a strong believer that the basic pleasure of a mag is in the element of surprise - hence we'll go off on a tangent if it's fun enough), and we devote a bit of space to industry analysis. Our readers seem to like the mag).

However: the two new official mags, OPM* and OXM are all about the games, and they've been selling gangbusters. OXM is Future's biggest games mag, OPM's picked up something rotten. There is a consumer that doesn't want all that extra stuff - they want great looking screenshots and a strong review line-up, and they're prepared to pay for it.

*OPM is fucking brilliant at what it does atm, btw. Super-strong mag craft, great design, really well edited, and good, approachable writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.