Monday, 4 April 2011

Writing about Games, Previews, Reviews, Commentary and such.

Ok so in the past when we never had internet in the household, we would always buy the latest console official magazines. We then moved on to the magazines that were less console specific and covered them all because of course the Official Nintendo Magazine would only state their bias love as representatives. Neutral multiformat journalism has a broader look at international going’s on and go into more depth when interviewing workers in the industry or when previewing games.

Not long before typing this up I have been reading Kieron Gillen’s specific workblogs on journalism and becoming an indie developer. His style of writing confuses me with the constant references from outside topics as a way to describe the main point of the blog. When I was younger games magazines such as Edge would also confuse me in this way and, even though it’s a review I found it difficult what exactly the writer would be babbling on about other than the actual game at hand. Of course my knowledge of the industry was too basic and Kieron’s writing makes me feel like im back at square one. I guess I just prefer the simpler approaches to explanations and learning. Aside from that, one quote picked up from Kierons blog on New Games Journalism is that “If Games Journalism is just a job to you, you really shouldn’t be doing it.”

So while trying to decipher his babble, I learned that, one big issue reviewers face is time, hence his description on the games press being “stupid”. It takes, with around 150 pages containing at least sixty-thousand words, 19 days for a modern British magazine to be put together and with the rush from issue to issue, there is little time for serious in-depth reviews. Given this, he says games journalists are stupid because they have no time to think and become lazy. Then it is when Kieron mentions in his NGJ blog that he discovered New Games Journalism first online and not mags. His confusing references became wild at this time but he did mention that NGJ rejects the worth of a videogame lying within a videogame but within the gamer instead and their imagination taking over. He described it as not knowing what you’re doing as opposed to knowing what you’re writing about in ordinary game’s journalism. It seems like one of those things that is fascinating to some and babbling nonsense to others. As much as it may try to find a way to be more accessible to the average human, finding the real reason why we spend hours on a game, to some it may be just for fun, to tackle boredom, to escape away from real world issues or the love of interacting in a fantasy or fictional world. Perhaps it could be explained more simply. I have played and loved games for most of my life so thinking of the gamer instead of just the game has entered my mind when I grew up but it should be kept simple as it is the enjoyment and the money that matters at the end of the day.

Ok so if I was to be a games journalist I would always think of how much time and effort it took the game to have been created in the first place. I found Too Human on Xbox 360 way too mediocre and linear considering the almost 10 years it took to release it. Rather than looking at guides to determine lifespan or consistency of a game, I believe it is best to experience it yourself. With that in mind I do not want to be playing games that I do not find interest in, for example, the Fifa series. It takes a fan with knowledge of the games and interest in that genre to be able to suck a game dry and eventually give a full review. That is one reason why I do not favour magazine or popular game website reviews anymore if somebody has limited time to play a game they may not enjoy and give a bad score at the end of it. I like the fact that personal reviewer’s scores on gamespot are combined to make an average. I believe it is a much better representation of what kind of score the game deserves. An rpg fan may despise a certain game whereas another loves it, representing public interests of certain development choices for a game and ultimately neutralising into an accurate score. Also reading what some users say will give you a clear idea of what approach they take to games jouranlism. Too Human was given a 5.5 officially from gamespot but 3748 users gave the game a combined average of 7.1, perhaps a more valid score.

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