Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Journalistic Integrity

As many of you know, I would consider myself a member of the gaming community. Indeed anyone who owns any console or PC (for games use) from any manufacturer is a member of this community. However, there is growing concern emmerging in this community over the validity of official professional reviews, and the matter has now come to the fore with the upcoming release of MGS4.

Most notably is EGMs refusal to review the game because of the restrictions put in place by Konami. All we - the general public - know is that this "list" contains reference to cut-scene lengths and install times. What is strange is how numerous reviews have been made without being hindered by this "list". Which raises the question of just why exactly EGM won't review it. Many are looking upon Konami's restrictions as preventing reviewers from mentioning bad points about the game - and hence EGMs refusal is based on not being allowed to illustrate these negatives. What seems more probable however is that these restrictions are centered on spoilers and plot - one of the key aspects of the Metal Gear franchise. Furthermore, cut scene lengths and install times are hardly negative topics a game should be reviewed on. In particular with install times. Surely by allowing an initial install on the hard drive to ensure better loading screens and overall fluidity of gameplay is a good thing? The same could be argued for cut-scenes, in that you can skip them if you want to...

The Eurogamer review of MGS4 is very questionable. The reviewer openly states that he is not a fan of the series - so why in God's name has been given the task of reviewing it? Not that 8/10 is a bad score, but many including myself feel that had it been reviewed by someone who likes the series, a more fairer score could've been given. Remember of course that MGS4 is really for the fans - not for money. If it was for money we'd be seeing it on PC and Xbox 360 aswell.

I've already commented in a blog below about the GTAIV review scores, and how shallow they were in the context of reviewing. Seeing the scores given you cannot help but ask yourself how much should we trust reviews anymore? The issue of bias has also come to the fore in the community. Some websites will favouor the Xbox over the Playstation and vice versa, and reviewing scores reflect this. The issue of bias came to the attention of everyone with the Gametrailers scandal - a website I once respected.

Bias had always been visible - multiplatform games being only reviewed with the Xbox version, Xbox boxart only being used for multiplatform games etc. The issue really unfolded with the famous GRiD comparison where a PS3 version was compared against....a PS3 version. I CAN'T EVEN SHOW YOU THE VIDEO BECAUSE GAMETRAILERS HAVE REMOVED IT FROM YOUTUBE!!!! The video tried to show the better looking PS3 version to be the Xbox one. The video showed that Gametrailers had a double standard when dealing with the PS3, and brought into question just how reliable all their previous comparisons had been. The issue of dodgey videos was first apparent in the Assassin's Creed comparison, where it was eventually revealed that one of the PS3's settings had not been turned off, resulting in a drastic difference in video quality.

There is too much talk now of money in the gaming community. We all know the stories about Microsoft pumping money out to keep reviews of HALO 3 in the 90 range. Is that right? Should companies be able to control reviewing? With the way GTA4 reviews have been, it wouldn't surprise me if we found out by the end of the year that Rockstar had spread a little green around to everyone...

At the end of the day the quality of a game is solely dependent on what you - the gamer - think it is. We shouldn't have to rely on other people to tell us what's good and what's bad. The only problem is that these reviews do hold sway for some people, and if these reviews are becoming increasingly biased and unprofessional, it will become more difficult for us to ascertain what is legitimate reviewing and what is not. Yes, I'm still actually refering to Eurogamer.

~The Damo

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