Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do We Need Game Review Magazines?

Ever since I saw the documentary-of-sorts Zero Originality and its harsh criticism of Game Informer, the thought about our need for published gaming reviews has been weighing heavily on me. I, like many people, signed up for Game Informer to get the "benefits" at the local GameStop which I began to hate after I essentially payed $40 to borrow a copy of Mario Party 8 for 15 hours since I didn't like the game and they wouldn't give me a full refund which I can partially understand. The magazine Game Informer was for me, something I might thumb through if I saw a game I wanted. Then I realized, "I'm not buying video games anymore." Looking through to an ad pretty much every page, I began to get pissed off.
Now, I have nothing against gaming magazines, I used to be an avid PC Gamer fan when my brother used to get it and I'd love to reread articles and the captions and it would get me pumped for a game with its exclusive content that was actually exclusive. The magazine respected gamers, took their integrity as journalists seriously and had a good writing team. I didn't even buy computer games and I loved it. Then it fell to pot somewhere between the point that my brother stopped getting it when they were giving Morrowind hints and when Oblivion came out. When I got it back, things had changed, I had become a being of the Internet. I got my news from forums where there was actual discussion and where news came quickly. I stopped getting the magazine with no pain in my heart about half a year ago with the reasoning at the time that "I don't want to read something that keeps changing editors, there are less tits in the pictures and I don't buy games that often now". I still don't care that it is gone.
Now like I said though, when I want to find my gaming news, I go to forums or to other sites. There you have discourse, you have multiple views, some of which are published for free online. You are also less likely to have people getting paid for good reviews, using less likely since there was the whole Kane & Lynch Gamespot fiasco where they fired a worker for giving the game a real review with pressure from Eidos (supposedly). I'd rather trust a few people on the Internet than one person being printed now a days (except for a few magazines).
I mean, look at what I really liked about PC Gamer. Re-readable articles- you get that on forums when people quote other people. I've actually reread more articles online though that I have in PC Gamer and Game Informer. Funny captions - you have Halolz and the rest of the Internet for that, just look around. Getting me pumped for games - I don't play games but I can't relate all of the times on forums that people say, "I'm so pumped for this game now." Exclusive content- lololol. Seriously, I found pdfs of the 4th edition D&D books 3 days before they came out. I still hesitantly bought mine though, mostly to support the local game shop, not because I like 4th edition.
I mean, there is pretty much no point to buy gaming magazines anymore. Maybe you like the people who write the articles? Is that reason enough to buy a magazine? If nothing else, go to the library to read it for free! For me, people aren't a good enough reason to buy a magazine and it shouldn't be a god enough reason for you. Spend the money on a subscription to something like Gamefly instead, try for yourself and then tell what you think. This is the age of the everyman reporter and you just got hired. Time to clock in.

See you Friday in Columbus if you'll be at the Veterans Center for the prerelease of Shards.
Luke "Koltreg" H.

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