Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Can the News Get Anything Right?
CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and now Gamespot

It wasn’t until I saw Gamespot do a report on a game that I had worked on that I realized just how idiotic the news people really are. Do they know anything about what they’re reporting on, or do they just reach into a blackhole and spew bullshit every time they want to sound like an expert on the subject. What the game industry news reporters have shown me is that they’re extremely bad at faking their knowledge as they’ll say something like “I think” or “Something like” or “I believe” before they start their completely incorrect “fact.”

What scares me is that I know the reporters on CNN and other big news channels are MUCH better at pretending they know what they’re talking about. They can lie without it seeming like they are. All in the name of seeming like they’re informed on the topic at hand.

Isn’t that the point of being a news reporter though? Aren’t you SUPPOSED to be informed about the topic you are discussing? Isn’t it necessary to study the topic and learn about it before you start blabbing on national or local television all about something that may be important information for people to know?

Yes, yes you are supposed to do that. That’s why a reporter is called a reporter. They report the information that they have gathered about a topic. Yet these days I’m beginning to suspect that most reporters don’t do any research before they start droning on about something. Fox news in particular seems to be more about vomiting out their vitriolic opinions on anything and everything without so much as doing a single bit of research. Of course, all of this is particularly true for broadcast news. A medium that up until the last few years, the video game industry has largely avoided.

Yes, now there are on-line broadcast shows like On The Spot at Gamespot, and though G4tv and others beat them to the punch, Gamespot Live seems to suffer from a particularly bad case of uninformed reporters. Particularly irritating is that despite their geeky looks, they seem to have very little understanding of the finer points of gaming, or at least when they open their mouths it appears that way. What’s worse is that they have the person playing the game as they attempt to discuss its finer points, which inevitably ends in that mind numbingly idiotic kind of speech reminiscent of trying to discuss Greek literature with someone getting a blowjob.

Yet despite them actually playing the game as we watch, they still get the majority of information about the game completely wrong. That’s because doing that would require research above and beyond what they’ve done which is simply to play the game for an hour. They don’t know how many levels there are, or boss encounters, or how amazing the story is. They haven’t really done their research at all.

How difficult would it be to get in contact with a member of the development team to get that information straight from the source? Not hard at all… Yet, the broadcast medium reporters don’t do it. Game developers LOVE free press, they would be falling all over themselves to get these people as much information as they wanted on their games. I think it’s time the video game industry’s satellites started getting their shit together. I want our industry to be the one that shows the others how things should be done.

So I’m calling you out game reviewers! Do your damn research before you open your damn mouths. If you don’t know how many levels there are in a game, say you don’t know, but for the love of all that is Unholy, do your damn research so you know the basics!

If you don’t know the following, you shouldn’t be speaking as an authority on any game:

  • The genre and premise of the game.
  • How this game is different from others in its genre (bullet points of features).
  • The average amount of playtime hours.
  • The basic storyline of the whole game.
  • Difficulty settings (if any).
  • Whether it has multiplayer.
  • The platforms the game is on.
  • The release date or expectation thereof (directly from the developer if possible).

Note that specific games may require you to have more information or be familiar with certain aspects of the product itself that are unique. For instance, if you were to talk about Spore, I expect you to have spent more than an hour with the Spore creature creator. =P

You see, one of the things that has always bothered me about real world network news reporters, is that they do not experience the stuff they are talking about. Most of them don’t have the slightest clue about any of the crap they are speaking (aside from embedded and undercover reporters who I have the utmost respect for). As video game reporters, you have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself into the core of every story you do. You can almost become an expert on every topic you are going to discuss on your show simply by spending several hours of your time playing the products that you are going to be talking about. In addition, developers LOVE free press so all you need to do is some elementary research to get a phone number and you can know ANYTHING that people might want to know about the game you will be discussing.

Don’t fucking blow this by being lazy assholes. Do your damn homework like a grownup…

posted by CommanderHate at 5:33 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. I agree, I see a lot of misinformed news sources when it comes to games. I’ve also been interviewed about a game I’m working on and then read the interview later and wonder “Did they listen to ANYTHING I said?!” 🙂

    Comment by Christine — June 28, 2008 @ 9:42 pm

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