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Darkfall NERDRAGE
July 17, 2009 5:52 AM   Subscribe

The gaming website Eurogamer posted a scathing review of the MMO Darkfall, yet the developers claim that the reviewer only played the game for two hours. Eurogamer refused to take down the review and became hated by the Darkfall community. This lead to what might be the most sublime nerdrage in the history of mankind. To Eurogamer's credit, they commissioned a second review of the game by Kieron Gillen.

Kieron Gillen is one of the writers of Rock Paper Shotgun and inventor of the term new games journalism. As you might expect his Darkfall review is a little navel-gazey and includes a section discussing the difficulty in reviewing MMOs. The original reviewer, Ed Zitron, is somewhat notorious for posting negative reviews, though I totally agree with his Guitar Hero 2 review. Oh, and if you thought the guy who raged about Eurogamer was kind of adorably funny, he has more videos on his YouTube channel.
posted by The Devil Tesla (86 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
It strikes me that someone teleported twenty years from the past and put in front of that nerdrage video would have absolutely no reference points to take a hold of, and would probably be terrified.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:12 AM on July 17, 2009 [20 favorites]


I played Darkfall for a couple of hours on a trial and I couldn't agree with Zitron more. It was the most frustrating, obnoxious gaming experience I've ever had, and I've been playing MMOs since they were MUDs. I am, however, cackling at the epic butthurt in that video. We don't care so much we're WASTING OUR COOLDOWNS being mad at you! SO THERE!
posted by headspace at 6:17 AM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Most of the time when I hear the word "community" I know someone is confusing their interests with the universe.
posted by eccnineten at 6:22 AM on July 17, 2009 [18 favorites]


Pre-patch FIRE KICKS, baby.
posted by Kinbote at 6:24 AM on July 17, 2009


Bill Harris posted a pretty good commentary on his blog (two parts), which highlights the fact reviewers almost never mention how long they've spent playing a game when they write it up.
posted by permafrost at 6:26 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's up the the on-hold music in the background? It's really soothing about 3 minutes in. I dont think that was his intent.
posted by yeti at 6:39 AM on July 17, 2009


I'm so glad I spent my idiot years on fidonet.
posted by srboisvert at 6:40 AM on July 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


The voice of the narrating nerd makes me want to start slapping people. Anyone in range will do.
posted by rokusan at 6:41 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see a lot of bad writers attempting "new journalism" in all kinds of fields. Game/film reviews and sports writing seem to be full of the worst of it.

A lot of these people need to be told: if you can't write well about one topic at a time, throwing in sixteen pop-culture references and a dozen meandering tangents WILL NOT HELP.
posted by rokusan at 6:43 AM on July 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Games journalists need to adopt a policy of not negotiating with terrorists gamers.
posted by TypographicalError at 6:47 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think it's fairly easy for game reviewers to fall into an 'instant analysis' trap, and no one honestly wants to play 15-30 hours of a 2/10 game.

He should've spent more time with the game. But more time isn't going to magically change his opinion.
posted by graventy at 6:58 AM on July 17, 2009


"We don't care about moron Care Bear reviewers."

Care Bear used as an insult? Is this dude posting from a playground in 1986?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:58 AM on July 17, 2009


I presume Zero Punctuation is an example of this 'New Journalism' I'm hearing about? Especially in terms of game reviews.

So stream of conciousness ramblings that (hopefully) end up with some sort of contextual analysis based on the tangents and pop-culture references?

I like Zero Punctuation because it seems to revel in the rage/discomfit of the old techies in a 'new' computer world.

Hopefully whatever this new journalism is, it sat at the knee of old journalism, and we actually get some pertinent info, else we're all gogin to be even less than miserably informed. But we'll know where kawaii is. It's a place, right?
posted by LD Feral at 7:03 AM on July 17, 2009


solipsophistocracy-
A carebear is a MMO slang term for someone who would rather fight mobs (computer generated monsters) than people.

There are PK's (player killers) and Carebears.
posted by TomMelee at 7:12 AM on July 17, 2009


I don't think Yahtzee qualifies. NGJ is generally more "this is the experience I had in the game while I played"...sorta. Here are more examples.
posted by graventy at 7:14 AM on July 17, 2009


Rokusan: I see a lot of bad writers attempting "new journalism" in all kinds of fields. Game/film reviews and sports writing seem to be full of the worst of it.

Very strongly favourited. Bad writers nearly always head straight for New Journalism and stay there, because it's easier to write about oneself than it is to write about the subject one is meant to be writing about. New Journalism only works when the writer is so talented and/or interested that their insertion into the story isn't a massive bore. "I" is a word that journalists should strive to eliminate from the vocabularies, using only where essential. Even in something personal, such as reviewing.
posted by WPW at 7:17 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Happy Dave: MUD's have been around since the '80s, and there was nothing in there that did not have a text-based analog on a MUD. I still prefer playing a MUD to playing a MMORPG myself, the graphics in my imagination are much better than game art.
posted by idiopath at 7:18 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seldom is an unpleasant meal made better by eating more.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 7:19 AM on July 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


damnit, these fire kicks I have here are all post-patch. bloody useless, baby.
posted by fightorflight at 7:20 AM on July 17, 2009


Well, if the reviewer ever comes back on, it'll be a more exciting game for him.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:28 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Launch the ROFL Copter!"
posted by octothorpe at 7:30 AM on July 17, 2009


I liked "I hope you get swine flu" assuming the reviewer is elderly or a small child, there's a chance that could be fatal.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:30 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, LD, Ben Yahtzee is good at what he does, and if you look past the amusing presentation he is actually a very good and insightful reviewer.

The problem is the 100 wannabe imitators who are not funny.
posted by rokusan at 7:31 AM on July 17, 2009


Metafilter declares war on Eurogamer.net
posted by Brocktoon at 7:31 AM on July 17, 2009


FUUUUUUU, MetaFilter, FUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!
posted by JeffK at 7:33 AM on July 17, 2009


http://pwned.nl/ still has the best nerd rage skit of all time.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:34 AM on July 17, 2009


Online games journalism is an Internet Perfect Storm of Bullshit.

* Games are still a relatively new form of media. People have been writing songs since we were in caves. We've been making movies since the 1850s.
* Except for books, games require more time investment than any other form of media.
* The Internet itself is relatively new.
* The earliest and most zealous adopters of both media tended to be immature and/or socially awkward.
* The Internet provides real and/or perceived anonymity.
* Journalism can provide one with instant coolness cred.
* Compared to other media, games are extremely difficult to create, in terms of skills required and resources spent. Acquiring movie cameras and recording equipment are no longer the barrier to entry they once were.
* Games are a hit-driven business, so a widely spread bad review can instantly nuke thousands and thousands of man-hours of work.

Given the above, does it surprise anyone that we see the occasional kerfluffle?

It's as if we set out to design a system for jackasses to shoot their mouths off, and have the creators (rightly or wrongly) lose their fucking minds over it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:37 AM on July 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


An actual example of New Games Journalism.

As I understand it, NGJ wasn't meant to replace traditional games writing (e.g. discussing the pros and cons of a new game and awarding it a mark out of ten) but to complement it, having realised that gaming had matured into a medium capable of generating interesting and enlightening stories distinct from 'and then I got the power-up and beat the boss'. See this recent AskMe for some other examples.
posted by permafrost at 7:38 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I like Kieron, and have talked with him a number of times, mostly centered around the fact that he shares an ancient Celtic name with my son, and how that's really awesome. He comes under fire for his method of journalism in the games niche way too often.

I've held to the idea that Kieron, as well as a few other notables in the industry, take their distinction from the crowd of regular "games journalists" in that they aren't young guys taking their payment for their reviews in free copies of the game and game paraphernalia. They're actually professional journalists, and have some skill at writing. If the tone comes off as navel gazing, that's simply because they have more to say than "*review text cribbed from the side of the box*, I give it a 8.5/10, needs some balance work."
posted by thanotopsis at 7:40 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've held to the idea that Kieron, as well as a few other notables in the industry, take their distinction from the crowd of regular "games journalists" ... They're actually professional journalists, and have some skill at writing.

Ooo, oo, another column of air in the Perfect Storm...

* The easy access to the Internet means anyone can have a voice, which blurs the line on the qualitative differences between "real journalists" and "jackasses with AOL accounts."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:45 AM on July 17, 2009


Happy Dave: It strikes me that someone teleported twenty years from the past and put in front of that nerdrage video would have absolutely no reference points to take a hold of, and would probably be terrified.

Hell, I'm from the present, I've played MMPORGs a little, and I can barely get any traction on that video. But I still find it hilarious.
posted by adamrice at 7:46 AM on July 17, 2009


Kieron Gillen has posted his "director's notes" on RPS:
Aventurine didn’t want the review for a variety of reasons, but the obvious one is “whatever score you give it, doesn’t matter.” Give it the same mark, we’re just not budging. Giving it high, we’re a sellout and/or admitting EG’s incompetent. Give it a middling one and you’re splitting the difference.
posted by Electric Dragon at 7:59 AM on July 17, 2009


KG is a hell of a writer, and incredibly prolific. Though he's not really the best writer even at Rock Paper Shotgun (that's Jim Rosignol, IMO). I've actually been reading KG since he was just another poster on the Warren Ellis Forum, and it's pretty great watching him grow and improve as a writer and get his own voice. (He started off just mimicking Warren Ellis, really).

Tom Chick is another good games writer of the new school. I've been tempted to do a 'best games writing' FPP round up recently, because there's a lot of great stuff out there, and the best games writing pisses all over the best writing about movies this days (at least from professional critics).
posted by empath at 8:12 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The easy access to the Internet means anyone can have a voice, which blurs the line on the qualitative differences between "real journalists" and "jackasses with AOL accounts."

This is pretty much the douchiest comment that I've read on metafilter in some time.
posted by empath at 8:13 AM on July 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


1:54 Maybe they get distracted by the mine. Maybe they did. Maybe they will, but they are coming from (sic) you!!

uhh. Maybe they will.
posted by quanta and qualia at 8:14 AM on July 17, 2009


While I was going looking for good examples of games writing to share, I remembered that Kieron has been doing exactly that every Sunday for quite a while now.

Just read the archives of The Sunday Papers.
posted by empath at 8:28 AM on July 17, 2009


"The butthurt in this video is astronomical

Who cares what other people think, you big blubbering vaginas"

I loled at the comments
posted by Windopaene at 8:42 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a nice post with some "director's notes" that's gone up today about this on Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "Darkfallout". Here's a nice pullquote:
That’s the thing with Darkfall. Despite everything, it’s much more like an MMO I’d like to throw my time in than the anything WoW-derived. Its problem is that it’s just not good enough. To be charitable, you can say “yet”. But “Yet” doesn’t matter in reviews. Marking for potential is forever foolish.
Might actually be worth adding a link to that to the FPP.
posted by Decimask at 8:42 AM on July 17, 2009


sometimes gamers are like neocons. they latch onto a word, and then that word sums up everything they could ever possibly want to say about "the other side." there's no further need for debate. there is no room for logic or forthright argumentation. from the moment someone called Zitron a "carebear," there was no longer room for an actual discussion about this. that was it. if you like Darkfall, you're not a carebear. if you don't, you're a carebear and what you think doesn't matter and everything you say is meaningless. one day you'll see gamers making forum posts about how a reviewer is a "tax and spend" reviewer, or a "bleeding heart" reviewer. mark my words.
posted by shmegegge at 8:45 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


BTW: Excellent post, The Devil Tesla.
posted by Decimask at 8:49 AM on July 17, 2009


sometimes gamers are like neocons

I think the word you want there is 'teenager'. I doubt there's a lot of full grown men that cared that much about the review.
posted by empath at 8:54 AM on July 17, 2009


while I can't say what the demographic that got enraged over the review looks like, I can assure you that there are plenty of grown gamers that still exhibit this behavior. I work with a few of them.
posted by shmegegge at 9:00 AM on July 17, 2009


This is great. What kind of accent does that "launch the ROFL copter" guy have?
posted by autodidact at 9:01 AM on July 17, 2009


sometimes gamers are like neocons. they latch onto a word, and then that word sums up everything they could ever possibly want to say about "the other side." there's no further need for debate.

I think you meant "are like human beings."
posted by Bookhouse at 9:09 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked this line from Gillen's review: "This is a world where, if you're expecting trouble, it's reasonable to strip down to your pants. This is stupid beyond all mortal belief."

Despite bumping the score up from 2/10 to 4/10, though, it still sounds like the kind of game that's made for the sort of player who camps the starting zones on non/PvP servers in WoW and challenges your just-rolled, level 1 toon to a duel the instant the introductory cut scene stops playing (and then challenges you again the second you decline, and then calls you a pussy when you ask them if they have a hard time wrapping their brain around the word "no"). If that's being a "carebear", I'm going to roll a toon with a variation on that name.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:09 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been tempted to do a 'best games writing' FPP round up recently, because there's a lot of great stuff out there, and the best games writing pisses all over the best writing about movies this days (at least from professional critics).

Doooo eeeeet.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:18 AM on July 17, 2009


I guess, being reviewers, they wouldn't have run into the problems that most customers have with trying to actually get the game - blackout times where you can't buy it, glitches where you buy the game, are billed, but can't actually download, the Devs announcing that the hour-long windows to purchase the game will be kept secret to keep the website from being flooded and brought down (and since the website, forums, store, and game servers are all the same machine, that's a serious problem).

But I'm kind of surprised that neither of them talked about hacking, at all. The game stores positional data, at the very least, clientside, so people can and do just teleport around. Since the combat mechanic means that damage is dealt if your weapon model intersects with an enemy's model at a specific point in your swing, that also means people teleport next to a target for the split second of the animation necessary to hurt them, then teleport back to safety.

Darkfall is a clusterfuck.
posted by kafziel at 9:21 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rokusan: I see a lot of bad writers attempting "new journalism" in all kinds of fields. Game/film reviews and sports writing seem to be full of the worst of it.

Very strongly favourited. Bad writers nearly always head straight for New Journalism and stay there, because it's easier to write about oneself than it is to write about the subject one is meant to be writing about. New Journalism only works when the writer is so talented and/or interested that their insertion into the story isn't a massive bore. "I" is a word that journalists should strive to eliminate from the vocabularies, using only where essential. Even in something personal, such as reviewing.



Interesting. I'm reviewing a book RIGHT NOW and wondering how much of myself I should put in. The question is a hazy because the book is about a subject I am A) Interested in and B) Very well-read in, so a lot of the review is about my reaction to it from the perspective of a knowledgeable amateur who eats books like this like candy. Also, it's a review not an analysis, so I feel I can get away with liberal use of "I".

Also, the tone of the magazine is very personal-experience related. I don't think the audience (like me) would care so much about technical issues as they would about readability, juiciness, etc. So, from that perspective, going with "I liked this because" seems like the right way.

But it's still giving me pause and seeing it brought up during my MeFi-Lunch break is giving me even more pause. I might be all paused-out.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2009


Tanks Electric Dragon and Decimask, I should have known that Kieron would have written more about the game on RPS. But I did find more cool stuff! The Darkfall forums have a thread up discussing the new review. A lot of them get it, but others....
i only read in this review

"bla bla blablabla i triy to have a good style bla bla bla im really objective
bla bla and furthermore im a son of a bitch bla bla bla"
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:28 AM on July 17, 2009


I was intrigued by this game's EVE-meets-WoW premise and that it came out of left field from an indie developer. But. It sounds like ass. PvP games can be great fun, but hacked PvP games are no fun at all.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:38 AM on July 17, 2009


So Darkfall developers think you can't flush out shitty a game after two hours of play? Wow. Dumbasses.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:38 AM on July 17, 2009


This is pretty much the douchiest comment that I've read on metafilter in some time.

I invite you to explain your viewpoint and we can have a discussion. Or, you can eat a bowl of dicks. Your choice.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:43 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


epic nerdrage
posted by kaseijin at 9:47 AM on July 17, 2009


> I should have known that Kieron would have written more about the game on RPS

I think it was posted around the same time you posted this. Trying to sort out the time differences is making my head hurt.
posted by Decimask at 9:48 AM on July 17, 2009


I invite you to explain your viewpoint and we can have a discussion.

Sorry, your comment was such a trite and cliche example of get-off-my-lawn-ism that I honestly couldn't tell if you were joking.

They're real journalists. They actually do games journalism for a living. So, no, the New Games Journalism people, by and large, are not just jack-asses with an aol account.
posted by empath at 9:52 AM on July 17, 2009


Kieron Gillen is one of the writers of Rock Paper Shotgun and inventor of the term new games journalism.

Don't you mean New School Journalism, yeah?
posted by Olli at 9:52 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Olli, that video is sublime.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:09 AM on July 17, 2009


They're real journalists. They actually do games journalism for a living. So, no, the New Games Journalism people, by and large, are not just jack-asses with an aol account.

Except you're missing the point, that, whether anyone likes it or not, games commentary is dominated by non-journalists, or at the very least, persons who have zero traditional journalism training. For example, your typical newspaper movie reviewer didn't start AS the movie reviewer. Roger Ebert did tons and tons of traditional reporting before he became the two-thumbs-up guy. That's not true at all for the typical person reviewing games.

But the journalist and the non-journalist alike are often provided with more or less equal opportunity, access and perceived credibility.

Which leads to my perfect storm analogy. The way things have evolved, it's as if someone set out to design a system of mistrust.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:10 AM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's a great parody of NGJ here, though: (at least I think it's a parody)

GSW: So you're the great saviour of games journalism?

MH: Damn right, man. I'm the new, new james journalism.

GSW: James journalism?

hes1.jpgMH: Shut up, man, you know what I mean. You know that whole Lester Bangs of games journalism thing? Screw it - screw being Lester Bangs of games journalism, man, just screw it. Screw it. You know what we need? We need a Hunter S. Thompson of games journalism.

We need someone who's going to take a whole boatload of acid and go to E3; rock up to press conferences wondering why they've suddenly replaced Don Mattrick with Budgie the goddamn Little Helicopter and why Pippa the Plane is playing Wii Music at the Nintendo event, belching blue green halitosis at our industry's journalistic savior in an effort to try and sell to a market won't even be watching while still keeping a bunch of chronic masturbators on message boards under the impression that the company still gives a shit about them and their pathetic excuses for incomes. Jeff Green gone power mad on drugs. Pure gonzo games journalism. Burning E3 to the ground. Nothing left but Kirby Dots.

And liveblog the whole thing on 1Up! They need me there to say, 'I'm Matt Hestill, stupid, and this is how the goddamn hell it is,' There's nothing like a crystal clear acid come-down to make you realize, 'Oh hell, they really don't care about you anymore'. The indies and the devs with half a brain in their head? They might give a shit, but why are journalists pandering to the lotion-rubbing fanboys who honestly believe that Sony care that they're upset about Final Fantasy on the 360 and the guys who think that Microsoft are really very sorry for the inconvenience caused when they sent their third Xbox back in?

Stockholm syndrome, man. Capitalism taken to an extreme never before seen, where you start defending and proffering love for the ones who charge you money. But no kissing on the lips, and they won't love you in the morning! Battling on boards for a bunch who see you as a number? Man, it's battery hens sent to war. I hate those guys, man – detest them with a fury that sometimes overwhelms me. Hands off it, boys! And I'm not afraid to tell exactly how much contempt I have for them; for my prospective audience.

Couldn't be much worse than the pedestrian crap that comes out of most of those blogs anyway, right?

posted by empath at 10:12 AM on July 17, 2009


Except you're missing the point, that, whether anyone likes it or not, games commentary is dominated by non-journalists, or at the very least, persons who have zero traditional journalism training.

"Real" journalism now is dominated by 'trained journalists' and most of it is garbage. Give me a talented writer over a fully degreed and accredited journalist any day.
posted by empath at 10:16 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Give me a talented writer over a fully degreed and accredited journalist any day.

And you'll get a lot of people that have zero knowledge of journalistic ethics. Which will lead to kerfluffles about how the reviewer played the game for only two hours.

Not to say that "real" journalists are paragons of perfection. But you'll be far less likely to see, say, these guy and gals getting involved in he said / she said dust-ups with developers.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:21 AM on July 17, 2009


> It strikes me that someone teleported twenty years from the past and put in front of that nerdrage video would have absolutely no reference points to take a hold of, and would probably be terrified.

Hell, I'm terrified now.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:25 AM on July 17, 2009


Real journalists don't have arguments about ethics with the subjects of their stories?
posted by empath at 10:26 AM on July 17, 2009


The thing about New Video Games Journalism that bugs me, not to put too fine a point on it, is when it's carried to a Tim Rogersesque extreme. I'll admit it was his piece on Katamari Damacy that tipped me off to that game, but the digressions in that piece are self-indulgent to extremes, and some of the others I remember being embarrassing even to read.

Also, when the "journalist," who let's face it really has no business being called the same thing as Woodward, Bernstein, Murrow and thousands of other people who do important work that makes the world continue along on its axis, decides that his work is "important." It is within the field, perhaps, but not in a real sense. If video games weren't a fetish object for millions of kids and young adults then we wouldn't be talking about "journalism" here at all, except in the sense of trade journalism. There is a sense of self-importance around the term that makes me uncomfortable.

Which isn't to say that there isn't good video game writing, or that they shouldn't hold themselves to high standards. So Gamespot can continue to go to hell in my opinion. It's just that, given the scope of the world, video games are such a small part of it, the word "journalist" doesn't even seem like it should apply. A Google search for "games journalist" turns up ten times as many hits as "movie journalist." I wonder why that is.
posted by JHarris at 10:37 AM on July 17, 2009


A Google search for "games journalist" turns up ten times as many hits as "movie journalist." I wonder why that is.

There's plenty of behind the scenes film journalism, and I'm fairly sure it's a bigger business than games journalism -- Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, etc. It's much different from move criticism.
posted by empath at 10:41 AM on July 17, 2009


Except you're missing the point, that, whether anyone likes it or not, games commentary is dominated by non-journalists, or at the very least, persons who have zero traditional journalism training.

At a networking event for media types I attended, I spoke to a few journalists with this actual training you refer to. When I mentioned that my latest piece was about video games and I was seeking more opportunities in video game journalism, at least two people told me they had no idea video game journalism even existed. One was a NYT journalist.

There's an obvious disconnect there, and it's not as simple as saying games journalists overwhelmingly lack formal journalism training. A lot of people in journalism didn't go to J-school, but some rose up the ranks and got their opportunities with only their BA in hand (I"m talking across different formats, not limited to newspapers). You can also see examples of that disconnect when more mainstream journalists try to report on video game-related topics and make glaring errors (either via their writers or their own mistakes).

I don't have a J-school degree, only a high school internship and time spent as the editor of my HS paper. However, I've been gaming since I was about three and have a deep love of gaming and appreciation for and understanding of the mechanics as well as the culture. I've applied my skills and training in other areas to my gaming journalism as well.

It's extremely shortsighted to write off gaming journalists in the way you have.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:54 AM on July 17, 2009


Bookhouse: "sometimes gamers are like neocons. they latch onto a word, and then that word sums up everything they could ever possibly want to say about "the other side." there's no further need for debate.

I think you meant "are like human beings."
"

ok, I'll grant you that.
posted by shmegegge at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2009


(That came off making me look like a HS grad. I do have a BA, but didn't work on my college paper for a few reasons.)
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:58 AM on July 17, 2009


Nobody who, after the last nine years, thinks "journalist" is some kind of magical prestige title implying importance and ethics and so on has even the slightest shred of credibility. America's journalists spent the Bush years writing downw hatever the administration said and putting it, without comment or critique, in their stories. The likes of Matt Taibbi and Seymour Hersh are good people who've done much, but they are shining beacons of light in an ocean of timid, cowardly shit.

This whole idea that we mustn't use the word "journalist" to describe, say, Kieron Gillon because what he does isn't brace or important or whatever is silly and Scotsmanesque. Most journalists do nothing of importance, and they do so while writing a lot fucking worse than the NGJ folks.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


For a "vastly experienced, award-winning journalist", Kieron Gillen's grammar is terrible. And not even endearingly so.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 11:21 AM on July 17, 2009


I found the video disturbing for the impotent mob activity. What was all that war-delcaring supposed to accomplish? I'm sure the guy's shitting himself about being on a "KOS list" in a game he's never coming back to anyway...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:23 AM on July 17, 2009


My understanding of the whole NGJ thing, when Gillen first coined it, was that he was trying to get games journalists to write differently than they had for mags like EGM, or reviews on Gamespot.

here's the original mefi post about the term, by the way.

anyway, what I mean by "differently than they had." was that games journalism was (and largely still is) basically just about giving torpid descriptions for reviews and then a score and that was it. there was no life to it, and it was pretty restrictive in terms of content. when he linked to the "bow nigger" article, I thought it was to demonstrate that you could actually put human stories in articles about games, that you could discuss or review the software as more than a collection of gameplay and graphical features, but that the industry wasn't doing that.

in a way, he was very right. now, since then, the term has become so loaded down with pretention and bullshit that it's virtually meaningless. but i like to think that what he had intended was for gaming journalism to have more than just The New York Times. It would be okay for it to also have a Harper's or New Yorker. (opinions of those magazines notwithstanding.) I think that's a decent goal to have, whatever might have come of it.
posted by shmegegge at 11:25 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, from that first mefi post:

2) Write travel journalism to Imaginary Places.

I think this is exactly it.
posted by empath at 11:28 AM on July 17, 2009


Hah, when I name checked Jim Rossignol above, I didn't realize he was mefi's own Rossignol.
posted by empath at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2009


As someone who played Darkfall from release, though admittedly quit after about two months, people are being extremely uncharitable and not really understanding it's strong points (though the second reviewer came close).

The first reviewer himself notes that most people would tell him that Darkfall is about clan warfare, and pvp, yet they both fail to explore this part of the game. Having taken part in some sieges, I can tell you the experience is not underwhelming. Each city has to be built individually by the clan that possesses it, every section of wall, every building, from the fortress to the blacksmith, has to have resources gathered for it. So it really starts to mean something to the players that built it.

This causes huge alliances and webs of enemies to be formed, and the politics that were played out in the first few months were really incredible, Machiavellian and epic, and all due to something as simple as conquerable cities. And when the battles happened, they were pretty amazing to behold too; archers lining the parapets, pikemen in full plate at the entrance, the enemy lined up mounted up just outside of arrow range ready to stream across the bridge, all the while waiting for the flanking reinforcements from your ally to arrive.

I'm not really sure where it has gone since I played, but it was definitely something special for awhile.
posted by paradoxflow at 11:32 AM on July 17, 2009


Paradoxflow: Of course, any game that involved would require an investment of time so substantial that expecting any reviewer to do it is ludicrous. It's like with world of warcraft, where the general consensus is 'The real game starts at (insert current level cap here)'. You can't expect the reviewer to play it up to that point - even if he could spare the time, he wouldn't be objective by the time he got there. And of course, to make an objective comparison he'd have to play many MMORPGs up to that point, and that would take more time than anyone has.

So really, a game that requires a huge investment of time before it starts being fun is never going to get a good review, and honestly, it probably shouldn't. Most players who start a game like that will have an unpleasant playing experience, quit long before the 'good stuff' starts, and the review should reflect that.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:48 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I believe Eurogamer's official policy is to re-review MMORPG's every year or so,E anyway.
posted by empath at 12:04 PM on July 17, 2009


This is the central difficulty of reviewing MMORPGs though isn't it? Any objective review can only really review the initial early player experience: a full review of the 'deep game' would require such a commitment of time and effort that the reviewer could no longer be objective, even if they had the time. So objectively reviewing MMORPGs is an impossibility.
posted by pharm at 12:36 PM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Which is the appeal of the travel diary school of games journalism. Fundamentally a mmorpg is a place and a culture. Imagine the difficulty of being asked to review, say, Pittsburg.
posted by empath at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pittsburgh, the review:

It stinks!
posted by shmegegge at 2:33 PM on July 17, 2009


This is the central difficulty of reviewing MMORPGs though isn't it? Any objective review can only really review the initial early player experience: a full review of the 'deep game' would require such a commitment of time and effort that the reviewer could no longer be objective, even if they had the time. So objectively reviewing MMORPGs is an impossibility.

Not if you are professional about it. One approaches it as work. It's a job, and as we all know, our jobs sometimes include tasks we'd rather not do, boring tasks, or things of the mind-numbing sort. Yet we have to put in that time.

It's the same thing to a good MMORPG reviewer. It's a game and playtime put in isn't "play", it's work. As such, time spent for a deep review doesn't in itself make the reviewer lose objectivity any more than say, taking out the trash harms the credibility of a chef. It doesn't mean that someone who spends say, a good month playing an MMORPG for review purposes (as my boyfriend has, more than once) endears the reviewer to the game and blinds him or her to its faults. Professionalism is key, and contrary to some of the opinions in here, there are many of us who do possess it.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2009


No argumemt from me, cmgonzalez, but I think that the point some people are making here is that by definition, the elements that are compelling to MMORPG fans are incongruous with an objective viewpoint. It's easy to grade a game's interface, speed, difficulty, etc. objectively. But could it be that taking on a stance of objectivity renders you unable to appraise elements like community and culture?
posted by roll truck roll at 3:42 PM on July 17, 2009


Well, part of NGJ was dropping the pretense of objectivity and relating personal experiences with the game instead.

Dropping the:

Graphics
Sound
Gameplay
Story

scoring system was probably the best innovation of NGJ. Treating the game as a piece of art that one experiences, rather than a consumer product to be rated for it's technical specifications.

If I never see a score on another game review again, I couldn't be happier. I've never read a review and gone, hey, this game is a 9, that means I must buy it.
posted by empath at 3:58 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've never read a review and gone, hey, this game is a 9, that means I must buy it.

Odd. I've had phenomenal luck (?) buying games from the top 20 or 30 of the Metacritic list, and I never look at anything other than the "9" rating.

The result has been almost all great games and zero duds so far. Even the few I didn't love, I have to admit they're very good games, just not my thing.

I prefer seeing the rating scores rather than long in-depth and spoiler-filled reviews. I'll buy a game with a 95 score and go in with my eyes wide open. Better that way.

Of course, the Metacritic list is inherently blended, so it's not one reviewer's whim.
posted by rokusan at 10:51 PM on July 17, 2009


I've had phenomenal luck (?) buying games from the top 20 or 30 of the Metacritic list, and I never look at anything other than the "9" rating.

Aww, that comment made me really sad actually. There are games I adore like Far Cry 2 and Zeno Clash and even Kayne and Lynch that didn't get the highest Metacritic scores, often understandingly. I encourage you, rokusan, to try something a little out of the ordinary. The top games on Metacritic are usually just the ones that the game press hivemind decided were worthy, there are games just as worthy of attention that don't get the same praise lavished upon them. It's time to go exploring.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:24 AM on July 18, 2009




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