Tag Archives: journalism

Not All Quakes Are Alike

Recently the gaming journalism scene appears to have gone into over drive to display their lack of professionalism. That is concerning unto itself, but I’m not going to post on those hot topics. I would rather prefer to focus on the simple things that they get wrong, things which do not provoke a sense of scandal, but when noticed call into question their position as those who bring us gaming news.

As I have brought up previously, often game journalists have the same comprehension level of games, ludology, and the technology as the average consumer which results in them being as qualified as any commenter on YouTube or reddit. This is more grave through the simplicity of it. You need to understand the difference between a franchise name, and a game title.

The new changes to Quake Live were announced recently. They were controversial, and logically a lot of people had a variety of emphatic responses. This was covered at Kotaku by Nathan Grayson, and by covered I mean there was some copy and paste, screenshots of comments, and filler. In the original article Nathan spoke of “classic Quake” and how Quake Live was based off of “Quake III Gold”. The problem is Quake Live is an adjusted and free version of Quake III Arena, and has no bearing on the original Quake other than franchise name. The article also incorrectly cites nostalgia when referring to an active and current community. Nostalgia does not apply to the present, nor the recent. This set me off a bit and I commented on this a fair bit on Twitter: Continue reading

This is Not How You Review Games

Two popular tweets going around are pictures of Steve Hogarty’s reviews of expansions for The Sims 2. Retweeted by a variety of people, including of course illustrious RPS folk, the reviews are considered raw, gritty, accurate, and the fact that EA execs wanted him fired from PC Zone just validates those claims.

As you can see from the header, it certainly isn’t worried about being “edgy.” So yes the article is very gruff, and gruffness has a place. Being blunt, sometimes even foul, can go a long ways for your message. But is this a well written review? Well no, it isn’t. I would say it doesn’t even qualify as a review, but rather merely slander upon some strawman at EA. The review, as you can see, is a hypothetical story about EA executives sharing a moment where they dream up a way to bilk people of their cash. Shortly after one of the executives returns home, strikes his wife, and commits suicide. All over being part of such a horrible thing as Sims 2 expansions. The final line is just an insult. Continue reading

RPS Doesn’t Know What CTF Is

Rainbow Six Siege is a game in the Rainbow Six series. This much is obvious. So you could look to previous Rainbow Six games to get an idea as to what the new one will be like. This much is apparently not obvious to Rock Paper Shotgun. You know what also isn’t obvious to RPS? What Capture the Flag (CTF) is.

Siege’s E3 demo did leave a bit of a weird taste in some mouths, though, mainly because shoving around a lady in the team-based Hostage Mode like she’s the flag in capture the flag is kind of odd, even if you’re rescuing her.

In the Hostage mode, you play a law enforcement unit of some form breaching a location that has been secured by criminals, who have taken a hostage. Why did they take a hostage? Because they know it will slow down the law enforcement, it will make them hesitate a moment longer before taking a shot, it will decrease the odds of them blind firing into a scenario. The hostage has this effect on law enforcement because of their directive to preserve innocent life. The game mechanic involves a penalty of a loss if the hostage dies, and said hostage must be extracted from danger and secured, as the criminals can recapture that hostage. Continue reading

When Journalism is a Game

The June issue of Men’s Health has a Special Report by Tom McGrath titled “When Killing is a Game”. We’ve seen reports like this before, though they’re usually a bit more blunt in their style (no cuts to a van exploding for example), but I wanted to address this one in particular because it is a bit more insidious. There is a facade of moderation, but the benefit of the doubt is given to those asserting a specific claim on reality.

I’m not sure why magazines continue to accept articles on this subject when they are written by people with such little experience playing video games. Note that I did not say a gamer, I’m not asking for someone who agrees with me, just someone who has a solid idea of what I do when I say I am gaming. According to the article, McGrath has played 55 minutes of Modern Warfare 3 on the Wii. No other experience with games is indicated. This is akin to examining the issue regarding violent film, based upon having watched 10 minutes of any given movie. The author has, as far as he has communicated, arrived upon the issue with a pre-elementary level of knowledge regarding the subject. This is indicated later on with his shock about multiplayer FPSes scoring players by their ability to kill the enemy, failing to call out the asinine concept that the differences between Wolfenstein 3d and Myst is simply the presence of violence, and the conflation of World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto.

“Does virtual violence turn some boys into real killers?” Let’s presume that this is the case. I went to Wikipedia’s List of Best Selling Video Games and tallied up the sales figures on only the most heinous looking games to those who write articles such as this, using the All Platforms top 40. I then checked out Wikipedia’s List of Rampage Killers (what is Bing going to think of me? That’s right, I Chandler). They have a total of 1336 Rampage Killing incidents, around the globe, with no methods or setting filtered out. If video games spawned every one of these, we are looking at a rate of 0.00047578%. Hardly statistically significant. This isn’t particularly scientific, but fight fire with fire, right? (I’m sorry was that violent rhetoric?) In general, just taking their claim on its face, video games still seem more safe than cars, water heaters, or national parks. Continue reading

Spoiler Warning – Game Journalism is Really Terrible

Recently there has been much ado about a Doom mod called Total Chaos – Overgrowth, thanks largely to the teaser video, which you can watch below:

It is a pretty good teaser, and the mod looks like it has potential. I enjoy the mood, the visuals, and the cited inspiration of STALKER.

What concerns me is the coverage of it. Kotaku titled it as such:

Doom “Mod” Makes The Game Look Very 21st Century

Rock Paper Shotgun titled it:

Astoundingly, Total Chaos Is A Doom II Mod

There seems to be doubt as to the term mod or the fact that it is Doom 2. The visuals, the result of artwork and post-processing, are incompatible in the minds of major game writers. Doom is a specific resolution and a specific setting. Surely this isn’t Doom. Yet it is. Yes it is using GZDoom for true mouselook (an actually major change considering how Doom fills a frame of data by not caring about vertical spaces beyond the current view) and many other features. But the project is still using WAD files (“Where’s All the Data”), the world is still composed of linedefs, sidedefs, and sectors. It is still a two-dimensional scene displayed with perspective and data tracked with a third dimension. Despite this, Kotaku doubted the use of the term mod (a Total Conversion is a more appropriate term, at least once they remove the player fall grunt) and Rock Paper Shotgun remarked on it as being astounding.

It looks great, it does. But it is a mod, and it isn’t astounding. It is a well scoped project playing to its strengths. Now if these were random internet comments, I could get past it a little. But these people are gatekeepers of information in gaming, and they might even call themselves journalist. Yet they haven’t the foggiest as to the basics of game development, or game technology. They don’t even understand what makes for game technology. They see pretty pictures and blurring, and suddenly it is advanced. Heaven forbid these people write for a car magazine, or they would give top ratings to everything with a flame paint job and a spoiler. Before you write about something, try to take five minutes to make sure you have some basic grasp of it. Read the wiki article on the Doom engine, it doesn’t take long and provides a great overview. Understand the differences between higher resolution textures, different rendering methods for that texture, and different types of world construction. If you don’t know even the basic fundamentals of how a game works beyond clicking PLAY in Steam or on your favorite console, if you aren’t comfortable with installing mods (not even making them) without using a self-unpacking installer, then perhaps you aren’t the best person to be writing about technical achievements in a release. Continue reading