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Author Topic: EGM gets blacklisted for 'poor reviews'  (Read 2799 times)
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Destructor
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« on: January 09, 2008, 03:40:13 PM »

Via VGMWatch (via EGM itself):

Quote
Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Editor-in-Chief Dan “Shoe” Hsu has an interesting editorial in the latest edition of his magazine. The bulk of Hsu’s column deals with topics familiar to VGMWatch.com readers: publishers bullying game publications; overly positive previews; and editorial integrity. In fact, Hsu himself has covered these issues in past columns before. However, what makes his latest editorial unique is what he’s always shied away from doing in the past: it names names.

According to Hsu, Midway’s Mortal Kombat development team, Sony’s sports game division, and Ubisoft have all allegedly banned EGM from further coverage of their products. The reason: Apparently, they didn’t take too kindly to EGM’s review coverage of their games. Still, Hsu maintains that EGM “won’t treat these products or companies any differently.” We have yet to confirm these allegations with the publishers mentioned. However, if the editorial’s claims are accurate, VGMWatch.com is certainly disappointed with these publishers’ behavior. As corporations, publishers have every right to ban any publication they want for poor coverage. But that doesn’t make it right. Gamers should feel disrespected as well.

Here's a hint - why don't you stop making shitty shovelware games, and then you won't get terrible reviews. Ingenious, no?
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 03:54:07 PM »

I've never bought anything 'Mortal Combat' - that was great 10 years ago, I guess.
I can't remember the last 'Sony Sports' game I bought. Maybe MLB for the PSP four years ago. Which I didn't like.
And Ubisoft... Make a game, stick 'Tom Clancy' on it. Make 50 sequels. I stopped caring. There'll be a new Clancy game every 3 months and I can't keep up with it all. So I won't buy until it's on the used shelves for under twenty bucks at GameStop, and the only company that makes money from that is the Gamestop-o.

So I'd boycott them, but really - is it a boycott if I wouldn't buy the shit anyways?

Quote
As corporations, publishers have every right to ban any publication they want for poor coverage. But that doesn’t make it right. Gamers should feel disrespected as well.

Is that true? I mean, they can not give the magazine their advertising money, but if Boating Monthly wants to review the latest canoe they still can, even without a Reviewer's copy of said boat. They do it the same way all fledgling publications do - they buy themselves a copy at the store.

I don't see anyone banning Ebert from reviewing movies that he doesn't like. It's asinine that the gaming industry thinks they're different.

The biggest hope that we can get from this is a reviewing system that has more levels for good games. Right now, any publisher believes a score under 80% is bad. It costs them sales. So we have 80% of the scale to denote different levels of crappiness and only 20% to denote goodness.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 04:00:18 PM by DragonFyre » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 04:02:21 PM »

Quote from: Destructor
Here's a hint - why don't you stop making shitty shovelware games, and then you won't get terrible reviews. Ingenious, no?

Pretty sure the Ubi issue is over EGM's reviews of Assassin's Creed.  I  had my issues with the game but it was anything but shovelware. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 04:04:22 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on January 09, 2008, 03:54:07 PM

I don't see anyone banning Ebert from reviewing movies that he doesn't like. It's asinine that the gaming industry thinks they're different.

They don't.  The "ban" in question is exactly what you said- the publisher may stop providing the magazine with material for previews or reviews.  No where are they (or could they) prohibit EGM from reviewing the games that they purchase themselves. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 04:09:24 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on January 09, 2008, 04:02:21 PM

Quote from: Destructor
Here's a hint - why don't you stop making shitty shovelware games, and then you won't get terrible reviews. Ingenious, no?
Pretty sure the Ubi issue is over EGM's reviews of Assassin's Creed.  I  had my issues with the game but it was anything but shovelware. 

Well, I don't read EGM, so I had absolutely no idea what exactly it was involving.
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2008, 04:10:51 PM »

You know what, fuck those publishers. Seriously, fuck them. It is them and this attitude that is contributing to the sharp decline in quality and integrity of editorials and gaming journalism. Massive props to Shoe and EGM for sticking their necks out and calling out these publishers for their bullshit. If they don't get early code, fine. Go buy the games and review them ASAP. Gamers will understand. The publishers trying so very hard to tear down the nearly transparent 4th wall is going to completely kill games journalism if it keeps up the way it is heading-mark my words. Pretty soon there will only need to be "official mags" (hell even OXM gives shitty scores sometimes) that are just mouthpieces for the marketing & PR goons. I really think that gamers everywhere should be pissed about this.

You know what, I agree with them too. Assassin's Creed is a monumentally overrated game, Mortal Kombat blows ass, and Sony sports is a disgrace. More power to them.
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 04:24:29 PM »

So when did the last Mortal Kombat game come out?  And EGM just decides to get all up uppity now? 
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 04:25:33 PM »

I'd normally be very concerned with video game  companies' taking action like this, but with EGM I can understand it. As I've said before in a number of other posts here, IMO EGM has little or no credibility as a review source. The fact that's there's often great variation in the 3 scores of their reviews tells me that there isn't a proper editorial process there. As well their technique of multiple mini reviews doesn't do proper justice to any game as it only allows for a very minimal discussion of the game. All of this has always give me the impression that their review efforts are lazy and careless at best. Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 04:34:25 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on January 09, 2008, 04:24:29 PM

So when did the last Mortal Kombat game come out? 

last year some time.  Out of the 3 listed the only company whose games I regularly play is Ubisoft, and me boycotting them would lead to less fun for me, so I can't.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 04:37:19 PM »

It's a self correcting system.  Game companies can (and should) send games to whoever they want to review them.  It's their prerogative to do so.  EGM can then complain about it, as they have.  Game companies have to deal with the possible negative feedback from doing so.

It all works.

gellar
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on January 09, 2008, 04:25:33 PM

I'd normally be very concerned with video game  companies' taking action like this, but with EGM I can understand it. As I've said before in a number of other posts here, IMO EGM has little or no credibility as a review source.  

EGM is actually one of the few remaining credible sources for game reviews.

Quote
The fact that's there's often great variation in the 3 scores of their reviews tells me that there isn't a proper editorial process there.

Just the opposite. It shows that editors allow a reviewer to stick to their opinion of a game, rather than shoehorn a game into an arbitrary number.

Quote
As well their technique of multiple mini reviews doesn't do proper justice to any game as it only allows for a very minimal discussion of the game. All of this has always give me the impression that their review efforts are lazy and careless at best.

I appreciate the multiple reviews. I wish they'd devote more column space to each review, but the mini-review format is usually helpful enough that I can determine whether the reviewer's score is justified or whether the reviewer just didn't "get" the game. It also helps to pay attention to each reviewer as well, and not just look at the scores. For example, I know hat reiewer A has higher standards for a game in a certain genre than reviewer B.

The bottom line for me is EGM provides more information to help me make a more informed purchasing decision.

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 04:42:18 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.

Meh, I've pretty much boiled down my review reading to GT/OO impressions, Zero Punctuation, and Eurogamer.
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 04:48:54 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on January 09, 2008, 04:42:18 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.

Meh, I've pretty much boiled down my review reading to GT/OO impressions, Zero Punctuation, and Eurogamer.

LOL.  That's my process as well.

gellar
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 04:50:34 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon
EGM is actually one of the few remaining credible sources for game reviews.

I have no problems with EGM's review style in theory and I think the occasional large divergence in reviewers' opinions is a healthy and positive thing.  However, I think very little of most of EGM/1Up's staff and content.  I think they are more concerned about projecting "personalities" and tweaking platform fanboys on both ends of the spectrum just to see the reaction, etc.  I fully they believe that much of their staff would raise or lower their score of a game a full point or two just to enjoy the subsequent flame fest that erupts on places like Neogaf (and presumably lead to more hits on their website or sales in their magazine). 

Basically, for me EGM/1Up is uncomfortably close to the "entertainment" side of the spectrum than the "informative" side. 
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 04:52:35 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM

Quote from: kronovan on January 09, 2008, 04:25:33 PM

I'd normally be very concerned with video game  companies' taking action like this, but with EGM I can understand it. As I've said before in a number of other posts here, IMO EGM has little or no credibility as a review source.  

EGM is actually one of the few remaining credible sources for game reviews.

Quote
The fact that's there's often great variation in the 3 scores of their reviews tells me that there isn't a proper editorial process there.

Just the opposite. It shows that editors allow a reviewer to stick to their opinion of a game, rather than shoehorn a game into an arbitrary number.

Quote
As well their technique of multiple mini reviews doesn't do proper justice to any game as it only allows for a very minimal discussion of the game. All of this has always give me the impression that their review efforts are lazy and careless at best.

I appreciate the multiple reviews. I wish they'd devote more column space to each review, but the mini-review format is usually helpful enough that I can determine whether the reviewer's score is justified or whether the reviewer just didn't "get" the game. It also helps to pay attention to each reviewer as well, and not just look at the scores. For example, I know hat reiewer A has higher standards for a game in a certain genre than reviewer B.

The bottom line for me is EGM provides more information to help me make a more informed purchasing decision.

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.

You're certainly welcome to your opinions, but I do disagree with you on all points. As many other GT'ers have stated, you can't always rely on scores, therefore it's important to be able to read the content of the review. Unfortunately EGM's mini review system doesn't allow for that as the barest, minimal information is conveyed in them. In terms of giving each reviewer their own opinion that's fine, however far too many of those reviews are completely off base and very subjective.
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 04:55:19 PM »

Quote from: WalkingFumble on January 09, 2008, 04:52:11 PM

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As corporations, publishers have every right to ban any publication they want for poor coverage. But that doesn’t make it right. Gamers should feel disrespected as well.

is that even legal?  i mean, books, tv shows, music, band performances, movies, even websites get reviewed.  whos to stop someone from expressing their opinion about something (other than asshole goerge bush and his croonies) in media for others to read?  are they going to call the 1st amendment police?


Again, that just means that they don't provide them preview/review materials.  They cannot stop them from reviewing product that EGM purchases at retail. 
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2008, 04:55:50 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on January 09, 2008, 04:42:18 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.

Meh, I've pretty much boiled down my review reading to GT/OO impressions, Zero Punctuation, and Eurogamer.

+1  also BC from time to time
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 04:59:39 PM »

You have to understand that their 'ban' actually just means that they won't send them stuff for free.  It isn't saying that they can't cover them, it is saying that Ubi and the like just won't be footing the bill for them. 
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 05:06:52 PM »

I wonder if "ban" also means they'll pull advertising from the magazines?

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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2008, 05:29:47 PM »

Quote from: faide on January 09, 2008, 05:06:52 PM

I wonder if "ban" also means they'll pull advertising from the magazines?



Pretty likely I'd imagine.  Honestly, I think EGM does it right - their editorial team is completely disconnected from their ad-buy team.  They really shouldn't have anything to do with one another. 
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2008, 05:46:24 PM »

Why don't the publishers stop advertising altogether and just put out their own magazines with reviews about how wonderful all their products are? It's called the "Nintendo Power" technique.  Roll Eyes I think that would last about 2 months, by which time most gamers with a brain would realize how worthless advertorial copy is in determining whether something's worth buying or not.

Some day the game publishers will realize gamers aren't idiots, that good word of mouth by fans about a genuinely fun, good game is probably more powerful than any positive game reviews gained through advertiser intimidation or advertorial copy.
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2008, 05:48:01 PM »

Not true; Look at Prince of Persia Sands of Time.
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2008, 05:48:45 PM »

Quote from: gellar on January 09, 2008, 04:48:54 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on January 09, 2008, 04:42:18 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.

Meh, I've pretty much boiled down my review reading to GT/OO impressions, Zero Punctuation, and Eurogamer.

LOL.  That's my process as well.

gellar

Heh, same here, only add Gamers With Jobs and drop Eurogamer for me. icon_wink For rpg's I often at least consult the RPGamer reviews too.
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« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2008, 05:50:23 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on January 09, 2008, 05:46:24 PM

Some day the game publishers will realize gamers aren't idiots, that good word of mouth by fans about a genuinely fun, good game is probably more powerful than any positive game reviews gained through advertiser intimidation or advertorial copy.

Completely disagree.  The video game market is 100% about marketing.  Sure having a good game *helps*, but it is not the core factor for sales.  Marketing, marketing, marketing.  The core gamer demographic (18-24 year old males) is statistically the most influenced demographic when it comes to marketing.

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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2008, 06:15:02 PM »

EGM/1up is not a professional gaming journalism company.  It's a bunch of decent (sometimes not so decent) writers, who love to stir up controversy for coverage, and are looking more for being friends with their audience then providing professional reviews, previews, and unbiased coverage.

A 7/10 can be argued for Assassin's Creed, but the review was written in a snarky tone, even spoiling the game with batting an eyelash.

And a 5.5 for MLB 07: The Show?  I can understand why Sony's sports division didn't want them to come - that game was faaaaaaaaaaar from a 5.5. 
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2008, 07:07:20 PM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on January 09, 2008, 06:15:02 PM

EGM/1up is not a professional gaming journalism company.  It's a bunch of decent (sometimes not so decent) writers, who love to stir up controversy for coverage, and are looking more for being friends with their audience then providing professional reviews, previews, and unbiased coverage.

A 7/10 can be argued for Assassin's Creed, but the review was written in a snarky tone, even spoiling the game with batting an eyelash.

And a 5.5 for MLB 07: The Show?  I can understand why Sony's sports division didn't want them to come - that game was faaaaaaaaaaar from a 5.5. 

Kudos to you ML for saying it much better than I did. And those games are only just 2 examples of many such games. I honestly tried to like their publication in the past, but last console gen I found myself constantly being amazed that specific games could be so critically panned in their reviews yet garner respectible scores and postive reviews in the majority of other publications and sites.
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2008, 07:12:43 PM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on January 09, 2008, 06:15:02 PM

EGM/1up is not a professional gaming journalism company.  It's a bunch of decent (sometimes not so decent) writers, who love to stir up controversy for coverage, and are looking more for being friends with their audience then providing professional reviews, previews, and unbiased coverage.

A 7/10 can be argued for Assassin's Creed, but the review was written in a snarky tone, even spoiling the game with batting an eyelash.

And a 5.5 for MLB 07: The Show?  I can understand why Sony's sports division didn't want them to come - that game was faaaaaaaaaaar from a 5.5. 

I agree with TML.  I love EGM as a magazine, but mostly for its content - the reviews have always been horrible from the standpoint that I end up disagreeing with far more of their reviews than any other mag or online site (and I agree that a lot of them have a holier than thou vibe as well).  Anymore I barely even read the last 10 pages of the mag...
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2008, 07:14:16 PM »

Quote from: Purge on January 09, 2008, 05:48:01 PM

Not true; Look at Prince of Persia Sands of Time.

You don't even have to go that far back in the past, just look at the sales of Zak and Wiki.
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2008, 07:20:10 PM »

Prince of Persia bombing is kind of an urban legend.  Mainly because when it was released in November 2003 it did very poor numbers that month.  However numbers picked up significantly in December and it ended up doing at least a million across all platforms.  It may not have done nearly as well as it deserved but it doesn't really belong as the poster child for "great game that sold poorly."  There are plenty of games that deserve that more. 
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2008, 07:53:02 PM »

Quote from: gellar on January 09, 2008, 04:48:54 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on January 09, 2008, 04:42:18 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 04:38:31 PM

Quote
Personally I'd be very happy if EGM just went out of business.

To the detriment of the industry as a whole.

Meh, I've pretty much boiled down my review reading to GT/OO impressions, Zero Punctuation, and Eurogamer.

LOL.  That's my process as well.

gellar
same here, even though i do get subs to egm, oxm and gfw.  all were free and once the sub runs out, i won't be paying for it.  the amount of info i get there does not equal what i get from the net for free.
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2008, 08:01:00 PM »

Wow, most of the criticisms in this thread seems to be, "EGM hated a game I liked."  Who cares that one reviewer gave MLB The Show a 5.5? Just don't give as much weight to that person's sports game reviews going forward. I much prefer an honest, opinionated take on a game, even a take I strongly disagree with, than the mechanical, "buyer's guide" reviews that are foisted on us from so many different sources.

We get the game reviews we deserve. If people constantly clamor for safe, bland reviews that's what were going to get. And the publisher's will love it, because we'll all be arguing whether NFL Fever 2009 deserves a 7.865 or a 7.912 average.
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« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2008, 08:21:28 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 08:01:00 PM

Wow, most of the criticisms in this thread seems to be, "EGM hated a game I liked." 

I think more of the theme (or at least mine) is more of "EGM consistenly hated games that I liked."  If I'm going to use reviews as a tool to help filter which games might be worth my time and which ones won't, then I want to use reviews that seem to have similar taste to mine (the opposite is true as well - sites like IGN giving 9's to games I end up hating is just as bad as giving 5.5's to games I love).
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« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2008, 08:27:45 PM »

I think every site puts some (oftentimes consistent) bias behind their reviews.  I mean the primary reason I like Eurogamer, other than their good writing, is because I agree with their tilt on reviews.  They like games I like, and don't like games that I get annoyed with.  It's why they get reads and other sites like IGN don't.  Now if *everyone* thinks EGM makes trash reviews that no one agrees with then there is a problem.  I doubt that is the case, however.

gellar
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« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2008, 08:28:24 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on January 09, 2008, 08:01:00 PM

Wow, most of the criticisms in this thread seems to be, "EGM hated a game I liked."  Who cares that one reviewer gave MLB The Show a 5.5? Just don't give as much weight to that person's sports game reviews going forward. I much prefer an honest, opinionated take on a game, even a take I strongly disagree with, than the mechanical, "buyer's guide" reviews that are foisted on us from so many different sources.

What you describe here is perfectly fine for user or fan reviews; that's why review sites provide such forums. However, IMO it's not acceptable for game reviews made by professionals. Great that you're comfortable with it, but all that proves is that you have a lower standard of quality than most others here. I also think it's quite insulting to classify other reviewers that don't cater to the EGM 'stoke the fires' and 'stroke a fanboy' approach as "mechanical, "buyers guide" reviews".
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« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2008, 08:32:25 PM »

I don't think any site consistently gets it wrong.  Most sites are pretty much in lockstep with the Game Rankings average with minimal deviation.  Which is kind of silly IMO because you rarely see such consensus in other forms of media.  So the fact that EGM sometimes likes to be different doesn't bother me at all.  I just think their writing is usually poor and their intentions aren't noble (ie going for hits and controversy instead of trying to do the best job for the consumer).  Meanwhile I love Edge's reviews, another site that gets more use out of the full scale, because they were incredibly well written even when their opinion doesn't match mine. 
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« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2008, 09:02:13 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on January 09, 2008, 08:28:24 PM

What you describe here is perfectly fine for user or fan reviews; that's why review sites provide such forums. However, IMO it's not acceptable for game reviews made by professionals. Great that you're comfortable with it, but all that proves is that you have a lower standard of quality than most others here. I also think it's quite insulting to classify other reviewers that don't cater to the EGM 'stoke the fires' and 'stroke a fanboy' approach as "mechanical, "buyers guide" reviews".

I disagree that EGM does a "stroke the fires" style review. Their reviews are usually professional--or at least as professional as game reviews get. I don't see anything in their reviews that could be classified as pandering to fanboys.

I don't think it's a "lower standard of quality" to demand that reviews be blunt and have actual opinions in them. A review that lists a game's features, summarizes its story, and then makes some vague and tepid comments on the game's overall quality isn't professional. It's a bad review. A review that tells me what is good and bad about a game, and gives me concrete examples from the reviewer's experience is a good review. More often than not, EGM provides the latter, not the former. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 09:04:15 PM by Andrew Mallon » Logged
Kevin Grey
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« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2008, 09:11:54 PM »

FWIW, my opinions of them are largely based on how they come about on their podcasts and 1UP Show.  I find little objectionable in their actual print reviews because there is little of substance to begin with due to a format that allocates about a half a page to each review once screenshots are accounted for and then sub divides that between three people with too much "Oh ho, I will have to disagree with Crispin about..." filler.  I think the analysis of games that they do on the podcasts and 1Up Show are much more detailed but also where it becomes clear that they are playing the parts of personalities and also succumb way too much to pettiness for "professionals" IMO. 
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« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2008, 09:21:06 PM »

I will throw my hat in the ring and say I like EGM's review style (3 opinions, etc) but don't like that they get such little space to flesh out their opinions. Conversely to KMG, I actually like the attitude/characters on the podcast. I never find it too over the top, I respect most of their opinions as well reasoned (although Shane, as funny as he is, is such a drooling PS3 fanboy that it gets old). Either way I just am fairly fond of the entire 1up crew for whatever reason, even though sometimes I disagree with their editorial direction.
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« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2008, 09:24:58 PM »

Quote from: Calvin on January 09, 2008, 09:21:06 PM

Conversely to KMG, I actually like the attitude/characters on the podcast.

It's not a matter of like/dislike.  1Upyours is immensely entertaining a lot of the time.  They do good product.  But, in the process, they are becoming entertainers more than journalists and making it more about them than the games. 
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« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2008, 09:44:18 PM »

Yeah, I'm going to have to disagree with Kevin (that sounds so wrong--it's like disagreeing with the Pope) as well. I really don't have any problem with the podcasts. I think occassionally one of the members will occassionlly take an extreme position on an issue to needle another member (especially Garnett), but for the most part they come across as a bunch of loveable dweebs who actually care about this hobby and the games they cover. They certainly treat their hobby and listeners with a lot more respect than, say, the Gamespot or Gamespy editors on their podcast.
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