Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
14 July 2006
Game journalists are like unicorns, developers whine
When I read the first sentence of this post at Press The Buttons
Apparently, if GameDaily BIZ is to be believed, video game developers hate video game journalists.
I thought "Where is the proof that video game journalists exist?" Leaving that question for Mulder aside, the underlying article that MattG links to is here at GameDaily, titled "What Game Developers Hate About Videogame Reviewers". It gives a list of complaints that developers level against these supposed "video game journalists". These two got my goat:
  • "Developers hate game reviewers that only play their games for a few hours" -- Get real, developer dude. If you didn't give the player something worth playing in the first hour (I'd usually say 20 minutes, but I'm feeling generous), is it really worth finishing? Shouldn't the reviewer just stop there and say "Screw it!" and tell the readers not to waste their money?

  • "Developers hate game reviewers who have no idea what it takes to make a game" -- Cry me a river. If the game is a turd even after you spent big bucks making it, don't blame the press for not fully appreciating the sheer scale of your waste.
--Matt Matthews at 11:11
Comment [ 7 ]

Comments on this post:

The 5 minute test is pretty much what I use as a developer and gamer. If it isn't fun within five minutes it's probably not worth my time.

Well, that and 'Seconds to Crate'. Old Man Murray pretty much wrote the Bible on this stuff.


By Blogger Michael, at 14 July, 2006 12:28  

Would you like a Hertz Donut?

Ah, OMM. Nobody could combine Robocop and MMORPGs like OMM.

At the same time, there have certainly been games that became better after some annoying starts. I put Bloodrayne 2 down for months, came back and made it the first non-sports game I've finished without any sort of recommendation or comment from Matt since probably Resident Evil. San Andreas I put down for nearly a year before picking it back up to find it's actually a great WoW replacement (unfortunately). I'm suspicious MGS3 will do the same, if I ever pick it back up.

The problem, of course, is that games don't have very good shelf lives. Aside from a very few games, like Quake, which finds its engine re-ported every year or two, people who miss the first boat on a game don't get a chance to try it again. Even if they did, like with Quake, there's no money to be made in the current system. As far as the programmers are concerned, it's a, "How many have you sold for me quickly?" world.

Steam's still offering Half-Life for $10. Online distribution, like Steam and Game Agent, might help make some games that take time to discover into commercially viable enterprises. I could rant more, but I shouldn't.

By Blogger rufbo, at 14 July, 2006 15:48  

Video game journalists do exist, but we are quite elusive. The best way to find us is to bait a trap with a copy of New Super Mario Bros. and wait for nature to take its course.

By Anonymous MattG, at 14 July, 2006 18:47  

MattG: So what you're saying is that you have your price. And it's a free Mario game. ;^)

Rufbo: To be glib, if a developer can't be bothered to put a worthwhile part of the game up front, why should we bother to reward them? :^)

By Blogger jvm, at 14 July, 2006 22:10  

jvm: Ah, I said the Mario game is needed to find us. Getting us to do actual work is something else entirely.

By Anonymous MattG, at 14 July, 2006 22:16  

I would dispute that michael. Five minutes cannot be an absolute measure of whether a game will eventually be fun. I have difficulty with these kinds of blanket statements, I refuse to let potential sources of enjoyment get locked off because I'm determined to prove some point.

That said, I can certainly see how someone could be driven to make such a statement.

By Blogger JohnH, at 15 July, 2006 20:11  

Oh, for god's sake. Game developers never get to -talk- to video game journalists. PR flacks from the @!&%^ publishers do so. God forbid someone actually involved with the creation of a game should get a line of ink in the press. It's created by Activision! People don't do it, corporations do.

The point is, this is ignorant. Game journalists are mostly morons (there are exceptions), but -developers- don't care.

By Blogger Greg, at 18 July, 2006 00:52  

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