Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
01 August 2006
Sony pimps GameSpot, IGN, pimp self
We're all familiar with claims that a videogame site is shilling for some videogame company, but how often do you see a videogame company shilling the videogame sites? Well, that's just what Sony's doing currently, although it is of course just shilling for itself by proxy.

Through the registration I have at the official PlayStation site, I get spam from Sony about PSP and PS2 games. Today, I got a link to a quiz which, if answered correctly, would put me in a contest to win some Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror swag for the PSP. Not interested, but I clicked through to see the quiz anyway.

The quiz asks about specific positive comments made in Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror reviews by GameSpot, IGN, and GameSpy, along with links directly to those reviews. The ratings are 8.8/10, 9.3/10, and 5 stars, respectively, all above the 87.3% average on GameRankings. The IGN and GameSpy reviews have, as we've now become conditioned to expect, links to sites which sell the game being reviewed. The link to the GameSpot review, interestingly, is a link to the printable version of the review which just has a small HP advert at the top (at least in my window).

Here is the quiz:
  1. In Syphon Filter(R): Dark Mirror, you're given an array of different vision modes. Which mode should you use to find switches and other interactive objects in the environment?
    • Interactive vision mode
    • Low-light night vision mode
    • "EDSU" mode
    • "ICU" mode

  2. Where did IGN reviewer, Juan Castro, say he would not mind being stranded with a copy of Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror? (Click here to see the review.)
    • E3
    • A deserted island
    • A European disco
    • His local Department of Motor Vehicles

  3. According to the Gamespot review, which dart can "silently kill a single bad guy"? (Click here to see the review.)
    • Gas
    • Explosive
    • Electric

  4. Gamespy wrote that Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror excels in: (Click here to see the review.)
    • "The sensitivity of its characters"
    • Depicting the benefits of compromise
    • The range of emotions it features
    • "Everything a PSP game should offer"

  5. What did Gamespot call Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror? (Click here to see the review.)
    • "An outright early contender for PSP Game of the Year"
    • "The best PSP action game to date"
    • "An action packed PSP thrill ride"
    • "The coolest Gabe Logan adventure yet"
Neat how even though GameSpot didn't say that Syphon Filter was the "best PSP action game to date", an unconscious association may still be made in your mind. (The answer is that GameSpot called it a contender for Game of the Year.) It's really very clever.

This relationship between the videogame media and the game companies is just too weird for me. If there is payola -- and I'm not saying for sure there is -- then this is just about as close to flaunting it as you could get, isn't it?
--Matt Matthews at 23:36
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