Monday, December 3, 2007

The Gamespot Controversy

When I am in the market for a game, the first place I go is to Gamespot for a review. I find their reviews generally well-written and concise. I also use the user reviews at Gamefaqs as well. But, like everything else, these sites that were originally designed for gaming enthusiasts by gaming enthusiasts are now affiliates of major corporations. Both of these sites I visit regularly are owned by one of these companies, CNet.

There is currently kind of an uproar in some elements of the gaming world about the departure of a Gamespot editor and reviewer surrounding a negative review he wrote and did a video on of a game called Kane & Lynch. The company's publisher, Eidos, has purchased lots of advertising on Gamespot to promote Kate & Lynch. So it's not hard to follow where this goes. This editor, Jeff Gerstmann, worked at Gamespot for ten years, and at the end, was locked out of his office and escorted off the property.

Due to our litigation-happy world, we will probably never know the full story of what happened, or if there was something else that led to Gerstmann's demise other than this scathing review. But if this is really the center of it, than it's disgraceful and inexcusable. Anonymous people from within Gamespot are writing of breaches in the wall separating the editorial staff from the sales department (the people who sell ads). So I could no longer look to Gamespot for honest, no-holds-barred reviews of games that I'm interested in. And as for Gamefaqs (which, again, is owned by the same company), who knows if the wrong kinds of user reviews are rejected?

I just see gaming, in general, moving in a direction I don't care for. I grew up my whole life around games. I can't relate with the mainstream crowd today who talk about Halo 3 or Guitar Hero, or these other kinds of games. I'm currently playing this neat little handheld of 8-bit Sega games. Columns is a game that's 20 years old, and I just feel this calming magic whenever I play it, that I just haven't been able to get in the newer generation games. It's kind of following a rock band from the time they're playing small clubs and releasing records on independent labels, and you feel special cause you're part of a small fan base, but then they break through into the mainstream, all of a sudden everyone and their mother is a fan, and they aren't special to you anymore, you kind of feel like they sold out. I know the analogy doesn't entirely fit, but that's how I feel about gaming right now.

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