Monday, November 30, 2009
Site reviews, business, bias and fanboyism....all related?
Take a long look......are the memories coming back to you? Ahhh the glory days of the video game industry. 1991-1996 was probably the best time to be a gamer. The games were engaging, fun and for some reason the music was extremely memorable and catchy in most of them. After the death of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the industry changed very fast. For the better? Not really unfortunately. Somehow during the rein of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo became known as the "kiddie" company and it's something that still plagues them to this day. The games became more about technology and graphics and less about deep addictive gameplay. Sony and Microsoft have continued that path while Nintendo is carving their own direction with the Wii. Why am I writing this? Read on.
Most gaming sites cover the Wii and also review it's games. Do they do it because they actually like the system itself? Probably not. They cover the Wii because it's the market leader and that reason alone forces them to do it. The shadiness of the reviews for Wii games has gotten progressively worse as time has gone on since it's launch in 2006. How many times have you (being a Wii owner) read a review for a game you have actually played already and enjoyed immensely only to find out that for some reason this editor at some big site thinks the game is "meh" or average at best? You feel betrayed and want to fight back, so what do you do? You storm that site's forum or comment section and call them out on it explaining that you like the game and don't understand why they did what they did. Then of course you get called a Nintendo fanboy that just can't stand it when a game for the Wii is rated badly. "It's just one guys opinion, don't let it bother you", this kind of stuff is amazing and has been going on consistently for the three years the Wii has been on the market.
Why get worked up about a review? You like the game and that's all that matters right? For me, this is true for the most part. What is starting to really bother me is that other people are being affected by the so called "opinions" of these sites. Are they really opinions in the first place? Is actual Journalism being practiced? It's scary for me to think this but it really looks like the business aspect of these sites is taking over honest Journalism.
A perfect example of this for Wii games is the difference between the IGN reviews of The Conduit and Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition. If you read both reviews it will be easy to come to the conclusion that Modern Warfare isn't worth your money and that The Conduit is the kick ass FPS on Wii you've been waiting for. Now, go and actually play both games and tell me which one is better. It gets to the point where it's not an opinion anymore when the majority of gamers on Wii (like 90 percent) prefer Modern Warfare over The Conduit any day of the week and then some. We all have known by now that Matt C. and Mark Bozon both had their names in the credits for The Conduit and that they also hyped the hell out of that game. Did the business aspect come into play when reviewing The Conduit? It sadly appears so, and it's actually a great disservice to Wii owners to be misled like that. Modern Warfare didn't get a fair chance on IGN and it's shameful on their part. Thankfully other sites have actually played MW on the Wii and gave it fair thought out reviews, and not just a single page with misspelled words and grammar mistakes stating problems with the game that don't actually exist. If you don't plan on reviewing games fairly or if you know you're not going to be reviewing the final version of a game, don't review the freaking game and just leave it for the other sites that actually have the time to play it.
Am I a rambling complaining fanboy, or someone who just wants justice and fairness? I'm choosing fairness and even some honesty to go with it. Everyone is a fanboy of something so it's not like I'm going to deny that I'm a Nintendo fan. I do see Nintendo realistically though and there are many things that I don't like about them or have grown tired of; but it's just like being in a relationship with someone you really care about: You accept them for who they are. Nintendo serves my needs for a certain kind of gaming experience and I really enjoy it. I could care less about Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, they are worthless to me. You think that the Wii is a gimmick? How about those two? Think about this: If you were really such a "hardcore" gamer you wouldn't even be thinking about those two systems since you'd have a gaming PC that would crush them in a heartbeat. The real hardcore gamers own a PC and a Wii. One for amazing graphics and the other for fun inventive gameplay. If they are insanely hardcore then they would just own every system out there, but then that starts to fall into more of a collector's status.
So my advice to gaming sites who've gotten a big head is this: If you prefer analog sticks and HD gaming over motion controls on the Wii, don't bother covering the system and pretend it doesn't exist. I think we understand now; you don't like the Wii and you don't like it's motion controls, waggle and SD graphics. We get it. All your "live impression" videos (1up, Gamespot etc.) showing you purposely looking stupid while you shake the Wii remote excessively like an idiot and all your little side comments that sound more like insults than jokes have slowly but surely gotten your message across. Oh, what? You can't stop covering the Wii because you'll get way less hits and lose money? Well, I guess that's the reason why I'm writing this because it'll probably never stop.
Come on guys, you don't need to be a Nintendo Fanboy to see the bias that goes on with a lot of sites and magazines. It's there, even though they'll deny it to the bitter end.