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L.B. Jeffries at Banana Pepper Martinis recently posted this about video game “Journalism” versus Critique. It’s a very interesting read for anyone up on video games and is an important question to ponder for writers like me, and for readers like you. In addition to the recent symposium started by former 1UP Editor Shawn Elliot, the very nature of video game “journalism” is being scrutinized. There’s a lot of stirring as come to realize that most video game “journalism” is more along the lines of enthusiast press, and that there are actually very few journlists in the industry. As L.B. Jeffries asserts in his article, journalists aren’t supposed to analyze, they simply present the facts. This isn’t the nature of the industry, and it’s far from the standard. Analysis is the name of the game.

The topic is very broad in nature, but the question that I’m most concerned with is Reviews vs. Critique. The industry standard has become: Graphics, Gameplay, Sound, Replayability, Conclusion. We use such a system here at, and such is par for the course in the industry. The real question is whether or not readers want or are even ready for genuine critique of video games not unsimilar to the way film critics analyze movies.

The nature of the business is to get reviews out promptly before or after release, and to appeal to a “Looks good, shoot guns, doesn’t suck.” mentality. Most people are simply looking to find out if a game does or does not “suck”, it is indeed all about the dollar. However, as games are positioned further as something more than simply entertainment, a more in-depth way of analysis may also be viable. This would mean moving away from the score based reviews we’re all so used to.

Everything is still up in the air, and it should be interesting for the audience to watch, as the writers debate.

  1. avatar David

    Thanks for the read. Personnally I’m dead tired of what we call video game journalism. Most of the time its just some fanboy ranting or cussing a game. We just don’t have articles like you would find for film or even music album.

  2. avatar Labwarrior

    Seeing that i had 100x more fun playing games like Fable 2, Banjo 3, Lost Odyssey, Ninja Gaiden 2 than the overdcored LBP, Gears 2, MGS4, GTA4 is rather clear that game joyrnalism has died long time ago

    Completly, there is no such thing as review, there is only high score tribute to well known, or overhyped games, games that totally not worth it and would get 5/10 otherwise (LBP) get 10/10. Why ? because have silly suckboys, and kids are supposed to love them

    Braid is a 10/10 platformer, LBP is 5/10 in gameplay at best case, that is the problem “game journalism” has today, reviewers have lost any sense of taste and sense about what i worth in gaming

    That is … having fun

  3. Wow. Great find and topic. I don’t like the current “nature of the business” as stated in this article. It’s interesting that the proposal is to move away from score based reviews though. I think that a score should be arrived at after careful analysis of several factors including fair value and major competitors.

    In my opinion, the best way to assess whether or not a game is worth the investment of time and money is to play the demo and then skim three reader reviews at different score levels to find out about elements of the game that matter most to you.

  4. avatar Patrick

    You do bring up a good point. Now it seems everyone just makes a blog and thinks they are a video game journalist. I like to read the news about what is happening in the game industry. The internet is full of review (opinion) pieces, top 10 lists, and fanboy propoganda. This is why I try to stick with the larger sites and more well know independent sites. I want facts. I can form my own opinions about games, if I want others opinions then I go to a forum to discuss them.

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