How Bad is Gaming Journalism? (Updated)

Update: NORMALLY I would post an update like this at the end of the post, but considering how core this video is to the point I was making with this article, I felt it was worth adding here. And without further adue… an update from Internet Aristocrat:

Courtesy of the Internet Aristocrat

And with this, on with the original article.

Let’s face it. We all knew for a while now that the big gaming websites are more shit then shine. From Gamespot catching heat for firing a reviewer over rating Kane and Lynch poorly to the Escapist being noted for being more of a hub to push a social agenda then really reviewing games. Or how about the classic line “You can’t spell IGNorant without IGN!” And don’t even start about the reputations of Polygon or Kotaku. We have all become pretty jaded about how bad things are. But in most cases, we understand the reason is either the takeover of the SJW movement for a site or pure green cash from AAA publishers who are actively doing their best to buy their scores.

So we don’t really trust them… but hey, at least indie games might do better, right? RIGHT? Wrong… at least if you are of the gender the reviewer is in and willing to put out. I am not exaggerating, as in the past could of days, a scandal has hit directly placing the reviewers of a specific indie game in a sex scandal with the developer of the game. Read on to be as appalled as I was.

The game in question is Depression Quest, a game released recently for free on Steam. It had to make two completely different attempts to be approved via the GreenLight program and it’s description is as follows:

“Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment. This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people. “

Now if you are looking at the date I type this, you already know it’s release being so close to the suicide announcement of Robin Williams is going to draw some heat. And while the author excused this as a coincidence that she almost delayed her game to avoid, the events surrounding her now bring her honesty here into question. But still this is another story for another day if I ever decide it’s worth my time.

This controversy itself is actually shown effectively by the Steam Page, where the game is showered with praise from the likes of Rock Paper Shotgun, Giant Bomb, and Gamespy (now defunct), but if you look over the reviews, it’s terrible user review after terrible user review after terrible user review. In fact as I type this, I am seeing a sea of red thumbs downs in the “most useful reviews” section of the page with the rare thumbs up… but, somehow with entries like this, I do not believe somehow they are talking about the game:

At 8th place: The best hooker-made game I've ever played.

at 11th place:  My review was deleted by the great community moderators of steam, and I wholeheartedly agree my review was wrong and inflammatory.
How about I take you to 'Five Guys' to make sure this doesn't happen again~?

at 13th place: Absolutely brilliant, my ownly gripe is that since playing the game I have developed the oddest craving for 5 Guys Burger and Fries. Just the thought of those fries, so moist, so salty, and so warm, is enough to send me into vertigo. Whenever I think of own of those gorgeous burger, my mouth starts to salivate like a rabid dog. A suggestion, and I apoligize if I sound like a mad man, but try putting some of the fries into the burger. You'd be suprised how many fries can fit in between those buns.

at 15th place: This game made me realize that suicide is not the answer to my life's problems, but much rather, delicious, succulent burgers from Five Guys: Burgers and Fries ® ! Their new milkshakes saved my life!
5/5 Guys rating for this excellent novel.

and at 17th place: five guys and fries

I find it odd that every single “possitive review” out of the top 20 most useful ones on the game are all “Five Guys Burgers and Fries” jokes, so why? And why is it praised so highly by big sites while it is bombing so terribly with gamers? Well this brings us to the point of writing this. The author is currently in a scandal where he now ex posted a epically large story on wordpress about how she actively cheated on her with five reviewers from these very sites. Since they then proceeded to be the ones writing the reviews, needless to say their intentions have been brought into question, but I will pass the mic to the Internet Aristocrat to explain the details of this newest scandal to rock the gaming world:

Courtosy of the Internet Aristocrat. Thank you for spelling it out for us.

Now, I’ve been having fun seeing this explode in the face of a developer who actively manipulated the reviews of her games for sexual favors. After all, there is little as funny as seeing people caught behaving so badly you would expect to see it in an episode of South Park. But more importantly, this really does bring into question the value of reviewers who, despite being considered “pro” have proven again and again to have no behavioral boundaries to be treated as professionals. And I find it sad when I have to say that as a hobbyist reviewer. I think, I think I’m done even trying to take these guys seriously. I don’t recommend anyone else do so either. They’ve proven unworthy.

Update: A fellow member of commentor on another site by the name of Jagos has corrected me in the status of the five guys in this story. Only one of them was a reviewer, who happened to work on multiple sites. The others all work in the indie industry. But I still stand by the my statement on this being another example of how the big game review industry kinda sucks right now, both in that this happened and the active move to block conversations (Just ask anyone who tries to talk about this on Twitter, Steam, or 4Chan of all places).

And while I think about it, I find myself puzzled by something else. As I reread my article, Gamespy died almost 2 years ago, yet this game has just come out on Steam. So why the hell does their quote (which may not even be in a readable review anymore) belong on the game’s steam page? How the hell does that work?


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