Recently I've been seeing articles about the unclean side of the game-reviewing industry. It goes something like this: Let's say you write for a gaming magazine. People read your magazine if you have the first review. You have the first review if the developer gives a copy to you early. The developer gives it to you early...if you write a good review. This unfortunately happens for a lot of games, the most obvious example being Halo 3, with some occurrences appearing for, say, Bioshock. Having recently bought Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and finding it infinitely more fun than the reviews said it was...and also owning Assassin's Creed, and still having fun with it (maybe because I wasn't the one hanging on every goal the developers planned from the start) I begin to wonder if we can really trust reviews.
In a way, this is a superb metaphor to the actual News. If you, the reader, trust the opinions of Fox News, you can stop reading right now and go on to buying more iPhones. Obviously, their news is often dealt through the opinions and workings of their owners, plus whoever happens to be supplying them. Gun company gives cash, they support the war in Iraq. But I won't be getting into that right now.
However, if we do apply this metaphor, there is one parallel we can draw: Two things that take a completely humorous attempt at each, and actually manage to perform very well. I am of course referring to The Daily Show, and Zero Punctuation.
The Daily Show is a news show free to criticize the actions of other news shows, and thus far seems to be the most "neutral" of the news. They criticize whatever's funny, and do so openly, rather than trying to portray someone in a bad light by toning down the brightness on a particular clip, OJ-style. Zero Punctuation works sort of the same way; it's usually only looking at the BAD parts of what's new, and will normally beat something into the ground on his own. No one is supposed to agree with every word he says, as it's always intended for humor.
But this parallel still brings an unusual realization to me; if it's true, then does that mean that Zero Punctuation is the best review source we have? He's not doing it so the developers will give him early copies (heck, he lives in AUSTRALIA, for god's sake; he gets them last.). He's doing it to be funny, and he definitely need not worry about losing viewership, now that any new ZP is going to go to 3000 Diggs within 15 seconds. This really makes him the most neutral source, and one to really be reckoned with in a way. I mean, sure, you can tell before you watch it that he's going to hate the game, but you'll pick up enough of the bad and good to decide for yourself. He thought HL2:E2 was too linear, and only for HL fans, but there are plenty of us HL fans. He thought Halo 3 was just a "normal shooter", but some people go for that.
By the way, just be sure you remember that there's one parallel that can never be drawn. You can never fly out to Iraq and decide for yourself what's going on; but you can always try out the game, so leave it to your own opinion.
Welcome to the Inconvenienced Blog. This is a Comedy and Gaming Culture Site all rolled into one. Alongside humorous articles, we'll also be be giving our thoughts on games, and the gaming industry as a whole.
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