[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was:Emergent Behaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Michael Sellers mike at onlinealchemy.com
Sat Oct 15 01:09:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Michael Hartman wrote:

> I honestly cannot remember any major, big budget titles that gave
> exclusive content to a major gaming publication or site and then
> got slammed in a review (even if the game stunk). What a joke.

Despite appearances, it's rare that there is an actual or even
implicit quid pro quo between publishers and the game magazines.
It's more the case that, despite many complaints to the contrary,
scathing reviews don't sell magazines, so the magazines rarely
provide them.  And, since magazines have to determine their covers
months in advance, by the time the actual text for a high-profile
game is written, there's no way the editorial staff is going to hang
their cover on a poor review.

> Because there is no legitimate gaming media, customers cannot get
> worthwhile information.

There's no openly critical *print* media.  But more and more, the
web and blogosphere provides what the slower and more
cost/profit-aware print media can't.

> Also, because the "gaming media" are such slaves to the few big
> yearly titles, the overwhelming majority of games get little or no
> coverage. A mega-title can get multiple covers and feature stories
> using vapor ware and bogus release dates. The damage this does to
> the industry as a whole is significant.

Even figuring in the web, most games get no coverage -- there are
just too many released each year for *any* magazine or web site to

All that said, I've actually begun to look forward to reading
"Computer Games" magazine.  It's generally smart, more adult than
adolescent, and doesn't fall into the many easy traps that other
major (and IMO all but unreasonable) game magazines do.  It gives
excellent column-length coverage to many games, and isn't afraid to
say that a game truly sucks.  It's not perfect by any means and has
the same cycle- and sales-dependant issues that any print magazine
does.  But it's worth checking out.

Mike Sellers
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MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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