New what Journalism?

There’s this thing going around the web. It’s a very new hip thing to be doing, but there aren’t that many examples of it, or that many people doing it. It’s called New Games Journalism and it’s infinately better then “old” gaming journalism. Personally, I’m not sure what’s so new and hip about it - though the New York Times seems to know (link will probably only work for a few days after april 5th). Actually, my biggest question with New Games Journalism and the attitude around it is that it should supplant current gaming journalism with its standards and strictness because of its preview or review only formats. What’s wrong with that? I don’t mind reading an “old”
gaming journalism review - they are supposed to be objective, let me know a little about the game so I can decide if my money is worth it or not. If I went out and bought a game because of a review but didn’t like it, I shouldn’t feel horrible that I got duped by review just because my experience with the game wasn’t expectacular.

Experiences are very subjective however, and this is an important point to make. It would be hard for me to make a decision about a game only on someones experience with it. For example, my experience with FFXI or Paper Mario really doesn’t mean anything to Kate because she completely hates RPG’s. Anything that stops the action and forces her to make descisions on attacks that may or may not hit and may or may not kill opponents just bores her. Even if she did like RPG’s, our experiences with these games could be completely different, concentrating on different aspects of the game that would not appeal to both of us.

But then you say, what if the writer and reader have very similar taste, play similar, and so on and so forth, what then? A review written completely on subjective experiences could completely miss out on object things like gameplay or game structure. Going back to Paper Mario as example I could talk completely about how I feel about the story line, plot, how I feel Mario would feel like being stuck with small Goomba girl in my party and not mention a single thing about combat in Paper Mario, which as fun as I think it is there might be someone that finds it too tideous. Although I think it’s an increadibly designed combat system - adding the theater effect makes it very dynamic keeping you wanting to score well and get more of the audience clapping for you.

Kotaku recently posted a link to an article from playboy editor critiquing New Games Journalism. I think I feel the same. If it’s good writing, it’s good writing. What’s there to say? That doesn’t mean everything should not be read or considered. Even though most of the writing in Games Journalism may seem trite and boring and too structured, there is a purpose for it. I would prefer to have objective reviews, though thats not to say there isn’t any place subjective experiences. Game Girl Advance has several interesting peices of writing that aren’t nescessarly reviews, but I don’t know if I would catogorize them into a new type of game journalism. Just good piece of writing really.

April 5, 2005 11:13 PM Video Games


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