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Gaming journalism
Topic Started: Sep 15 2009, 05:59 PM (670 Views)
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These days, in gaming journalism, there's too much "gaming" and not enough "journalism". If someone is going to be a professional gaming journalist, they actually have to BE a journalist, meaning that they should cover the material with as little bias as possible. It's their JOB to do this, or at least it should be. Just because someone knows a lot about games doesn't mean they know anything about journalism, or rather, how to write good and fair articles.

I've seen so many game reviews out there that are openly hostile to the Wii, and to a lesser extent, Nintendo in general. When I was reading reviews for The Conduit, many reviewers used the review as more of a blog of sorts to rant about how the Wii is ill-suited to handle first-person shooters. Of course, in this case, with the developer claiming the game has "XBox 360-caliber visuals", they kind of brought it on themselves. Still, I've always felt that it's a reviewer's job to put any personal feelings about a system, game, or developer aside and review the game based on the standards and capabilities of the system which it appears on.

The kinds of questions that a review of a Wii game should be answering are:

How does this game stack up against the best on the Wii?
Did the developer use the Wii hardware and features to its full potential?
Are the Wii controls used effectively?
Is the game design sound?
Is the game fun?
Will this game please its intended audience?

This is the criteria which all reviews of ALL games (not just for the Wii) should follow, not "How much better would this game be on 360, PS3, or PC?" Readers don't care about that, unless they're reading the review for the purpose of reaffirming their blatant hatred of the Wii. And such people obviously aren't interested in purchasing the game in question in that case.

In some ways, Nintendo may be a victim of their own success in terms of how they are treated by the media. They're so astoundingly successful that a good portion of the media just gets sick of hearing about them and having to report on them, especially when Nintendo makes some games which don't cater to their tastes. There's a "Video gaming is my thing, I don't want to share it with anyone" mentality going on, where they ridicule that which doesn't appeal to them in the hopes that it will deter others from supporting that which they despise.

I think I'll use this topic to post examples of this as I come across them.
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alxbly
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Mop_it_up
Sep 15 2009, 05:59 PM
This is the criteria which all reviews of ALL games (not just for the Wii) should follow, not "How much better would this game be on 360, PS3, or PC?" Readers don't care about that, unless they're reading the review for the purpose of reaffirming their blatant hatred of the Wii. And such people obviously aren't interested in purchasing the game in question in that case.
Well, I would want to know how well a game stacks up against it's competition or variations on other platforms, as that helps me decide what games I spend my money on. I do wanna know if a game is better on one platform than another because I don't want to buy a poor version of it. Actually, that in itself can be a problem, because there aren't many sites that will point out differences between 360/PS3 games these days.

But since Wii games are roughly the same price as games on other platforms, it seems silly to not compare them all. Same applies to games released on PS2 or handheld platforms; differences between the versions should be noted, especially if they are likely retail for about the same price.

The bottom line is that if you read multi-platform games journalism then comparisons will be made between them and that's not a new thing; it's been done for years. Some reviews state that some versions of games are better on whatever platform... no big deal. And reviewers point out the limitations of all systems, not just the Wii... I can think of several examples; PC FPS Crysis that "couldn't run on consoles", FPS's that play better with a mouse and keyboard, platformers that don't play well on PC unless you have a joypad, strategy games that aren't suited to consoles because the controls are over simplified.

The Wii doesn't seem to singled out for poor treatment any more than other consoles... But I think you're right that some examples will help illustrate what it is that's being done so unfairly. Can you remember/link to any specific reviews that were particular unjust to the Wii?
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Applepieman
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alxbly
Sep 15 2009, 06:45 PM
Can you remember/link to any specific reviews that were particular unjust to the Wii?


Well this might be a stereotype, any Wii game that is reviewed by Gamespot
Edited by Applepieman, Sep 21 2009, 03:39 AM.
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alxbly
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Applepieman
Sep 21 2009, 03:39 AM
alxbly
Sep 15 2009, 06:45 PM
Can you remember/link to any specific reviews that were particular unjust to the Wii?


Well this might be a stereotype, any Wii game that is reviewed by Gamespot
I just read read the Gamespot reviews for the Wii games I've spent enough time playing to gauge whether the reviews are fair or not. They are:

Animal Crossing City Folk

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/strategy/animalcrossing/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Dead Rising Chop Till You Drop

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/deadrising/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Endless Ocean

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/adventure/foreverblue/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

House of the Dead Overkill

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/thehouseofthedeadoverkill/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/thelegendofzelda/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Mario Kart Wii

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/driving/mariokart/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/metroidprime3/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

No More Heroes

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/heroes/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Okami

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/okami/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Resident Evil 4

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/residentevil4/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Super Mario Galaxy

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/action/supermario128/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

Wii Sports Resort

http://uk.gamespot.com/wii/sports/wiisportsresort/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review

And....


I don't get it. The reviews seem pretty fair to me. There's only one which I disagree with and that's the Dead Rising review (the reviewer seems to be picking on faults which were a non-issue when I played, and finished, the game). Other than that, they seem pretty accurate.

Maybe there are more specific examples... but it seems like the Wii's best games have been reviewed quite fairly. ????? :eh:
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Applepieman
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Did you read one of the negative points for Metroid Prime 3?

"Streamlined controls make things a little too easy and a little less adventurous" translates to "The controls are too good"

Also notice a majority of Wii games never get reviewed (I mean of course no one really reviews shovelware) but a few niche but hardcore titles don't get much attention.
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Applepieman
Sep 21 2009, 07:24 PM
...but a few niche but hardcore titles don't get much attention.
Wii fans could be accused of the same, if Madworld and House of the Dead Overkill's sales are anything to go by. ^_^

And it's true that MP3's controls make it easier than the previous games, especially in situations when you are trying to deal with more than one enemy. If the Gamespot reviewer meant to say "the controls are too good" why is his previous summary point "Some of the contextual actions don't control all that well "? :eh:

Re-reading the review seems to confirm that wasn't the point that was trying to be made:

"Corruption leaves behind the methodical maneuvering of its GameCube brethren with an intuitive and configurable scheme that sets the standard for first-person shooting controls on the Wii, despite Corruption's battles not being all that challenging".

The issue is with the game difficulty, not controls. And it's certainly not a negative review; the reviewer is very positive and enthusiastic about the game and has scored it highly. :)
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niniendowarrior
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My rule in reading Wii reviews are:
1. If the reviews are good, I'll give it a closer look.
2. If the reviews are bad. Ignore the review.
3. The most important rule is to watch gameplay videos yourself and play the game (difficult unless you buy it).

I've come away with liking games that if I had listen to reviewers, I'd have ditched. For instance, Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings was a joy to play and I liked the story. Castlevania Judgment for me was a real good game to play. Could be better for sure, but it's a real solid entry. MotoGP and Ferrari Challenge too were pretty darn good on the Wii and if you are looking for simulators, I'd be looking into that. Reviews were terrible for those games and I am not going to let game reviewers dictate my games of choice.

Another example, despite what people say, I managed to squeeze some enjoyment out of Tomb Raider Underworld on the Wii. I know what is missing in the game but at the same time, it isn't exactly severely broken. The basic elements are intact and the game still provides that feel. My problem stems from the fact it's many steps back from Anniversary. Reviews surely killed this game, but I don't regret getting the game.

Just because you follow your gut doesn't mean you get it all right. Colin McRae Dirt 2 is certainly an odd game for me. I half regret picking it up. Tenchu wasn't all it was meant to be either. Too many flaws.

My take on Wii reviews are that it's too subjective to put it on print. A lot of things are gut feel especially because the controls have more fuzzy input than buttons. The swing of an arm works for one person and can totally be broken for the next guy. What I take from reviews are possible positive points and what the content of the game is. Opinion on bad controls and bad visuals normally don't get factored a lot.

That's just my two cents. This is just how I evaluate my Wii shopping list.
Edited by niniendowarrior, Sep 21 2009, 11:40 PM.
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Ha ha, it is so cliché to bash GameSpot that people say they have biased reviews without even doing research! Don't be like me Applepieman, it can be fun to make baseless accusations and crackpot theories but at the end of the day I'm still an ass. Surprisingly, though I disagree with quite a few of GameSpot's N64 reviews, the Wii reviews they've posted have been pretty fair. In fact, the only one which comes to mind that I disagree with is the one for Super Smash Brothers Brawl, where they vastly overrate the game, though I expected as much.

Alxbly: Of course it is okay for games on multiple systems to have comparisons but The Conduit is a Wii exclusive, therefore in the context of a review talking about how it would be better on another system is borderline trolling. Also, if a review does nothing but compare the multiple versions then it doesn't answer other questions such as if the game is fun or worth picking up on one system if the reader doesn't own any others.

NiniendoWarrior: That's my same sentiment as well. Some reviewers just can't be trusted, and the area of control is one of them. Sometimes I think reviews dock points for controls which don't work how the reviewer thinks they should, but are in reality still entirely functional if you can figure out the right motions. An example of this is Mario Power Tennis. IGN slammed the game for having bad control but I think that's just because the motions they were trying weren't working very well and they refused to try something else. After I figured out exactly what type of motion registers as which type of shot, very rarely does the shot end up as one I didn't intend.

Here's a review for ExciteBots which claims the game doesn't have online play:

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/04/22/joystiq-review-excitebots-trick-racing/

The online mode doesn't become available until after you complete the tutorial which the reviewer clearly didn't do, meaning he didn't play the game for longer than 20 minutes. I could write a better review than that and I haven't even played the game!

Here's one of many articles which spells doom for the Wii:

http://uk.videogames.games.yahoo.com/blog/article/2997/

The article claimed that Wii Sports Resort wouldn't sell because Deca Sports 2, a bad sequel to a poorly-made game, didn't sell very well. If anything, this spells HOPE for the Wii, as people aren't buying as many bad games!

Here's another from Yahoo!:

http://uk.videogames.games.yahoo.com/blog/article/2991/

Disappointed by the expected lack of backwards compatibility of the Motion Plus accessory (BTW, if what you expected to happen happened, you can't be disappointed). It makes it sound like nothing else will ever be released for it. Also called it a "super-precise pointer" which is entirely inaccurate. Yahoo shouldn't cover games, they're too ignorant.
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Sep 22 2009, 11:53 AM
Also, if a review does nothing but compare the multiple versions then it doesn't answer other questions such as if the game is fun or worth picking up on one system if the reader doesn't own any others.
That's a very good point, I think reviewers shouldn't assume that everyone has other options. It always makes sense to state how the game stacks up compared to other Wii games as well as games on other platforms.

Mop_it_up
 
The online mode doesn't become available until after you complete the tutorial which the reviewer clearly didn't do, meaning he didn't play the game for longer than 20 minutes.
Ha ha, that is a terrible piece of journalism. That reviewer should be really embarrassed (and apologetic) for not knowing that.

The other two articles are also pretty funny for all the wrong reasons but the Wii isn't the only console to have dubious articles published about it. The truth is that all the consoles get hit with sensationalist journalism from time to time; the PS3 got it's share of exceptionally poor journalism here in the Uk this week when the BBC aired it's Watchdog programme. Read this, it's actually entertaining how badly they handled it:

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/sony-tackles-bbc-over-ps3-failure-report

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/09/17/sony-attacks-bbc-watchdogs-ps3-hardware-failure-report/

But we've seen stuff like this before with all those "videogames inspired killings", how badly children turn out from playing any kind of videogame, etc, etc. Sadly, there's not much that can be done because journalists who really need to find or hype a story will post utter nonsense to boost sales/viewing figures, etc. :-/
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alxbly
Sep 22 2009, 04:06 PM
The other two articles are also pretty funny for all the wrong reasons but the Wii isn't the only console to have dubious articles published about it.
That's why I titled the thread "Gaming Journalism" and not "Journalists hate Wii". If you see any article regarding any system which is funny, bad, or downright wrong, you can post it here. I just focus on Wii because that's my area of expertise.

alxbly
 
It's a bit long to read all of that, but it sounds like they are making wild accusations based on an infinitesimally small sample. I thought only fanboys on the Internet did that...

Anyways, here's some lovely PR speak from Sony:
Quote:
 
"In an industry that's certainly had its challenges this year, we like to say that the environment where PlayStation wins is best for this industry. We have a brand that can play on a worldwide basis, young and old, male and female, where our competition tends to be relegated to either select regions or to select consumer audiences. ...We don't have unlimited money, we cater to a more mass market audience. I think we're willing to take a little bit more risk than a competitor like Nintendo is and ultimately we deliver to the masses on a worldwide basis and that's what we've done for the last 15 years." - SCEA boss Jack Tretton
http://gonintendo.com/viewstory.php?id=99531

First of all, this is PR speak, so of course the guy is going to say their approach is the best. But claiming that they're going for the mainstream whereas Nintendo has been going for the niché is one of the most laughable statements I've ever read.

As for Sony taking more risks, I guess that comes down to how you define "risk". I would say that Nintendo's risks have been "calculated" risks, in that they did a lot of research first. Nintendo's forays into alternate control schemes with the DS and Wii were risky because they didn't know for sure if they would catch on with the mainstream. They also put out risky, unproven products like Wii Fit and Wii Music. They still knew that the market was there, and was huge, but what wasn't sure was the best way to tap into the market.

On the other hand, Sony has taken several MAJOR gambles this generation, most notably relying on the success of a new format in Blu-Ray and giving the PS3 a $600 price tag. Then you also have the fact that they relied on mostly original IPs for the first two years of the PS3's life, then pushed Playstation Home, and now they're introducing the PSPGo to move into digital distribution. Their risks are more experimental, even to the point where one might say "Ummm... neat concept, but is it worth it?"

Regardless of who takes more risks, both have taken a lot of chances this generation, and they'll both learn from each other's mistakes and successes. I think that's really what's best for this industry, regardless of who "wins". After all, when companies compete, we, the consumers, are the real winners.
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Oct 11 2009, 01:46 PM
But claiming that they're going for the mainstream whereas Nintendo has been going for the niché is one of the most laughable statements I've ever read.
He didn't state that Nintendo was niche, although Destructoid infer that:

http://www.destructoid.com/sony-winning-is-best-for-the-industry-says-sony-151113.phtml

So that's one to keep on hold for your next misquote of the month... :P The Sony exec's last sentence needs to be put in context: "ultimately we deliver to the masses on a worldwide basis and that's what we've done for the last 15 years".

Both Playstation and Playstation 2 reached more homes than any home consoles had before; Playstation sold 100+ million consoles, Playstation 2 has sold a 140 million consoles. That seems pretty much like the masses to me. :coffee:
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alxbly
Oct 11 2009, 06:07 PM
He didn't state that Nintendo was niche, although Destructoid infer that:
Sony has acknowledged that they are targeting a different market than Nintendo, so if they are mainstream then that leaves only the "niché market" for Nintendo.

Quote:
 
Both Playstation and Playstation 2 reached more homes than any home consoles had before; Playstation sold 100+ million consoles, Playstation 2 has sold a 140 million consoles. That seems pretty much like the masses to me.
It is. But I was referring to this:

Quote:
 
we cater to a more mass market audience.

They think the PS3 also caters to a mass-market audience, but it does not. It might be getting there with the price drop, but it certainly hasn't been prior to that.
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Oct 11 2009, 06:48 PM
Sony has acknowledged that they are targeting a different market than Nintendo, so if they are mainstream then that leaves only the "niché market" for Nintendo.

No it doesn't. Sorry but that sounds kinda like saying "If I don't have an apple I have an orange"; you're ignoring that there may be more than two options.

Mop_it_up
 
Quote:
 
we cater to a more mass market audience.

They think the PS3 also caters to a mass-market audience, but it does not. It might be getting there with the price drop, but it certainly hasn't been prior to that.
I suppose it depends on the context again and what Sony see as the mass-market. PS2 sold 145 million consoles; that's a much bigger market than the Wii has proven to appeal to (you can guess forward with sales but the Wii numbers don't seem to support that now that sales in Japan have died off). But you're also right that the PS3 was incredibly "niche" when it first released. I dunno... who wants to argue what the mass market really is? Not me. :)
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Oct 12 2009, 01:26 PM
No it doesn't. Sorry but that sounds kinda like saying "If I don't have an apple I have an orange"; you're ignoring that there may be more than two options.
I suppose you're right about that, but Sony doesn't seem to think that Nintendo is targeting the mass market, which is still pretty ridiculous.

Quote:
 
that's a much bigger market than the Wii has proven to appeal to (you can guess forward with sales but the Wii numbers don't seem to support that now that sales in Japan have died off).
I don't think that's true. Wii sales are still in line with the PS2 at this point in its market life. We'll see where things stand a year from now and if the recent price drop has any effect.

Quote:
 
I dunno... who wants to argue what the mass market really is? Not me.
The big three game companies do. And if we want to be annoying fanbois then we have to do it too. ^_^
It would seem all three companies have their own idea of what the mainstream market is. I think Sony really does believe they're targeting the mass market and probably didn't view the PS3 as a risk. After all, they did expect people to get a second job in order to buy one...
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Oct 12 2009, 03:16 PM
I think Sony really does believe they're targeting the mass market and probably didn't view the PS3 as a risk. After all, they did expect people to get a second job in order to buy one...
I think that Sony believe that they're NOW targetting the mass market again, and that they know their launch approach with PS3 was awful; the sales said it all. And I really do believe they've had a bit of a beating with the PS3 and a well deserved one (that arrogance was just unbelievable... but oddly reminisant of the N64). Their recent PS3 moves have all been good news, maybe even a return to form. :)
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alxbly
Oct 12 2009, 03:30 PM
that arrogance was just unbelievable... but oddly reminisant of the N64
I don't recall Nintendo ever being arrogant during the Nintendo 64 era. Can you think of an example that you're referring to?
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Oct 12 2009, 03:39 PM
I don't recall Nintendo ever being arrogant during the Nintendo 64 era. Can you think of an example that you're referring to?
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y70/alxbly/scans/Prelaunchad.jpg


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Ha ha, yeah, that was pretty funny. But that was cooked up by their marketing department, and a lot of companies are arrogant in their adverts. Can you think of a press release where Nintendo showed arrogance?
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Oct 13 2009, 04:33 PM
Ha ha, yeah, that was pretty funny. But that was cooked up by their marketing department, and a lot of companies are arrogant in their adverts. Can you think of a press release where Nintendo showed arrogance?
Yeah, the whole "quality over quantity" thing immeadiately springs to mind. If I remember rightly it was Howard Lincoln that said that, although I don't have a link. I'm sure it would be easy enough to find. Anyway, it became apparent very quickly that that wasn't the case. Perhaps Cruis'n USA and Mortal Kombat Trilogy are examples of launch era titles that weren't exactly mind blowing, followed by later stuff like War Gods, Clayfighter, etc... and I'm not even gonna mention certain titles by Titus (you know what they are)! Nintendo weren't being choosy, they were embracing any third party support they could get.

The Nintendo 64's "Dream Team" was a big load of bull as well, made to psych up the reps of the developers involved becauses they didn't have what most people would have considered to be a "dream team" at the time. Square, Capcom and Konami weren't on board with the N64 at launch and that must have hurt.
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Here's yet another article which grasps at straws to paint Nintendo in a negative light.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=aS9eSMcatcJM

Some choice quotes:

Quote:
 
Nintendo Co. led the U.S. video- game market to its eighth drop in nine months after sales of the motion-sensing Wii console tumbled, narrowing its lead over Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360.
Mathematics check: their lead isn't being narrowed when they continue to sell more systems than the competition.

Quote:
 
Wii sales have fallen for nine consecutive months in the U.S. after a 20 percent cut in the price of Nintendo’s flagship machine failed to revive sales.
Um, what? The price cut accounts for only one full month of those nine... and they're comparing those sales to 2008 which saw record-breaking numbers. You can't really expect that to continue.

And my favourite:
Quote:
 
“A lot of us are disappointed by the overall performance of the Wii,” Riccitiello said yesterday at the UBS AG Global Media & Communications Conference in New York.
Don't misinterpret his comment. He doesn't think the Wii is selling poorly, he is disappointed that it is selling so well because he doesn't want to release games for it.
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