Games Journalist Fired for Speaking Truth to Power?

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Matt Barton's picture

It's taken me awhile to try to ferret out what actually happened here, but as far as I've been able to tell, one of Eurogamer's journalists has been fired over some vitriolic comments he made about high profile game reviewers being on the take. (A doctored, but still harsh version of his article is here. The journalist, Rab Florence, isn't someone I'm familiar with, but I gather from his description as a "comedy writer" that he's accustomed to shaking things up for the sake of attention. At any rate, his diatribe against game reviewers who blatantly promote products from the big companies...I mean we're not idiots here, right? We all know that the latest COD and Halo games are going to get four stars and the red carpet treatment on all the major sites. Meanwhile, anyone who dares question the superiority of the latest AAA darling gets (a) totally ignored by the mainstream and (b) bashed or looked at funny by everyone else. Apparently, the only thing it's safe for the mainstream journalists to bash are games like Duke Nukem Forever and Mass Effect 3. After all, standing up for games that are so reviled makes them "safe" targets, so naturally they go to town, making them sound like the Worst Games Ever. (Finally, we can take the gloves off! Now let's really tear into this one to prove we don't occasionally tear into one...)

What really seems to stick in Florence's craw is all the nice swag (read: bribes) that game journalists receive from major publishers. I have to ask myself, though--would I be totally objective reviewing a game after the publisher had sent me a free PS3?

While I agree with the overall sentiment being expressed here, I do find myself questioning the assumption that there is some kind of objective platform where a True Games Journalist could stand on. Unless you're talking about an old game whose market buzz has died long ago--and even there you might be dealing with nostalgia--there's no way to bracket out all the market forces surrounding a fresh release. Unless the product is so blatantly inferior that praising it would ruin the journalist's reputation--the temptation to get caught up in all the hype and glamor is simply irresistible. That's why you find games that really aren't that great being praised everywhere, regardless of a site's stature (and vulnerability to publisher bribes), but these ratings tend to decline over time.

In short, if you're reading a major review of a brand new AAA game, take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt.


TripHamer's picture
Joined: 07/31/2010

Unless your Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of course. :)

Joined: 01/21/2009
I don't think there is a such

I don't think there is a such thing as a good reviewer.. I love RTS and almost anything MMORPG.. so if i reviewed that stuff i would most likely praise it unless it was really a stinker. But if you gave me, say.. Pro soccer 13 i would pick ever little thing i didn't like and stress it.. not my kind of game. Games are like music, there is the stuff most everybody likes.. but we all sorta wonder why (call me sometime? holy heck how is this a HIT!!!!!!) and stuff just you likes and you tell people to listen too and they still say MEH.... I tend to look at games i loved that got no love from reviewers.. (Kohan, Puzzle agent, Divinity II, Risen, FTL) and see if they match what i think.. then i pay attention to their reviews and see if they sortat match on other games.. Even then.. its just a rough guide..

As for saying the lastest FPS that is COD/BF/HALO is no good... I still say it the HOT thing to do it.. almost every game mag has said one of um sucks.. it PULLS IN MEGA PAGE HITS! the fan boys come to talk smack..

Skyrim- gameinformer, Quater to 3, escapest all have 'why Skytrim isnt a good game stories...
COD BO: Kuota, Gamespy, gamespot all had there This is a bad game"

all the stories were actually quite good and raised alot great points. but while the stories where a few paragraphs of fairly fair reasons for disappointment.. the comments area.. well it was 100's of pages long and all saying why the story was no good.. mosh with colorful and wonderful "it sucks" comments.. with no reasons.

I cant see where it would matter if one review did not like a game.. Unless he had valid reasons and was actually pointing out flaws that poeple where glossing over.. The truth hurts i guess. We all know game mag X wont get the next "big thing" before his competition to review.. if he says bad things about said companies games.. is this not just a Known fact.. even if they say it isn't? Look at publishers... yes publishers using Metacritic for BONUS money.. wow!!!!!! talk about easy to mess up.. several games have had contracts with a 2nd game if it reaches 90 on meta critc..lame ... But it shows how much power the press has..

its always been a sour point for me about movie stars talking politics and such.. they have a 100% right to express how they feel.. but i think to many just simply don't understand how blindly stupid the public is. Not all of them.. but many.. one simple "i think this" and somebody who cant think for themselves s will follow along.. again, thats not the public persons fault.. but you gotta think hard when you open your mouth.

we live in a messed up world, there is no doubt.. firing someone for reviewing a game bad is wrong in all ways.

Anonymous (not verified)
midia full of trolls.

I completed all the missions in Skyrim, i do not know why some people find it difficult the size of the world, it does not need a "stop living" to finish the game. Is the best adaptation of rpg elements for the modern market, with desktops and consoles always broken the level of resources with the unbalance nature of the multiplataform.

My major concern is people say "i cant play a open world" is a little shameful, looks lack of brain capacity with space orientation, set your ways inside the level design and history.

Is not a perfect game, but the oldies are not close to perfect as well. And i love Baldur´s Gate 2, for that vision.

I'm sure the same arguments can infest the MMO.

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