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8:03 PM on 10.25.2012

Journalist Integrity: The PR Nightmare

That's obviously not product placement. Not one bit.

This is an image which has caused a massive storm of chaos following the firing of Robert Florence from Eurogamer(CinemaBlend) showing Geoff Keighly sitting beside a table with Doritos and Mountain Dew as well as a poster with Halo with both of those brands plastered right on it. That image begs to the question of where the line of advertising a brand as a journalist by blatantly showing the association with the company and not questioning the fact that you have some sort of influence on the consumer due to that.

This whole ordeal has Robert Florence exposing that certain journalists feel that it's fine by quoting two people who feel as though it is perfectly reasonable for you to accept gifts from companies that make the games you are going to review in the not so distant future. Lauren Wainwright has exposed herself to gamers everywhere by simply saying this on her Twitter.

""Urm... Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that's a bad thing?" (NeoGAF)

"Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider"

Having to say that this is what got him fired. Two direct quotes from her Twitter account due as he was trying to prove a point. Her response was not only to go to EuroGamer and threaten libel against him for something which Lauren publicly stated on the thing we call the internet. This has brought into question her integrity as she has also listed Square-Enix as one of her employers being that she is freelance. And freelance doesn't mean that you are allowed to mindlessly praise an unreleased game just because you work for the company. That's a bias by association and therefore is worthy of being called out. And every bet if flack is well deserved.

(Picture posted below of the original page prior to the edit).

Look at that integrity. Heavily praising a game that isn't even released and you list the company as your employer. Gold!

The thing that concerns me the most is that his article was amended due to MCV(Who employs Wainwright) in which her boss, Micheal French,had some fantastic words to say(Twitter) such as "You're a bad guy now if you defend your team. Video games!" Yep, you're a bad person alright if you defend another bad person and then randomly spout the two words that define what you should be impartial to when writing about but nope.

This is one of those times when you wonder what site you should trust for your impartial news and what people within' that site to believe who has some of the greatest integrity. I know Destructoid has a past history with Lauren Wainwright and I hope that those whom have been around her in the past have some decency to admit that she might have proven that game journalism needs alot of work before gamers can take most journalists seriously. Product placement doesn't help and neither does associations with other companies due to your status. You need to be impartial at all times and say what you as a game and not as a fan should be saying to your audience.

What you say will always have an influence whether it is directly or indirectly. It could be as simple as a phrase to wearing a Call of Duty shirt. Everything you say, wear, and do will always have an impact. It doesn't matter what medium. Journalism is journalism. It's best you get it right.


5:31 PM on 10.22.2012

Review: Rollercoaster Tycoon 3D

Disclaimer: I am late for my review due to Atari shipping on the day of release to all retailers. Y U NO SHIP AHEAD OF TIME, ATARI?

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3D (3DS)

Developer: n-space

Publisher: Atari

Released: October 16th, 2012

MSRP: $30.00

The Rollercoaster Tycoon series has a big place in my heart. It's probably because I grew up playing the series and every time I played it I was always amused for hours on end trying to make my park as fantastic as humanly possible. I don't think i've ever hated any RCT game and all of them have made me want to see more and play more. I don't know if I will ever hate such a good franchise but this can always change.

This is the newest iteration following Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and is also the first handheld release for this series. A handheld release for this franchise isn't bad as everyone has always wanted a handheld sandbox game for their consoles. It was only a matter of time before it became reality. It's just trying to figure out what had to be simplified for such a release and what elements stay true to the series as a whole. Will this latest iteration live up to the sandbox expectations of such a creative franchise or forever be forgotten?

"You have to walk before you can crawl."-Chappy, the old guy who your father puts on you who gives the worst advice ever.

So where to begin? Lets start with the gameplay in contrast to the last release RCT3 and see where we head. Gameplay in RCT 3D has the options of allowing you to place rides all the way from junior rides to coasters with your placement of the rides being the only limit and the fact that everything has to make some sort of sense. Even if the ride physics don't exactly make that much sense. Which I am probably going to cover now.

Ride physics are a joke. A joke in contrast to any of the previous installments. Coaster going up a hill where you think it should lose some of the momentum it already has? Haha. Who's kidding? No coasters seem to lose the momentum especially on a straight up incline where it should lose most if not all as the speed should have drastically decreased but it didn't. It just kept barging through and i'm not talking like a real life coaster like Top Thrill Dragster. No, this thing could go on more than forever.

I should probably mention the main story about how it guides you through the basics of a running a park. It shows you how to place paths, build an crappy coaster, and quite honestly hire people because you don't know how to do that on your own. Chappy, your dads go-to-guy-for-all-things-coasters has found it in his best interest to teach you how to run a park. Chappy finds it best to give you advice on things he should probably never give advise on. If holes in your shoes letting your feet breathe is any sign of him being homeless then we have a problem.

Coaster Creator is the Thrillville but not Thrillville side of RCT. Being that Thrillville was a Frontier creation, you think Atari would learn to at least do some element of it right. You can create coasters but you cannot actually save the coaster in any single form. Not that I could tell and not that it would let me. Not like you can name any single thing anyway. So why should I save this ungodly Inverted Coaster? Not like anyone with a brain would ride it anyway.

Graphics of this game are fairly average for a 3DS title. The 3D is pretty well fine but it doesn't add to much in terms of game play. I mean you can obviously see that rendering is not exactly one of the things this game has going for it. Specifically mentioning peeps and how if you go even a little bit away into the sky from the peeps then they suddenly disappear. People in your park? Not anymore! Best you zoom back into even see if your ride even has any riders. The peeps are probably the most highly detailed part of this game and that is saying something.

The menu on the other hand looked like someone went onto Adobe Illustrator, made a rectangular box, put a gradient inside the fill layer, and added some text inside of it to make it look like a menu. Seriously, it looks like the menu took all of 5 minutes to do. The budget seemed to consist of no actual aesthetic navigation as it alone is abyssal. I'd say more but that's enough.

Sound is the next one and this is probably the only soothing part because the music is pretty good and the ambient sound of ride goers might be the only redeeming quality of this title. It's, of all things, no Kid Icarus if we're playing Compare Nintendo To Atari with Atari thinking 12 months of development is good enough for such a well known title. But the sound quality is fine and I might just launch it to hear peeps just for the fun of it.

My final judgment: Oh lawd. You think Atari wouldn't let us gamers down but with them leaving the console market due to their "Lets try and crash the market mentality" with crappy games then they sure keep producing them even if n-space was the developer. Who seriously thought a year of development time was enough? Why? This title deserves like 3. It might have been polished enough to the point where it might actually seem enjoyable. But it just seems tedious and has so many problems. Outright, I give this game a 1 out of 5. The music/ambient scenery sounds might be all it has going for it.

I, as a gamer who has played the RCT series since RCT 1, feels like my favorite game has been shamed. I should not have expected much from Atari. However, expecting anything good from them could have honestly been a stretch.   read

4:07 PM on 10.12.2012

Indie Games: The New "New" Innovation

Disclaimer: Rosters don't count as innovative. Nor does a minor engine update. An overhaul is innovation and so is a completely new gaming experience altogether.

Indie games have hit the market hard by picking up where major developers/publishers like Activision with their Call of Duty series and EA with their sports brands have constantly lacked the time to innovate the market. Where has the actual innovation come from? Studios with bigger risks but also smaller in size. Indies. Indies are picking up where the big behemoth has forgotten its place. Why innovate when people buy the same thing over and over again? That's how big companies compare to small ones that struggle for cash and are lucky at times to make enough to survive.

I would say that major AAA publishers are bad for not taking risks but it just means they're too comfortable. I understand there's some publishers who take risk such as games like Sleeping Dogs and Dishonored proving that there exists a market for innovative new games. No one likes to have the same experience multiple times unless you play a series that hasn't tried hard enough to innovate whilst perpetuating that we need more.

Now if we compare AAAs to a smaller studio like Wolfire Games who i'm biased to say I love. They're a studio who has been helping other smaller studios like themselves get recognition for their games easier by their Humble Bundles. David Rosen and his team has proven that they can make unique games with specific engines for their titles and take all the development time to make it well worth playing. Receiver is a gun game where once you're dead then you're dead. Lagaru and its soon to be sequel proves that animal combat is awesome while having a deep and interesting story to make us love some of their characters.

What did Rosen innovate? Trying to be different with his studios games by making their own engines like for Overgrowth which while it may still be in the Alpha stages is proving to have a better engine than most AAA games and Receiver which shows that people care about realism in gun games other than simply pressing the reload button and dealing with recoil. He is one of the many example of unique innovation in the indie game industry. Mojang has proven that you don't need a story to sell a game, just the experience. The same could be said for Dear Esther. It's that you don't need extreme HD graphics to make a game sell. You also need that experience.

If we were to compare a vast majority of bajillion dollar development releases to a smaller Indie who has spent sweat and tears on their game while a bigger studio spends the work force of over 200-300 making the game as streamlined as possible without much regard for the experience. Who innovates the most? The bigger or smaller studio? Is a smaller studio release more emotional due to it being developed by a less than 100 team? Are big teams really necessary to make a game get complete within a 2-4 year deadline? You tell me. We're all gamers but i'm only ever just one.   read

6:50 PM on 10.11.2012

Free 2 Play: EA Is One Guilty Party Wrecker

Disclaimer: Jim Sterling didn't endorse this article. Yet.

Free 2 Play gaming has become such a massive trend in the game industry for the past couple of years. Being defined by games such as Company of Heroes Online, All Points Bulletin, and many others. You can play any game without any financial risk but be stopped in your tracks if you don't cough up enough money to allow your level cap to rise and keep enough stat bonuses so that you can sustain your characters. But is it really worth paying $50 for a brand new character or a piece of clothing?

I can understand that certain games do not find ways to cap your level at a certain point nor actually add stuff that imbalances the game thus OPing paid weapons. Major publishers/developers are starting to get into the market with a vast majority of those games failing to be able to compete. A prime example would be the debacle that was The Old Republic by our favorite company Electronic Arts whom is a shining example of Free 2 Play gone wrong. That isn't there first incident though of trying to ruin the Free 2 Play market.

EA has been pushing Free 2 Play as Ubisoft has been pushing Free 2 Play with the idea being that they'll be able to make a fair profit but the former has been proven to not understand Free 2 Play while the latter hasn't exactly shown any proof that is incompetent. Though we shouldn't give Ubisoft the benefit of the doubt as they don't exactly have a track record that has proven to be clean as a whistle when it comes to consumer relations.

Games like Battlefield: Heroes, Play 4 Free, Need For Speed: World, SW: TOR and soon to be Command & Conquer are some of the few games that are examples of bad Free 2 Play. I know i'm specifically naming Electronic Arts games but you have to agree that there happens to exist many problems with their F2P model. The items they charge you for are overpriced and really OPed to the point that you might as well just hand over your wallet because advancement in any single game requires alot of money before you might actually be able to enjoy it as you'll constantly be dealing with paid players using really powerful stuff compared to what a free player has.

I'm not directly saying they are the only guilty party but they aren't the most innocent either. Gamers are also guilty for failing to try to stop what failed model has existed on the front and encouraging developers like EA to shortcut the development of games and micro transaction everything and anything in their games. It gives reasons for smaller companies to do the same and not try the best to produce a quality release in order to cash in on a brand. And we keep allowing it. When is it that we will finale give money to people who strive for quality to make money and not money in order to sacrifice quality? Why is it that EA is the best example of the worst in the F2P market? Are they perhaps to blame for our problems? Why is it that we let it continue to persist? And will the market eventually equalize to a point where EA itself has extended too far and tried too little?   read

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