It seems that everywhere you turn, there's yet another game site ready to give you their expertise criticism and review. Can't get what you want from one? Aren't being fed your particular brand of "Game X" product? No worries mate, just a Google away I'm quite sure you will find what you are looking for. From game blogs/sites catering to a particular console of choice, to anecdotal ones catering to your funny bone, to others focusing on your gaming frugality it's out there ready for you. As a matter of fact there's a ton of it. So much so that it is getting to the point that anybody with DSL and an opinion is an instant expert on games and are ready to roll out their gaming site to the masses. If Joe Blow from Kokomo likes games, has time on his hands and wants to make a name for himself, enter another new game related site to the picture.
Why really all you need to have for a semi decent launch of one is a gimmicky name, a bit of controversy via flame inducing pieces or nonsensical reviews used to highlight an extreme opposite view of the norm for vacuuming hits from the game fanatics and you're getting there. Hell, it's just as easy to write for a gaming site nowadays as it is doing amateur porn. While I don't begrudge anybody from making either a stab at what they love or from making a living, is having so many gaming sites, so many so called "experts" hurting the gaming scene overall? Should there be a universal litmus test that be required before the creation of these new gaming ventures? And are the glut of them, with a large percentage being of the amateur variety, hurting the legitimacy of real gaming sites and blogs?
From a layman's point of view I'll try to tackle these questions. First, for the purposes of this post I will refrain from distinguishing between journalistic and blogging sites. The point of this is not whether one is better than the other, because both types offer a needed voice for gamers and both can be just as informative as well. No, this is a look at the differences between game sites/blogs done right and those that are just lazy affairs and offer nothing more than a platform for fanboys to rally against each other or worse... echos of pieces posted elsewhere with just enough words changed that accusations of plagiarism can be held at bay.
It is actually pretty funny, when you think about it, how people in general with not a lick of experience in the game industry think unto themselves that they indeed are legitimate writers or editors because they got some facsimile of a game site up. That's like me touting off a title for myself, on my gmail and everywhere I post something, below my name akin to: Francisco Rodriguez, Feature Editor of the Cblogs of Destructoid. Everybody seems to be an expert nowadays so it's only fitting they create the illusion of legitimacy with a title but just because I can cook a mean omelet doesn't mean I'm a chef. That same analogy should be applicable here with people and their gamesites/blogs.
In my humble opinion I believe the glut of gaming sites are definitely hurting the gaming scene overall. Why? Because the majority of it is of the sophomoric kind. Offering nothing to the table that somewhere else is not being done, except that there it's of better quality and infused with a sincere passion. I mean look at the Metacritc user score buffoonery
for a snapshot of why some people just don't need to have an open portal to the masses. Hell, take a look at N4G and peruse the titles of the sites/blogs' pieces highlighted there. About a third if not more, are of the flamebaiting kind. Drivel that even in our own Cblogs would be pounced on as fail and if done enough might get you a closer look at Hamza's banhammer, yet there it is, out in abundance... thriving.
In large part not because they are so good but because we here in the land of the Internets love us a fanboy fight, or a nice heaping of fabricated controversy to get the focus of most ADD gamers' attention. Should there be a universal litmus test that be required before the creation of these new gaming ventures? Boy, in a perfect world a video game SAT should be taken by all before even thinking of starting something but that's just not going to happen. In that same imagined perfect world, people should pay their dues in the industry or in the very craft of writing itself before they can stand toe to toe with the creme of the crop.
How many times have you heard such and such site said this or gave this review score yet here in Destructoid is different? Just because the sum of participants in Metacritic shell out a rating percentage on a game that doesn't gel with what's on tap here doesn't mean they're off base here, and I'm not even talking about a true 1-10 rating system, it could be the growing collective of Metacritic may not have a clue. The new fad of" I don't like it... therefore it sucks"
mentality of these so called experts who honestly don't know better, are taking root and conceivably diluting not just the quality of game reviews but of gaming websites overall. We could take it the other way as well. Maybe these new game sites are not wanting to buck the norm. They may want to fall in line with the rest out there which is just as bad. If you have to read somebody else's review before you post your own, there's something wrong with that.
Lookit, I'm getting sidetracked here, this isn't about reviews. This is about a shitload of sloppy gaming sites making real
ones look bad, or just lost in the sea of stupidity. Like a big tower of Jenga pieces that people keep piling on to, the only question to ask now is this.
Just how many more of these garage made gaming sites will we stack before it all comes tumbling down?