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They Hate Us! They Really Hate Us!

Press hatApparently, if GameDaily BIZ is to be believed, video game developers hate video game journalists.  Well, if the developers think we're too hard on games now, they ain't seen nothin' yet!  Kidding aside, it seems there may be a lot of hate in that parasitic/symbiotic love/hate relationship between the makers and the scorers.  Developers don't seem to like when reviewers take a game that required millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work to create and dismiss it in twenty minutes as a kiddie game that fails to revolutionize the genre.  Huh, go figure.

Still, this under-the-surface developer viewpoint was intriguing. So, I dialed up my secret Media Coverage contacts in the development world and asked them what they hated most about game reviewers. The conversations were enlightening to say the least.  While it's important to remember that the enthusiast press owes a primary duty to readers rather than game developers; some of these developers' frustrations expose some key issues that affect our readers as well.

The issues raised in the article make some valid points.  One thing that lit up for me is the issue of assigning a review of a Civil War-based strategy game to a shooter specialist.  That is a situation that I never hear much about among my reviewer buddies, but I know has to be a problem.  Consider myself as an example.  I consider my gaming area of expertise to be platformers with special interests in adventure titles, racing challenges, and the occasional puzzle title, familiar fighter, or whimsical sports game.  I typically do not take on game review assignments involving serious sports games, complex shooters, or games aimed at an exclusively kiddie audience.  Those just aren't my genres, and my attempts at taking a crack at those kinds of games usually do not end very well (both in terms of my enjoyment of the assignment and the actual review itself).

If you need someone to storm the beach at Normandy or win the Super Bowl, you're better off asking somebody else.  However, if you need a guide to the Mushroom Kingdom, a keen mind to rotate blocks, or an explorer to collect the eight pieces of [important mystical object of great power], then I'm your man.  In recent memory I've turned down both a football game and an anime-inspired title based on a Cartoon Network property because I know and acknowlege my own gaming limitations.  It would not be fair to my audience, my organization, the publisher, or myself to take those assignments.  After all, nobody benefits from a review that wastes everyone's time with a poor understanding of the source material.

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