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SHOWNOTES

00:00-Show Intro
03:06-Drunk Dials
13:32-Mailbag
19:04-Discussion Segment: The Great Sly Cooper Caper
34:04-Retro Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation (SNES)
40:49-Lightning Round
1:03:27-The Last Shot
1:04:32-Show Close

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DGR: 11.14.2010

60 Responses to Drunken Gamers Radio: 11.14.2010

  1. Ryker XL says:

    @Hilden, I’m sorry for my Lightning Round entry, but your rant was funny as shit and exactly what I was hoping for when I submitted it. :) I’ve put in some legit ones as well like Walking Dead (which deserves more discussion by the way) so I hope that even things out.

    I’m obviously a huge Trek nerd and I must agree with your take on the SNES STTNG game, it plays more like an interactive technical manual than a real game. StarFleet Commander was by far a superior game and so was StarFleet Academy. For those looking for a decent Trek gaming experience, Star Trek Online is pretty good. There is a really good demo on Steam and there are even rumors that it will go to a Free-to-play model if the Champions Online Free-to-play experiment goes well.

    As for Star Trek Conventions, it’s something I think every person should do before they die, just to see how deeply passionate folks are about the lore of a 1960s television show. It’s quite fun! Sadly, none in Minneapolis in the near future, may need to take a road trip.

    Keep up the good work, and remember there are no rules in a knife fight!

    Peace and Spooky Shit

  2. Brian Pederson says:

    In case anyone was curious about Dread, the Jenga based P&P RPG, it can be found here: http://www.tiltingatwindmills.net/dread/index.html

  3. ilduce620 says:

    Wooo, there’s my lightning round question!

    But seriously, folks, I’m not sure there’s a good solution for the gamers review debacle. I also read Ben Kuchera’s write-up at ArsTechnica, which referred to a report by the folks at GamePro regarding the CoD: Black Ops review, and I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, I’m glad that at least someone disclosed what was going on, but at the same time, I agree with you guys that everyone else coming out of the woodwork after-the-fact is a bit disingenuous.

    I also listen to the Joystiq Podcast and Chris Grant (quoted in Kuchera’s write-up) talks about their policies along these lines somewhat frequently. If I remember right, they generally don’t accept free trips to preview events, so there are certain games they don’t cover and choose to only preview them at trade shows. When this same thing happened last year for the Modern Warfare 2 reviews, Grant and Company did talk about it and basically said that their lack of web traffic for having a review available on Day One is big enough that it’s worth it to go to such events, at least for certain games (i.e. big-ass AAA releases like Black Ops). Joystiq also always has a disclaimer, of sorts, at the bottom of each review saying what system was used to play the game, whether it was review code or not, and whether it was purchased by the reviewer or provided by the publisher.

    I’m not saying that they’re right or wrong in their policy, but quite honestly, I’m not sure there’s a better way. For these guys to stay afloat financially, they need to do reviews. Joystiq was almost forced to add numerical reviews so they could get on Metacritic and increase their exposure and readership. For some games, like Black Ops, it’s do or die.

    And let’s be honest here…other “real news” outlets have to deal with the same crap. There are certain folks that won’t go on The Daily Show (there, I said it: real news) because they know they’ll get tough questions. Christine O’Donnell hand-picked the people (read: Hannity…) that she would go on with and gave them they viewership that went with it. Same thing happens with NBC/CBS/ABC newscasts. I hardly think that this problem is endemic to games journalism.

  4. John says:

    @ilduce: There are so many things in your post that represent everything that is wrong with the state of game journalism. Now, this is not to bash anything you said. What you’ve stated are essentially the facts of how things run. Again, I’m not coming at you here…

    There is one simple solution, and I posted it on Twitter earlier today: don’t go. If you are concerned about your objectivity and your credibility, simply don’t go. And if the publisher won’t give you an advanced review copy, so be it. Buy the game at launch, play it, and put out your review. If you have an ounce of integrity, you review a game on your terms, not theirs. It’s not your job to accommodate them. It’s your job to critique them.

    Now, the argument inevitably turns to page views, hit counts, etc. And my response to that is this: if by not getting your review published the exact same day as every other site out there you risk the chance of going out of business, chances are your other content isn’t that compelling. So you need to decide “is it all about the money?” or “are we going to bust ass to have the better, higher-quality content than those other clowns?”

    No, the gaming industry isn’t alone in this sort of thing. But the example you picked is actually backwards. Hannity and the other right-wingers aren’t nice to her simply because she chose to be on their shows. They would’ve been nice anyway. Now, if O’Donnell had held an event, inviting selected media to come and see her in a very controlled environment, then the comparison might hold water. Nevertheless, I get where you’re coming from and am not suggesting that games media is alone in being completely fucked up. It just seems that they’re far more immature in how they deal with these things. “Oh, it’s okay because we paid for our plane tickets.” Whatever…

    So, in the end, I disagree that there may not be a good solution. There is, and it’s “don’t go.”

  5. fluffy_nuts says:

    Wow that’s a lot of writing, anyway, angry drunken Hilden = awesome

  6. ilduce620 says:

    Thanks for the response, John. Your third paragraph is an interesting one and I’ve always wondered, numerically, where the page views for a particular article drop (i.e. is it as precipitous a fall as the sites say it is, where 10 days after a game launches, literally no one looks as your articles anymore). This is probably an issue, mostly with the blog-type sites where they produce content each day and you find it nearly impossible to get to any content from 3 days ago without clicking “Previous Page” 10 times. I guess I’m saying that the blogs, especially, have to stay “current” with their information just because of the organization they operate under. I take your points, though.

    I stand behind my O’Donnell example, though. It may not be perfect, but in her case, she stayed away from all kinds of media, local and national, and specifically chose Hannity because she knew he’d play ball. I get that the roles are slightly reversed, but it’s still an example of favoritism toward media that you know will be favorable toward you (much like Hilden’s description of how “parasitic” games journalism is).

    I’ll ask one more question, though. Without taking their obvious lack of writing skills into account, do you think a lot of the small, lesser-known blogs, would get more traffic if they had timely reviews? There are quite a few little start-up gaming websites with writers that aren’t invited to these kinds of events that probably get only a fraction of the traffic as the larger sites, partially because the larger sites have more access to the information. I’d have to think, however, that timely reviews do play a role in their page views and site views as a whole. If Robot Panic had reviews up day-and-date with release, do you think you would generate a blip in your traffic on that day, no matter what size?

    Regardless, thanks for the respectful and thoughtful response, despite disagreement! It’s like I’m over at Gamers With Jobs or something…

  7. John says:

    It’s hard to say. Without getting too far into the ins and outs of it, simply putting up a review wouldn’t do much. For example, RP falls squarely into the “lesser-known blogs” category (more like “unknown” blogs, but whatever). If we had a CoD:BO review day-and-date with the other sites, we may see an extra hit or two, but that’s it. If we were consistent about it and kept that up for each big release, building our audience gradually, sure, anything’s possible. Hell, Hilden and I used to write for a small site that over a couple years gained respectable numbers doing just that. We didn’t go to lavish press junkets, but we were sent scads of product and foofy promo materials and gifts. And had that site kept going, who knows? It may have reached at least Destructoid level numbers by now.

    But in this case, it’s basically the big dogs vying for supremacy while the little pups are still picking up the scraps. With DGR and RP, we’ve never cared about numbers anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

    Though that just brings us back to the issue at hand: which do you care more about, numbers or quality/integrity? I’m an idealist and like to think that quality would bring numbers eventually, albeit more slowly. Naive, yes. But whatever. I’m a dreamer, baby.

  8. awesomo316 says:

    Hilden’s rant on journalism integrity was awesome – I’m pretty sure he broke his previous record for the amount of times the word “cocksuckers” or similar variants are used in a rant.

    Advertising wasn’t mentioned at all and I think that also plays some sort of part in all this too and this is not to say I don’t agree with everything you guys have said. But if these “journalists” don’t attend these events then there’s a chance the publishers will pull their advertising which in result could get that “journalist” fired.

    I’ve talked on my podcast about how I use to work for Official PlayStation Magazine in Australia and some of the scores I gave games were changed due to advertising reasons. I gave Gran Turismo a 9 one year and Sony weren’t happy and my editor had to change it to a 10 as well change any perceived negative comments. On the other end I had a review for Hulk Ultimate Destructions which I gave an 8 and because Vivendi weren’t advertising my editor dropped my score down. I just ended up leaving one day as I was sick of it all and now I no longer work in the industry and “review” games as a hobby with a podcast and website.

    And it’s all wrong, wrong, wrong as you all said but as long as those guys still get hits then I don’t think it matters how they’ll review games. I personally don’t think any reviewer should be reviewing a game they get for free – how can you tell your audience they’re getting their money’s worth when they don’t pay a cent for it? Isn’t that one of the major points of a review – well for me it is. Hopefully as more demos and betas come out game reviews will be needed less and less.

  9. ilduce620 says:

    I care more about quality/integrity, and I think the majority of gamers would agree. Hopefully, quality brings numbers, and thus, revenue. I guess I would point toward Wal-Mart, however, who was able to rocket toward supremacy and make a ridiculous amount of money by decreasing their quality just enough so that it would undercut everyone else, yet people would still buy their products in droves. In doing so, they decreased their quality (by a lot, some would argue…but the shoppers don’t care, right?), but increased their numbers and, thus, revenue. In the end, they made their money on quantity, not quality, and you could make the argument that the IGNs and Kotakus end up doing the same thing. It sucks, I know, but it’s a business model that has proven effective.

    I’ll leave it at that, as I think I’ve taken up enough of the posts for one day. Regardless, it’s an interesting topic. For the record, I’m glad you guys don’t care about the numbers. It’s not why people listen to you: it’s because you’re blatantly honest, and there’s a place in podcastosphere for it. Keep it up and Damn the Man.

  10. Ryker XL says:

    Great discussion, but I do wonder if it’s any different than the wining and dining that goes on at E3 and other major game conferences? Hey big name journalists, you get to jump in front over everyone and be sure to join us at the Las Vegas air strip for a private helecopter ride to the LV Country Club for a private concert (No shit that really happened to me at CES one year).

    Bottom line, it’s all about selling boxes, and the big dawgs have the cash to do stuff like this. However, one should also note that the game in question was Call of Duty, and I’m sorry but unless it was a giant turd it was gonna sell a shit-ton of copies.

    Keep telling it how it is boyz. :)

  11. carrotpanic says:

    “in the Greater United States” – Hildo

  12. Moe says:

    Before this site becomes something I no longer recognize, I would like to say a few things: “masturbation” and also “boobies.”

    Thank you.

  13. tokengirlstfu says:

    On the topic of the retarded rant-I mean passionate discussion- that Hilden engaged in on the enthusiast press and the CoD: BLOPS debacle I would love to site a couple of podcasts The GiantBomb 11-16-2010 and TalkRadar 127. Two very entertaining and engaging podcasts that had a discussion about the media events that they go to and if you want I can even write and long and passionate letter on how the trio of Poopy and the Doo Doos sound like a pack of whining children.

  14. John says:

    Please do. I’m interested in what enlightening things you have to say. Better yet, put your thoughts here so we can all discuss. Or point and laugh.

  15. tokengirlstfu says:

    Didn’t say enlightening I said passionate and that could be me just calling you a bunch of whiney girls in 76 size font in ALL CAPS. listen to the Talkradar 127 podcast on 1:27:00 on and talk about the events they go to in depth.

  16. John says:

    I’d rather you explain your thoughts. You know, why we’re “retarded” and “whiny” for wishing the games media would hold themselves to higher standards.

  17. tokengirlstfu says:

    Ok fine. I will.

    I love you

  18. John says:

    I have absolutely no feelings for you.

  19. tokengirlstfu says:

    You are a liar.

  20. John says:

    I might be.

    Incidentally, regarding Talkradar, do people really listen to 3 1/2 hour podcasts? For real? What in God’s name…?

  21. tokengirlstfu says:

    I love the long podcasts. I listen to it while I open the store and when I’m cooking dinner and playing video games and at the dog park.

  22. John says:

    Listening to that Talkradar bit now. I’ll post my commentary as I listen…

    -They seem to be using the “if we didn’t go, the review wouldn’t be up until after the other guys” argument. My response: boo hoo!
    -They’re saying that Activision wanted to control the environment, to which I say: too bad! Review games on your terms, not theirs.
    -My favorite part? “Games journalists aren’t paid very well. And part of what makes this job worthwhile is getting to go on [trips] like that.” Holy shit: SERIOUSLY?! Sorry, Token, but you’re losing this argument in a big, bad way…
    -(Not related): God, the background music in this podcast is annoying and distracting.
    -These developers are rich and we have no problem taking these freebies from them for that very reason. Wow…this just keeps getting better…
    -But we take this job seriously. Yeah…obviously…
    -Other industries do it, so why are we getting flack? That’s a nice argument that I’ve actually heard from my 3 year-old.
    -Holy shit…they just used Entertainment Tonight as an example. This is a fucking train wreck.

    I’m done listening to that nonsense. I’ll do Giant Bomb in a bit.

    Sorry, Token, but damn…

  23. John says:

    Sorry, but I have to go on. These fucking guys and their attitude towards the whole situation represent – AND VALIDATE – everything Hilden was talking about. The fact that they don’t think accepting assloads of freebies from publishers conflicts at all with their responsibilities as critics makes them beyond ignorant…or delusional. The one guy keeps going back to the “these trips are what make the job worth it” line. And hey, that’s probably true. But he’s missing the point of the argument; or at least the argument that we’re making.

    The point we were making is this: fine, go ahead and accept these gifts, these trips, handjobs, whatever. We don’t care. But don’t pretend like it’s not a conflict of interest and that there isn’t a more ethical way of doing it.

  24. Ryker XL says:

    In defense of Token, I think that if that was the only way to get an advanced review for COD, then yeah I guess we’d have to go. I know shucks darn here we go. I agree on everything you guys are saying in principle, but in the real world sometimes this stuff just happens. And if you were a Game Informer or somebody, not having an advanced review would be a bad thing. Oh sure, you can make the argument that NOT going sends this really cool message. but when Activision is considered a partner of yours, that could be a bad thing as well.

    So send more hate towards Activision and not the people who succombed to their evil ploy. It was clearly a show of money and used to generate hype for a game that really didn’t need any more hype to begin with. And one could argue that it really didn’t get the response they wanted; 88 on the Metacritic scale is good, but not we worship you Activision good.

    I think it was mentioned on the show, this stuff happens all over the Entertainment world, and expecting that somehow it won’t happen here is kinda silly. In time I think you will see less of this and more journalists willing to say no thanks to stuff like this. Especially if it gets out of control, the industry will have to self-regulate (just like the blogging community already has).

    For me, I get my opinions on games from my friends, what are they playing? Believe it or not I actually value your opinion on certain games as well, and if it matches what our community has to say, then that’s a good sign for me to grab it. A good example might be Enslaved; it’s on my “to Buy and play” list not because of some Metacritic score, but because of what you, Lefty, the Goojers, and all my friends have said.

    Nuff said. Peace and Sppoky Shit

    PS Oh so jealous that you love Token John…sniff sniff 😉

  25. John says:

    A few things, Ryker:

    1) Activision is not a “partner”. They are a game maker, and the other guys are game critics. This is not supposed to be a mutually-beneficial partnership.

    2) The “it happens in other industries” argument doesn’t make it right. Again, that’s a childish argument.

    3) The not having an advanced review thing I understand, but again, you have to weigh your priorities.

    The only point we were trying to make is that we know this stuff goes on. It’s not a surprise. Furthermore, I’m not accusing them of taking bribes or fixing review scores. But for them to act like it’s not a conflict of interest and it doesn’t raise certain moral questions is hilariously ignorant of the profession they claim to be a part of and take seriously.

    • Hilden says:

      I feel like I’ve laid out my thoughts in as forthright (and admittedly drunk) way as possible. However, reading this brings me back to one solid point.

      Because it happens in the “real world” and “It’s just done this way and always has been” represent the worst reason for anything to exist. My point is that the games media and game publishers are in a parasitic relationship. The reasons stated above are the very proof of it and they come out of every publisher and game media outlet trying to justify their actions. The entire premise is broken. I’ve sat and listened to the drivel on both sides for over ten years and I’m tired of hearing it. And more tired still of gamers (who’s money these folks are taking) swallowing the bullshit wholesale.

      Also, Token my dear: we would be whiny if our point was that we were mad we didn’t get invited. That is not our point. We would be childish if we didn’t back up our points with fact and the experience of actually dealing with these people and the media first hand. We have.

      If you have salient points to bring to the argument, go for it. We welcome them. However, taking digs, calling names and in general refusing to add to the discussion except for the threat of all caps responses that have no value are the very definition of childish contributions

      Pot. Kettle. Black. I still love you.

      H

  26. Ryker XL says:

    I hope I didn’t come across as this was “right” at all, that’s not my point. Admitting that it exists is important and how to deal with it is even more important.

    Here’s how I think all of this went down, ready?

    Game Journalist 1: Hey we got this super cool invite to the COD review party.

    Game Journalist 2: Gee isn’t that kind of unethical, I mean they are throwing a party for a review?

    Game Journalist 1: Yeah but they aren’t giving away codes or copies, this is the only way we can review the game. We need that review on or before the launch date so we kinda have to go; our readers expect that from us.

    Game Journalist 2: What is everybody else doing?

    Game Journalist 1: Everybody else is going along with it.

    Game Journalist 2: Ok I’ll pack my bags this sounds like fun.

    Non-invited Game Journalist: Hey what did you guys just participate in? EXPLAIN Yourself!!

    Game Journalist 1: Oh crap, I didn’t think those who didn’t get to go would be pissed.

    Game Journalist 2: Um….ahhhhh….ummmm…we….Look a Baby Wolf!

    Non-invited Game Journalist: I’m not falling for that again!!!

    Game Journalist 2: SHIT, quick let’s podcast for 3 hours on why we went…

    While I think it’s a good idea to cry foul here, we need to remember the circumstances many of these folks (not all mind you) were in. And I’m sorry but if you receive advertising co-op, sponsorships, and other stuff from a company like Activision, having a good relationship with them is important. (i.e. partnership, or at least that’s how I looked at my clients when I was in Marketing). It takes a lot of balls to tell Goliath that you aren’t going and that what they are doing is wrong. And I expect that after this incident we might actually see more of that happen and the industry will police itself.

    I totally agree with your stance and adherance to ethics, that is great. But when things like this event happen for the first few times, we should not be suprised at people taking the candy, or whatever was given out. :)

  27. Ryker XL says:

    Oh and to pre-empt any flaming, I’m human and such flawed (very much so). But if I was invited I woulda gone; for sure, hands down, where’s my ticket bitches?

    Nor do I believe that John, Moe or Hilden were the first to cry foul or that they did so because they weren’t invited. It’s just my gut feeling that the first slavo in this discussion was lobbed by people who felt left out. Also a very human response to this situation.

  28. tokengirlstfu says:

    “However, taking digs, calling names and in general refusing to add to the discussion except for the threat of all caps responses that have no value are the very definition of childish contributions.”

    I wasn’t actually going to do that. You know my writing better than to think that I would waste my valuable time in doing that. I already sent of my no CAPS no name calling email about what I think about the discussion.
    luv you too Ryker

  29. tokengirlstfu says:

    On to other things. I’m ordering Dread from my local comic book store and I loved Star Trek: TNG game for the Genesis. Placed that game until my dad took it away.

  30. teegarclocks says:

    Gentlemen and lady:
    Hilden : However, taking digs, calling names and in general refusing to add to the discussion except for the threat of all caps responses that have no value are the very definition of childish contributions.
    Couldn’t you’re yelling of cocksuckers be construed as replying in all cap?

    John-
    >-They seem to be using the “if we didn’t go, the review wouldn’t be up until after the other guys” argument. My response: boo hoo!

    That’s not a response, first off. That’s being a goddamn business. If I decided “Oh, I’m not going to go install this tile while the other workers are around so they won’t affect my performance” I would be fired, I would lose my job. Period. It’s you go to these events so you can actually review the game as soon as possible, for your own sake and those of your readers, or you’re late, when your influential answer matters not at all because it came too late.

    >-They’re saying that Activision wanted to control the environment, to which I say: too bad! Review games on your terms, not theirs.

    Great job missing the point. Unless you’re a sheep already, then you ALWAYS play on your terms, no matter where you are. “Control the environment” means keeping distractions away, not bloody brainwashing.

    >-My favorite part? “Games journalists aren’t paid very well. And part of what makes this job worthwhile is getting to go on [trips] like that.” Holy shit: SERIOUSLY?! Sorry, Token, but you’re losing this argument in a big, bad way…

    Uh, no. That’s a personal thing. And that response is literally “NO YOU’RE WRONG BECAUSE I SAY SO, AND BECAUSE OF THAT YOU ARE LOSING THIS ARGUMENT.” That doesn’t work, and would never fly in any official debate.

    >-But we take this job seriously. Yeah…obviously…

    Yes, obviously, if they feel the need to DEFEND THEMSELVES from whiny dreck.

    >-Other industries do it, so why are we getting flack? That’s a nice argument that I’ve actually heard from my 3 year-old

    And? Children are often incredibly insightful, and that question is absolutely valid.

    >The fact that they don’t think accepting assloads of freebies from publishers conflicts at all with their responsibilities as critics makes them beyond ignorant…or delusional.

    It doesn’t conflict in the slightest. Just because journalists get a free doily when they go to play Kinect Arcade Bonanza Bowling, does not mean that they’re going to think “Huh, they gave me this free doily. I should ignore that this game is a steaming pile of dog leavings.” And heaven forbid that publishers pay for hotel rooms for people who are paid less than *I* am when they have to travel out of their areas. Obviously, letting them accept those rooms is corrupting their views on Kinect Arcade Bonanza Bowling, and we can’t trust them to tell us that it’s a worse game than Wii Party.

  31. tokengirlstfu says:

    So Fallout: New Vegas is pretty rad. Found a sex bot and an evolved centaur named Moe… Hmm… they call tits charlies. I got off work early and I’m frinking pretty heavily. Mmmm..

  32. leftybrown says:

    I’m enjoying the conversation about paid trips and losing your integrity, soul, shit, etc. It is something we struggle with (one both sides of the coin -having access and not having access) over at The Married Gamers. Last week EA flew one of our writers to London, England for a community day for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. She will also be writing the review for the game when we get a review copy.

    I think we try to be honest when things like that happen (and it’s especially rare for a small site like ours to have those types of things), and we always post a feature on the event so people know. Also when we review a game that’s been given to us for review we always add a small blurb saying so at the end of our reviews.

    So by Hilden’s definition we’re sellouts. These types of things regularly go on in other entertainment arenas as press junkets, meet and greets, etc. I wonder if similar debates rage on in those sections of the internet as vigorously as it does in the video game side of the street.

    I haven’t changed any of our writers review scores. I have sent reviews back to the writer for more development, to elaborate or fill in things I think our readers want to read about. I do stand behind the scores our writers score things, even when I disagree with it.

    Also, we don’t have game advertising on our site or publishers applying pressure for us to prop up their scores (which I’d never do). We do have a Paypal donate button, which helps from time to time (especially when our house was broken into and we had consoles, and our laptop stolen) but I suppose that could be another area of “selling out.”

  33. John says:

    I don’t know that Hilden ever used the label “sellout”. What we said was, if in order to REVIEW a game (and that’s an important distinction), you accept a lavish gift (in this case a paid stay at an five-star resort and spa, along with helicopter rides, paid meals, paid airfare, etc.) please do not act like it’s not a conflict of interest.

  34. Hilden says:

    @teegarclocks:

    Re: the “I acted like a child by calling game media folks (presumably such as yourself) “cocksuckers”:

    -Yeah. I’ll bite. Childish. But I wasn’t aiming at starting a proper debate on the issue at the time. I was venting my drunken spleen. I stand by my comments, including the cocksuckes and “up their own asses” parts, however. So, childish delivery? Sure. I’ll give you that one.

    As for the rest:

    You never stated specifically if you work in the industry or in what capacity if you do. However, I’ll go with the assumption that my “cocksucking” game “journalist” fits you and you got offended.

    All your arguments just feel like justification for your own (presumed at this point) actions. Sorry to offend you further, but if you’re so ass deep in the whole parasitic relationship between your publication and the developers, you’re gonna have bit of trouble seeing out.

    Glad you feel like you can be objective, however. Gonna be tough to convince me that it’s not influencing you or your site/mag in any way, though.

    And, again, the whole “it’s a business” and “others do it so we can too” just doesn’t cut it when it comes to this. I’ll keep saying until it sticks: the fact that something broken has existed for years doesn’t make that broken thing acceptable. The fact that other people also do that broken thing doesn’t make that broken thing acceptable. It’s just a simple cop out for those that don’t have the will to change to keep the comfortable status quo the same.

  35. Insaniac says:

    Damn there sure were a lot of cocksuckers in Hilden’s rant. That was awesome and hilarious shit. Oh yeah and Mc Ribs SUCK IT!!!

  36. ilduce620 says:

    Just saw your Tweet, John. I don’t think the general consensus of this thread is that we’re “pro-payola” at all with regards to review scores. I think most of us are accepting it as “just the way it is.” I also think that most of us don’t think that “just don’t go” would work, unless all gaming journalism outlets agreed to not go. In some ways it’s like voting for a third party: if you do it, you’re basically throwing your vote away, so you pick the lesser of two evils and hope it works out. Unless everyone votes for a third party, nothing will really change. (I’m sure that’s a terrible analogy, but it’s the best I’ve got, dammit)

    So, speaking for myself, and I think for at least some of the other commenters here, we agree with you that the system is crap and that we are against the idea of buying review scores. Unfortunately, it’s the environment that currently exists and it isn’t going to change anytime soon unless a large number of outlets take action against it. One or two outlets not going isn’t going to change anything – they’ll just lose traffic and, if they keep dodging such review invitations, they’ll fold.

    By the way, this could be the longest thread on a DGR podcast I’ve ever witnessed. Maybe you should do reviews! 😉

  37. ilduce620 says:

    And one more thing, Hilden. Continuing with my political analogy, you could easily say that the congressional system in the U.S. is equally “broken” and that it’s been broken for years and that “the fact that something broken has existed for years doesn’t make that broken thing acceptable.” You’d be right to say that, just as you’re right to say that it’s wrong for these shenanigans to happen in games journalism.

    Point is that they’re both institutions and that changing them takes more than “don’t vote” or “don’t go.”

  38. teegarclocks says:

    @ Hilden: I do not work for a gaming outlet. I just don’t go around assuming that people who are in one general field of an industry are corrupt and thus are demonized by another subset of the same industry. Yes, I get that you were/are/will always be drunk when you’re “on air” and in your own environment so the justification for you to rant as you did. But your tone in your rant and the posts in this site make it seem that you like to dig into the barrel, find a slightly bruised apple say that the juicy, sweet fruit leftover is all bad. I am not naive as to say that it doesn’t happen but generally when the enthusiast press goes on the trip the employee does not review the game for that reason unless they are known to be honest. The podcasts that I listen to are brutally honest and they get flak from both sides. One for being too lenient on a game and the other for not giving it a better score. I know from previous podcasts that you have had dealings with at least one of the paid press and your overall statement that everyone who isn’t in your podcast is corrupt. You review retro games given to you by a site for free. You say whether the game is good or bad. So does the rest of the enthusiast press. I know that last time this discussion came up in the industry I wrote Many an email, petition, hand written letter to the heads of the outlets not to let the publishers force the hand and thus questioning the press’ integrity by those who are on the outskirts. You do your podcast because you love the games and other stuff you talk about. So do most if not all of the enthusiast press and they get paid a pittance.

  39. Hilden says:

    I guess we just have a much different view on the gaming industry. I’m curious if you’ve seen any of the industry from the inside? Talked to game media writers/reviewers? Worked with PR folks? Had conversations from veterans of the industry about review practices past and present? Been at or around any of these media events?

    I wonder if this informs your opinion, as it does mine? If it has, I’m simply baffled at your ardent defense of the industry.

  40. Hilden says:

    Also, this paid a pittance thing really has to get grounded. The corporate owned gaming entity that I’ve actually asked and gotten figures on has starting wage in the $30,000 range. Smaller, self supported sites don’t make that, granted, but they’re not fucking starving out there.

    Also, they choose the job. They’re not martyrs. Also, they fucking play and write about games. They don’t mine ore. That argument holds no water.

  41. Hilden says:

    See. One group fucking gets it. Game Informer, once again I might add, EARNS their title of Game Journalists.

    Link to the article I’ve excerpted here was sent by Phil Kollar. You can find it in full here.

    “Game Informer refused the fancy resort, negotiating a visit to Treyarch’s offices instead. It should be noted that Activision understood our situation and helped us set up a review that met both our terms. So I flew out to Santa Monica, California and played the hell out of Black Ops in a focus testing room next to Treyarch’s quality assurance department. For reference, yes, I did play it on a big-ass flatscreen TV with nice 5.1 surround. Just the way I would play it at home or in the office.

    Per our policy, GI paid for the entire trip. I stayed at a moderately priced hotel and spent a whole day twiddling my thumbs in airports on the way back because the only reasonably priced flight involved a several-hour layover in Phoenix. I don’t say this to complain; travel is what it is and it’s not like I was staying in a vagrant hostel or anything. I merely bring this up to point out that I wasn’t exactly living it up on the trip.

    GI is not a fan of these events. Disbelieve us if you want, but I can speak for everyone from our editor-in-chief Andy McNamara on down: they’re a pain in the rear and make it harder for us to do our jobs. We just want to see and play the games, maybe meet with and interview the team. All the other stuff is unnecessary to the reporting process.

    We don’t mean to throw any other publications under the bus. So long as editorial policies are reasonably transparent and editorial content provides quality insight to readers, that’s mission accomplished. The argument that posh review junkets like this have the danger of tainting a critic’s opinion does hold weight – why else would publishers do them? – which is why we refuse them as a matter of policy and wanted to make our business practices clear.”

  42. teegarclocks says:

    “You do your podcast because you love the games and other stuff you talk about. So do most if not all of the enthusiast press.”

    Never said they were martyrs. My point was to not go after the writers but go after the outlets upper tiers of management. They make the big decisions not the staff. Staff hate reviewing and would rather not but its their asses because of their bosses.

  43. John says:

    I’d like to put a cap on this whole discussion because I feel like we’re just pissing in the wind here. So I’m going to try to lay this out in the simplest terms I can in order to give the naysayers a clear understanding on where we’re coming from.

    First, I’d like to introduce you to The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa:
    http://www.ojairesort.com/resort.php

    Minimum room rate: $350. However, since we know that some sites (out of ethical concerns) chose to pay for their own, smaller suite, let’s assume that the $500/night rooms were the standard. The three night stay comes to around $1500, not including meal, airfare, and any other gifts that were exchanged. So let’s figure, conservatively, $2500. No, Tokengirl, money did not technically “exchange hands”. But it’s not exactly a “doily”, now is it?

    How could they fix the situation? Simple. All Activision, or any other publisher, has to do if they don’t want their product out in the wild before release is to invite the press to their offices or rent an office space, stick the writers in conference rooms, and let them do their jobs. The notion that these events aren’t staged to impress and sway the reviewers is an almost charmingly naive one. We’re not saying that it always works, but I’ll explain why it’s a bad idea further down.

    Secondly, let’s talk about the actual reviews. Check this bit from Ars Technica:
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/11/call-of-duty-black-ops-review-event-press-gifts-detailed.ars

    “Do you wonder why no reviews have talked about the glitchy PC online play? Because online play was tested for a very short time, with consoles that were right next to each other. There was no opportunity for actual coverage of the product in a real-world setting, and certainly not on the PC.”

    Doesn’t effect reviews, eh?

    And finally, let’s talk about the over-arching theme of “ethics.” Here’s a personal anecdote. I work at the corporate headquarters of a large retail chain. It is the company policy that we do not accept any gifts that can be valued at over $50. Doing so would qualify us for immediate termination. We are allowed product samples in order to evaluate for addition to our product assortment, but that’s it. This is not because our company doesn’t trust its employees. It’s a matter of ethics. This way, the integrity of our decisions can never be questioned. Another vendor can’t say, “Why did you choose product X over our product? Is it because they spent all that money wining and dining you?” This policy eliminates those issues.

    Now think about that for a minute. Corporate retail holds itself to a higher standard than much of the gaming media. Corporate retail. Yeah.

    And finally, a bit of perspective on how we view ourselves and Drunken Gamers Radio. We are not part of the “gaming industry”, nor do we wish to be lumped into that category or included in their reindeer games. We lost interest in that years ago. And we in no way consider ourselves any better or any worse than any other podcast. We are simply three friends and fans of video games who happen to have opinions and recording equipment (and a fully-stocked bar). The insinuation that we don’t respect anybody who’s not on our podcast couldn’t be any further from the truth. Dan Hsu, Jeremy Parish, Phil Kollar, Gamers with Jobs, Luke Smith, Jon Davison… The list goes on and on.

    My point is, we’re not “whining”. We’re simply pointing out the facts of how things are done. And again, that’s fine. But for a group of people who are constantly chattering about their integrity and the fact that they’re not taken seriously, they seem to be clueless about the whole situation.

    EDIT: Shit, sorry to make this even longer, but Hilden posted that link to GI’s article while I was typing this. They nailed it, and it’s good to see that sort of thing come out. Perhaps those guys that Tokengirl made me suffer through today could learn a thing or two…

  44. ilduce620 says:

    John. I don’t want to be a dick. But.

    “Doesn’t effect reviews, eh?”

    It’s “affect.” Not “effect.”

    nerdstutoringnerds@gmail.com

    But seriously, I can get behind you guys on this. For the record, this was a damned fine discussion overall and I’m glad it was hashed out, to some extent.

  45. John says:

    Ha! Hoisted by my own petard!

    Thanks for making me laugh before bed, sir. Touche!

  46. tokengirlstfu says:

    I like Talkradar just for the fact that they are hilarious. Sorry if they’re not for your refined palate. You can erase my email if this subject is done and I’ll write what I really wanted to write you guys which was mostly about booze and tits and fallout.

  47. John says:

    We like booze and tits. Fallout’s okay too. 😉

  48. tokengirlstfu says:

    yay. God this was like an argument with me rightwing dad. We will never agree on anything except nerdy shit and beer.

  49. carrotpanic says:

    Can we get back to talking about Brett Farve’s cock? DON’T BAN ME.

  50. tokengirlstfu says:

    @carrotpanic. Where?

  51. carrotpanic says:

    In his Wranglers brand denim jeans, I presume.

  52. cube says:

    >Never said they were martyrs. My point was to not go after the writers but go after the outlets upper tiers of management. They make the big decisions not the staff. Staff hate reviewing and would rather not but its their asses because of their bosses.

    I need to call complete and total bullshit about this. If the writers hate reviewing games, why the hell are they doing it at all? The pay isn’t great, you have to put up with a ton of crap games, and deadlines are always looming, so why would anyone that doesn’t like reviewing games work for a site or publication that reviews games?

    Oh wait, they wouldn’t.

  53. fluffy_nuts says:

    @Token, i’m always happy to talk booze, boobs and fallout with you, especially boobs and fallout,

    infact i’m looking to talk to someone about anything and everything fallout but no one i know is talking about it, hit me up if you want.

    first of which, whats with the centaur Moe, I’ve killed him 4 times now and he keeps coming back in that pit near black mountain, is there a mission with him or something

  54. Moe says:

    You can’t keep me down, beotch! I’m just gonna keep on risin’ like Zombie Jesus! Pow!

  55. fluffy_nuts says:

    @moe, have you seen the centaur Moe, if not you should really check it out, he looks cool

  56. tokengirlstfu says:

    @cube: discussion is over. shush.
    @moe: I wish I could make a mod for Moe to have white tuxedo to loot.
    @fluffy: when I have time to get on when you’re on: totally.

  57. Tex says:

    Thanks for blowing the lid on the mcrib bullshit. Nothing from mcdonalds is desirable…well, unless you’re hung tits and in need of a grease fix. Hm…

  58. ledesh says:

    That was some of the best rants I’ve heard in a while. I totally agree on the Black ops bullshit, which by the way, you guys are not alone in that not playing the game group. I need to get around to sending in the idea I have for the lightning round.

    Fuck the McRib.

  59. fluffy_nuts says:

    How can they call it a mc’rib when there’s no bone, what’s a rib? It’s a fucking bone, they don’t bring it down here anymore, 3 times they tried to latch a McRib in this country and we dont want it, a McRib without a McBone, it’s un-fucking McHeard of, but that’s what happens when your McBoss is a fucking McClown.

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