Our wrap party was last nite, we had a good time, got to saran wrap our lead designer and make a clown outta him while destroying the open bar. I've got my first VG title under my belt, and dammit if the game ain't too bad either. I've never cared about game reviews 'til now, but it's all in good fun. We know we hauled ass on it, and reading what some people say on GameFAQs.com can be anything from hilarious to depressing. In the end, we just want to put out something that kids have a lot of fun with, but without sacrificing our families and sanity to do it. I think we struck that balance very well.
After reams of "studies" that linked gaming with violence while ignoring the possiblity of that relationship being inverse, it makes my day to see a study that was done properly and which took great pains to extrapolate only appropriate conclusions. I'd recommend reading the Q&A with Anderson Analytics, as it's clear they didn't get their causes and effects' mixed up. The conclusions of the study implied that the XBox brand causes more self-confidence and distrust than the PS2. It doesn't explain the ramifications of these feelings, nor tries to guess too much as to why the difference even exist, leaving an explanation open for issues such as marketing styles, console brand history, etc.
Equally exciting for me is this analysis of IGN review scores, showing an strange imbalance and reluctance among their editors to impart anything but whole number scores. It excites me because this is what game journalist should be doing, as it legitimizes a business whose bias had a heydey of a day back when sites like DailyRadar were around. Has it gotten better? Remember the Dan "Shoe" Hsu interview I talked about before? Yeah, I think it's getting better. Slowly. But the gaming breed is an angry, rebellious, and most importantly, proud one. I don't forsee it giving in to console partisanship, fanboyism notwithstanding. Unlike politics, it only takes half an hour to tell if a game is any good, and unlike movies, the merit of your defense is measured not by movie tickets but by the hundreds of hours you spend PLAYING.
Not everything has to head the direction of New Game Journalism, but the idea is enticing. Frontline reports from virtual battlefronts, memoirs from the minds of the culturally entrenched, these are exciting exciting. But game journalism for the masses needs more transparency. I don't mean less bias, as games are inherently subject to extreme bias and we accept that when we read a review or an article, but I want to know who's paying for that bias. But if we already know what's bias and what isn't why does that matter? Because as an industry, it buys us leverage among politicians and competing industries who don't understand games. Imagine if the ESRB has never even been created what mercy we would be at the government's whims. Self-regulation is the first line of defense in the eternal struggle of us versus them, ninjas versus pirates.
It's been a hectic week here as we fumble over ourselves to entertain Xstine's two sisters. We're trying to strategically hit a representative sample of restaurants and locales for them, so I haven't been able to post much. However, I wanted to share something utterly insane… a PS2 game called Giant Babe. And how. Considering their other titles include winners like Maids Uniforms and Machine Guns, I expect their echelon of game design to revolutionize the world.