Friday, May 8, 2009

A Game Review Oddity

Oddity. Had to make sure I spelled that right down here in the body text portion through the spell check. Just being honest.

Before I get started here I have to let you know where I'm coming from. I'm not a massively multi-player online role playing video gamer. I don't have the time. But what I am is completely and totally fascinated with the idea of it. Things like what happened a while back with World of Warcraft players protesting something or other blocked a bridge on some server to make a point about a warrior character imbalance peaked my interest.

With my recent writing on game reviews I stumbled upon a review of a game called Darkfall via Dubious Quality. The long and the short of what has transpired goes all crazy like and has the makings of legend...

A guy named Ed Zitron reviewed the game Darkfall Online and gave it a 2/10. For Eurogamer... as bad as it gets.

Fans of the game were pissed. Predictable. Fans of other like games poked fun. Fine. Predictable again. The developers (Adventurine) of the game looked into the time Mr. Zitron spent on the game via server time... and publicly posted it, in detail. Wait! Not predictable!

I guess they discovered he only spent a couple hours with it and in that time only really created multiple characters and took some low res screenshots. The developers preceded post Mr. Zitron's playing time on their forum and sent the logs to Eurogamer and asked that the score be taken down. Eurogamer, in kind, posted a response to the developers and posted it here.

To me this is epic. Eurogamer did the right thing in their response. They left the review up and told the fans that they would put one of the best men on the job to re-review the game and staunchly upheld their integrity by leaving up Zitron's review.

There are lots of other things I love about what is transpiring here. First off, I like that fans hold their favorite thing up like a hometown sports team. Secondly, I like that the developers, who poured their hearts out creating it for probably years, dug into the review. Thirdly; Eurogamer did the right thing. Their response legitimatizes the site.

If you didn't play the game, then tell your boss (Eurogamer) or the reader you didn't. Be honest Mr. Zitron. Don't fudge it.

I haven't come to any sort of conclusion about the rights and wrongs here. It is sad that there aren't a lot of places to go for good reviews on games. Things really are not much better then they were 15-20 years ago when all you had to go by was Sega Magazine, Nintendo Power, or... hell, just the artwork on the cover. Back then, picking out games was a giant leap of faith.

Apparently, not much has changed.

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