What does good gaming journalism look like?

Given the focus at the moment on gaming journalism and what it shouldn’t be doing, I thought it might be fun to look for some great examples of what good gaming journalism can be.

I’m kicking off with a couple of articles that told me a lot about the games they cover and also were (I thought) wildly entertaining reads.

OK, over to you all. Any recommendations for articles that really stayed with you as good examples of what you like to read in gaming journalism?

So there’s going to be an Elder Scrolls MMO?

So the current rumour doing the rounds is that Bethesda/ Zenimax will be announcing an Elder Scrolls MMO in May. (Yes, this is the same gameworld as Skyrim et al but will be set several hundred years earlier.)

I personally think Skyrim works better as a single player game, and am not really sure how that type of game design is going to translate to an MMO. I could imagine a sandbox, just about, but implementing a broad economy feels out of genre. On the other hand, if there really are three player factions, that could indicate sandbox PvP. Intriguing, but not really what I think of when I am thinking of this IP (it might have worked better in Fallout where various gangs holding territory is part of the setup.)

The other intriguing thing about the Tom’s Hardware leaks (see above link) is that one of the cons they apparently intend to show a demo at is QuakeCon. That’s a very shooter/ competitive oriented event rather than an MMO or wider gaming type of convention, but maybe they feel it’s the same demographic that played Skyrim. (Or maybe it just conveniently happens to be run by Zenimax …)

Or maybe it’s going to be a FPS. That would throw people 🙂

Baldur’s Gate

Also, if anyone was curious about the Baldur’s Gate hype,  there is going to be an updated/ enhanced edition of Baldur’s Gate and BG2. So not a sequel, as some people had hoped.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition™ and Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition™ will feature a re-forged version of the Infinity Engine with a variety of modern improvements.

Elder Scrolls 5, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3. Spike TV Awards – what’s the connection?

I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the last month or two that various big companies were prepping announcements to be made at the Spike TV Videogame Awards.

And this duly happened.

But why this and why now? What the heck is Spike TV  and why is it better to make announcements at their awards? In fact, what’s the big deal with their awards anyway, is this some huge thing in the US which explains all the palaver?

No, not really. Kotaku even ask the exact same question and as a US based gaming zine, we assume they’d know if it was. It’s just that the marketing bods at the big gaming companies decided that it was a good idea to have a news cycle in December. It’s not an accident that all the games announced are sequels. When a sequel is announced, there’s often an upswing in sales for previous entries in the franchise. Blizzard sold a lot of copies of Diablo 2 and Starcraft when their sequels were announced (including one to me, since I bought a copy of SC myself.)

The thing that puzzled me most about these announcements is that usually – and bear with me here – advertisers try to place TV ads in and around popular shows which will attract a suitable audience. But this seemed more as if the award show was just a forum for the adverts.

(I can’t actually imagine ever having much interest in an award show to be honest.)

Jeff Green has a much better and more informed rant about this. I particularly like the phrase, “the dudebro douchebag contingent” which I think is a bit punchier than Gevlon’s “M&S.”

And sadly, I don’t have the least interest in Elder Scrolls 5, despite it a fantasy RPG. They lost me with their dreadful levelling mechanic in Oblivion, which rewarded you for not putting any points into the skills you actually wanted to specialise in. No thanks, Bethesda. Still, I am amused that as recently as last year they were advising the press not to expect an Elder Scrolls 5 any time soon, and hinting at plans for an MMO.