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    Monday, October 02, 2006

    GameCentral Print Something Worth Reading

    Teletext’s games pages have been squirming under the sole of Digitiser’s long abandoned boot for a couple of years now. Their reviews are almost always unutterably dull, with the best fun to be had counting the astonishing number of typos that hit each and every issue, and their scoring system is all over the place. We’ve often wondered how they much time they manage to spend playing the games they review between writing copy about them up to five times a week too.

    As much criticism as they get though, they’ve recently been gathering respect from us for one thing: their honesty. Their opinions aren’t always right, but stepping up and laying down the brutal truth because it’s their opinion is something to be truly admired. Even in previews, where the mags would rather disembowel themselves than dare to suggest a game might not be up to much before they receive their unfinished review code (and after they’ve cashed their cheques for advertising), David Jenkins and his underlings have been unafraid to come back from a press event and tell their readers they had a shit time.

    The article which really satisfied us was published last Wednesday (the 27/9/06 edition). “The Most Overrated Games Ever” written by Roger Hargreaves was in response to them not liking Kingdom Hearts 2 as much as most other reviewers seem to. Here’s the list:

    Final Fantasy VII – They criticised the poor 3D graphics (which is wrong) and the badly translated story. We would have gone with the random battles.

    Halo – Stodgy controls, dreadful level design and shit frame rates. We’d agree with all of that.

    Donkey Kong Country – Not as good as Mario. We’ve heard more convincing arguments, but we see the point they’re making.

    Metal Gear Solid 2 – An incoherent story, 20 minute cutscenes, poor dialogue and fiddly and awkward gameplay. Difficult to argue, especially with the 20 minute cutscenes, but MGS2 is still a great game.

    Dead Or Alive – Shallow combat, shit bosses, limp story mode and emphasis on bouncing breasts. DoA has always been a weak franchise, so fair enough.

    The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker – Bland characters, only 4 dungeons, dull sailing.
    True again, as this was hardly Zelda’s finest hour.


    We can think of a ton of games that are much worse than those on the list yet have been stupidly overrated, but the point is that the team had the guts to print the piece in the first place. No magazine today would run a feature on games that the industry has overrated, because they’re basically saying “fuck you Square-Enix, fuck you Microsoft/Bungie, fuck you Konami, fuck you other reviewers” etc. Advertising would be lost. Exclusivity deals would be jeopardised. Worst of all, readers might actually be entertained, but there’d be nothing in it for the publisher’s wallet.

    Well done GameCentral team – you’ve done something that today’s magazines rarely achieve: written an entertaining and honest opinion without an ulterior motive.

    13 comments:

    1. The RSJ (outside a shop)10:05 am

      So you're basically a bitter person celebrating the limp rants of another bitter person who seems to be even more on the fringes of the industry than you are.
      Zelda with only 4 dungeons and dull sailing - I bet Nintendo fired Shigs right after that revelation was published.

      ReplyDelete
    2. " No magazine today would run a feature on games that the industry has overrated,"

      Official Playstation 2 ran an article last year where they took sacred cows apart. I believe I burnt Metal Gear Solid 2 to the ground for them.

      (Or may have been Final Fantasy, my other perennial PS kicking boy)

      Try again.

      KG

      ReplyDelete
    3. Must have been a real memorable piece if you can't remember what you wrote about. Did they get one of their mates from PSM2 to include DRIV3R?

      ReplyDelete
    4. It was about 100-200 words, so - no - not very memorable to write. I've slagged off MGS2 and Final Fantasy in so many places it kind of goes into a blur.

      By the way, the correct thing to do when there's a gaping flaw in the precis of your piece is to apologise rather than trying to bluster it out.

      For example:
      "Paris is the capital of Italy"
      "Actually, I think Paris is the capital of France. I went there on holiday."
      "Ah - yes. Sorry."

      Rather than

      "Paris is the capital of Italy"
      "Actually, I think Paris is the capital of France. I went there on holiday."
      "Oooh - la-di-da-di-da! Went on a HOLIDAY! did you".

      KG

      ReplyDelete
    5. You're right - I'm sorry. Mags are always 100% honest and never, ever, EVER lie.

      ReplyDelete
    6. esplxgj6:17 pm

      Since when was this about lying?

      Moving the goalposts is a bit to easy, it seems.

      ReplyDelete
    7. Anonymous7:48 pm

      "By the way, the correct thing to do when there's a gaping flaw in the precis of your piece is to apologise rather than trying to bluster it out."

      Hadn't you better say sorry for your new games journalism manifesto then?

      ReplyDelete
    8. The TUSKAN Raider10:08 am

      Why does Kieron need to apologise for writing one of the biggest wind-up/piss-takes of his career?
      Plus the fact Gillen HAS already publicly knocked/regretted that piece on more than one occasion.

      ReplyDelete
    9. I was waiting for someone to say that, anonymous. Hoping they wouldn't, but...

      Obvious:
      1) I have.
      2) No-one's ever actually pointed out a gaping factual hole in the argument I posed. People have pointed out holes in arguments I didn't pose, certainly. The biggest critiques of what I wrote were *actually in the manifesto to begin with* (i.e. That most of it will be shit, that it's not a replacement to everything else, that there's nothing "New" about it, etc).
      3) You cowardly dick.

      KG

      ReplyDelete
    10. Anonymous12:38 am

      You just KNOW you've hit a nerve when KG's passive agressive stance becomes plain aggressive...

      ReplyDelete
    11. Anonymous8:54 am

      It looks to me he is just pointing out the truth.

      ReplyDelete
    12. The TUSKAN Raider10:00 am

      "You just KNOW you've hit a nerve when KG's passive agressive stance becomes plain aggressive..."

      You're having a go at Kieron for being aggressive on THIS fucking site? Aggression has always been the status quo around here, as far as I remember. Not to mention that what with the constant sniping at KG in Ram Raider's posts he's got every right to be aggressive in whatever ay he chooses.
      I'm hardly in the Gillen fanclub, but you are a cowardly dick.

      ReplyDelete
    13. I enjoy reading Gamecentral in the morning with my breakfast before work. It's not as good as the Digitiser glory days, but I still think by and large its a good read.

      The big problem it suffers from, I think, is simply the lack of space they can give to a review - a couple of hundred words at most. But I do gleam from their reports and news items that they are interested gamers, and at least they wear their biases (e.g., to 2d side scrolling shooters) openly on their sleeve. Oh, and they also print letters that disagree openly with them.

      I was gonna say something else but can't remember now. Hmm. Oh yeah, you mentioned it: how does telext (generally) generate revenue? I mean, they have some adverts now, but before...
      And doesn't Gamecentral and teletext in general actually have quite high viewing figures?

      ReplyDelete