You may or may not have heard about the minor scandal that’s befallen Eurogamer over their Darkfall Online review. Having our noses firmly rammed into the crotch of corruption, we were asked to look into it, and now we have done. We’ve got slightly more to say than 140 characters will accommodate, so we’re using the blog as a TwitteRR overflow box. You may be surprised at our conclusions.
Ex-PC Zone lad Ed Zitron wrote a review of indy developed MMORPG Darkfall Online for Eurogamer, which went live on Tuesday. He gave it 2/10, which upset the game’s fanboys. The real shit started to fly when a guy called Tasos from Aventurine, the company that developed the game, claimed that the server logs showed that the review account Zitron had access to was only accessed for two hours (which he later changed to three).
EG’s editor, Tom Bramwell, posted an editorial on EG which claimed that Zitron had played it for at least nine hours. He also offered to have the game re-reviewed by Gillen.
Obviously we don’t operate in a vacuum so, in the interests of full disclosure (a dirty concept in this industry), here’s the extent of our relationships with those involved.
We like Zitron, and we like his writing to the extent that we helped him get nominated for a GMA. But keep in mind that this didn’t stop us from exclusively breaking the PC Zone story (which GI.biz and RPS misattributed later).
We also like Bramwell, and have a cordial relationship with him as RR, but we’ve both criticised and supported the unreliable EG in the past.
Finally, we’ve got no prior relationship with Aventurine. If you want to derive bias from any of that, then go for it.
That’s elementary games reviewing.
Elementary common sense would dictate that, generally, if a reviewer doesn’t like a game that you like, it might be taking things just a little too far when you start making threats to break their arms and publishing their phone number on a forum. It might also make you look like a raging, sagging, fish-flecked, loose-lipped cunt if you run the official forum, but allow contact details to stay up for over eight hours despite being told about them.
You know what? Zitron was probably too harsh on the game, and definitely got carried away with giving it a good old fashioned Campbellisation. But when a fellow reviewer gets rounded on by an official forum with threats and the publication of his contact details inviting abusive emails and MySpace messages, which he’s received, and Aventurine sit around for hours whilst this goes on, it leaves a nasty taste in our mouths.
The moral of the story? We should go back to the good old days when mags routinely included a second opinion as part of the everyday reviews process. It worked.
Also, Aventurine really need to learn the right way to complain about stuff without coming across as demented cockbats.