Flash of Steel header image 2

Wrong Person in the Wrong Place?

August 31st, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Kotaku’s Florian Eckhardt has an extended write-up of his Leipzig sit-down with Ensemble’s Bruce Shelley. Given a chance to see Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs put through its paces by one of the most important strategy game developers ever, Eckhardt devotes much of the article describing how bored he is. Eckhardt doesn’t like RTS games, doesn’t seem to know much about them and doesn’t pretend to care much about the expansion at all.

Who is this article for? If gives Eckhardt a chance to laugh at himself, but it isn’t such an amusing tale that many readers would find it hilarious. Anyone looking for information about the expansion will be sorely disappointed. And, given an opportunity – as a non-RTS player – to ask questions about why things are done the way they are in AoE3, he shuffles his feet, makes some wisecracks about the crappy notes he is taking and draws zero useful conclusions.

Is Kotaku at fault for sending this guy to cover a play session with Shelley? Not necessarily. Though some familiarity with the genre would have been useful, this in itself need not be a barrier to a good preview interview. And sometimes games journalists take themselves a little too seriously.

But I got the sense that Eckhardt wasn’t taking the job seriously, and that’s another matter.

I’m not saying don’t have fun, or don’t mock things that deserve to be mocked. But pay attention when you are given a chance to watch a master at work. Open your mind to the possibility that you might be wrong about RTS. And don’t waste an opportunity to communicate something interesting to the reader.

And for most readers, the writer is the least interesting part.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Bruce

    I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired or what, but I’m actually going to completely disagree with you. I liked this piece a lot.

  • Taranis

    As a huge fan of AOE2, but not of AOE3 I find this article extremely funny. But he should try to show some interest in the game and at least find something he could relate to the reader about the expansion in a unbiased matter.

    You don’t get a chance to sit down with somebody like Bruce Shelly everyday after all, make the most of it.


  • flashman

    “Everyone in the room is conscious of the fact that I’m an idiot.”

    – He hits the nail on the head with this sentence.

    Terrible article.

  • End of Year Summary

    […] Geryk favorites – Undoubtedly German and colorful, with no Stalins. Bruce Shelley Kotaku Warlords – It was Warchiefs. computer games magazine railroad strategy game vs. sid meier – It was Ticket to Ride and I got it […]

  • Racial Profiling

    […] love previews. They also love to hate previews. And maybe we do need a little less reverence and a little more personality in our previews. But mostly I just want to learn about how the game plays. And telling me all the different kinds […]