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Not Quite the Worst. And Where’s the Best?

January 3rd, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

If you read gaming blogs, you’ve already been pointed to Something Awful’s “Five Worst Gaming Articles of 2005.” And you’ve probably already read some commentary on this commentary. Kotaku writes that the article is both obnoxious and correct while both Game Girl Advance and Mile Zero point out that game articles are actually not journalism – something that Something Awful never actually claims, though GGA notes that the whole “New Game Journalism” thing is what Tim Roger and Kieron Gillen (two of the winners/losers) are a part of. Or something.

The thing is, there are much worse examples out there. Take anything that Jessica Chobot wrote for IGN in 2005. Or a random review from Digital Entertainment News? It gives us this gem of an opening paragraph:

“The Age of Empires (AoE) series feels like it’s been around for years, almost a constitution to be associated with PC gaming. Yet the series has only graced our computer screens for 8 years; with the original specimen being released in 1997. The original is still utterly playable even after nearly a decade, but how does its latest predecessor do?”

The thing is, pointing out bad game writing is like shooting fish in a barrel. Even on the biggest sites and in the biggest magazines. Some of the bad writing is born out of pretension, some out of trying too hard, most of it from just plain lack of skill. People forget, I think, that even writing about something as ultimately trivial like electronic games is writing and requires an understanding of grammar, context, and the difference between “predecessor” and “sequel”.

But why pretend that the landscape is all barren? There are many good (and a very few great) writers out there. Point them out.

I’d like to hear some nominees of the best gaming writing out there. I have personal favorites (in both print and online) but am more interested in what you, gentle readers, find interesting and good. Best written review, best turn of phrase, best insight, best interview question, what have you. Maybe then I’ll share my picks.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Thomas

    Since I’m one of the people bitching, I probably ought to pony up.

    For what they do, I think Eurogamer hits more often than they miss. They do a fair amount of interviews, their reviews are less staid and more conversational. Today’s review of Rise of Legends by Gillen, on the other hand, is unbelievably bad–but I’m not supposed to talk about that. Right.

    Gamasutra used to be a regular read, and I still like to drop in there. The postmortems could be fascinating.

    I actually don’t hate Tim Rogers, and I enjoy his stuff on occasion. He’s got a good voice, and clearly there are good ideas buried deep inside there somewhere. I just think he really needs an editor.

    I don’t read Dubious Quality enough, but he’s very funny. A lot of people who try to be funny just aren’t, but Bill manages and makes it look easy.