May 7 2009

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

The drama du jour is served up by the combination of Darkfall (srs bzns PvP MMO) and Eurogamer.net (mostly solid games news site). I’d imagine if you’re reading this that you are already likely acquainted with the affair but for those of you who may have missed it, the summary goes as follows:

  • Eurogamer review Darkfall and give it a very unflattering review.
  • Darkfall devs complain publicly about the quality of the review on their forum. Highlights of the complaint are that, according to their logs, the reviewer only spent 2 hours playing the game and most of that was in character creation.
  • Eurogamer responds, standing by their reviewer and his review but offer to re-review it with a different staff member.
  • Darkfall comes right back with another post in which they’re very clear that they don’t want insinuate that Eurogamer are lying but this is somewhat disingenuous as they all but state outright that they believe this to be the case.
  • Finally, the whole event comes to a (temporary?) close when the Darkfall devs categorically refuse a re-review from Eurogamer. Their rationale seems to be a little patchy however, they claim they don’t want the game to be re-reviewed because the old review will stay up until the new review is complete, but of course if the game isn’t re-reviewed then the old review will stand regardless. It’s a puzzle.

The review, is of course very hostile and is apparently factually inaccurate in some areas, what’s interesting is that none of the meatier criticisms of the game are unique to this article. Tasos rails that the reviewer didn’t give it a fair shake of the stick and was clearly biased against the game, but there are no new things being said in this article that haven’t already been pointed out by other reviewers. While Tasos and the Darkfall fans are complaining about the minutiae, the takeaway from the article is hard to dispute. Is it accurate? Possibly not. Does it accurately convey Mr Zitron’s feelings about the game? Very probably.

Anyway, I don’t really want to talk about Darkfall particularly but rather the relationship between the gaming press and the industry they cover.

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