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JonathanJ1990

How do you feel about Game Previews?

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Hello Everyone so gamasutra  has an interesting article  where there writer essentially dissects the purpose of game Previews.  Essentially after being  showed a very controlled presentation on the beginnings of Bungies next project  the writer pretty much asks what's the purpose of game previews if  the only outcome of them is to be a glorified early sales pitch ( more or less).

 

So being an avid gamer and at one time a huge Gaming magazine fan ( I have subscribed to PC gamer, EGM, OXM, gamepro, Nintendo Power, and regularly bought PSN for a while). I have to say in recent years i have lost a lot of love for gaming - related media and especially magazine and website  previews .   really the best sales pitches to me are either Giant Bomb quick look vids and let's plays on youtube which generally tend to show me the good , bad, and ugly of games  but also give me a better idea of exactly what I am getting when i buy a game. 

 

So My question is how do you guys feel about gaming media ? do you trust previews ...and * shudder* reviews ? Do they affect your decision to purchase a game at all ?  What does affect your decision to pick up one title over another ? Just asking for curiosities sake  , it's not too often  that the gaming press tends to analyze itself ( or not the sites i read at least) so i would love to know what other gamers think!

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I barely ever read game previews, or even keep up with information about games I am interested in purchasing. I might read the occasional developer interview or keep up with information about the game if the news comes directly from the developer, but external sources previewing a game typically does not interest me much.

 

I learned my lesson in trusting game reviews after reading IGN's poor review of ZombiU. It nearly caused me to return the game, but I decided that I was going to play it since I already bought it to come to a decision for myself. The game was thoroughly enjoyable for what it was, and I'm glad I didn't listen to the negative reviews. Reviews are usually one man's (or woman's) opinion; opinions which may or may not reflect your own.

 

I guess I basically just trust my instincts on a game. If I like what I see and think it'll be a good game, I'll probably buy it. Sometimes my instincts are wrong and I'll wish I'd have listened to the negative feedback instead, but that's just the way it goes I suppose.

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I really do hate television game previews. They give people the impression that computer games are only of interest to disturbed young children who sit in a dark room and play DOOM all day whilst thinking about how they hate their life and how they hate everyone. Ok, maybe that's a stretch (I did, however, read that on a political blog following the Aurora shooting, almost verbatim). Still, there are great games like Dishonored that really have dishonorable (please excuse the pun) previews. I mean, it might be an innovative game in storytelling, theme, art, and gameplay, but tell that to the average man/woman sitting in front of their television watching ESPN (televised sports) and all of the sudden an ad for "one of those video game things" comes up featuring a little girl softly singing while the game's protagonist Corvo is seen in a first person view stabbing people's brains out and shooting his crossbow, and there is a train dumping corpses in the background. Lovely for a first impression of games. I wonder who will blame violence on them once again (but can you blame them)...

 

To sum up my rant, it seems that most games are made for mature audiences, but the ads it seems are made for dumb kids or idiots who think true violence is something to be romanticized beyond proportion (i.e. Call of Duty ads)

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For me it's demos or nothing. There was a time when previews were tech demos or similar, but now they are just high production value commercials. And in one of these previews a crappy game looks the same as a great game does. They're for my wallet, not for me, and exist solely so that the publisher can generate hype to move early sales.

 

I'll look at a list of features to get an idea of what a game is about, and then user reviews. I tend to look for overall score ranges and then read the reviews that gave the lowest, along with one or two higher rated reviews. That gives me an idea of serious flaws in a game that might undercut my experience. If I still think I'll have fun with a game I'll buy it. Every now and again I buy a game based on hype and my own excitement, and I nearly always regret it.

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Mmm... I don't know. If the game is great, i think previews could hinder the impact of the game when first played.

 

For example, I barely knew anything about Oblivion when I first played it. Only that it was first person, had amazing graphics and was an RPG. By only seeing a few pics of somebody slashing a zombie up close I was sold. And oh boy how awesome was to play it for first time. From the (great) intro to exiting the first dungeon and beyond I was like "OH MY GAAAAWWWDDD" all the time. It was fantastic.

 

Then, for Skyrim, I already read up a lot about TES lore and read every single bit Bethesda would let out of their next TES game. While finding stuff on the web was interesting by itself, I think it hindered a lot the impact Skyrim had on me while playing it for the first time. I saw Alduin and I knew what he was, why he was there and what I had to do, Dragonborn histories? I'm one of 'em so meh. Dragons returning? I knew about that since long ago! And so on. It was impressive yeah, but I felt a lot more critic about the whole experience.

 

I'll probably try to avoid reading up all about the next Fallout/Elder Scrolls to see if its worth it.

 

But, this is talking about a series of games I already know, that I'll buy and will probably enjoy a lot even if I didn't read the previews. What if is a new game that I know nothing about? Well that's harder to "measure". So I'm not sure about previews in those cases.

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I usually hate that previews writers will look at a game that is a clunky piece of shit, and do a 10 page positive write up on it. And they will take the attitude that it shouldn't be judged because it might improve before release (even though it's like 6 weeks out, and they know damn well that the game is code complete and just awaiting TRC approval, or in the process or being manufactured to be shipped).<br /><br />It doesn't matter though, because no one is in the business of analyzing, or having intelligent conversation about games. They are in the business of selling ad space. You can't sell tens of thousands of dollars worth of ads to publishers (to re-skin the entire site with their big game), if you are objectively criticizing them.<br /><br />You don't have this problem as much in other artistic mediums. Oddly enough, I even see publishers sponsor give-aways on home video sites that rate their movies extremely poorly.<br /><br />Video game journalism has always been about advertising and nothing more. It hasn't had a chance to mature into anything serious yet.
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