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New games journalism

March 22, 2005 ・ Blog

Following the Guardian’s games blog’s list of 10 unmissable examples of new games journalism there’s been a lot about it on the net (check the Videogames Ombundsman’s and Game Girl Advance’s reactions to the satirical backlash here).

The latest addition to the fray is Gamer’s Quarter, an online magazine whose manifesto is based around being a “collaborative project between dedicated gamers who do not just play games, but experience them”.

Wow. I must confess that I hadn’t considered that there was much of a difference. And I still don’t. I guess it’s a stab at doing the New Games Journalism thing, but attempts to draw distinctions like that between experiencing games and merely playing them can only weaken what could develop into a really interesting and important movement. Experiential writing at its best is involving and inclusive - this suggestion that the writers of Gamer’s Quarter are the only ones that can really tell us about the games that we can all play - no, sorry, experience - is a false elevation of something that should be more down-to-earth.

By the way, on New Games Journalism, surely this can’t apply to game reviews? Reviewing is criticism, not journalism. It’s not just a matter of semantics - criticism has very different rules. It’s necessarily subjective where journalism is ‘objective’. Game reviews should do more than simply describing, categorising and scoring games in terms of their graphical, ‘gameplay’ and sonic components. They should be more holistic. Look no further than magazine Edge’s wonderful Time Extended features: long, considered and loving treatises on games.

More on Gamer’s Quarter soon, once I’ve actually read it.