What’s so wrong with getting the facts?

I went to Midway’s winter gamer’s day last week, where I got to play Stranglehold. It was running on PC with a 360 controller attached. After some discussion, I got to try it out on 360 proper, since I’m writing a hands-on preview for the next issue of OXM, and for the sake of ethical accuracy, even though the gameplay will be identical, I really felt it was important to give it a whirl on the actual hardware. I was told that the 360 build was nowhere near as stable as the PC version, but sure, since I was the only person who asked, they could accomodate as long as I could forgive some memory-leak issues that might cause the game to crash. Sounds fair. They booted up a 360 dev kit after everybody else had left and I got to try the same stuff I’d played on PC, but on 360 hardware. So, cool–ethically, I felt good, and it counts as an accidental exclusive, too.

IGN, GamesRadar and TeamXbox don’t specify the platform in their previews, but stuck to describing the experience of gameplay. That’s valid. So why did GameSpot report that they played the 360 version? My guess is someone handed their writer a 360 controller and they assumed that if it looked like a duck and shoot-dodged like a duck, then it was a duck. Then those wrong assumptions went out to all the places that syndicate GameSpot content, including Yahoo. So you’ve got a total factual inaccuracy being spread through the interwebs, simply because someone didn’t bother to ask.

Am I being too nit-picky? Clearly the feel of the game is going to be the same based on the controller, so aside from the graphical upgrade on the PC, does it matter? It’s just games, right? Maybe; maybe not. If a movie reviewer talked about seeing a film directed by Steven Spielberg but it was really helmed by George Lucas, you’d notice and be upset at the mistake.

This is another reason why I don’t like the phrase “game journalism.” Not only is it pompous, but with sloppy things like this happening, it’s inaccurate in a way that real journalists aren’t. We’re just not worthy of the title.

This entry was posted in Games. Bookmark the permalink.