Graded By Jaded: Gaming Websites

DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion.  It should be noted I’m only grading sites that I like or lean towards the type of coverage I enjoy.  I don’t expect any or many of you readers to share it but nonetheless … here I go.

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IGN
Grade: B+

IGN is hates the printed word.  They are always in your ass with being “FIRST!” They stretch out every single piece of exclusive content they have so hard that it overshadows any other coverage they have.  They constantly throw out links to articles that have no words in them.  They are just video.  Sure video is always welcome and it is fun to watch but if being first means you’re just going to cherry pick footage and trickle it out… Fuck you! You’re just wanking yourself … slowly!

But that is it.  IGN does everything!  Movies, comics, television, books and games are covered.  There is almost no need to go to another site for any other type of nerd coverage.  IGN is on the job.  IGN thrives on bringing news to the viewer.  The opinions are kept to a minimum and mostly shine through in reviews (which makes sense) but ultimately IGN is news.  Here is the game, here is what it looks like, here is how it plays and if relevant they will tell you what they thought.  They even have video so you can hear the tone behind their impressions.

IGN is definitely a target to gamers accusing them of taking money to cover games.  I don’t think you should care.  If you want to take anybody’s word as gospel (mine included) then you’re going to be disappointed sooner or later.  If IGN is hyped about a game (no matter what reason it is) it is on the reader/viewer to do a little bit of research on the game.  Combine your impression with IGN’s and if you feel right about the purchase then good for you.  IGN didn’t mislead you, they highlighted things they liked and at worst, omitted the negative stuff other people caught if they were doing their job properly.

IGN gets a B+ for simply bringing the news and lots of it.

Destructoid
Grade: B-

I hate following D-toid on Facebook even more than Kotaku.  Every single thing they post is preceded by some long winded intro that cuts itself off with an ellipses in an effort to click the link.  9 times out of 10 it is an article you’ve already read on GiantBomb, Kotaku or IGN.   HOWEVER, Destructoid is REALLY good at bringing enthusiasm back to games.  Even when covering something they do not like, they try to give it the benefit of the doubt until release.  This is a great way to approach the highly divisive or controversial themes or games they cover.  Destructoid is at their best when they are just having a laugh and it is a pity they do not have this type of behavior on their site often or even used in features.

On the flip side, the best part of Destructoid is their community of bloggers which have a wide variety of opinions ranging from lame to awesome.  Sometimes it is clear that the authors use the blogging areas to check the temperature of Game Nation and report on the news their readers are talking about… which is great!

The only real problem I have with D-toid is that I don’t go to their site because I think it is ugly.  I know… YMB isn’t very pretty either and I shouldn’t complain but generally I rely on social media to point me to Destructoid which sucks because they are actually very good.

Giant Bomb
Grade: B

Full disclosure… I don’t read a heck of a lot at Giant Bomb.  I mainly tune in for their podcasts.   It is hard to even put my finger on why I enjoy their shows.

Anybody familiar with 1up’s podcasts of the previous generation should understand what I’m talking about.  Giant Bomb has that type of vibe on their show.  Every episode is coming from a place of “we are enthusiastic about games and gaming.”  That is what I appreciate about Giant Bombs.  Most articles that I do read always shine with the author’s happiness in covering the game or topic.

Now that I think about it, I don’t have much to say about Giant Bomb other than they are awesome.  Check them out and listen to their podcasts.  Recently they published a series of Game of the Year content which spans from articles to videos to podcasts and is absolutely saturated in enthusiasm and anticipation for 2015.

Kotaku:
Grade: C+

Kotaku is the Fox News of gaming journalism and I hate seeing their updates on Facebook.  Every update is tagged with a shitty joke that reeks of smirking at their “genius”. Their facts lean closer to being true but they rely heavily on their opinion even when reporting on news.   I repeatedly refer to them as “Nopetaku” because they love saying “nope“.  This grade shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody who is aware of me or my opinions.  This is a site that wants to generate clicks and will use any situation, gaming related or otherwise, to try to get as many as they can.  They cherry pick the opinions of gaming culture that will get them praise but still contradict themselves in the process.  Booth babes = Bad, Sexy Cosplay = Good.  Wrap it around whatever doctrine that helps you rationalize it because either way Kotaku knows that boobs = clicks! Sure they cover male cosplayers, they are not entirely hypocritical there, but if they run a feature on a cosplayer… it’s a sexy female for the most part.  But hey, they do what they do and people like what they like.  If this is how they wish to present themselves, fine by me.  There isn’t much wrong with what they do, I just believe they do not have their own opinions.  They just want to generate clicks by saying whatever they think they should say.

I don’t think Kotaku is terrible, I just think they have a lot of room to improve and maybe make gamers look good instead of being in perpetual conflict with each other.  I don’t see how they elevate the gamer’s position on the social ladder when “Snacktaku” is dedicated to everything stereotypical about a “gamer diet.” THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GAMER DIET! Yet, Snaktaku does its best to deter any positive image gamers have about being “fit.”  I get that Snacktaku is about weird or off the wall “snacks” but it is essentially mostly junk food.

Despite it being obvious that they do not have their finger completely on the pulse of gaming or what is in the gamer’s heads, they can proclaim that the gaming identity is or might be dying and then bury the opposing point of view in a sub-site.  Their focus is a little sensationalist but they want clicks sooooo….

I’m not going to even touch the violation of ethics accusations but it should be clear that this tweet has truth if you read Kotaku.

I know it sounds like I’m down on Kotaku, but I think that given the fact that a lot of gamers look to them, they could be better at making the community look sane and worthy of breathing through their nostrils.

Lazy Gamer
Grade: A+ for Zoe Hawkins / A- for the rest of the site.

Full disclosure: I love Zoe Hawkins.

Lazy Gamer is a South African gaming site so sometimes their news reaches North American shores a little after the dinner bell BUT… they love games and routinely mix opinions with their news.  Oddly enough I do not have a problem with the way they do it.  90% of the time when they let their opinions flow through their news, it feels… right.  Sometimes I don’t agree with the opinion but the site has a clear voice which is just as attractive as Zoe’s smile.   Sometimes authors agree, sometimes they don’t but everything is done publicly and they speak with certainty and authority.   Gaming is certainly thought to be centered around the American or Japanese audiences but LazyGamer.net’s voice is so booming, it feels as if South Africa has just as much influence internationally as a site like Kotaku.  AND IT SHOULD!

Make your way over to their 2014 Gaming Awards Round-Up page and look at their selections.   Trust me, you’ll find yourself either agreeing or understanding why they would pick whatever they did.  Their fingers are on the pulse.

I spend many hours a week reading their articles… even the crap I can’t believe ended up on a website that I find myself agreeing with. Maybe Lindsay Lohan is a little better than Kim Kardashian but better than The Crew and WWE 2K15? According to LazyGamer… Yes she is… in game form at least.

My final thought: LAZYGAMER NEEDS A PODCAST OR TWO! The personality over there is too rich and I need MOAR!!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Here’s the deal.  I do not frequent these sites a lot other than to double check news for references or second opinions.  I do this because they are SOLID for news and verifying it.  Other than that I simply don’t read them a whole lot.  In retrospect I should read them more often but there are only so many hours in the day and other then these sites being great for source material, they all blend together.

USGamer.net:

News! If you want to make sure something is legit, this is the site that usually doesn’t report something as being real unless it is.  “Just the facts ma’am” is the phrase I’d attribute to their coverage.  They want you to know what is or is not without too many frills.  I actually appreciate that.

Gamespot:

Gamespot is one of the best sites for not only reporting on something, but following it through to a conclusion.  If any of the sites I listed above covers a story, it isn’t out of the ordinary for one or more to post a second article with updates to the previous article’s story.  Gamespot will update the original article and even move it back to the front page.  I prefer this approach because it puts all the current information in front of me so I don’t have to click around for it.

Gamers With Jobs:

This is a great site to get the news quickly as well as podcasts that ar great for your commute.  Their coverage is closer to being bite-sized so you can consume more of it faster.  Sometimes more detail is wanted but all in all this site does a great job of trimming a lot of the fat out of coverage.  Who, What, Where, Why, When and How and then they are out!

Cheap Ass Gamer:

This site has podcasts and is centered around gamers who don’t want to part with their $60-$70 dollars without some sort of assurance the game is worth it.  Not only that, they’ll let you know when games start to get cheap and the right price point for a purchase.

And that is about all I can think of.

Please note, 99% of the words I wrote were done without research and should not be taken as fact unless I explicitly linked to something.  This all shot straight from my brain and is primarily my opinion on sites I like to visit.   All these sites put out great content or at the very least they inspire discussion.

KUDOS!

The Jaded Gamer
Twitter: @IamFN2K
Facebook: The Jaded Gamer

 

 

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One thought on “Graded By Jaded: Gaming Websites

  1. Pingback: New Rule: Kotaku has been redubbed. | Your Momma's Basement

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