It’s been awhile since my last article and there are a number of reasons for that, plain laziness, other projects getting in the way and real life in general. Yes all of the above have contributed to my lack of article writing but most of all I just couldn’t find a topic which intrigued me enough.
That all changed however about two weeks ago when, upon a random visit to Gametrailers I found a video dubbed, A Memo to Capcom. Now if you’ve got a spare 4 minutes and thirty eight second you may want to watch said video to understand a little better what my beef is with it, but if you don’t I’ll quickly outline the issues.
In ‘A Memo to Capcom’ Gametrailers list a number of reasons why they currently dislike the creators of Power Stone. Gripes include the cancellation of numerous Megaman games, the on disc DLC the publisher seems so fond of these days, the steady decline of the Resident Evil series and the many, many versions of Street Fighter we keep getting. Now allow me to make perfectly clear, I agree with many of the issues Gametrailers bring up in this video, however I have two major problems with the video itself. Hypocrisy and timing, I’ll start with hypocrisy though as it is aimed directly at Gametrailers while timing is a widespread contagion
So the video itself is rife with hypocrisy, for example, at one point Gametrailers calls Resident Evil 6 a “spectacular train wreck” yet when they reviewed the game a little over six months ago they scored it an impressive 8.8 out of 10. If that’s the score for a “spectacular train wreck” I can’t wait to see what they give a half decent game. Sticking with the Resident Evil theme, half way through the video Gametrailers choose to lavish praise on Resident Evil Revelations, yet when they reviewed that game only eight months before Resident Evil 6 they gave it only 9 out of 10, a mere 0.2 points more than the”spectacular train wreck.” that was Resident Evil 6
Now I could go on and on about a number of other issues I had with Gametrailers’ Memo to Capcom (like how they attack Capcom but not Ninja Theory for stirring up trouble amongst Devil May Cry fans for instant) but because this article isn’t “Oh look at the poor excuse for journalism over at Gametrailers,” I’m going to end the gametrailers bashing there and move on to the far more worrying, timing aspect. Allow me to explain.
‘A Memo to Capcom’ identifies correctly many of the worries Capcom fans have held for a long time but it’s Gametrailers’ decision to highlight these failing now, at a period where the favourite pass time of many is to sit Capcom on the naughty step.
I mean where were Gametrailers or all of the other games journalists who have since panned Resident Evil 6 for that matter when the game first came out. GamesMaster gave it 87 out of 100, GamesRadar 3.5 out of 5, IGN 7.9 out of 10, EGM 8.5 out of 10 etcetera, etcetera. Hell even the ones who did criticise Resident Evil 6 from the get go like GameSpot (4.5 out of 10) praised Resident Evil 5 by giving it 8.5 out of 10.
Now ask yourself this. Is Resident Evil 5 really that much better than 6? I like many other Resident Evil fan don’t think so but the quality of these games, or lack there of isn’t really the issue. The real reason behind the scores is that when Resident Evil 5 came out gamers were in large still very much behind Capcom, they weren’t come Resident Evil 6 though, and so the likes of GameSpot saw this (rightful) shift in public opinion and hopped on the bandwagon. Gametrailers and a few others meanwhile were a little slower to pick up on this wave of discontent and so didn’t follow GameSpot’s lead until after the like of the DMC controversy had made it abundantly clear that Capcom had lost the popular vote.
Allow me to put it another way. Were you, if you played it happy with the ending to Mass Effect 3? How many gamers do you know that were?
I would bet most of you will answer these questions respectively with. Not really and not many. I’d say the same yet, until gamers started kicking up a stink about the ending the like of Gametrailers, IGN, GameSpot and whoever or whatever other media outlet you’d like to mention didn’t seem to have any major issues with the Mass Effect 3 ending, if they did surely it would have been brought up in their glowing reviews of the game, and it wasn’t. Now if when we skip forward in time, oh let’s say two weeks from Mass Effect 3’s release, we see a very different picture. Fans are outraged at BioWare’s half-assed attempt to tie up the Mass Effect trilogy and the like of Gametrailers, IGN and GameSpot were right behind them. Popular opinion swayed professional journalism then and it does now.
Look at the PS Vita or the Wii U for instants, both were consoles with bright futures at the time of their launches but today, a little over a year later for the Vita and measly 6 mouths for the Wii U, Nintendo’s new console is getting slammed from every direction by the games media while Sony’s handheld, after being slammed for months might as well be a ghost. The 3DS suffered similar treatment at the hands of the media as well, treatment which only ceased when, surprise, a price drop drove the handheld into the hands of the masses, no spike in the quality of available games, no improvements to hardware, just sales which we all know equals popularity.
Look what I’ve been trying to say here is games journalists like some at Gametrailers, Eurogamer and many others outlets besides shouldn’t be jumping on the bandwagon but driving it. They shouldn’t be satisfied in merely agreeing with popular consensus like they are but creating it.
These journalists seem to have forgotten that they are in a privileged position where, unlike most of us they actually get paid to talk about games, and the vibrant industry which surrounds them, yet they often seem to lack the backbone to do so. This failing (along with many others) has already lead to the death of numerous magazines and websites (Nintendo Power and 1UP spring to mind) and more will surly follow unless the gaming media as a whole rediscover a little something called integrity. Until that happens though games journalism will continue to be about as useful as a Mega-CD without a Mega Drive (or Genesis depending on what side of the pond you’re on.)