Video Games

Hey, PC Game Reviewers: I Think We Should Take Our Own Screenshots

olheader

I recently reviewed a horror game called Outlast for an upcoming issue of PC Gamer Magazine. While I’ve written for the magazine before, this is the first actual game review I’ve ever done.

Naturally, when reviews of Outlast started popping up online, I wanted to see what other reviewers thought of the game. While looking through the first handful of reviews, I noticed something that didn’t quite sit right. Many of the reviews — about two-thirds of them, in fact — used the same three or four screenshots. These were screenshots given to them by the developer (I got them as well, along with review code) as part of a PR media kit.

Using a developer’s screenshots for a PC game review seems… well, a bit misleading. The reviewer doesn’t know for a fact that these are genuine screenshots. They may have been embellished, or touched up, or Photoshopped, or specially rendered. Presumably, these developer screens have been carefully selected as part of the game’s promotion. Reviews, on the other hand, are not (or should not) serve as promotion. Reviews are an opportunity for a writer to describe his or her specific experience with the game. If a reviewer doesn’t use his or her own screenshots in the review, it seems (to me, at least) that they’re not accurately describing their own personal experience.

[Read more...]

Summer Movie Fantasy League

Summer Movie Fantasy League: The (World’s) End

we

Well, the summer movie season is over and it’s time to tally our final scores in the Third Annual Summer Movie Fantasy League.

Long story short: Kris destroyed me.

It was pretty anti-climactic, really: even after my early lead, Kris didn’t even wind up needing her final three movies to beat me in the domestic opening box-office department. Almost every single movie I picked, with the exception of Still Very Fast And Quite Furious, underperformed. After Earth was a financial and critical dud. White House Down didn’t deliver. None of the kid’s movies I picked came close to Monsters University and Despicable Me 2. And, while The Wolverine did pretty well, it fell far short of the predictions for its opening weekend. Kris outplayed me to the tune of almost $70 million, even though she picked a few duds herself.

Even worse: it looked like I had the lowest RT score portion of the summer locked up, but this morning I went back to check all the scores again, as they tend to fluctuate throughout the summer. My best-worst pick was Hammer of the Gods, which had scored a zero! Unfortunately, a couple late reviews were added, and two of them were positive, meaning the film now scores at a 30%. Not good, but still enough to bump my total up over Kris’s, meaning she has the lowest combined RT score, meaning she wins that contest too. DAMN.

Here’s a look at the final tallies:

smfl3

That’s it until next summer… when I will have my revenge.