We all know that the medium is still in its youth, right? Article after article, presentation after presentation points out that video games have yet to reach maturity. Many people would say it’s evident just from looking at a GameStop shelf.
But how often do we think about the field of games coverage? Certainly journalism isn’t a young medium, and we have decades (if not centuries) of critical language built up to describe music, theatre, and film. Game journalists and critics have a wide net to cast.
But a lack of words isn’t the problem, just like a lack of ideas isn’t a problem for any game developer; the trick is having the right ideas, and the right words to convey those ideas to your team or your readership. If games are only just now entering their sophmoric phase, certainly game journalists are as well.
It’s pretty obvious when you look at Giant Bomb, or the Penny Arcade Report that the field has changed dramatically. The thing I’ve forgotten to mention is that game consumers have also grown up, and their expectations re: their gaming news have drastically changed. A sign of this is CBS’ recent, happy, aquisition of Giant Bomb; they obviously feel their audience is in the early stages of an exodus from GameSpot, and are hedging their bets.
There are also plenty of intellectual sites on the horizon…one of them being Arcademia, actually. I feel a slight sense of satisfaction that, a year after starting this site, it has become obvious that this is the kind of thing consumers demand right now. Although I also feel, frankly, terrified at the scale of my new competition.
PAR bodes well for the future of games coverage. Consider a single feature of the site, the Cut. For those who don’t know: In addition to PAR’s numerous articles, they present 5 links to articles from around the web every day. While this is standard practice in the blogosphere (ugh), it’s important to note that PAR doesn’t include any of the content on their own site. They’ve openly expressed the desire for the reader to follow the link to the presented content.
In response, Patrick Klepek from Giant Bomb started a weekly feature called “Worth Reading,” where he showcases content he enjoyed to his readers in the form of an article. In this way, PAR has already begun to influence journalists for the better.
I can’t wait to see what they do next. What any of us does next.
(photo credit: peteer01)