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New awards for industry journalism

New awards for industry journalism

Tue 17 Jul 2012 7:41am GMT / 3:41am EDT / 12:41am PDT
Media

UPDATE: Planning ebook anthology of writing, but no awards show

Update

One of the founders Keith Stuart has explained a little more about the new Games Journalism Prizes, like why they're not a rival for the GMAs, and why they don't want any money.

"This is in no way a rival to the GMAs, it's a completely different concept," he told GamesIndustry International.

"The GMAs celebrates publications and it celebrates individuals and it's got a really fun awards ceremony, but we're not having an award ceremony. This isn't about individual writers and it isn't about websites or magazines, it's very specifically about celebrating writing, which people haven't really done before."

He added that they're already getting entrants from Australia and America, and the response from the industry has been positive. And while they're not planning an award ceremony for the winners, they are planning an anthology of the best writing they receive.

"We wanted a way to celebrate the writing, but also we've got a plan to release an ebook anthology of not only the prize winners but also some of the best ones that didn't quite get in."

Stuart said it was partly the ephemeral nature of games writing, especially online, that made them keen to preserve the best that was out there. These prizes are purely about great writing, and making sure everyone gets a chance to read it.

"We wanted to make sure right from the beginning that it's clear that this was just about us wanting to celebrate games," he said.

"There was a worry that when we set this up people may think it was some sort of business, and then it might get monetised like everything else in the games industry!"

Original story

A group of UK games media veterans have launched a new competition to recognise excellence in video games journalism.

The Games Journalism Prizes are open to any English language work published in 2012, with categories for news, criticism and features.

The founders and advisory committee are Dave Green, Dan Griliopoulos and Keith Stuart, and the awards are independent and non-profit.

"We're a group of concerned games industry types, mostly with a journalism background, and we want good journalism to spread. We aren't aiming to damn or praise individuals, or companies, or particular publications. We just want to find the best games reportage out there and give it a wider audience," the website states.

Judges include Alex Wiltshire of Edge, Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra and GamesIndustry International columnist Rob Fahey. These judges will then select next year's panel, and the organiser's goal is that no judge will appear on the panel twice.

The awards will offer a non-profit alternative to the Games Media Awards, run by Intent Media.

On Twitter organisers reported that by this morning there had already been over 60 entries, with criticism making up 50 per cent of them, features 30 per cent and news 20 per cent.

Writers can find out more and submit their entries at the official site. Submissions close on December 31, with the winners announced next February.

9 Comments

I like the sound of this. Best of luck to everyone nominated and involved in the organisation.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Peter Dwyer
Games Designer/Developer

458 254 0.6
Yea as long as they have a category for the most corrupt reviews in there. I haven't seen a single honest AAA game review in a long while. Apparently these games i.e. Skyrim, GTA IV and Diablo 3 etc. etc. have no bugs at review time, no issues for the players and all play as perfect 10s across the board.

Journalism like that should not be getting rewarded. It lessens our industry and is the reason that word of mouth is now taking over from anything a reviewer can say. As a result of this growing distrust some good AAA titles will suffer poor sales because no-one trusts them to be honestly reviewed anymore.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

272 761 2.8
Bit off-topic there Peter.

This comes down to developers. Mags expecially tend to get very early code, along with assurances that they are not playing the final build. Ask yourself if it's more likely then that some publishers then don't come good on their promise to fix bugs in time for release, or instead that all us journos devise a plan to jip the public at our annual meeting within our secret volcano lair?

It's a situational problem. We can't highlight bugs that pubs have promised will be fixed. If we did, you would be playing more perfectly functioning, brilliant games that everybody scored six out of ten because the AI was mental, than you would bugged games that everyone says are brilliant.

I have been in this business many years and have personally never, ever come across bribary, aggressive attempts to influence or coercion to give a game a specific score.

On topic, these awards are a great idea. About time the writing was judged and not a person's popularity. Sorry GMAs, but you know it's true.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 18th July 2012 9:52am

Posted:A year ago

#3

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,371 1,017 0.7
@ Dan

Odd. The Edge review of Skyrim went live the day before the game's release. Are you trying to tell me they had review code right up to that point? I know review embargos exist, but enforcing one to that extent, using "dev code", seems a bit weird. (Obviously you can't comment on Edge specifically, but it's a fine example of a review that glosses over technical flaws).
We can't highlight bugs that pubs have promised will be fixed
I don't see why not. A paragraph stating that "X flaw existed at time of review, but should not exist in the final release" would be adequate, don't you think?
I have been in this business many years and have personally never, ever come across bribary, aggressive attempts to influence or coercion to give a game a specific score.
Yet it exists. Go Google Jeff Gerstmann, for instance.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

272 761 2.8
@Morville

I can't speak for Edge, but what you appear to be saying is that they should replay the game again to check whether everything's been fixed before posting a review online that would then be different to the one in the mag, because that went to press six weeks earlier? That's not a realistic expectation. People underestimate lead times on magazines. The issue in your hands is the one we wrote two months ago.

Secondly, a boxout stating X flaws exist when you have a list of known bugs in front of you is not something anyone's going to do. But this breaks down to either failure or dishonesty on the part of the publisher, not the evil and corrupt nature (mwahahah and so on) of the journalistic entity in question.

Lastly, I didn't say it doesn't allegedly go on elsewhere, only that I have never experienced it in over half a decade in the industry. If it does, it's a hell of a lot less prevalent than the conspiracy theorists make out. It is negligible. Think about it, it just makes no sense. X publisher offers journo bribe what do you think might happen?

Professional games journos are among the most proud and self-respecting group of individuals I have ever come across, and what would happen, nine times out of ten, would be that said journo would publish a story about said corrupt offer.

Really, there is no conspiracy, just the realities of the way the industry works. Most of us don't even talk to one another, let alone form any kind of concensus of opinion.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 18th July 2012 11:20am

Posted:A year ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,371 1,017 0.7
If the review was written with the intention of being published in the magazine (which I do indeed assume it was), why was it not published online until the day before Skyrim's release? Review embargo? But then, surely the point of a review is to inform consumers of purchasing decisions. What value is there in the publisher requesting that the review not be published online until day before release? Or, rather, what value is there for the consumer?
Secondly, a boxout stating X flaws exist when you have a list of known bugs in front of you is not something anyone's going to do.
Why? Again, the review is to inform the consumer. It adds to word count, which is a problem for print publications, yes, but not online. At worst, the reviewer simply has to extract the worst bugs from the list in front of them, and it's a few minutes of his time wasted, because the final release has all bugs fixed. It's about giving the consumer a full-and-complete picture about the game, at time of review.
But this breaks down to either failure or dishonesty on the part of the publisher, not the evil and corrupt nature (mwahahah and so on) of the journalistic entity in question.
I don't think journalists are corrupt (I respect and admire the profession generally). I just think that the group that most benefits from reviews are the publishers, when it should be the person forking out their hard-earned who should be the first thought.
Think about it, it just makes no sense. X publisher offers journo bribe what do you think might happen?
Two things here. One, I read many articles and reviews back in the day that explicitly and implicitly said that the review was carried out at the plush offices of a publisher, with the PR guy standing behind them. Whether that still occurs today, I don't know (I would assume so, but that's only assumption). How can a fully informed critical review be written in such circumstances? Even the perception of bias is too much, in my opinion.

Two, as can be seen with the Jeff Gerstmann situation, it's not that journalists are offered bribes, so much as the publishers threatening to with-hold ad revenue from the company. The end result for the journo could just be a memo from up-top saying "Please consider how much work X company has invested in getting us close to the development of the game". No corruption on the part of the reviewer, but certainly a bad situation. Wouldn't you agree?

Edit to add:

Btw, I'm not using "allegedly" when talking about the Gerstmann/Gamespot situation, since he's gone on video record stating the situation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Gerstmann#Reason_for_GameSpot_termination_revealed reference 16). :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 18th July 2012 11:51am

Posted:A year ago

#6

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

272 761 2.8
Why? Again, the review is to inform the consumer. It adds to word count, which is a problem for print publications, yes, but not online. At worst, the reviewer simply has to extract the worst bugs from the list in front of them
Nobody is going to play Skyrim for 70 hours again to check if those bugs are fixed. No one.
Two things here. One, I read many articles and reviews back in the day that explicitly and implicitly said that the review was carried out at the plush offices of a publisher, with the PR guy standing behind them. Whether that still occurs today, I don't know (I would assume so, but that's only assumption). How can a fully informed critical review be written in such circumstances? Even the perception of bias is too much, in my opinion.
Yes it still happens, I just don't see what bearing that has. It might be played in front of them (rarely indeed), but it's never written in front of them. They don't get to see shit until it's published. If your game's bullshit, you can put the entire board of directors standing behind me and ply me with free beer until the end of time, I'm still going to say it's bullshit when I sit down and write the review, and all of the journos in both my social and professional circles would do exactly the same thing.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 18th July 2012 12:21pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,371 1,017 0.7
Nobody is going to play Skyrim for 70 hours again to check if those bugs are fixed. No one.
Nope, and I wouldn't expect them to. A solution (though not the most viable of solutions for print reviews) would be for the publisher to hand-off a list of fixed bugs to the reviewing company when the game goes gold, so that the "Bug boxout" can be amended. Journalistic integrity is preserved, since the publisher would be the one at fault if the bugs hadn't actually been fixed.
I'm still going to say it's bullshit when I sit down and write the review, and all of the journos in both my social and professional circles would do exactly the same thing.
That's good to hear. :) Equally, though, not all journalists hold the same standards (in the gaming media as it is in news media). :(

(That last comment isn't mean to enflame this debate, so I'll just say that the PC Gamer Dragon Age 2 reviewer didn't seem to hold to those high standards of your's. Not even a mention of the reused environments, which is the very least of the criticisms that should be levelled at that game)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 18th July 2012 12:20pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

272 761 2.8
Like you say, we're all different. I gave DA2 3/5, but everyone's entitled to their opinion.

Posted:A year ago

#9

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