Rant: Gaming and Hype

As a disclaimer to our readers, this post has very little to do with Science Fiction, and is a rant about something I have taken notice of. It is my opinion and is not representative of management of SFSignal. I am giving this warning to help ensure folks don’t come here (although given the nature of our readers – I expect comments) that this is not a news item nor is it a link post. I have put the content of the rant in the Extended Section as a courtesy. Disclaimer ends…


As the Holiday season approaches, the gaming industry begins to unload a fair number of titles on the public. Many of these titles have been in development for some time, and have a fair amount of hype associated with them. Halflife 2, Halo 2, Everquest 2, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are a few that come to mind. Now I have not played any of these games and I have some amount of anticipation for Halflife 2, but from the reviews I have seen that are now trickling (or flooding out depending on how many of these gaming websites and magazines you read) almost all of them are recieving spectacular reviews. Are they all that good? They may very well be great games, but how much of that is about converting the hype and advertising dollars into a reward for the game company and the magazine for exclusive or first review status. I do understand how business works, but it feels all to convienent to have every company release a game that gets lots of hype and then gets a big score on its review. I would prefer a game review that is more akin to first impressions with a more extensive review 30 days after the release to get a better view how well the game plays over a longer period. I feel thats even more important when considering games like Evequest 2 and World of Warcraft (both of which I believe will get stellar reviews), but those reviews do not consider that these games are played over the course of months not month or week. I know of only one magazine that did a follow on review of this type of game to cover how it has evolved and what the reviewers experiences were after playing the game a while, but that is a rarity in this market.

Bottom line, I really want a review that takes the time to really play the game and not buy into all the hype. These games may be worthy of high numbers on the reviews but its all too convinient that the rating is matched by the anticipation the game has generated.

3 thoughts on “Rant: Gaming and Hype”

  1. Tim,

    That was pretty restrained for a “rant.”

    I posted my first impressions of Halo2 yesterday after only 2 hours or so of game play. I played another couple of hours last night, and as promised in yesterday’s review, I will be following up (probably in about 30 days, like your recommendation) with a detailed synopsis/review of the game at my blog.

    So far, Halo2 is living up to its hype, and I encountered an unexpected and interesting plot twist towards the end of my session last night.

  2. I tend to use much harsher language at work when I am trying to work through problems, and maybe I should have chose an alternate title….

  3. I personally don’t review games until I’ve finished them – that helps me have some perspective on the game rather than just spouting off that first-day glow. I’ve read that both PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World have that same policy. It seems like a good idea.

    However, I’d have to say that a lot of web sites don’t have any sort of policy at all. Of course, that’s the risk of the web – anybody can and does post on it.

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