I happen to have worked as an English-as-a-second-language teacher. What follows is a classic exercise.
Order the following words in a proper way:
Any teacher of English as a second language would accept some hesitation regarding whether 50-dollar should go after or before mouse-driven, but PC should stick as close as possible to videogame, and ugly as far as possible. Ugly needs to stay away from videogame because it's a subjective term, and the rule states that objectiveness must come closer.
One of the features I came to love about Internet Explorer 7 is the ability to open all of your bookmarks grouped inside a given folder by clicking the blue arrow to the right of the folder's name in the bookmark's tab. I've got one folder named leisure time that holds http://www.gamespot.com/, http://www.dpreview.com/, another digital photography site, a popular sports website, and an online version of an ages-old movie magazine. As long as my job and my family duties allow it, I click on that arrow every day.
I've seen Phil Askey and Simon Joinson from dpreview.com give quitetheir share of less-than-stellar reviews of Canon products. The recent line of ultra-compact cameras that try to squeeze 10 MP into a tiny CMOS sensor that can't afford such a cluttering is responsible for that. Phil & Simon told so many times. Be it Canon, Panasonic, or Nikon, when a supposedly social camera isn't able to shoot at anything above ISO 100 -like, say, most indoors shoots-, dpreview.com reviewers absolutely pull no punches and call it like it is. However, I've never seen Phil or Simon start any of those reviews with anything that remotely resemblesCanon SD850 is an ugly, ugly camera. Have I seen Phil or Simon make such statements? Yes, indeed, but only in their review final words, only after they had analyzed all aspects and then some at a painstaking level of detail, and only after they had given equal praise to what was worth it and denounced whatever flaws the device had. They took exquisite careof placing their opinions aside from the objective analysis making it crystal clear that it's just their opinion. That's journalism 101.
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is a rated M for mature videogame. I've been eagerly following all the news, previews, videos and interviews because I loved the setting. For instance, I loved that developer video about K&L character creation process. I find Kane & Lynch characters interesting from a gaming point of view. I wouldn't agree to any subjective statement in the line of it's impossible to like any of the characters, even in a cool anti-hero kind of way. Such a bold statement is not true and it's out of place in a professional review, especially when that opinion is placed alongside other comments regarding gameplay or audio quality. It's at least questionable that the use of the f* word is such a problem in the light of the nature and audience of the game we're talking here, and I certainly wouldn't say character design is cheap after having seen what I have about the game.
Talking about questioning. What I've been asking myself lately is: had Jeff refrained from using such terms and bold statements, and stuck to a professional balancing of pros & cons in his review, always being focused on the game's scope and audience, even though the bottom line didn't change a pinch, would he still be writing reviews for GameSpot? The truth is, I don't think there is an easy answer to that question. And as long as I haven't got a definite answer to that, the pressure from Eidos being responsible for Jeff's firing will remain a rumor as far as I'm concerned.
I've done my share of protesting. Quick check my profile to get honest proof to that. But right now I got a feeling I've been unfair to Kane & Lynch developers -and perhaps even to its publishers-, to Josh Larson, and perhaps to many Gamespot editors that follow the same professional practices Greg Kasavin did, like Jason Ocampo or Kevin Van Ord, to name a few.
I'm saying Greg Kasavin for a reason. If you check Kasavin's (or GregK) blog at gamespot.com you'll find his latest entry revealing, to say the least. I can't say I like the spin GS took since Greg, its chief editor, left. But I would dare say, had Greg remained at GS I doubt Jeff's review would have been aired in the state it was when it got removed. Because, as much as I hate saying so, if C|Net's official reason for withdrawing Jeff's video review of Kane & Lynch is its failure to meet certain professional criteria, I'll have to go with C|Net this time.
I got hooked on Gamespot a few years ago after watching GS' game of the year awards video. There was Greg Kasavin, there was Rich Gallup, and there was Jeff Gerstmann too. I remember thinking this is journalism when watching that video, when reading many reviews, when viewing E3 video coverage. That seems a long long time ago, because ever since every now and then I get the feeling certain reviewers don't know where they're working at. As for yesterday 1/12/2007, Alexa ranked gamespot.com traffic at no. 113; cnn.com ranked 107. Which gives a proper analogy of GameSpot being the CNN of gamers. And it actually is, ladies and gentleman.
I remember feeling absolutely confident when purchasing Guild Wars or Oblivion after reading its reviews at Gamespot, and I proved right. Now I feel inclined to buy Kane &Lynch: Dead Men in spite of Jeff's review, and that has an undeniable meaning. Jeff didn't come up with any arguments that may discourage my liking of Kane & Lynch characters, plot, or setting -which to me remain some of its biggest selling points-, other that he didn't like those himself or the abuse of the f* word. Mr. Jeff Gerstmann, that's not the reason why I read Gamespot's one and only official Kane & Lynch review.
When you get paid for reviewing videogames at the industry-leading website you should bear in mind something more than basic English rules or your personal taste and opinion. You shouldn't mistake Gamespot's official review for your blog. If you're going to bash a stellar launch from one of your employer's main sources of income, you'd better make sure you do so properly, professionally, and do not give any excuses for getting the boot, espcially after they have asked you once to change your tone -which is leaps and bounds different from changing your score. As it is, it's unclear whether Jeff would have been fired had he kept his paid-for review up to scratch.