Gamespot says goodbye to some of its staff

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Avatar image for Jacanuk
#101 Posted by Jacanuk (11712 posts) -

@loafofgame said:

Rockstar's intentions become irrelevant as soon as they release a product for us to consume. Then it is up to us to appreciate and judge it. It is our experience. Whatever Rockstar feels we should experience becomes pretty meaningless, because we're going to attach our own value to it anyway. I can write 'women are evil and should be dominated by men' on a piece of paper and claim my intentions aren't misogynistic, but as soon as I let others read that piece of paper, they are free to draw whatever conclusions they want. Besides, Petit is lamenting the presence of misogynistic content; she is not suggesting Rockstar is in fact misogynistic. The content is there. It can be defined as such, regardless of intentions. And if it serves its purpose, then it has a reason to be there. Apparently the misogyny didn't serve its purpose in Petit's experience.

The GB thing is something completely different. That appears to be a direct accusation of misogyny, based on the interpretation of hiring patterns, which is questionable at best.

Again, the comparison was made to point out supposed intention and what that means when it comes to judging a work (very little). This isn't about how much worse the one is compared to the other. And of course you can look at how she structured her argument and point out that it's very personal and biased, but when it comes to things like satire that's pretty much the only thing you can and should do. And as I pointed out, it can be rather valuable. More valuable than leaving it out or expressing yourself in evasive and vague terms. Also, I do not believe she called anything a disgrace.

The first paragraph summarises the content of the review, so of course it's going to be in there. It's one of her arguments. And compared to the other points she's making it's a relatively small argument. So if you actually read it for what it is (without immediately subjecting it to all your standards), it is one of the smallest arguments at the end of a review. That's what it is. Certainly not unimportant, but also not meant to be as insistently significant as you make it out to be. And it's also a rather isolated argument. You can easily remove it from the text without making any significant corrections, which again proves it does not pervade or dictate the review.

I know they like to call themselves journalists, but writing a review has very little to do with journalism. Journalists generally refrain from judgement and report on events (hopefully providing multiple perspectives without showing preference), which is impossible when it comes to writing a review. So they will never be considered journalists when writing a review, no matter how neutral they are. In this context they're either editors or critics, not journalists.

How? You just named a few persons that fit your definition. That doesn't explain to me why Petit should also fit that definition. That doesn't explain to me why your definition should somehow be the standard, as you make it out to be.

That's fine. I just think your expectations and standards are unrealistic, selective and personal and that you shouldn't present them as common sense and/or facts.

I shouldn't have used those words and I apologise for that, but my point still stands. If you want to criticise Petit for being unprofessional, you should always include the responsible staff aswell. Otherwise you're not being consistent. And fine, I'll rephrase: she did not get paid for specific reviews, but she did get paid to write reviews and since this particular review was published she got paid for doing her job.

Again, that's a vague interpretation of what she wrote. She expressed her disappointment and explained it. That's all she did. That does not imply a request for a more feminist path in later titles. I do not believe (and I feel there's little reason to believe) Petit is that pretentious that she thinks she's in a position to explicitly ask developers to tone it down or include strong female characters.

And you dont see a big problem with that? Why is feminist views more important than what Rockstar intended to portray with their work? Also you talked about advocating censorship , feminists actually become a censorship-board when they claim something is "hate against women" and try to "force" public opinion against a developer, just look at Ubisoft and Assassins creed where they suddenly got into a mediastorm because some idiotic feminist claimed that they had to be misogynistic and that was the only reason why they didn't show women or had playable women in the multiplayer, when in fact the real issue was that everyone of the characters was the same main protagonist.

Giantbomb is not that different, because here i am 100% sure that they hired the persons that was best qualified not to mention that no one even knows if any females actually even applied for the job. But it shows a sad tend

If you have had creative writing or journalism you know how important the first paragraph is and that most people actually doesn't read more than that and then they might go down to the end, but the first bit is what is being shown the most, which Caro perfectly as a english major knows, which shows that this is what she wanted people to know. So yes it might be a small part of the total review but as data shows only about half or even less then 50% actually read on past the first paragraph, so its despite its size also what over 50% will take away from the article.

Yes, most call themselves journalists and most also wants to be taken as serious as we do with journalists from The New york times, Times, BBC, and other more serious news sources, so despite you being absolute right that they are not and never will be anything but critics, who just happened to be lucky enough to find a job that pays them to write their opinion down. But despite that if they want to be taken as serious, we also as readers have every right to criticize them and expect them to keep to their own standards, which is keeping their strong personal worldviews out of their reviews, that is for their editorials where they can talk about saving the whales or how feminist views are the best in the world. Which leads to the ones i mention, do you disagree that actually most are not actually as vocal on their own personal views as here on gamespot, i have read IGN, Eurogamer, Rev3Games, the old X-play - which i can recommend anyone checking out if they want to see how reviews should be done. And all those places have no trouble in leave politics and personal agendas out.

So i dont think my expectations or standards are unrealistic, its just that some gaming critics have begun to think that we actually want to read how they want games to take a stand and become more social aware of the real societies problems, which just leads to them losing the plot about what games are in the first place, its not there to remind you on just how messed up the world is, its there so you can have a free space and at least for a few hours just sit back and forget that the real world is there.

Hmm, you are right i should perhaps also expect more from the lead editor, but knowing gamespot a review doesn't actually go to a single editor, caro would most likely go to Kevin or another senior-editor and ask them to read it before posting it, but in the end its Caro´s sole responsibility

Anyways lastly Petit didn't just express a disappointment with GTA V, what Caro did was take her own personal political world view and expect GTA to be more in tune with that, which is just ridiculous.

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#102 Edited by Jacanuk (11712 posts) -

@c_rakestraw said:

I can't wait for the old review model to die off so we can finally move on from these ridiculous arguments about how reviews should be "objective" and free of any and all signs that a human being wrote them. The day we can speak candidly about our experiences with games and not be lambasted for daring to speak honestly for once will truly be a glorious one.

But that is not actually what is being said. Noone wants to read a review that is 100% objective. But is it really that impossible to remove political or personal agendas from a review?

What i and others want is more this --> GTV IV review and less this ---> GTA V Carolyn Review

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#103 Edited by Metamania (12031 posts) -

@Byshop said:

@Metamania said:

When you're paid to do a review as a professional, your job is to make sure your emotions stay out of it as much as possible and speak about the game itself. How do the controls respond? Does the music and sound collaborate together to help build or ease the tension that's in the game? How do the graphics look, do they run on a low or high framerate? That's what you were supposed to do and in the end, Carolyn, with all due respect to her and the way she is, failed to do her job because she got personally involved in the GTA V review.

This statement is contradictory. You want a reviewer to leave emotion out of it, but even in the brief list of examples you provided of what they -should- include you mention measuring how good the game is at generating tension (a purely emotional response). Obviously, even by your measure, the emotional response of the reviewer is a factor.

Utlimately, it's not about the sum of the game's technical details. It's about how much fun the game is and that will always be subjective. Technicaly detail is fine to include in a review, but it's not the end of the story. "Technically" every 3D game is far more advanced than any 2D sprite based game, but which game looks better is based on art design, not the FPS or total number of polygons per character.

Nobody bitches about movie, art, or music reviewers as being shitty journalists if they write reviews that they don't agree with, but for some reason nobody seems to get this concept when it comes to games.

-Byshop

While that's all said and good, you missed my point. A lot of you did, actually.

You're not supposed to get personally involved and allow opinions outside of gaming to be injected into a review. Period. That's what Carolyn did here. She had a political opinion that was personal to her and she decided to drop that in the middle of a review. Hence why GTAV is NOT given a 10, because it didn't agree with her personal opinion. That's not what game reviewers should be doing at all.

I'm more interested in the game itself, not what people feel about something that's personal or political outside of it. Get it now? This IS a gaming site. People depend on game reviewers to tell them the truth about the games and whether or not they are good enough to either buy or rent. What people don't want is someone's personal, political opinions to be part of the whole thing and I believe that's why lots of people were left scratching their heads in the end. So while it sucks that Carolyn is gone from Gamespot and I do wish her well, it was best that she was fired. I think her and, to an extent Tom, drove away a lot of traffic and hurt their business, so it was a good move to complete, no matter how bad it is."

Also, I want to clear something up; if you think that I'm some biased GTA fan that deserves to be given a 10 on every one, please don't think that. I think GTA is a successful series, but it has screwed up in the past and while GTAV has majorly improved, I still think improvements can be made and that goes for any game series. If people feel like giving it a 7 or a 10 or whatever, that's fine, just explain why it was given that and not be personal with it.

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#104 Edited by Byshop (18265 posts) -

@loafofgame said:

Do 'we' really want that, though? Isn't there a strong tendency to resist against the inclusion of people who might (threaten to) drive attention and resources away from the games (and related content) that 'we' like...?

Obviously I can't claim to speak for everyone, but what I want (and I don't think I'm alone) is for games to eventually reach the same level of mainstream acceptance as movies or television as a form of entertainment, and the same level as painting or song as a form of art. Excluding anyone who isn't already part of the "in" crown only hurts gaming in the long run. It's okay to disagree with Carolyn's review, but wildy disproportunate level of vitriol directed her way by some people says terrible things about us as a community.

@c_rakestraw said:

I can't wait for the old review model to die off so we can finally move on from these ridiculous arguments about how reviews should be "objective" and free of any and all signs that a human being wrote them. The day we can speak candidly about our experiences with games and not be lambasted for daring to speak honestly for once will truly be a glorious one.

Yup.

@Jacanuk said:

But that is not actually what is being said. Noone wants to read a review that is 100% objective. But is it really that impossible to remove political or personal agendas from a review?

@Metamania said:

While that's all said and good, you missed my point. A lot of you did, actually.

You're not supposed to get personally involved and allow opinions outside of gaming to be injected into a review. Period. That's what Carolyn did here. She had a political opinion that was personal to her and she decided to drop that in the middle of a review. Hence why GTAV is NOT given a 10, because it didn't agree with her personal opinion. That's not what game reviewers should be doing at all.

Metamania, I see your point and I think it's a reasonable one, but I still disagree. The second we start talking about games as art, and we start hiring Hollywood screenwriter to write scripts longer than most movies for our games, and we start intertwining gameplay and story at a core level then the "nuts and bolts" of a game really aren't the "end all, be all" of whether or not we will enjoy it. How do you draw a distinction between "political" versus "non-political" opinions when the game itself might be written to make a political point?

The extreme example that I use is Custer's Revenge, a game that I probably don't need to describe because I'm sure everyone has heard of it. While it was a crappy little 2600 game designed entirely for lowest common denominator crude humor and shock value. I read of a review of that game that said A) it was crap and B) even if the game weren't crap the reviewer would still give it a bad review because the subject matter is so morally reprehensible. So the question is, does that mean the reviewer was expressing personal bias or giving an honest review? What if Custer's Revenge or the KKK's Ethnic Cleansing game got AAA treatment in terms of graphics, sound and overall gameplay? Should a reviewer leave all personal feelings about the game's content? What if the reviewer was fairly certain that his/her personal feelings about the game were feelings that most of his/her readership would share, and that these feelings would affect their enjoyment of the game? Should they still mention those feelings in the review? Would you play such a game if everything about it were flawless except for the subject matter?

It's all good and well to say that political opinions should stay out of game reviews, but the problem then becomes how do you define what is and isn't a political opinion (unless you are literally referring to the discussion of a system of government)? People tend to see political agendas in the opinions they don't agree with. I read a lot of reviews and responses to the game Gone Home, and many, many people accused it of having an LGBT political agenda. I played through it before I read anything about it and that thought never crossed my mind. To me, the game was about this little sister who was having a shitty time of it trying to reconcile her feelings. The fact that she was in love with another girl just made the story that much more tragic and starcrossed because on top of all the other shit (Lonnie having joined the military and shipping out to boot camp, etc) they now had to deal with their parent's complete lack of acceptance and total disgregard for their feelings. My serious problem with the community reaction is that if "Lonnie" had been the name of a guy, but pretty much everything else in the story had been left unchanged, I seriously doubt the community would have accused the game of trying to push a "hetero" agenda on us. This game was regarded as "political" because a lot of people didn't agree with it.

I have no idea if she and Tom generated or drove away traffic from the site, but I don't think that whether or not a game is sexist falls into that category when potentially half of the gaming population is female. I read the review in detail, and while I certainly think it's debatable as to whether the game is truly sexist (or if it's a big deal even if it is sexist because it's a satirical look at our society), I can't disagree with the specific points that Caroline made.

-Byshop

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#105 Posted by Jacanuk (11712 posts) -

@Byshop said:

@loafofgame said:

Do 'we' really want that, though? Isn't there a strong tendency to resist against the inclusion of people who might (threaten to) drive attention and resources away from the games (and related content) that 'we' like...?

Obviously I can't claim to speak for everyone, but what I want (and I don't think I'm alone) is for games to eventually reach the same level of mainstream acceptance as movies or television as a form of entertainment, and the same level as painting or song as a form of art. Excluding anyone who isn't already part of the "in" crown only hurts gaming in the long run. It's okay to disagree with Carolyn's review, but wildy disproportunate level of vitriol directed her way by some people says terrible things about us as a community.

@c_rakestraw said:

I can't wait for the old review model to die off so we can finally move on from these ridiculous arguments about how reviews should be "objective" and free of any and all signs that a human being wrote them. The day we can speak candidly about our experiences with games and not be lambasted for daring to speak honestly for once will truly be a glorious one.

Yup.

@Jacanuk said:

But that is not actually what is being said. Noone wants to read a review that is 100% objective. But is it really that impossible to remove political or personal agendas from a review?

@Metamania said:

While that's all said and good, you missed my point. A lot of you did, actually.

You're not supposed to get personally involved and allow opinions outside of gaming to be injected into a review. Period. That's what Carolyn did here. She had a political opinion that was personal to her and she decided to drop that in the middle of a review. Hence why GTAV is NOT given a 10, because it didn't agree with her personal opinion. That's not what game reviewers should be doing at all.

Metamania, I see your point and I think it's a reasonable one, but I still disagree. The second we start talking about games as art, and we start hiring Hollywood screenwriter to write scripts longer than most movies for our games, and we start intertwining gameplay and story at a core level then the "nuts and bolts" of a game really aren't the "end all, be all" of whether or not we will enjoy it. How do you draw a distinction between "political" versus "non-political" opinions when the game itself might be written to make a political point?

The extreme example that I use is Custer's Revenge, a game that I probably don't need to describe because I'm sure everyone has heard of it. While it was a crappy little 2600 game designed entirely for lowest common denominator crude humor and shock value. I read of a review of that game that said A) it was crap and B) even if the game weren't crap the reviewer would still give it a bad review because the subject matter is so morally reprehensible. So the question is, does that mean the reviewer was expressing personal bias or giving an honest review? What if Custer's Revenge or the KKK's Ethnic Cleansing game got AAA treatment in terms of graphics, sound and overall gameplay? Should a reviewer leave all personal feelings about the game's content? What if the reviewer was fairly certain that his/her personal feelings about the game were feelings that most of his/her readership would share, and that these feelings would affect their enjoyment of the game? Should they still mention those feelings in the review? Would you play such a game if everything about it were flawless except for the subject matter?

It's all good and well to say that political opinions should stay out of game reviews, but the problem then becomes how do you define what is and isn't a political opinion (unless you are literally referring to the discussion of a system of government)? People tend to see political agendas in the opinions they don't agree with. I read a lot of reviews and responses to the game Gone Home, and many, many people accused it of having an LGBT political agenda. I played through it before I read anything about it and that thought never crossed my mind. To me, the game was about this little sister who was having a shitty time of it trying to reconcile her feelings. The fact that she was in love with another girl just made the story that much more tragic and starcrossed because on top of all the other shit (Lonnie having joined the military and shipping out to boot camp, etc) they now had to deal with their parent's complete lack of acceptance and total disgregard for their feelings. My serious problem with the community reaction is that if "Lonnie" had been the name of a guy, but pretty much everything else in the story had been left unchanged, I seriously doubt the community would have accused the game of trying to push a "hetero" agenda on us. This game was regarded as "political" because a lot of people didn't agree with it.

I have no idea if she and Tom generated or drove away traffic from the site, but I don't think that whether or not a game is sexist falls into that category when potentially half of the gaming population is female. I read the review in detail, and while I certainly think it's debatable as to whether the game is truly sexist (or if it's a big deal even if it is sexist because it's a satirical look at our society), I can't disagree with the specific points that Caroline made.

-Byshop

I never heard about Custers Revenge but today i highly doubt that such an extreme game would actually even be mentioned in any major gaming media, since it would only cater to a very small minority. So what about we keep to what is actually be said, which i showed in the link to a GTA IV review and a GTA V review. Here you clearly have 2 different reviews, one is sess´s and one is caro´s who again clearly goes straight into her own world view and review the game from that. i could also have linked to the GTA V review where despite you can hear that Sess clearly loves the game, he never becomes too wrapped up in his own personal political views or agendas, he reviews the game.

In terms of Gone Home you would have to be blind not to see that the game is clearly a game made specifically around the LGBT community and wants to cater to that agenda. And also here we have some reviewers going abe shit with personal feelings that only ever will be theirs because its based on their memories, most reviews who gives this close to 10/10 or 5/5 clearly forgot that they are getting paid to review this game. Because if you look at the game for what it is, it is a poorly written badly executed tech demo, who tries to play it as this teenage girl is having the worst time of her life, when clearly if thats the case, it never is revealed, because not only does her parents accept her and her GF, they dont force her to anything but what she wants, she gets to do pretty much what she want goes to concerts, etc. and yet Fulbright wants us to believe that running away with all the family's valuables is the only option at 17 with no education. Not to forget the story of the dad, the mom who might or might not have an affair and that when the dad finally seem to get some success and deal with his issues and him and his wife is getting back together, this teenage girl would say screw it all and cause her parents and sister problems, and perhaps ruin everything that was starting to pick up for them.

Sorry but i don't buy this and if it wasn't for the LGBT angle Gone Home would have been ripped apart and flushed out for the crap that it is.

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#106 Edited by VintAge68 (529 posts) -

To be honest, I too was negatively surprised reading about the layoffs but which, except for the veteran Justin Calvert perhaps, may not have come that surprising, either: Tom McShea was one of the most criticized reviewers for some of his overly provocative scores, whereas Carolyn Petit got scolded for her own person rather. Professionally, however, I considered both of them knowing their video games and their job (though I did not always agree with them). Maxwell McGee I didn't like too much, nor his reviews, so no true regret here.

But in any case I am glad that the cream of the GS staff--Kevin, Chris, Danny, Shaun, also Justin Haywald--are still here to make the GameSpot site worth being a user of. And I still think that fusing GS with GiantBomb (and GameFaqs) might be a long-term goal of CBS here...

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#107 Posted by VintAge68 (529 posts) -

@c_rakestraw said:

I can't wait for the old review model to die off so we can finally move on from these ridiculous arguments about how reviews should be "objective" and free of any and all signs that a human being wrote them. The day we can speak candidly about our experiences with games and not be lambasted for daring to speak honestly for once will truly be a glorious one.

Honestly, being a GS user since 2010 I did never have the impression that "objectivity" was a serious objective in its editors' reviews... Neither does making the effort of being objective signify writing like a robot...

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#108 Posted by Treflis (13305 posts) -

I'd probably know who they were if I did read reviews anymore.

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#109 Posted by c_rakestraw (14870 posts) -
@VintAge68 said:

Honestly, being a GS user since 2010 I did never have the impression that "objectivity" was a serious objective in its editors' reviews... Neither does making the effort of being objective signify writing like a robot...

As it shouldn't be. Striving for "objectivity" in reviews is a fool's errand, as the only way to be objective is to write with no critique whatsoever. Objective Game Reviews is a perfect example of what an objective review looks like. Criticism and objectivity are not compatible. Anyone who thinks they are is lying to themselves.

@Jacanuk said:

But that is not actually what is being said. Noone wants to read a review that is 100% objective. But is it really that impossible to remove political or personal agendas from a review?

What i and others want is more this --> GTV IV review and less this ---> GTA V Carolyn Review

For a game like Grand Theft Auto, wherein social commentary is a defining part of the game, yes. To critique such a game and not dare analyze whether it succeeds as satire would be like ignoring atmosphere in a horror game. A review that forgoes such an analysis is a review not worth reading because they are not giving the game its due. Social commentary shouldn't be ignored just because it's in a video game of all things, even something as misanthropic as Grand Theft Auto.

Sessler's GTA 4 review is a poor example, anyway. Back in 2008, it was uncommon for any major publication to deviate from the supposed "objective" format they'd been adhering to. Had he written that today, I'm certain he wouldn't hold any reservations about professing his opinions on GTA 4's themes and such.

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#110 Edited by Byshop (18265 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

I never heard about Custers Revenge but today i highly doubt that such an extreme game would actually even be mentioned in any major gaming media, since it would only cater to a very small minority. So what about we keep to what is actually be said, which i showed in the link to a GTA IV review and a GTA V review. Here you clearly have 2 different reviews, one is sess´s and one is caro´s who again clearly goes straight into her own world view and review the game from that. i could also have linked to the GTA V review where despite you can hear that Sess clearly loves the game, he never becomes too wrapped up in his own personal political views or agendas, he reviews the game.

In terms of Gone Home you would have to be blind not to see that the game is clearly a game made specifically around the LGBT community and wants to cater to that agenda. And also here we have some reviewers going abe shit with personal feelings that only ever will be theirs because its based on their memories, most reviews who gives this close to 10/10 or 5/5 clearly forgot that they are getting paid to review this game. Because if you look at the game for what it is, it is a poorly written badly executed tech demo, who tries to play it as this teenage girl is having the worst time of her life, when clearly if thats the case, it never is revealed, because not only does her parents accept her and her GF, they dont force her to anything but what she wants, she gets to do pretty much what she want goes to concerts, etc. and yet Fulbright wants us to believe that running away with all the family's valuables is the only option at 17 with no education. Not to forget the story of the dad, the mom who might or might not have an affair and that when the dad finally seem to get some success and deal with his issues and him and his wife is getting back together, this teenage girl would say screw it all and cause her parents and sister problems, and perhaps ruin everything that was starting to pick up for them.

Sorry but i don't buy this and if it wasn't for the LGBT angle Gone Home would have been ripped apart and flushed out for the crap that it is.

Custer's Revenge is an extreme example, for sure, but there are plenty of examples of mainsteam games with controversial themes that might turn off a lot of gamers. One good example would be Spec Ops: The Line. If you take the game itself down to it's mechanical bits, it's a pretty mediocre TPS. Not bad, but nothing about the gameplay excels above most of the other games in its genre. But when you add in that story, that chilling narrative where you find out that not only are you not the good guy, but that the entire game is basically taking the piss out of the whole idea of war games where you as the player come in and play the hero, suddenly you have a game that everyone is paying attention to. Spec Ops was still very polarizing, because a lot of people HATED the fact that no matter what you did in the game, you could not be the hero or even a decent person.

With your response about Gone Home, you are illustrating my point. What I got out of the story was completely different from what you got out of it, and since the game is all about the story then of course how the reviewer feels about the story is relevant. I could go on in detail about the specific points you made and how my interpretation of the story was different (which, by the way, the fact that the game would even prompt a discussion like that is one of the reasons I think it's a good game), but you're pointing out what you perceive as a political agenda.

It's easy to say "keep your political bullshit out of my game review" but nobody will ever agree what counts as political and what's not. Often when people complain about a political agenda, they are complaining about the fact that they disagree with something but from their perspective it comes across as someone else's bias.

You have your opinion about Gone Home and I have mine, but I'm not going to tell you that you're blind for disagreeing with me because I recognize both as valid opinions, even thought I personally think you are dead wrong on a lot of points. I'm not LGBT, but I thought the story was sweet even if the two protagonists did some seriously boneheaded shit (i.e. running away/going AWOL, stealing all the VCRs in the house to pawn for running away money, etc). Just because characters in a game do -something- that doesn't in any way represent tacit approval of that activity by the game's writers, so no I didn't interpret the story as Fullbright telling us that this was really their only option or that it was even a particularly good idea. If you apply the same logic to GTA5, you could take that game's story as an endorsement of organized crime (which of course is ridiculous).

-Byshop

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#111 Posted by mojoreb (28 posts) -

Sad to hear this.

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#112 Edited by Byshop (18265 posts) -

@c_rakestraw said:
@VintAge68 said:

Honestly, being a GS user since 2010 I did never have the impression that "objectivity" was a serious objective in its editors' reviews... Neither does making the effort of being objective signify writing like a robot...

As it shouldn't be. Striving for "objectivity" in reviews is a fool's errand, as the only way to be objective is to write with no critique whatsoever. Objective Game Reviews is a perfect example of what an objective review looks like. Criticism and objectivity are not compatible. Anyone who thinks they are is lying to themselves.

Agreed. When people complain about objectivtiy (or lack thereof) they are often complaining about an opinion they don't agree with. WIthout fail, everyone with whom I've discussed Caroline's GTA5 review with who didn't like it fall into one of two camps: 1) Don't think the game is sexist or 2) think the game may be or is sexist, but don't care because it's sature or because sexism doesn't affect/bother them. I haven't met a single person yet who agrees wtih what Caroline said, but thinks that there's no room for those opinions in a game review. Everyone I've met who thinks she stepped out of bounds also happens to diagree with what she said.

Tom wrote the the Deadpool game was misogynistic, which I wholely disagree with. Yes, DP as a character acts like a horny adolescent who views women as sex objects, but the game doesn't reinforce that in any way. Every other character in the game plays "straight man" to Wade's whimsical jackass, and at no point is Wade hateful of women. I totally disagree with Tom's review, and if anything I think that the game is way -less- sexist than GTA5, but I don't disagree with Tom's right to put it in the review. I didn't see many people bat an eye at that part of Tom's review. I wonder if Caroline would have gotten the same metered response if she had written the exact same review. I doubt it, though. I think she would have been blasted for bringing her "female" feelings into a review where they had no business being.

Many male gamers (sadly) read Caroline's review and think "baaah, who gives a shit if the game is sexist. It doesn't bother me" but it might bother that other half of the gaming population (i.e. girl gamers). When you (as a reviewer) have a personal feeling about a game that you think might affect the enjoyment of that game by half your readership, shouldn't you include that? Even if you know that more than half your readership is male, does that make it right to ignore it and leave it out?

-Byshop

Avatar image for loafofgame
#113 Posted by loafofgame (1742 posts) -
@Jacanuk said:

And you dont see a big problem with that? Why is feminist views more important than what Rockstar intended to portray with their work?

Because she is a consumer. I am also a consumer. The developer's intentions are all well and good, but that doesn't mean I will appreciate them. Developers might think they made a good product, but that certainly doesn't mean I have to think the same. Rockstar made a consumer product; its value is judged by the consumer. I need multiple consumer perspectives to decide whether I should also consume the product in question, which means I also see value in perspectives that do not align with my own or that refrain from talking in vague and general terms.

@Jacanuk said:

Also you talked about advocating censorship , feminists actually become a censorship-board when they claim something is "hate against women" and try to "force" public opinion against a developer, just look at Ubisoft and Assassins creed where they suddenly got into a mediastorm because some idiotic feminist claimed that they had to be misogynistic and that was the only reason why they didn't show women or had playable women in the multiplayer, when in fact the real issue was that everyone of the characters was the same main protagonist.

Who cares? Seeing how little everybody cares about misogyny I doubt some feminist rant will have an effect on sales. I bet a lot of feminists complain about porn every single day, but I don't think porn has suffered from that one bit. In my experience public opinion is fleeting and really not that interested in what goes on in gaming (I can only speak for my own country, of course). In the end, if things are in fact changed in a game, then it is the developers who succumbed to the criticism of a few ignorant individuals. There are no laws that force them to change their product to adhere to some minority. And I mentioned censorship, because it shows a hypocrisy in some of the people who criticise Petit (which doesn't mean they shouldn't criticise her). Besides, you can divert this issue to all these other feminists who explicitly demanded censorship or preferential treatment, but Petit did not make any explicit demands. A lot of people who responded to her did, though. And that was my main point.

@Jacanuk said:

Giantbomb is not that different, because here i am 100% sure that they hired the persons that was best qualified not to mention that no one even knows if any females actually even applied for the job. But it shows a sad tend

I don't doubt they hired qualified people. I still don't see how a direct accusation of misogyny based on hiring policies is so similar to a review that laments misogynistic content. Or do you think that every feminist is essentially the same and if one feminist demands something they all demand it...?

@Jacanuk said:

If you have had creative writing or journalism you know how important the first paragraph is and that most people actually doesn't read more than that and then they might go down to the end, but the first bit is what is being shown the most, which Caro perfectly as a english major knows, which shows that this is what she wanted people to know. So yes it might be a small part of the total review but as data shows only about half or even less then 50% actually read on past the first paragraph, so its despite its size also what over 50% will take away from the article.

Everything that is in the review is mentioned in that first paragraph, not just the misogyny. It is a standard paragraph. 17 of the 146 words are dedicated to her misogyny argument. You can remove those exact 17 words and it still makes for a smooth paragraph. People make it bigger than it actually is. Petit can't help that people go berserk when they see the word misogyny. You can claim there's intention there all you want, but it's just as much basic text summarisation.

@Jacanuk said:

Yes, most call themselves journalists and most also wants to be taken as serious as we do with journalists from The New york times, Times, BBC, and other more serious news sources, so despite you being absolute right that they are not and never will be anything but critics, who just happened to be lucky enough to find a job that pays them to write their opinion down. But despite that if they want to be taken as serious, we also as readers have every right to criticize them and expect them to keep to their own standards, which is keeping their strong personal worldviews out of their reviews, that is for their editorials where they can talk about saving the whales or how feminist views are the best in the world.

This can only be settled by having a discussion with Petit herself and asking her what her standards are. Again, you're creating standards based on your experience, not on explicit universal rules, so you can't simply say that whatever standards you feel are (or should be) universal should also apply to Petit or anyone else. There's a clear and accessible code of ethics for journalists. As far as I know there is no such code for critics. And sadly GS still hasn't made a new review policy. It's been gone since the website design change...

@Jacanuk said:

Which leads to the ones i mention, do you disagree that actually most are not actually as vocal on their own personal views as here on gamespot, i have read IGN, Eurogamer, Rev3Games, the old X-play - which i can recommend anyone checking out if they want to see how reviews should be done. And all those places have no trouble in leave politics and personal agendas out.

Oh, I can agree with you on that. But that's why I like Gamespot. They have a diverse staff and I see that diversity reflected in the reviews and other content on this website. I like the occasional discussion on politics, culture, gender, etc. in games and I like a fresh perspective in reviews. And really, if so many other websites do it the same way, why make such a big deal of a website that does it a little bit (and really only a little bit) differently? Why do you apparently need every website to be the same?

@Jacanuk said:

So i dont think my expectations or standards are unrealistic, its just that some gaming critics have begun to think that we actually want to read how they want games to take a stand and become more social aware of the real societies problems, which just leads to them losing the plot about what games are in the first place, its not there to remind you on just how messed up the world is, its there so you can have a free space and at least for a few hours just sit back and forget that the real world is there.

Or maybe, just maybe, some people are actually interested in what you aren't interested in and care about what you don't care about. You're hitting the nail right on the head here. Some critics are talking about different things, just like some people like to read about those different things. I'm slightly hurt that you care so little about what I (and I've seen some others) find interesting. ;-) I don't always need games to pull me out of the real world (and really, to stay with Petit's review, GTA V is a game that constantly refers to the real world). If games can make me think about certain themes in an interesting way, I'm all for that. And I know a lot of people share that opinion. Whether you like it or not, games are cultural products. They say something about us and it's interesting to talk about that. Well, not for you, but for me.

@Jacanuk said:

Hmm, you are right i should perhaps also expect more from the lead editor, but knowing gamespot a review doesn't actually go to a single editor, caro would most likely go to Kevin or another senior-editor and ask them to read it before posting it, but in the end its Caro´s sole responsibility

Well, in the hierarchy of a company it isn't. Anyway, I'm not saying Petit has no responsibility, just that if you consider her unprofessional, then some of the people in charge are aswell...

@Jacanuk said:

Anyways lastly Petit didn't just express a disappointment with GTA V, what Caro did was take her own personal political world view and expect GTA to be more in tune with that, which is just ridiculous.

I think the focus of her argument was fueled by her personal views and she can be criticised for not offering a broader perspective by discussing GTA V's satire in general. However, I don't think it was as simple as her wanting the game to be in tune with her view. She did not expect women to get a free pass here. She expected there to be signs of satire, but all she found was exaggeration. According to her the game lacks satire when it comes to the depiction of women. Whatever intentions, demands or truths lie in such a claim is up to the reader. There's ample space between the lines for everybody (I don't see, I would like, I want, I demand, I deserve).

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#114 Edited by VintAge68 (529 posts) -
@c_rakestraw said:

As it shouldn't be. Striving for "objectivity" in reviews is a fool's errand, as the only way to be objective is to write with no critique whatsoever. Objective Game Reviews is a perfect example of what an objective review looks like. Criticism and objectivity are not compatible. Anyone who thinks they are is lying to themselves.

Pretending that only the 100% subjective view is justified gives a blanket insurance against everyone who dares to disagree.

As a discipline criticism relates to humanism and even there the effort of using objective criteria is being made (if not, all science was obsolete).

But you miss also the point: the "objective model" cannot be banned from GS since it has never been applied here...

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#115 Posted by loafofgame (1742 posts) -
@VintAge68 said:

As a discipline criticism relates to humanism and even there the effort of using objective criteria is being made (if not, all science was obsolete).

What do you mean by 'using objective criteria'? In this context does it relate to judgement based on observable elements or is it about taking things that are considered objectively good or bad and using those to measure quality...? Or something else?

@VintAge68 said:

But you miss also the point: the "objective model" cannot be banned from GS since it has never been applied here...

Do you feel it has been applied elsewhere?

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#117 Posted by Behardy24 (5324 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride said:

https://twitter.com/TomMcShea/status/494585135182778368

https://twitter.com/carolynmichelle/status/494570256241684480

There are also some others aswell. I wonder if they are searching for new people or if they were let go

Update:

Justin Calvert and Maxwell McGee have also lost their jobs. Calvert has been on this site for over a decade

Just came back from vacation and this is bummer news to hear. I wish all that were affected the best of luck and I hope they get back on their feet as soon as possible. As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I can tell you that being jobless is one of the worst situations for a person/family in this area, even with unemployment.

Again, I wish them the best.

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#118 Edited by Grieverr (2835 posts) -
@Byshop said:

Tom wrote the the Deadpool game was misogynistic, which I wholely disagree with....

...I wonder if Caroline would have gotten the same metered response if she had written the exact same review. I doubt it, though. I think she would have been blasted for bringing her "female" feelings into a review where they had no business being.

-Byshop

Tom's review said "Deadpool is a character whose upfront nature makes him impossible to ignore... His unabashed misogyny and incessant sexual jokes are puerile at best, but as disgusting as he can be, you can't accuse him of being insincere... He's the embodiment of extreme baditude, but instead of sounding like the cynical mind of someone in the marketing department, he instead mirrors the inane ramblings of a teenage boy."

Tom is describing the character of Deadpool. he is not saying the game is misogynistic.

Carolyn's Review says (as has already been quoted) "Or perhaps you dive right into the game’s story problems, or its serious issues with women. GTA V is a complicated and fascinating game, one that fumbles here and there and has an unnecessary strain of misogynistic nastiness running through it."

In her statement, she is talking about "the problems" with the game itself. At the bottom of the review, under "The bad", she wrote "Politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic". In his Deadpool review (under The Bad), Tom said there were camera issues and difficulties from too many enemies"

Do you guys fail to see the difference between the two? Tom is talking about the qualities of the game. Caro is talking about real life issues she sees with GTA.

In regards to the Custer's revenge, KKK, Baby Killer, etc.. examples listed in this thread, my response would still be the same. Tell me about the game. I can decide on my own if my moral fiber would allow me to buy and play the game or not.

Anyways, in regards to the layoffs themselves, my heart does go out to everyone affected. I do hope that they all soon land on their feet. Whether we agreed with or liked them or not, they are people living in an expensive area in a tough economy. However, I'm sure with their public profiles, they will find new jobs soon enough.

Avatar image for Byshop
#119 Edited by Byshop (18265 posts) -

@Grieverr said:

Tom's review said "Deadpool is a character whose upfront nature makes him impossible to ignore... His unabashed misogyny and incessant sexual jokes are puerile at best, but as disgusting as he can be, you can't accuse him of being insincere... He's the embodiment of extreme baditude, but instead of sounding like the cynical mind of someone in the marketing department, he instead mirrors the inane ramblings of a teenage boy."

Tom is describing the character of Deadpool. he is not saying the game is misogynistic.

Carolyn's Review says (as has already been quoted) "Or perhaps you dive right into the game’s story problems, or its serious issues with women. GTA V is a complicated and fascinating game, one that fumbles here and there and has an unnecessary strain of misogynistic nastiness running through it."

In her statement, she is talking about "the problems" with the game itself. At the bottom of the review, under "The bad", she wrote "Politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic". In his Deadpool review (under The Bad), Tom said there were camera issues and difficulties from too many enemies"

Do you guys fail to see the difference between the two? Tom is talking about the qualities of the game. Caro is talking about real life issues she sees with GTA.

In regards to the Custer's revenge, KKK, Baby Killer, etc.. examples listed in this thread, my response would still be the same. Tell me about the game. I can decide on my own if my moral fiber would allow me to buy and play the game or not.

Anyways, in regards to the layoffs themselves, my heart does go out to everyone affected. I do hope that they all soon land on their feet. Whether we agreed with or liked them or not, they are people living in an expensive area in a tough economy. However, I'm sure with their public profiles, they will find new jobs soon enough.

Yeah, I get the difference (look for my comment on Tom's review page). The point is that even though I disagree with Tom, I'm not going to tell him he can't say what he thinks in a review. I wasn't trying to draw a 1:1 comparison between the two reviews.

As for making up your own mind, that's funny because that's the exact reason why I -do- want to hear the reviewer's view on the game. I'm not swayed by the opinions of the reviewer, but if I read 10 reviews of a scary game and 10 reviews say "this game scared the shit out of me" then it will pique my interest. You say "just tell me about the game", but the whole point of some games is how they make the player feel so how is it possible to extract one from the other?

But I absolutely want that info in the review. If I read Carolyn's review and decided that I don't care if the game is sexist or not, then her description of how she likes pretty much everything in the game except the sexism gives me all the info I need to decide if I should buy the game or not. Part of the problem is some of this kind of info can only be obtained from a review or by word of mouth if I don't buy the game myself. Let's say you had an awesome game, but halfway through the game something happens in the story in which the main characters endorse or engage in sexual violence (i.e. rape). That would pretty much kill any game for me if I thought the game itself endorsed rape (as it would for a lot of people), so why shouldn't mention of something like that be included in a review? If you read that something like that is in a game but you already know that it wouldn't bother you, then how has that review done anything but give you a little bit more information upon which to make your decision? It's not like including that kind of information in a review ruins your ability to choose for yourself.

-Byshop

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#120 Posted by ragnaris (25 posts) -

The New MS CEO is cutting staff in marketing and perhaps advertising and marketing budget as well. Both MS and Sony support many of the large review sites. If there was a cut in the marketing budget it might effect the financial support these sites receive.

Also online advertising dollars from publishers might be going down as revenue for console gaming has declined for several publishers. I wonder if some of those dollars are being shifted to youtube marketing as well.

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#121 Posted by Grieverr (2835 posts) -

@Byshop: But, again, a reviewer can say "this game is sexist" without saying "the sole purpose of women in this game is to be abused".

I'm not saying that a reviewer shouldn't say the themes of the game. Just don't pepper it "btw, here's what I think about (this social commentary)". It's this concept that people seem to think is impossible. You CAN say something is sexist (in this case) without also saying what you personally think of sexism. The two statements are not inseparable.

Do I want to know if there's a rape scene in my game? No, not really, not until I get to it. If I'm buying a game rated M, and the box says violence, sexual situations, and mature content, then I am ready for whatever the game is throwing at me. That there is a rape scene does not mean that the game condones it. I don't understand why you'd make that assumption. However, this is not debatable as I will not comment on your moral beliefs. Personally, I assume at that point you've probably murdered many people and done other hellish acts, so depending how it's done, that scene may not make me want to stop playing the game. Again, my moral choice and I'm not pushing it on anyone.

I think this is the last I'll write of this in this post. This is one of those grey areas where there is no right and wrong, and it boils down to what you, the individual, want out of a game review. Like I said before, I want a product review. Tell me what the game is about, tell me what the contents of the game are, tell me how it performs technically, and give me a thumbs up or down. I'll take it from there. I'm not particularly interested in knowing what makes the reviewer tick. But, hey, that's just me.

Avatar image for Byshop
#122 Posted by Byshop (18265 posts) -

@Grieverr said:

@Byshop: But, again, a reviewer can say "this game is sexist" without saying "the sole purpose of women in this game is to be abused".

I'm not saying that a reviewer shouldn't say the themes of the game. Just don't pepper it "btw, here's what I think about (this social commentary)". It's this concept that people seem to think is impossible. You CAN say something is sexist (in this case) without also saying what you personally think of sexism. The two statements are not inseparable.

Do I want to know if there's a rape scene in my game? No, not really, not until I get to it. If I'm buying a game rated M, and the box says violence, sexual situations, and mature content, then I am ready for whatever the game is throwing at me. That there is a rape scene does not mean that the game condones it. I don't understand why you'd make that assumption. However, this is not debatable as I will not comment on your moral beliefs. Personally, I assume at that point you've probably murdered many people and done other hellish acts, so depending how it's done, that scene may not make me want to stop playing the game. Again, my moral choice and I'm not pushing it on anyone.

I think this is the last I'll write of this in this post. This is one of those grey areas where there is no right and wrong, and it boils down to what you, the individual, want out of a game review. Like I said before, I want a product review. Tell me what the game is about, tell me what the contents of the game are, tell me how it performs technically, and give me a thumbs up or down. I'll take it from there. I'm not particularly interested in knowing what makes the reviewer tick. But, hey, that's just me.

You make a fair point. I'll admit that Carolyn's langauge is a tad heavy handed but the reason I defend her review is because she backed it up with a lot of good points and observations.

Regarding my example, I'm not talking about a rape scene. I agree, it's an M rated game and you should be prepared for whatever gets thrown at you with that rating, but you missed my point. I'm not saying that a character doing something in a game represents tacit approval of that action on the part of the developer (in fact, I argued against that point a few posts back in this thread). Sexual violence, spousal abuse, etc are some pretty rough topics but I don't believe in censorship and if you treat a topic with the proper reverance then no subject should be off limits.

What I'm talking about would be an example of a game that -endorsed- sexual violence. What if that was the whole point of the game? It's not about censorship for me at that point, it's about not wanting to support that developer if that's the message they are trying to get across. I could always buy the game going in blind and stop playing if I find something distastefull, but at that point I've already given them my money and now it's a permanent part of my Steam library.

I'm giving an extreme example, but that's just one way this can swing. Another would be a horror game that fails to scare or a tragedy that fails to make one sad. Some games are all about the "feels" and while I never expect a review to tell me what to do, I want to get as much information (just short of spoilers) so I can make a decision for myself. The problem I have with "nuts and bolts" reviews is that if everyone did that then I fear most reviews would basically be the same with only little variation because most of them wouldn't dig into what makes games good. This is fine for some types of games, but for other types of games like visual novel games a review like this would do no good whatsoever because there might be so much more to the game than the gameplay.

What I want out of a review might not be what you want. I am actually a little bit interested in how a reviewer ticks because the more reviews I read from someone the more I can identify reviewers who I'm more likely to agree with and the faster I can zero in on games that I'll probably like. For example, I know that while I don't always agree with him on what is and isn't a good game, I know that Yatzhee's view on horror games are very close to my own, so if he strongly endorses a horror game I listen very closely.

But even if you still disagree with that, at least you acknowledge that there is no single right answer. There are a ton of people who take the position "if you don't agree with me then you are an idiot" so I thank you for recognizing that both your position and my position are still just opinions.

-Byshop

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#123 Posted by Grieverr (2835 posts) -

@Byshop said:

What I'm talking about would be an example of a game that -endorsed- sexual violence. What if that was the whole point of the game? ...it's about not wanting to support that developer if that's the message they are trying to get across. I could always buy the game going in blind and stop playing if I find something distastefull, but at that point I've already given them my money and now it's a permanent part of my Steam library.

I agree 100%. I certainly would like to know enough not to support someone, if that's what i chose. I didn't mean to say people should buy a game blindly. I do see the value in a review.

@Byshop said:

I am actually a little bit interested in how a reviewer ticks because the more reviews I read from someone the more I can identify reviewers who I'm more likely to agree with and the faster I can zero in on games that I'll probably like.

I totally understand as well. I like to try and identify with reviewers as well for the same reason. I try to do that by seeing what games and genres they like either by their own admission or previous reviews.

@Byshop said:

But even if you still disagree with that, at least you acknowledge that there is no single right answer. There are a ton of people who take the position "if you don't agree with me then you are an idiot" so I thank you for recognizing that both your position and my position are still just opinions.

Well, many people like to forget that we're all individuals with our own thoughts, tastes, and ideas.

Avatar image for High-Res
#124 Edited by High-Res (273 posts) -

Amazon is hiring. Hell Amazon is always Hiring, I bet they would be well received there. Probably make a hell of a lot more money as well. I feel for anyone who loses their job. (Shit my jobs been on the rocks for like 20 years!!!)

I hope nothing but the best for all of them.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride
#125 Edited by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@behardy24 said:

@The_Last_Ride said:

https://twitter.com/TomMcShea/status/494585135182778368

https://twitter.com/carolynmichelle/status/494570256241684480

There are also some others aswell. I wonder if they are searching for new people or if they were let go

Update:

Justin Calvert and Maxwell McGee have also lost their jobs. Calvert has been on this site for over a decade

Just came back from vacation and this is bummer news to hear. I wish all that were affected the best of luck and I hope they get back on their feet as soon as possible. As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I can tell you that being jobless is one of the worst situations for a person/family in this area, even with unemployment.

Again, I wish them the best.

yup, it does suck. But at least their suckiness goes with them

Avatar image for Ovirew
#126 Posted by Ovirew (8096 posts) -

most of my favorite GS staff members are still around, so that's cool.

Avatar image for The_Last_Ride
#127 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@Ovirew said:

most of my favorite GS staff members are still around, so that's cool.

It's a shame that Justin Calvert's gone though