If there’s a bothersome issue that’s been bothering me over the past year, it has to be what I call “slam journalism.” These overenthusiastic journalists use their power of being published on a notable or somewhat notable website/blog, and spread their diseased opinions over the gaming industry like a virus.
“But dude, how does everybody, you know, read these articles/reviews? Surely everybody doesn’t visit every site each day!”
No, of course they don’t. Aggregate websites like N4G – which I’m going to centrally focus on here, as it’s the largest one — allow gaming websites’ to place their published articles on the site for everyone to see. This uses a ‘click-out’ method, where only a small snippet of the article is featured, and clicking to continue reading the article will send you to the publishing site for its full credit – the same way I do with my published articles on this very blog. The very same journalist that post articles on N4G are also needed to approve submitted articles there. This brings a sense of credibility to the site, as they have a strict rule set that has to be followed, and sites can be banned from submitting further articles if too many infractions take place. Also, the site uses a ‘heat’ system, which generates the popularity of the article, and pushes the hottest of these to the top for everyone to see daily.
While I have no qualms with N4G myself, as I’m a daily visitor, it seems that more and more of the top articles are what I call “slam” articles.
“Um… dude? How do you slam and article that isn’t even printed? Isn’t that… like, impossible?”
Wow! Anyways… let me give you an example of what I consider this to be. Last year we saw the fantastic blockbuster release of Uncharted 3, which holds an aggregate Metacritic score of 92/100. For those of you might not know, Metacritic only allows credible websites’ to publish their reviews on its site — I’m honored to have most all of my reviews featured there. While the days around and after Uncharted 3’s release found loads of perfect scoring reviews at the top of N4G, weeks later there was one, yes, one slam journalist (not naming site/journalist out of respect) aiming for his 15-minutes of fame. Why? Because he gave Uncharted 3 an undeservingly low review score: 5/10.
As a reviewer, I respectfully read his review with an open mind, because he is subject to his own opinion. But, it didn’t take long to realize it was indeed a slam review. Throughout his lengthy review, he literally had nothing good to say about the game. Even when I give a game an extremely low score, which I don’t like to do, I always speak of the game’s highs, as well as the lows. Here, there was barely a notable thing said about the game. Even if you disliked the characters and gameplay, any reviewer worth his salt can’t complain about Uncharted 3’s breath-taking graphics, soundtrack and voice acting at the very least. Needless to say, it was indeed a slam article, and one used to pull in thousands of hits for the publishing site.
It’s not good for the industry any way you slice it, and I’ve got much more to say on this, but it’s time for bed and…
“It’ll be continued?”
Yep. Sure will.
P.S. I personally would have scored Uncharted 3 a 9/10. I only would’ve docked the game for it’s bland climbing segments, which to be frank, I’m quite tired of.