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The Best in Games Journalism and Coverage |

Game journalism seems like the easiest job. It must be nice to arrive at work and hear your boss say, “Here, take these new games, play them all day, and then give me your opinion.” The only job that could be easier is a pillow tester, “Here, try out all these pillows and tell me which one is the fluffiest.”

Nevertheless, game journalism adds a substantial element of pleasure to what is a favorite hobby for many of us, so they deserve some recognition:

Best Game Reviews: IGN

Assigning games review scores is a very tricky job. Enthusiast gamers are notoriously opinionated and are almost impossible to please. A good game review is more than just a snapshot of someone’s personal opinion, it’s an approximation of group opinion. Some sites get swept up into hype and overrate some titles while getting emotionally angry and underrating others. Other sites hire reviewers who can’t write well or don’t know enough about games and their history to convey an interesting perspective. And some other sites take outright bribes in exchange for favorable reviews. In recent years, IGN has done the best job of giving balanced, level headed reviews, with reviewers who know what they are talking about. I definitely disagree with them on many reviews, but overall these guys are the best.

Best Podcast: 1UP Yours

Listening to a bunch of guys talk about video games sounds boring, but this is surprisingly good. Some of the dev podcasts are good (Insomniac’s Full Moon Show is very good), but these guys are the best. They have guys who really know a lot about games and their history, and most importantly have entertaining radio-friendly personalities, and an excellent sense of pace.

Best Interviews + Commentary: Level Up

Most sites spend most of their coverage regurgitating the same stuff on every other site on the Internet. Level Up, has a good record of making unique and interesting commentary, and conducting interesting interviews with questions other sites aren’t asking.

Best Game Previews + Media: IGN/GameTrailers

If you are willing to pay for the premium access, I think IGN does the best job at hosting a good selection of high quality game footage. If you want a free service, GameTrailers does a great job as well.

Public Discussion Board: NeoGAF

There are tons of game discussion boards out there, but these guys are the best. This site has two things going for it: A critical mass of quality contributors (by message board standards) and aggressive pruning policies to weed out most of the garbage that dominates most other popular game discussion boards. There’s still a ton of juvenile comments, but there are plenty of funny or informative threads as well.

Anyone have any other picks? Let’s hear them.

  • Johan

    I don’t know how you think IGN has the best reviews. Everyone who is a gamer knows that a lot of their review time is bought (even more so than Gamespot) and that their ratings start at 7, esp. for AAA titles whom are purchasing a lot of ad inventory.

  • Darrin

    Reviews are highly subjective, so I definitely don’t disagree.

    What review site do you prefer? And what evidence have you seen of IGN selling review time?

  • Solid_Nat

    I tend to look through all the sites to get an overall view of a game rather then just one site. I find Metacritic very good for gathering a number of reviews and opinions together and also Gamerankings can help.

    Sites this one also give a good view of a game from personal opinion or via the comments and if i think they have enjoyed the same things in the game as i will then i tend to pick it up and have a play.

    Its getting harder today to find games that are geniue gems outside of the already established brands that i would buy, MGS, GT etc so i tend to look at a lot of places and review in-game footage before i buy a new game.

    There is a lot of hype around games but for me a general rule of thumb is that if site starts plugging a game many months before release and it isn’t a much anticipated game like GTA etc it can turn out to be crap, its only the advertisers that are going to be plugging a game that early and they are paying for the web time. Most of the best games tease us with a few screen shots or glimpses at each trade show leading up to release they don’t give everything away in the first trailer….

  • D+Pad magazine, baby!

  • 1up yours is a GREAT podcast, my favourite overall. really smart and really funny.