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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.