Thanks to Dutch’s recent blog on Gameinformer, I was motivated to think about gaming reviews and industry information I’ve read in print recently.
I drew a blank.
As I thought on a much broader scale, I struggled to remember the last magazine of any sort to take up the better part of an afternoon. Had it not been for Forrest Griffin’s fantastic Got Fight? I honestly think the last book I read would’ve been a marketing text from 2005. If that doesn’t count, it may well be A Clockwork Orange; the subject of my Year 12 English assignment... in 2000.
It was at this stage I realised I rarely engage with print, with almost all of my daily information being fed directly from the little blue cord in the wall.
Is this a bad thing? Yes and no but I’m not going to dwell on it. Between Dutch and myself, it is quite clear who is well read; not only due to the topics we write about and their depth of information, but because of our chosen writing styles.
My underlying issue with reading is the fact I have the attention span of a brick. Unless I’m really motivated to get through an article, even on the subjects of interest such as movies or my beloved punk rock, I just lose focus. Even reading Facebook status updates can prove to be a chore and they’re often less than 15 words long. I promise I’m interested but reading is just so hard sometimes.
Despite my idiosyncrasy, I mainly stopped reading magazines because much of the content is often so dry and laboured. Sure, many articles are entertaining gems, but no matter what I read, from Alternative Press to Rolling Stone, Empire and even Better Homes & Gardens (shut up it’s for work), I can just picture a team of reluctant journo’s plodding away on the keyboard hoping to meet a daily word limit so they can hit the nearest wine bar and finish the day in an undeserving Merlot haze. Where’s the passion for the content?
That’s why I enjoy Zero Punctuation, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s weekly games review on The Escapist. Passionate and straightforward, Yahtzee delivers his reviews through a fast paced flash animation with quite an open and unrelenting dialogue; never have I witnessed a series of reviews containing so many references to a vaginal colloquialism (he’s clearly not a fan of Halo or COD: Black Ops).
More than just strong language and a pessimistic outlook on life, Zero Punctuation is a winner simply because it’s entertaining. Thanks to its speedy pace, both with dialogue and visual cues, you need to stay focussed to understand the flickering mess on the screen, but not so focussed that you feel like you are working and therefore don’t care so much.
While I don’t necessarily agree with his point of view on many games (this is often my prerequisite for any consistently accessed media review), his thoughts and criticisms are delivered with a certain panache you just don’t find in print.
A refreshing change of pace from standards such as Good Game, IGN.com or GameSpot, Yahtzee may have a glass-half-empty perception, but he can definitely deliver an entertaining critique.
Have you seen any of Yahtzee’s work? What are your thoughts on his excessively negative outlook?