<< Portico: December Computer Games Magazine and dialogue

11/03/2005

December Computer Games Magazine and dialogue

Great big issue this month with three reviews and one column by yours truly. Two of the reviews are bundled in the same spot, mostly because the two Armored Task Force wargames are pretty similar. The column is in the "Revisionist History" (now with PC games!) spot and waxes eloquently about the brief life of SimTex, the makers of the original Master of Orion. I'd like to thank my editor for some of that eloquence.

The big feature piece is on the union between board games and computer games. Bruce Geryk writes about how board games have made the transition to online play and Brett Todd contributes a companion piece on computer games that have found their way to cardboard and plastic. Well worth looking at.

There's an interesting pre-review of Civilization IV - not final because the game wasn't final when the piece went to press - but it describes how much Civ love I am feeling at the moment. It's interesting because the review format is Steve Bauman and Tom Chick engaging in a dialogue about the game. You don't just get a great sense of the game, you also get a very good idea about the subtle differences in these two gamers. Both come to the same conclusion - Civ IV is great - and mostly for the same features. But both also come through as people looking for different ways to love a great game.

It bears comparison with the "Bruce versus Tom" multiplayer reports in Computer Gaming World - reports that also serve as secondary reviews or even mini-strategy guides. (It may be the most consistently funny thing in the gaming press today - or at least the most consistently intentionally funny.)

Two voices on the same page actually works very well for conveying information and impressions, probably for the same reason that a well-run internet forum is more informative than a web review. For all its thumbnail sketches, Ebert and Roeper works as a movie show very well more because of the dialogue and enthusiasm than the thumbs and movie clips.

The original Gamesdomain is lamented for many reasons, but many people miss the "Second Opinions" pieces that some games would get. Dialogue and exchange is a natural part of evaluating any media product and I think that all of the major publishers and venues would be better served by doing it more often. PCGamer's podcast is an excellent example of gaming discussion done well. (I don't have G4TV, but what I have seen hasn't made its acquisition a high priority for me.)

8 Comments:

Anonymous Dave Long said...

G4's Attack of the Show is a great bit of gaming discussion as well as a fun show about all sorts of things. I never expected to like it as much as I do. For gaming, tech and movie fans, Attack of the Show makes G4 worthwhile.

Mini-plug: Check out my MotoGP3 and Rainbow Six Lockdown reviews in the same issue of CGM! ;)

--Dave

11/04/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Long said...

G4's Attack of the Show is a great bit of gaming discussion as well as a fun show about all sorts of things. I never expected to like it as much as I do. For gaming, tech and movie fans, Attack of the Show makes G4 worthwhile.

Mini-plug: Check out my MotoGP3 and Rainbow Six Lockdown reviews in the same issue of CGM! ;)

--Dave

11/04/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Long said...

Ugh... sorry for the double post. :(

11/04/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Troy Goodfellow said...

Yeah, check out Dave's stuff. Why is it that CGM gets all the talented people?

I'll have to check out Attack of the Show sometime. The name is pretty idiotic, though.

11/04/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Long said...

Attack of the Show is a silly name, for sure. They do come up with some very original stories though, and cover a lot of things that I'd love to have the time to find myself across the internet but just don't. It's even funny sometimes. :)

I think CGM gets talented people because Steve Bauman is the best EIC of a magazine in the industry.

11/04/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken Wootton said...

I'm pretty partial to G4's Judgement Day. I know that one of the hosts of the show, Tommy T., drives some folks insane (he has a stated bias against RPGs and RTSs, for example) but its format very much fits the dialog and exchange style of evaluation you mention. It's basically two guys discussing games. This type of banter does a great job of letting me know about the game and, even better, whether or not it would interest me, outside of the review scores handed out in the end.

By the way, I'm fuzzyslug on QT3, if you are wondering just who this Ken guy is.

11/06/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Long said...

Tommy's a wacko.He certainly gets people to watch the show because of his silly views, but I think he's one of the least "fair" people reviewing games anywhere today. He doesn't come at it from an evaluation standpoint at all.

He's the TV personification of the 12 year-old messageboard poster.

11/07/2005 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Wootton said...

I can't disagree with Dave there. Tommy is a lot like a 12 year old wacko. That said, he's pretty open about his biases. I don't so much take his review scores with a grain of salt, I ignore them pretty much altogether. That's ok, though. The discussion of the game is where the meat of the review is at.

11/07/2005 03:55:00 PM  

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