Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fired for a Game Review?

Rumors are swirling in that other industry about why Jeff Gerstmann was summarily fired from his veteran position at Gamespot. The story is that a major advertiser on Gamespot wasn't happy with Jeff's review of their game and exerted pressure on the site to fire him.

Gamespot and Eidos (the advertiser) have belatedly and weakly asserted that the rumors are false, but Gamespot won't reveal the real reasons for the termination. Jeff indicated that he wasn't legally allowed to comment according to an interview on Joystiq.

Regardless of the truth, now, Gamespot's reputation has just taken a heavy blow, with their current and future impartiality now put into question.

Could this happen to our industry, too? Time will tell.

Eric Martin writes a long defense of my "Games are not supposed to be fun" article on Board Game News.

Trouble in China writes a huge game carnival on women and gaming issues which covers basically everything written for the last several months.

Someone seems to think that today, Tuesday, is "National Dice Day". What the heck is National Dice Day? Anyone?

The latest Library Technology Reports issue is all about gaming and libraries. (Thanks, Robin!)

A court in British Columbia has banned board games from being played in the courthouse waiting room, which until now had been enjoyed by members of the victims waiting for a verdict. The reason given for the banning was "decorum".

A very strange and new gaming paradox is described in the New York Times about how you can carefully play two games which are both losing bets to actually win.

The Imperial Valley News (AZ) recommends board games.

The Star Tribune features an article about board game designer Donald Meyer, of Pywacket Games.

There's a chess club in the Bronx which did so much for its students that it was the feature of a 2005 TV movie, "Knights of the South Bronx," starring Ted Danson as the chess teacher. Well, for some reasons, the school's principal has been trying to kill it. Read the rather bewildering article in the New York Post.



Tim - A GameBuff said...

Great links here. As a video gamer myself and listener to video game podcasts, I've also been following the Jeff story. Too much speculation and rumor to truly know if this was an issue of one review causing the firing, a power struggle, or an ongoing issue and this was just the last review and he already was going to be fired despite the review or maybe he even knew he was to be fired and this was him leaving a bad review in retaliation. Anyway, I look forward to seeing if we ever find out the truth despite NDA's

But I feel this is common in most media based companies. Sales and marketing departments have alot of control in companies and sponsors provide alot of income. I see things increasing and sales and marketing controling more of what is released as well as influencing the creativity and design of games, movies, etc.

Unfortunately, whatever the truth with Gamespot, Eidos and Jeff is, they rely alot on their name and good will among readers, that is now lost, moreso than Eidos, just look at Eidos's forums to see all of the harsh messages there though.

Buffalo GameBuffs blog

gnome said...

Oh, and since I failed to comment on the subject, your "Games are not supposed to be fun" piece is absolutely brilliant and I can't help but wholeheartedly agree dear Yehuda. Excellent ideas...

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, Gnome and Tim.

I remember a discussion on Spielfrieks about whether game reviewers who receive free games could give unbiased reviews.