The Nine Worst Cliches in Gaming Journalism

Must have lost a few points recently, since my count was wrong. Never the less, updated.

When it comes to the gaming media, the quality of the journalism is… not very good. From lazy stories taken off social media sites to uncontrollable rumour mongering and even outright attacks on their audience, gaming journalism is to real journalism what the average tabloid is to the BBC. And just like the tabloid newspapers its quality is inspired by, the world of gaming journalism has its cliches too.

So let’s look at them all! Here are the nine laziest cliches in gaming journalism!

Video Games in Real Life

Let’s start with the most ‘harmless’ one first. Namely, video games in real life.

This was somewhat of an interesting idea… round about the time the internet started becoming a thing. So, about 1990 then. When a bunch of bored college students dressing up like video game characters was somehow a new and innovative piece of ‘comedy’ genius.

Unfortunately, since then, it’s just became way overused. For example, how many attempts at recreating Mario Kart in real life have there been?

Above: Tons

Far too many, as you can see in the tons of real life Mario Kart videos shown above. And the thing is, just about every series on the planet has been recreated like this. Mario platformers, the Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, Super Smash Bros, Mega Man…

It’s not interesting any more, and is completely overused as an article subject. Please find something else to write about. Just not…

Classic Games Remade in the Unreal Engine

These silly remakes. Okay, there have been some cool looking Unreal Engine remakes for popular games. Like this one of Clock Town in The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask:

Or a surprisingly high amount of this Super Mario 64 Unreal Engine remake/test video:

But the vast majority of these remakes just aren’t very interesting. They’re not trying to be anything like a game, they’re just the same old bland field with a few character models chucked in for the sake of it. For example:

I get it. You can buy a bunch of assets for the engine, and find some character models from popular video games in a similar style. But they’re not interesting in any way. Anyone can make this sort of thing, it’s not special.

Talking of overused ideas, the next one is getting a bit old as well…

Video Game Marriage Proposals

It’s like rule 5963 of the internet; if a work allows user generated content, someone has used it for a marriage proposal. It’s like some sort of geeky ‘tradition’, propose to your one true love (who just happens to care about video games for some reason) through an edited video game level.

It’s happened in Super Mario World:

And Super Mario Bros 3:

It’s happened in New Super Mario Bros Wii:


Either way, it’s getting a bit old hat by this point. Indeed, it makes me want to see either:

1. Someone actually divorce someone through an edited video game. Forget a marriage, imagine someone breaking up in the form of a custom level filled with dangerous traps and angry messages. Now that WOULD make for an interesting video.

2. The person being proposed to being an actual level designer/ROM hacker, who promptly chews out the creator for their shoddy level design. Because let’s face it, almost all of these levels are designed in the laziest, most uninspired ways possible, and laden with sprite spam and cutoff. It’d be rather funny to see someone like levelengine pick one of these hacks up, utterly annihilate with a bad score in a video review and then stick it next to Hammer Brother Demo 3 and Link’s Adventure on a worst ROM hacks of all time list.

Either way, the marriage proposals are getting a bit tired now. Time to try something new! Like, the very opposite of the next cliche on the list:

The Top Two Million X of All Time

Because if there’s anything the internet likes more than jokes and memes and ‘heartwarming’ Youtube videos, it’s lists. So if there’s a topic related to video games in any way at all, there will be hundreds upon hundreds of lists about it.

Like the top ten hardest or top ten easiest bosses. That seems pretty common.


Above: There’s a good chance this guy will be on the easy bosses list. Along with Gohma and Cloud ‘n Candy.

Or lists about random subjects no one really cares about. Top ten cats in gaming? Oh sure, that’s actually surprisingly (or should I say ‘purrsprisingly’) common:

top ten cats

Above: Given how much the internet loves cats, this should surprise no one.

But the worst (and obviously most common of all) tends to be the inevitable list of ‘best games ever made’. Trust me here, every single journalist on the planet seems to have written a version of this list. And guess what? They’re all completely useless.

This is because of two obvious reasons:

1. Games are different from each other in just about every way, so even the best games of all time by Metacritic score are usually not comparable. Can you really say that the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time:

Can be objectively compared to Super Mario Galaxy?

Above: Can you spot all the beta elements in this trailer?

Cause they’re both good. Just good in different ways, and appeal to different people. Additionally, no one will ever actually play every game ever made. It’s impossible, there are simply too many of them. So how you can REALLY say what’s the best game? Or for that matter, what’s worst?

And that’s not even getting into today’s sorry excuse for a ‘media’, which wear their political biases on their sleeve and will happily give scores based on how ‘moral’ they think a game is rather than how good it actually is. So next to games people actually like, you get the odd walking simulator and boring Twine game that mostly only appeals to insane Tumblr users. But more on that later, the point is that top whatever lists just don’t work, and they’ve been done to death by now. Please think of something else to write!

top ten gaming reinvented

Above: Also, you’re reading a top nine gaming journalism cliches article. I’m a hypocrite, aren’t I?

Although it should be your own work…

Press Releases as News

Which in simple terms, means something that takes effort to write.

It mostly certainly does not mean ‘copying and pasting press releases into a WordPress post’. Journalism is not ‘being paid to press CTRL + C and CTRL + V in quick succession’. It’s meant to be about doing research. Providing a balanced look at the events of the day. Standing up for people who otherwise have no voice. Finding interesting things your readers actually need to know.

Above: This is better than your ‘article’

Copying press releases and acting like corporate yes men is nothing like that. In fact, if that’s the kind of thing you like doing so much, maybe your boss should just pay your salary to the company’s marketing team. After all, they did the hard work of actually writing the press release and providing the screenshots!

salary compare

Above: Some stats from Reed show that the industry is very aware of this, since apparently the average gaming journalist salary is even lower at about $28,000 (£19,000) a year…

But even regurgitated fact sheets are better than posting…
Continue Reading…

LEGO Star Wars the Force Awakens Announced

Officially at least, since the game’s existence was actually leaked by Amazon’s Italian branch a good few days ago. None the less, here’s the official trailer for the game, released by Disney on the offical Youtube channel for the franchise:

So what can we say about it? Well, not a lot really, the trailer is only the briefest possible glimpse at what’s likely to be in the game. None the less, it seems like everyone from the movie is here, from villain Kylo Ren to circular droid BB-8 to new characters like Rey and Finn. And it also seems to maintain the… somewhat light hearted sense of humour from the other LEGO adaptations too, which could be a breath of fresh air for some people.

But what do you think? Are you excited for the new LEGO adaptation of Star Wars the Force Awakens? Or would you rather see the characters in other games, like Disney Infinity or a non LEGO related adaptation?

Super Mario Advance 4 e-Reader Edition Released!

No, not Nintendo’s official version (though that’s been released recently as well, and looks amazing), but a fan made ROM hack which makes the same functionality available for free!

Basically, some smart people over at GBATemp have taken a look at the Virtual Console version of the game, extracted the changes from the ROM and made them available as part of a patch for a Super Mario Advance 4 ROM. In other words, you can play the exact same game as from the eShop (complete with e-Reader functionality and UI) by patching this mod to a normal ROM of the original game.

What’s more, a few things have even been added, that aren’t even available in Nintendo’s official version! These include a save file which has all the e-Reader specific switch effects applied, including different Luigi physics, harder gameplay and Super Mario Bros 2 vegetables in the normal levels. Here’s a screenshot showing the project:

mario advance 4 mod title

mario advance 4 mod levels

Either way, it’s pretty obvious that Nintendo won’t be too happy about this one. Especially given that it’s a method to basically make a brand ‘new’ Virtual Console release available for free to anyone who can find a copy of the original game.

What do you think about this mod?


Super Mario Advance 4 All e-Reader Levels – ROM

Gamespot Stole Fan Video about Romero’s New Doom Level?

As you may or may not already know, Doom creator John Romero has released a new level for Doom.  Released 22 years after his last work on the game, it’s been shared on his Twitter feed and made available at the following link:

And very quickly, a video of the level went up on Youtube, by an account under the name of Ultraboy94fsr.  It’s a nice overview of the stage, which can be seen right here:

Unfortunately, it seems like Gamespot also watched this video, and hought it was pretty good.  So what did they do?

Oh, they just went and stole the video outright. Adding a few pop ups and a bit of commentary on top of it, they then posted their barely modified version to their own channel and treated it like they made it themselves.  Credit?  Hah, you must be joking.  There’s nothing in the description, nothing in the video… basically, they passed it off as their own work despite doing very little to the video and having absolutely no involvement in recording the level.

You can see it for yourself here:

You can also see the heavy backlash they’re getting as a result, the top fifty or so comments are all about how Gamespot are stealing people’s work and not giving any credit for the footage.

Either way, it’s pretty low, even for a gaming news site.  What do you think about Gamespot stealing someone’s Youtube video and not giving any credit for using it?


Gamespot uses Youtube user Ultraboy94fsr’s playthrough of new DOOM level without crediting him – Reddit

Left 4 Dead 3 Rumoured to be Released Next Year

What’s more, there are some interesting details in this rumour as well, like the four characters being called Katherine, Irvin (a gangster), Keenan (a comic book nerd) and Garrett Jr (a Kenpo fighter).  It will also apparently have six campaigns (called No Mercy, Cliff-Hanger, Early Destination, Crashland, Impasse and Inquisitor Land), as well as be released on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Above: A trailer for the second game, which the third game will presumably take after.

Oh, and something about Half Life 3.  Apparently Valve has decided to put Half Life 3 on hold for this game, which is sure to annoy a lot of people…

So is it real?  Well to be honest, we’re not entirely convinced.  For starters, the source is an article or two in the Daily Express, a UK newspaper that’s seen as on the same level as the Daily Mail.  That’s not exactly the most reputable of publications, and the fact it’s not even a gaming one makes it all the more suspicious.  Why would anyone report this sort of news to a fairly average UK tabloid without much of a connection to the gaming world?

Source aside, we’re also not entirely sure who’d be making the game.  Oh sure, Valve owns the series.  but it’s actually Turtle Rock Studios who were the developers of the first two games, and they’re clearly said that they’re not going to be working on a third title.  Are Valve taking the game inhouse?  Is it being farmed out to another random studio without much knowledge of the franchise?  None of these are made clear in the reports.

It also makes us wonder whether this game could be seeing a Nintendo NX release, if the rumours about it are true.  After all, the NX is coming out in either 2016 or 2017, and a couple of games from Valve on a Nintendo system would certainly help boost its reputation with more ‘hardcore’ gamers.  Perhaps the talk about it being on Xbox One, PS4 and PC might not be the whole story…

But what do you think?  Is there a chance that Left 4 Dead 3 will be released in 2017?  And if so, will its content reflect the rumours posted by the Daily Express?


Daily Express Article about Left 4 Dead 3