So for the last couple of months (and especially over the last few days) there's been a resurgence of "no one should ever write for free, ever, never never" among freelance games writers and paid career professionals. As someone who takes games writing very seriously and who's also worked as a mostly-unpaid-but-not-always reviewer for the last twelve years, I wanted to take a few minutes and share my thoughts on the subject.
December 2011 is a month that, upon review of the NPD report, continues the slide that the console video game industry has seen for much of the year. Hardware sales were down 32% from a December ago, with weaker Wii and PlayStation 3 sales leading the decline.
Twenty-eleven was not a banner year for games. Sure, the fourth quarter was once again overfilled with AAA titles that brought in billions of dollars of revenue (and review scores centered squarely at the top end of the scoring chart), but many of those titles weren't exactly mindblowing in their awesomeness. The games weren't bad, mind you—it's just hard to shake the feeling that 2011's fourth quarter was more about treading water.
I'm not playing anything substantial at the moment; just a little of this, and a little of that. However, instead of starting up something big, it's usually around this time of year that I get the urge to go through my backlog and weed through the accumulated pile. I've got quite a bit of stuff stacked up, so I need to start deciding what I'm actually going to try to play, and what I'm never going to get around to.
Some people may disagree, but for my taste, a lot of the games walking away with top honors right now just weren't cutting it. Of course, your mileage may vary (and probably does) but for me, the ten titles I've selected were the ones that left the best impression and were most deserving.
Fifteen awards, six podcasters, and countless surprises. You'll be stunned by our pick for Game of the Year, and by the vigorous debate that follows its reveal. Plus: we announce the two winners of our Holiday Contest! Thanks to everyone for entering! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, Daniel Weissenberger, and Tim "Maybe Next Year" Spaeth. From all of us at GameCritics, have a fantastic holiday, and we'll see you in 2012!
If you ask me what a review should be, it should absolutely include feelings, thoughts, and emotions that are stirred in the player. However, it needs to also include other factors, such as various aspects of design, how bug-free the technical side is, and how it functions overall. On top of that, a good critic will take into account a game's content in terms of how it relates to others that have come before it.
We've been seeing a gradual shift in software sales in the last couple of years towards digital distribution. Full retail games have been available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 over that time and, although the digital library is but a fraction of the retail library, digital has been catching up.
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