So Is the Score 9 out of 10 for the Beer or the Game?

Stumbled across an interesting blog piece over at IGN that I had to share after the discussion of journalistic integrity arose again after the whole TechCrunch/Moviefone/AOL debacle.

I enjoy heading over to IGN for video game reviews, because, well, I’m a nerd and play video games.  That’s when I came across the site’s review of Crysis 2.  The author Arthur Gies gave it a 9/10, which translates into “Amazing,” according to the descriptor.  Fine enough.  But if you scroll down and look immediately to the right of review text, you’ll see a link to this article on Mr. Gies’ blog: “How I Reviewed Crysis 2.”

I’m always curious to read up on the writing methods of any critic who’s willing to indulge such talk no matter what medium he/she might be analyzing, so I clicked.  Here’s the gist:

I reviewed Crysis 2 at what’s known as a “Review Event.” This is where a publisher, in this case EA, arranges to have reviewers from a number of outlets at a specific location with a reviewable version of the game on hand.

Ok, that’s sort of like a junket.  I’m not a fan, but hey, why not?  He continues:

I started off with about 4 hours of Crysis 2 multiplayer on the Xbox 360. This went down in the presidential suite, with every reviewer in attendance to ensure full teams. I played with Caleb, a member of IGN’s video team next to me running our capture kit and taking notes. Then I had lunch as provided by EA (Chipotle), and went down a few floors to a reserved suite.

Ok, that’s cool, I guess.  I mean, taking something from a publisher is a little questionable, but a guy’s got to eat, right?  It goes on:

These were very nice rooms, as you can see from the pictures I took while I was there. I didn’t eat much of the candy, because I don’t like most candy. Caleb, the member of the IGN video team there to capture footage of the game for our video review and features, drank the beer provided over the next 6 hours as I played, and he took notes.

Nice digs. Why are you in them again? (IGN)

Ok, so you’ve got to be comfortable in… Wait, what?  Beer?  They set you up in a room with beer?  It gets better:

The next day started with more multiplayer, and then a bit of hands-on time with the PS3 and PC versions of Crysis 2.

It was an overnight stay, too?

During my time at the review event, I ordered room service twice, which EA paid for.

Come on, now!  This isn’t just questionable; this is downright suspect.  At least the writer disclosed the information, if that is an “at least.”

Meanwhile, comments on the article don’t seem to care too much about the journalistic ethics this “review event” presents.  They just want to know if the explosions look better on the XBOX 360 or the PS3.

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About Mark Dujsik

Film critic since 2001. Writer/editor/publisher of Mark Reviews Movies, and contributor for RogerEbert.com and Magill's Cinema Annual. Member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society.
This entry was posted in Journalism, Video Games. Bookmark the permalink.

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