One of the numerous panel discussions at GDC last month did things a little bit differently, setting up a panel of video game journalists, lead by Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, to answer some of the questions game industry professionals have for those that write about them and their work. The panel consisted of 1UP's Garnett Lee, MTV's Stephen Totilo, Game Informer's Andy McNamara, Geoff Keighly of GameTrailers.tv, and our very own Brian Crecente.
The group covers a variety of topics, including the responsibility of a game journalist, the role of the reporter versus that of a critic, the impact that the emerging casual game market is having on game journalism, and one question from an anonymous contributor about the pay structure of gaming sites. One of the most interesting discussions, though, surrounded the influence giving a score to a game has on not only the game, but whether people will read the article:
"I hate game scores", Crecente said. He cited a film reviewer's quote that if you put a letter or score on a review, no one will actually read it. Keighley agreed that the score-driven culture bothers him because the industry views the score as "objective". "You never hear someone say [that]about a music album", he noted.
On the other hand, I'd think that the game score means a lot to the game industry, since that number (or letter, thanks to 1UP) may be what makes or breaks someone's interest in the game. Those scores are also a factor for advertisers when looking around at what games and publishers to support. Having that score could potentially be what gives other games from a publisher or franchise a future. The rest of the discussion is definitely worth taking a look at.