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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:


What do you get when you take some of the most well-spoken writers in the gaming press and throw them into a round table discussion on the year in video games? You get Slate Magazine's first annual Gaming Club, which assembles Slate's Chris Suellentrop, Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, Seth Schiesel of the New York Times, and MTV's Stephen Totilo to discuss the video games that made 2007 the "best year ever for video games." They talk about the finer points of BioShock - the Citizen Kane of video games - versus Tetris, the joys of Desktop Tower Defense, the massive growth in the handheld gaming segment, and the future of gaming as we know it. Through twelve pages of back and forth and one podcast the gaming intelligentsia manage to cover the entire year and then some, and it is a fascinating read if you've got the time and vocabulary and cognitive power to keep up. In the latest post, Seth Schiesel manages to neatly sum up my main criticism of this Gaming Club concept.


Man, I was pretty far off base with the pronunciation of Newsweek's N'Gai Croal's name. Honestly I cannot tell you exactly how I was pronouncing it. I used to just vaguely mumble something while making the international sign for dreadlocks and hoped for the best. While Croal loses points for both using the royal 'we' and not namedropping me, he makes it up in the end for referencing the cartoon that taught me everything I ever needed to know. Go Joe!

How To Say 'N'Gai' Like A Pro, According To The 'End-Guy'


Newsweek's head tech editor N'Gai Croal appeared recently on CNN's "American Morning", bringing some mainstream sanity to the discussion surrounding the impending release of Rockstar's Manhunt 2. While Croal performed admirably, anchor Kiran Chetry did her part to dumb the content down for the CNN viewership's understanding, injecting the proper amount of basic cable news fear-mongering we've come to expect. Fortunately, N'Gai addressed the notion that our children will be going to hell in a handbasket if they perform a Wii-mote style stealth kill.

As the Level Up editor clearly pointed out to Chetry and the viewers, Manhunt 2 is not for kids and rated by the ESRB accordingly. But why is this even an issue? Are CNN and its TV peers that out of touch when it comes to understanding the gaming population?

Croal explores the "infantilisation" of video games in a recent posting, venting his personal frustrations (that match ours quite nicely) on the general assumption that video games are, across the board, entertainment for kids. Read on, then please discuss.

The Problem (and the Danger) of the Continued Infantilisation of Videogames, Part I