As you may have guessed from reading my hyperlink-saturated posts, I like to get my gaming news from a couple different sources. Sometimes it’s because I like to get a different slant on the same story. Other times it’s because a certain site specializes in a certain section of the industry that others usually gloss over. Still other times I frequent a site solely because I like the writing style of a particular journalist. So herein I present my favourite sites for games journalism and my thoughts on them.
Kotaku – Probably my most frequently checked site, thanks to the mostly up-to-the-minute nature of its stories. Problem is, they’ve been heavily mired in sensationalist journalism for the past year or two, and it’s only getting worse with each passing week. Of their current editors and contributors, only Owen Good and Jason Schreier are worth reading, Good for his witty sense of humour and above-average writing skills, and Schreier for his “Random Encounters” JRPG column and his mostly level-headed approach (although he recently wrote an ill-conceived article on why developers refuse to talk to the media and got absolutely ripped for it). Unfortunately, I’ve been reading Kotaku for so long that I just can’t stop now.
Gamasutra – Whenever I want to read exclusively about the business side of the games industry, I go to Gamasutra. They have a ton of insider articles about how such-and-such company got off the ground, why this company went under, how much it took to make this game from scratch, etc. Really interesting stuff if you’re intrigued by the cogs and underlying machinery of the industry. And the commenters are fairly intelligent (most of them seem to be developers and industry personnel).
The Penny Arcade Report – A one-man operation run by Ben Kuchera. I like this site because it’s almost a 50-50 mix of editorials and long expository articles. If Kotaku is ADD-fueled blip journalism, with everything packaged into bite-sized paragraphs (nothing wrong with that), then PAR requires an attention span and a tolerance for long stories you might not necessarily care about (and you only get one a day, so unlike Kotaku, where there’s a good chance you’ll find at least one piece of news you’re interested in on a daily basis, you’re SOL until tomorrow with PAR). Still, I like the amount of thought that goes into each PAR story, and how each one is an original piece (whereas at Kotaku, Destructoid, and Gamespot, you’ll often see the same press release reposted at each site).
Polygon – If there’s ever a site that could be considered a “games journalism supergroup,” it’s this one. I started reading it when I learned that Brian Crecente and Michael McWhertor (my two favourite ex-Kotakuites) would be writing for it. It’s still very young and doesn’t seem to have found its angle yet, but it’s absolutely brimming with potential. Right now, it seems to be an equal mix of press release blips and longer articles, but I’m hoping the latter becomes more prevalent in the future.
I’ve noticed that many gamers tend to be partial to certain sites (my friend, for example, is a Gamespot kinda guy, whereas I’ve probably checked them out less than ten times in my life), so I’d love to hear what sites are your favourites. For better or for worse, games journalism is an incredibly important aspect of the games industry, so where its core audience chooses to go for information makes for an interesting topic of discussion.