Video games and gaming culture is a relatively new medium with an even newer branch of journalism. Play Meter was the first magazine to feature any kind of coverage of the industry in 1974. After the success of the 1978 game, Space Invaders, many articles and stories began popping up in newspapers and television shows.
The first magazine dedicated strictly to gaming was launched in the U.K. in 1981. Two weeks later the U.S. released one as well under the name Electronic Games. This industry was no stranger to dealing with the struggles of the changing technology.
“All Media will soon be on-demand, especially and painfully obviously in the technology space, and multimedia digital content will be king” said Eurogamer’s business development manager Pat Garratt.
Self-made gaming journalism has become increasingly popular with the continuously easier access to the internet. Some of these independent writers even get picked up and hired by professional gaming magazines.
There has been much controversy about the ethics in gaming journalism. Three of the most common gaming magazines, Nintendo Power (no longer in circulation), Official PlayStation Magazine, and Official Xbox Magazine, have huge biases to market their material in a positive light. Publishers have been known to withhold funds from writers that don’t meet their standards of positive writing.
Another known issue with reviewing games specifically is the time factor. When reviewing a movie it only takes around 2 hours at the most to sit through the entire film. Video games on the other hand can take anywhere upwards of thirty hours. Mike Krahulik of the Penny Arcade analyzed a review for the game Enchanted Arms and guessed that the reviewer hadn’t even completed the game in question. This claim was later discredited by documented proof of the reviewer’s completion but the point was still made that this is an issue.
The embedded video does a great job of explaining some of the basics of gaming journalism and their issues.