The quest for information is a never ending pursuit. Human beings crave knowledge about everything, from the world’s most monumental questions (“Why are we here?”) to the least life-changing queries. (“What socks am I going to wear today?”) This fact is no different when it comes to video games. From the moment they were created, we wanted to know everything about them – how to play them, how they were made, their respective “fun factors,” if they were worth having in the home, and so on. As with life in general, the way we receive information about our games has evolved. Early on, the best place to find out about a new game might have been in an arcade. Talking to your closest gaming friends (and maybe some strangers) and/or watching them play probably gave you everything you needed to know but most importantly, whether or not a given game was worth your time and quarters.
Once video games entered the household, the arcade experience became less and less important (to individuals and the industry, not necessarily the gaming community as a whole). Why travel miles to the arcade when you had your own stash of games at home or a nearby friend’s house? The act of getting to know a game became more personalized and perhaps a little more insular since players were likely conversing about them within their own social circles rather than with the community at-large at an arcade.
Fast forward past a gaming slump (that you were probably too busy to notice because of all the playing) and into a new era of gaming. Consoles progressed fast and furious – 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, and, wait for it…64 whole bits of graphical goodness! All that evolution in a decade — wow! With this growth came the rise of gaming magazines and guides. And you didn’t necessarily have to subscribe to Nintendo Power or Electronic Gaming Monthly (though it was obviously a lot cooler if you did) because maybe you had a friend who subscribed (or maybe you were that friend who was kind enough to share). Or, maybe your town had a new store devoted entirely to selling and trading video games (what a wonder!) and you were able to head down there and read about all the newest games right from the “newsstand.”
Soon enough however, reading turned to watching as television programs about video games began randomly appearing here and there. After getting off to a slow start in the 1990s (I recall catching a stray episode of GamePro TV back in the day), gaming shows took off like wildfire in the 2000s thanks, in part, to the creation of tech-centric television channels like TechTV. In only thirty minutes a day (or week), you could learn all you needed to know about the best in gaming from any number of shows. How convenient! And concurrent to the rise in gaming shows on TV was explosion of the Internet. Slowly but surely, gaming journalism in most forms migrated online. How many print game magazines are left at this point? Not many. And I can’t think of a single gaming news/review show that’s still on TV. But despite the ubiquity of gaming and games journalism on the Internet, it’s hard to know if it completes this timeless circle of information gathering and dispersion.
The preceding trip down memory lane was brought to you by one question: How do you obtain information about video games? Trusty or not-so-trusty word of mouth? Magazines? Television? Internet professionals or personal blogs? In the interest of science and curiosity, give us your top 3 choices to the question in the poll below, and be sure to enter in your own means of assembling facts and data on games if we’ve left one out.
Feel like take this notion a step further? How about this question: what will the future of game journalism look like? Will the informational hamster-wheel of the Internet spin forever, or is there some new way of disseminating information that’s just waiting to be found and utilized?