[!] How do you obtain information about video games?

Image by Flickr user Travis Estell (CC)
Image by Flickr user Travis Estell (CC)

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?

 

 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m sorry, it looks like I might’ve broken the poll there. Hope not! Anyway, games on TV has always fascinated me because it’s such an uncomfortable relationship between the two.

    So if I may prattle on, perhaps folks in the US are less aware of it, but there was a very good games show from 2004 onwards that, a bit like the Angry Videogame Nerd, was originally distributed by mailed CDs. It’s called Consolevania, and it’s made by a couple of guys in Glasgow, Scotland. It did get put on TV eventually I think in quite a limited way, but eventually it was mostly an internet based thing. Anyway I’ve only discovered it recently and not seen too much, but from what I’ve seen it’s a smart, funny and well-made show with plenty of borderline offensive humour and charismatic personalities. Better than any TV based show about games I’ve seen, although recently Charlie Brooker (ex-PC games journo turned TV presenter) has put out some stiff competition – Gameswipe was a shockingly good BBC one-off programme. Both shows are up on YouTube and I’d recommend anyone check them out! Even my mum enjoyed Gameswipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I always found watching video game shows on TV to be fun and fascinating. Like, at times I miss the old X-Play. That was such a staple show for me for a long time, and it really helped me stay in touch with gaming, especially during times when I wasn’t playing much. I’ll have to take a gander at those shows you mentioned. They don’t ring any bells to me as a U. S. of A. resident.

      Like

  2. duckofindeed says:

    My video game knowledge is very randomly obtained. I seem to bump into video game news by sheer luck. I just happen to, let’s say, do research on Ratchet and Clank in order to get some details for fan fiction, then all of a sudden, what, they’re making a movie?! (So. Excited.) Or I pass a random video on Youtube that interests me, and then I’m watching the trailer of the newest Zelda game for the Wii U (this actually came about when I was looking up videos on the newest characters added to the next Super Smash Bros.). I found out about Hyrule Warriors when looking up images of Ghirahim as reference for making my cosplay costume for him. So in short, I hear about games the most on the Internet, through Youtube, Wikipedia, or blogs. Or when I go to the game store and find games I never knew were being released. When it comes to knowing if a game is good, though, I usually watch gameplay videos on Youtube, which tell me a lot more than written reviews.

    It’s a surprise I’m not more behind than I am. I eventually get the good games, though, even if I’m often a few years late.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I totally forgot about video game stores as a source of info — actually just did that myself over the weekend. Went in to get one thing and saw all sorts of stuff I either didn’t know about or had forgotten about. (Good thing I only had enough money for the thing I needed to purchase, otherwise, my wallet would have been in trouble!)

      I’m perpetually behind in gaming news as well, though, with as many games as there are, I doubt even the most hardcore fan could keep up with *everything.* I guess if you’re able to follow news about your favorite games, at least, that’s probably all that’s needed. I do my best, but it’s nearly impossible given that there are only 8766 hours (or so) in a year. That’s not nearly enough!

      Like

  3. Hatm0nster says:

    For me it used to be primarily gaming magazines followed closely by word of mouth and tv. There was a time when I could not wait to get my monthly issue of GameInformer or to pick up the latest EGM at the store. X-Play was my go to source for reviews and mainstream game news, and finally waaayyy down the line was GameFAQs.com for walkthroughs for games I didn’t have guidebooks for. This was as recent as 2009.

    Fast forward to 2014, and now X-Play is gone. I recently cancelled my GameInformer subscription after having barely paid attention to it for months. I get nearly all my info from game blogs or Kotaku with just a smidgen of word of mouth. It’s absolutely remarkable how fast this sort of thing changes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Gamefaqs.com was truly a godsend for me when I discovered it years ago! It was awesome to have access to a great clearinghouse of gaming information — I downloaded many a walkthrough way back when (and I still occasionally do now. 🙂

      EGM was such a great magazine — I had a subscription to it for a time in high school. And then my brother started getting Nintendo Power, and the EGM subscription lasped. As nice as online magazines are, there’s still something special about paper gaming magazines. I rarely get them now, but I’m always happy to see the ones that are still chuggng along on the store shelves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hatm0nster says:

        Agreed. It’s fun to root for them even though you yourself don’t use them anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

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