We don’t usually talk about that sort of thing at the dinner table (or anywhere else for that matter)


The Guardian’s recent revamp brought with it a lot of changes – colour,
fancy fonts etc – but they also updated the daily addtional sections.
Monday remains unchanged, and it’s still the one burned into my memory, because it’s the Media
section – the one I seem to buy regularly for about five years while
applying for five hundred thousand jobs, trying to get a break as a
wannabe-journalist.

However,
Thursdays are looking good now: gone is the old, dusty
Science (Life?) section. It’s been replaced with
Technology.
While this does still include the science coverage, with the usual broadhseet
blend of genetics-robotics-microwave-of-the-future features, it’s now
far more focused on computers. As a computery person, this is a good
thing. Most remarkable of all however, is that there’s a full page –
page 3 no less – on GAMES. That’s one page a week on GAMES. In a national
newspaper. And not under a “what to buy for your teenage relative for
Birthday/Christmas/etc” heading. Proper reviews of good games, written
in an adult style.
This week’s review
is of the excellent F.E.A.R. – it’s a good, balanced, and non-jargony
review that gives a fair picture of the game. Just what you want from a
national paper with a wide, varied audience.

A single page
might not seem like much, but it’s a lot better than the Observer,
which has a column on games in its TV Guide, and most other national
newspapers. The Sunday Times has a half-page, but crams in far too many
reviews, rendering them all fairly pointless. Time Out, whose
technology/gadget coverage continues to appall me on a weekly basis
(“This week, stuff to buy for your iPod. Next week… a round-up of
iPods to buy. For when you need a new iPod to go with your iPod
stuff”) – is unsurprisingly awful on games, which I find very
disappointing for magazine that bills itself as a critical guide to all
that you can do with your free time. This week’s issue has a a few
perfunctory 50-word
reviews of PSP games, including Ridge Racers, a game which came out
when the PSP launched several months ago. Good going for a weekly
magazine, that.

So why are most
national publications so reticent when it comes to games? Why do they
hide what they write about them in the most obscure corners of the
publication? And why, for the most part, when they do write about them,
do they seem so
hideously embarrassed?
It’s not like they’re writing about VD. They’re games. Millions of
people play them. And those that don’t can just skip the page –
publications are perfectly happy to spend endless paragraphs
fulminating about Sigur Ros’s latest CD, or the ballet, and they don’t
worry that this not interest a section of their audience…

It’s about time
the non-gaming press grew up and started talking about games the way
that in all likelihood, a sizeable proportion of their readership do…
Although perhaps without the “Yes, I pwnd you all1!1!! You suck!” comments
that some gamers use

original

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