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Ryan Lynch
Ornery college student with a general ambition to become an immortal machine god.
Ornery college student with a general ambition to become an immortal machine god.
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No, Google Plus, I do not like IGN. I think IGN's journalistic integrity is a joke. I sincerely hope your A.I. is sufficiently advanced enough to read this post and remove it from your suggestions.
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Damnit, Google! Why doe THIS have to be a joke? I want my self-driving car so badly...
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Now THIS is customer service.
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As someone who used to study architecture, I'm quite familiar with 3D printing technology. Unfortunately, the public is somewhat less aware, due to the currently narrow applications of the technology in crafting obscure mechanical parts, or more often, plastic prototypes. These gents help bring the technology to the masses by proving it's applicability to practicle human needs.
Pretty interesting BBC video about 3d Printing by Powder

Printing a bicycle with a 3D printer!

And an article in economist about the project:
http://www.economist.com/node/18114221
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On Video Game Journalism

So recently, looking over a number of articles for up and coming major releases, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed to find that articles which were promisingly titled as if to convey that they had new and relevant information lead to articles not more than ten flimsy paragraphs long rehashing old news that any gamer up to date with current events would already know.

Why do they do this? I’m a busy person, we’re all busy people, in a world of instant communication and global economics. I have no time to peruse articles that have no new content because it was a slow news day. And the alarming number of carefully worded titles that hint at fresh news where none exists on the other side of the link can be no coincidence. In fact, I think there’s a legal term for that kind of behavior: Bait and Switch. Of course, I’m certain some would argue that Bait and Switch applies only to stores which advertise certain products at particular prices then announce to visiting customers that the case is otherwise, but in principle they’re very similar. A person is being drawn towards a good (or service) under the assumption that it is one (more desirable) thing and not another (less desirable) thing for the sake of financial gain. In this case, though, the financial gain is not through sales, but ad views.

Actually, I can understand why they do this, come to think of it. Ads pay the server bills, the journalist’s wages and keep the stockholders happy. To keep viewership up you need new, fresh articles. The problem is that game news can be few and far between, and often smaller, less prominent news sites will find themselves disadvantaged in getting a hold of new information over larger, more established game news companies like G4 or N4G. FOX News and CNN may experience the odd slow news day, but for the narrow niche of gaming news, ‘slow news days’ can last weeks, or even months when between development cycles.

Of course, it’s not very helpful to simply whine and complain about something, so here are some general guidelines which I think will help game journalists write richer, more attractive articles.

1. New content first. Content is king, but fresh content is the King of Kings in gaming news. Rehashing is only acceptable in this category if it was written in another language. Smaller news sites here in the States or our English speaking friends in the Common Wealth who find themselves having a hard time getting exclusives with big names in the industry might look to investing a good chunk of cash in high-quality translators who can translate freshly released articles in foreign languages. I can’t even begin tell you how many times I’ve run into major sites that announced new information from overseas, but then stumbled over vague translations.

2. In-depth content second. If you can’t get it new, get it deep. Where big sites might skim over quotations, interviews and press releases, picking out the biggest and juiciest news, those who come late in the game would benefit from in depth analysis, examining every screenshot and press release, commenting on every line of a quote or interview.

3. Breadth of content third. If you can’t get it new or deep, get all of it in one place. Bits and pieces of news on a particular new or up-coming release are often spread across a wide number of sites, and too often I find myself forgetting old news and having to backtrack and get it. Gathering everything that’s been released about a game that exists into a single, comprehensive article would be particularly useful for gamers who want to have a source to link to when they’re engaged in a discussion and want to provide their friends more details (read as; locked in a flame-war and want to feed the trolls with sauce).

A common thread show be appearing here, and a lot of journalists are going to groan when they see it. Each of these suggestions requires successively larger amounts of writing to be substantial and useful. Yes, these kinds of articles are going to be longer than the big publishers put out. That means journalists working under smaller publishers are going to have to brush up on their words-per-minute and crank up their productivity.

This leads into another issue- the quality of writing. A lot of video game journalism I read is just plain bad writing. I suspect, but cannot prove, that this is because many of these journalists come from background of blogging, and are not literature or journalism majors with professional training. It doesn’t, unfortunately, take a degree in literature to be able to tell the difference between good and bad writing, otherwise the trashy romance novels on the supermarket shelf would sell just as well as, say, A Song of Ice and Fire. Fortunately, while game journalists may never match the quality of writing that goes into the creation of such celebrated publications as The New York Times, a semester or two in a community college learning basic fundamentals of literary criticism and symbolic logic will do much to improve the quality of the writing.

Ultimately, these suggestions and laments only address game news that revolves around titles not yet published. It’s an unfortunate reality of the industry that once the title is published, its news cycle ends the moment the final reviews hits the metaphorical press of the Internet, barring sequels, DLC, and scandalous legal and fiscal issues, which themselves are guaranteed to be finite and few in number (unless we’re talking about Sonic or everything published by Nintendo, ever. Yes, I’m looking at you, you corpulent plumber.). Still, in an age where consumers are demanding, more than anything else, the best quality products and services, any publisher who wastes their time with sub-par journalism is slated for inevitable disposal in the Emergency Intelligence Incinerator of the free market.
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