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Default General News - The Use of Previews

February 20th, 2013, 14:05
In an editorial on Gamasutra the question what a preview of a game is for is asked. The intro describes things nicely:
The traditional game preview event is a no-win situation. On one hand, it's interesting to get an early look at what a studio's been up to, hear them talk about their goals, see some examples of the work in progress. On the other hand, the process is so tightly-controlled that the only possible outcome is usually that we, the press, dutifully hand forward to our audience only what a company wants them to see.

What can one learn about a long-form, interactive product from standing at a plush, crowded display for prescribed minutes, directed through a sequence by a "helpful" marketing professional? That's when we are allowed to touch it at all, which is rare.

The consumer press watches theoretical gameplay segments that have been carefully prepared for the preview day. These demonstrations are bookended by one-sided conversations: An executive proffers canned statements, lists the names of writing talent intended to engender our confidence, sketches out the promise — and it's our job to convey that promise to our readership. Often we do this without asking questions. Often we are only allowed to ask so many.
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