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Default Game of the Year Awards @ Gamebanshee

January 13th, 2008, 19:15
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
a question to the hardliners and or genre purists:
why do genre labels and adherence to classifications matter so much to you?
The only reasons that it matters to me:
- By calling things by the wrong genre, you very often end up with a distorted view of what is going on in a genre. For example, the influx of action-RPG's and MMO's in the early 2000's gave a distorted view of what else was happening in the genre.
- Inclusion of non-genre games tends to take away attention, coverage, and therefore mind-share of true genre games.

So it is a matter of 'pure' RPG's losing attention to more 'sexy' action-RPG's and MMO's. The rest doesn't matter to me … and it is true of every genre. No one cares about boring point and click adventures when you get sexy Zelda and Castlevania releases …

— Mike
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January 13th, 2008, 19:32
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Nahh, it's really a personal thing, don't think they have a bad reputation and admittedly I've used them for walkthroughs and stuff like that myself. But in my opinion it's a highly commercialised website that addresses a mainstream audience. And somehow they have to come up with something that their audience can live with.
We're highly commercialised?

Well…ehm…no, not really. I mean, we're commercial in the sense that Jon makes money and the editors are paid, sure, but the choice of games to follow has always been "games the boss likes" and now I add suggestions.

We cover exactly the same games as RPGWatch and there's not a day when the GB and RPGWatch frontpages don't look nearly identical. We do the same kind of interviews and reviews, though indeed GB does less with indies and is slightly more positive about some modern titles. But that's taste, not commercialism.

(and besides, Jon hired me, an angry curmudgeonly old lover of old RPGs with no interest in consoles whatsoever. What does that tell you about the mass appeal nature of the site?)

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
And let's be honest - they can say whatever they want, but Bioshock is a linear shooter and nothing else. There is not even a remote relation to the rpg genre.
Most, most true. And yet we picked it. I wasn't perfectly content with it myself, and consider it a borderline pick, but again; it only won because this is such a weak Action RPG year. That's it. HG:L was nearly our disappointment of the year, so not much of a chance of that making runner-up, so what's left? Two Worlds? Well, ok, maybe Depths of Peril would've made a better pick, but the editor who played it didn't seem to say so.

We also specifically stipulate we feel the action RPG label has always been one that's stuck on games that often have only remote relations to RPGs. How is Diablo an RPG and BioShock not? Character development? Hardly significant enough. Action RPGs are empty husks with RPG wrappings about them, and BioShock fits in their fine.

I've always been one two sides for BioShock, myself, I do feel the game is redeemed by its setting and even its somewhat good story. But as a game it is a failure, mechanics and gameplay wise. Should I really judge a game only by that? Not really, because I'm not just judging mechanics, I'm judging the experience.

Did BioShock side-saddle into the Action RPG category injustly? Sure. Is that a big deal? It wasn't to me, but perhaps 't is to you.

- By calling things by the wrong genre, you very often end up with a distorted view of what is going on in a genre. For example, the influx of action-RPG's and MMO's in the early 2000's gave a distorted view of what else was happening in the genre.
- Inclusion of non-genre games tends to take away attention, coverage, and therefore mind-share of true genre games.
This is a good point, though.

My counter-argument to it when it comes to BioShock is basically: the action RPG genre was born watered down. It was never a full-fledged, "true" genre of gaming, it was born a hybrid, malformed and all. While it's true action RPG as a genre has some expectation patterns built on it, what's the harm of including BioShock in the malfeasance?

Besides, we also included Mass Effect in the Action RPG category
Last edited by Brother None; January 13th, 2008 at 19:45.
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January 13th, 2008, 20:17
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
We're highly commercialised?

Well…ehm…no, not really. I mean, we're commercial in the sense that Jon makes money and the editors are paid, sure, but the choice of games to follow has always been "games the boss likes" and now I add suggestions.

We cover exactly the same games as RPGWatch and there's not a day when the GB and RPGWatch frontpages don't look nearly identical. We do the same kind of interviews and reviews, though indeed GB does less with indies and is slightly more positive about some modern titles. But that's taste, not commercialism.
Can't argue with you there. In the little bit of reporting I do, gamebanshee is one of the sites I always check for news, and the focus on RPGs and PC games is much higher and more visible than most other large sites, where PC news is frequently overshadowed by consoles and RPGs covered are almost always the MMO or action variety unless it's a standout mainstreem AAA title.

(and besides, Jon hired me, an angry curmudgeonly old lover of old RPGs with no interest in consoles whatsoever. What does that tell you about the mass appeal nature of the site?)
And your influence has been felt in a positive way, I think.

We also specifically stipulate we feel the action RPG label has always been one that's stuck on games that often have only remote relations to RPGs. How is Diablo an RPG and BioShock not? Character development? Hardly significant enough. Action RPGs are empty husks with RPG wrappings about them, and BioShock fits in their fine….

…My counter-argument to it when it comes to BioShock is basically: the action RPG genre was born watered down. It was never a full-fledged, "true" genre of gaming, it was born a hybrid, malformed and all. While it's true action RPG as a genre has some expectation patterns built on it, what's the harm of including BioShock in the malfeasance?

Besides, we also included Mass Effect in the Action RPG category
Again, the subjectivity of labels makes them almost useless anyway. I think your description of action rpgs, while not free of bias, is fairly accurate. The term rpg has to me almost become a marketing term these days.

I need to go back and read your criteria for Mass Effect's action rpgness—I hadn't noticed it included but that's at least as controversial a pick as Bioshock.

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January 13th, 2008, 20:39
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
We're highly commercialised?

Well…ehm…no, not really. I mean, we're commercial in the sense that Jon makes money and the editors are paid, sure, but the choice of games to follow has always been "games the boss likes" and now I add suggestions.
With "highly commercialised" I meant that I see several banners and a flash ad when I enter your site. But to be truly honest, I'm not using Gamebanshee enough to prove my point… so it was more or less an assumption that you guys are adressing a mainstream audience. Personaly I seriously doubt that advertisments do not have an impact on a gaming website in the long run, but since I do not have enough experience with Gamebanshee I'll just believe you for the moment.

Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Did BioShock side-saddle into the Action RPG category injustly? Sure. Is that a big deal? It wasn't to me, but perhaps 't is to you.
Nope, it actually wasn't… but I've seen people discussing more trivial things really. I just thought I mention it, and it somehow developped into some kind of longish thread since there are people who think that BioShock is related to the RPG genre.

Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
This is a good point, though.

My counter-argument to it when it comes to BioShock is basically: the action RPG genre was born watered down. It was never a full-fledged, "true" genre of gaming, it was born a hybrid, malformed and all. While it's true action RPG as a genre has some expectation patterns built on it, what's the harm of including BioShock in the malfeasance?

Besides, we also included Mass Effect in the Action RPG category
I never have been a great fan of clear cut genre definitions… and I think older posts pretty much prove that. The main reason why I felt tempted to make a post is my personal feeling (and I voiced that a long time ago on these boards) that journalism in the gaming industry has totally lost the wishful critical and professional distance. It is on the best way to become one big joke.
Journalists have become fans and use every opportunity to hype a game whenever possible because they like it. I'm not saying that your website did that - I don't know it - and if you assure me that it wasn't the case I'll very well believe you, but very often if I see things like these (and that happens pretty often these days) I cannot get rid of the feeling that one of the editors used the chance to hype his favourite game.

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January 14th, 2008, 21:22
I'm kind of surprised nobody is discussing the indie RPG of the year picks, Geneforge 4 and then Eschalon: Book I.

Originally Posted by magerette View Post
And your influence has been felt in a positive way, I think.
Dunno. Bit too early to judge, methinks.

Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Again, the subjectivity of labels makes them almost useless anyway. I think your description of action rpgs, while not free of bias, is fairly accurate. The term rpg has to me almost become a marketing term these days.

I need to go back and read your criteria for Mass Effect's action rpgness—I hadn't noticed it included but that's at least as controversial a pick as Bioshock.
Mass Effect being "basically an action RPG" is discussed under the disappointment of the year.

I think it shows the blurring of the lines well, but at the same time, were a game like ME released in the late 90's, it'd immediately qualify as an action RPG. Standards aren't exactly on the rise.

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
With "highly commercialised" I meant that I see several banners and a flash ad when I enter your site. But to be truly honest, I'm not using Gamebanshee enough to prove my point… so it was more or less an assumption that you guys are adressing a mainstream audience. Personaly I seriously doubt that advertisments do not have an impact on a gaming website in the long run, but since I do not have enough experience with Gamebanshee I'll just believe you for the moment.
We need banners and a flash ad. GameBanshee gets a lot of traffic. I mean a lot. Nobody's going to pay those server costs out of the pocket, hence the banners. Hell, NMA has banners too, for the same reason, our host needs to reimburse their costs, would you say NMA is commercialised?

Personally, I never noticed any impact advertisements had on us and I don't see how they could. I don't think any of us would respond well to PR pressure.

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Journalists have become fans and use every opportunity to hype a game whenever possible because they like it. I'm not saying that your website did that - I don't know it - and if you assure me that it wasn't the case I'll very well believe you, but very often if I see things like these (and that happens pretty often these days) I cannot get rid of the feeling that one of the editors used the chance to hype his favourite game.
You should read the BioShock review on GB. It clearly stipulates the gameplay is very mediocre, but it's redeemed by other qualities.

The head editor likes the game more than me, sure, but I don't think that affected our picks too much. Action RPG runner-up is, again, a dubious pick, but once it was considered for our categories, it became the logical top pick for graphics and soundtrack. That has to do with the game's strong points, not with us. It was never seriously considered for, say, best writing.
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