Jeff Gerstmann fired from Gamespot over bad review?

The Internet is buzzing over the recent firing of Jeff Gerstmann from the popular video game review site, Gamespot. In what seems to be a reaction to Jeff’s very negative review to Kane and Lynch, the long tenured journalist was given the axe. So far no official statement has been made from either Gamespot or Eidos (who is being blamed for instigating the whole thing), but Jeff has confirmed via email that he has indeed been fired but won’t give any details.

Look, it’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with Jeff on many occasions in the past and I’ve been somewhat criticial of his approach to reviews, but what is happening here is terrible if all accounts are true. If a video game journalist is fired for voicing his or her honest opinion on a game, well, then the industry is in danger of losing all credibility. Whether you’re a fan of Gerstmann or not, this should trouble any fan of gaming.

Good luck landing on your feet, Jeff, and thanks for putting out an honest and sincere review despite pressure to do otherwise.

For more coverage on the story, Joystiq is giving regular updates: Last update via Joystiq

As a bonus bit of awesome, here’s Penny Arcade’s comic on the story (click image for full size):

gerstmann.jpg

Review – The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

I know that this comes a bit late, but I’m hoping the extra attention helps another handful of individuals to get out and see what I feel is one of the best gaming-related films ever made. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a documentary that follows two avid gamers as they compete to claim the world record score for Nintendo’s classic arcade title, Donkey Kong. In typical fashion, the documentary chooses their protagonist (Steve Wiebe) and their villain (Billy Mitchell) early on and encourages viewers to pick their pony to cheer for as the plot unfolds.

As each player makes attempts to one up the other, you get peeks into their daily lives and their lifelong struggles. For Billy, it seems that everything has always come easy to him. He’s always been the best at what he’s involved in. You see montages of Billy being handed awards, being praised, and even being named the video game player of the century. On the other hand, Steve is portrayed as the guy that’s always had a rough road ahead of him. Steve’s music career fizzled and failed, he was laid off of work the day he signed the papers for his home loan, and he just can’t seem to quite get to the #1 spot in anything he aims for in life, despite being a very talented and likeable guy. The emotional favorite defintely is Steve, but there’s something about Billy that makes you want to see him stick it to all his critics and envious opponents time and time again.

There comes a point in the film when it ceases to be about a video game or a high score and becomes more about the human spirit and an investigation into what drives us to seek out opportunities to excel in life. The documentary is full of highs, lows, comedy, and genuinely touching moments that you wouldn’t expect to find in a film tied so closely to a simple video game. The people, while certainly portrayed in a way that nearly reduces them to mere characters (possibly the only real flaw in the film), are so genuinely devoted to their hobby that you can’t help get swept up into the excitement of the chase for a new world record.

king.jpg

I would encourage any gamer to see the film, but I also think non-gamers would get a kick out of The King of Kong as well. My wife, who only casually approaches this hobby was laughing and smiling throughout the showing. And I, as a gamer, haven’t had so much fun watching a documentary in all my life.

Lorne Lanning is…a little off

Lorne Lanning, president and co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants, appeared in a 2-part interview with EGM editors on their weekly podcast, EGM Live. This week the second part of the interview aired and it’s worth a listen. Lorne kind of goes off and starts claiming that there’s no link to Osama Bin Laden and 9/11 and claiming that conspiracies exist here and there; and that somehow this plays into the reason why his games have failed in recent years. The whole thing sounded like a guy that is looking for more excuses why his games have struggled to sell lately. Beyond the conspiracy theories you can hear him go off and whine about game types that are popular. Non-gamers, terrorists, Britney Spears fan club members, and more are all a part of Lorne’s ramblings.

Hey Lorne, Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath didn’t sell because EA didn’t promote it. End of story. Either make a good game worth playing sometime soon or shut your hole.

Here’s a direct link to the show: EGM Live

Ken Kutaragi officially retires

According to a Yahoo! news report, Ken Kutaragi, the father of the PlayStation, has officially called it quits. Ken Kutaragi is responsible for the PlayStation line and is a huge reason for expansion in the gaming industry in the past 10 years. Ken was always big on pushing the technological boundaries of gaming further; and some say that he might have been a little too ambitious with in that regard with the PS3. I think the gaming industry needs people like Ken, as crazy as he is.

Enjoy the retirement, Ken. Thanks for your contributions to the industry, and more importantly, for all of the blog fodder over the years.

Full Story here: Ken Kutaragi retires.

Mitch Gitelman whines like a baby that whines a lot

In response to some criticism and some less than stellar reviews, Mitch Gitelman, of the Shadowrun development team FASA, vented his frustrations on the Major Nelson podcast. When Major asked about the types of reviews that the game had been receiving, Mitch kinda lost his composure and started ranting like a fanboy. It’s pretty sad to hear, but I’d definitely recommend downloading the podcast for a few giggles. During his rant, Mitch mentioned that they did “background checks” on some of the reviewers of the game. He went on to express his disappointment in seeing a reviewer that typically did RPGs handling an FPS game. Background checks? Are you insane? So you don’t think that this reviewer knows anything about FPS games since he typically reviews RPGs? Quit being an assuming jerk. Your game isn’t up to par with the competition. Deal with it.

Here’s some news for you, Mitch. Your studio got axed because your product stinks. Your studio put out a multiplayer only game with 3 game modes (2 when you realize that a couple are the same thing) and a very small number of maps; all while charging a full $60. You go on to ask, “how many game types are in football?” Apples and oranges dude. You say that you don’t set pricing, but you can’t expect people just to be cool with the price point simply because it was out of your hands. Honestly, I’m surprised you made it this long in the industry if you can’t handle a bit of fair and honest feedback from the community. You guys took a respected IP, jumped the shark with it, and overcharged and under delivered. If anybody should be ranting, it’s the fans of the old Shadowrun name. For now, shut up and get back to message board viral marketing and shilling or something.

Happy Trails to Nintendo of America Execs

Game-Informer online is reporting that around 90% of the Nintendo of America sales and marketing staff will not be making the move with Nintendo out of Redmond when the comapny leaves for either New York or San Francisco. The three most notable names include Perrin Kaplan, George Harrison, and Beth Llewelyn.

I’ve met George and Perrin a couple of times and have worked with and interviewed Beth in the past. All three are great at their job and have been wonderful for Nintendo of America over the years. While I’m sure Nintendo will find competent replacements, it will be interesting to see if their personalities are missed by those of us that work with Nintendo PR.

George Harrison has been with Nintendo of America for the longest time and is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Beth Llewelyn is Senior Director of Public Relations, and Perrin Kaplan is VP of Marketing & Corporate Affairs.

Source: Game-Informer Online

Peter Moore: “PlayStation 3 is Dreamcast”

Uh oh. That’s sure to get the feathers ruffled. In an article at Next Generation, Peter Moore was quoted as saying:

“I’ve walked a mile in those shoes,” he says. “I’m digging up my tortured past here, but remember Dreamcast?” And there it is. PlayStation 3 is Dreamcast. How delicious is that?

I don’t think it’s safe to say that the PS3 is anywhere near what the Dreamcast was. While the Dreamcast was a great system, it was ultimately the final failure for Sega in the hardware market. The PlayStation 3 will eventually rebound and do just fine. This WILL NOT be Sony’s last console. Even though the start has been turbulent and highly criticized by the press and gaming community, Sony’s brand strength is way too powerful for the slide to continue forever.

Sony will get it turned around…Peter is being a bit too giddy here about recent sales trends.

Jack Thompson’s Contact Information

Jack Thompson loves sending out letters…let’s see how he likes receiving them. Here’s his contact info:

Jack Thompson, Attorney
1172 South Dixie Highway, Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

Phone: 305-666-4366
Cell: 305-588-3005

Note: If you are going to contact Jack, don’t make us, the gaming community, look worse with your choice of words. Be sincere, be tactful, and limit yourself to one letter/email/phone call.

Happy Trails – Ken Kutaragi Steps Down

Ken Kutaragi, the father of the PlayStation, has resigned. After two wildly successful generations in the home console market, and a third in its infancy, Ken Kutaragi is deciding to step down as CEO of Sony’s game division. There is a lot of speculation whether or not Ken was forced out, due to the PlayStation 3’s poor performance at retail, but nothing has been confirmed. Ken will remain with Sony as an “honorary board member”.

Personally, I think Ken was pressured to resign before being fired. He’ll probably spend the rest of his days at Sony working on completely useless projects and being used once in a while to recruit developers. The guy is definitely well set financially for the rest of his life, but I’m sure he’s going to have a tough time watching the PlayStation brand live on while he’s basically on the sidelines.

Source: Yahoo! News

Jack Thompson’s Letter to Virginia Tech PD

This comes via GameAlmighty.com (thanks for the heads up email). Here’s the letter everybody’s favorite attorney mailed off:

Chief Wendell Flinchum

Virginia Tech Police Department

Blacksburg, Virginia Via Fax and e-mail

 

Dear Chief Flinchum:

The news story in yesterday’s Washington Post proves correct my prediction to your Department Monday that Cho, whose identity was not even know to me at the time, would be a video gamer trained to do what he calmly did on a violent shooter video game.

I went on the Fox News Channel Monday and even identified the game, Counterstrike, obsessively played by Cho, which was also used by Robert Steinhaeuser to author what is now the second worst school shooting in world history in Erfurt, Germany, which he also concluded by killing himself. These are not coincidences; these are patterns.

Further corroboration that this is “life imitating art,” or more accurately “death imitating toxic entertainment” is what is now coming to light as to Cho’s copycatting of a certain violent movie as well. This is generally the case: movie + shooter games = massacre.

I have seen it all before in the Paducah school shootings, where I represented the families of the victims of Michael Carneal, a teen gamer who trained on Doom and was inspired by the Hollywood movie The Basketball Diaries. A Yale psychiatrist said so.

I went on NBC’s Today Show and predicted Columbine one week before it happened, identifying the above two specific move and game entertainment products that Klebold and Harris were also obsessed with.

If your Department really wants to get to the bottom of this, you need to talk to me now. Talk also to my dear friend, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who was singled out by President Clinton as “the one man America should listen to as to why Columbine happened.” Grossman’s book, On Killing, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He and I have addressed national television audiences, state and federal governments, and law enforcement officers about the direct causal nexus between what happened on Monday and violent entertainment consumed by young people, who are then consumed by it.

Personal regards, Jack Thompson

Wow. See GameAlmighty.com’s full writeup on the piece here: Clickity 

I’d comment, but I’m sick of talking about Jack Thompson. I’m not tired of posting about him, however, because it’s great material for scoring hits and possible ad clicks. Expect more JT posts, less JT talk.