A few weeks ago as I was preparing for the relaunch of Gamers Must Die, one IGN article in particular stuck out to me and I bookmarked that shit so that I could rant about it someday. While IGN posting a dumb editorial is hardly news, this piece in particular was appalling even by IGN’s standards.
The gist of this editorial is pretty simple: one of the guys who reviews iPhone games on IGN (Justin Davis) encountered a bug in the game Pocket Planes that caused him to lose his savefile. Therefore, instead of reviewing the game Justin decided that a little righteous indignation was in order and pointed out that there was no way in hell IGN would consider reviewing Pocket Planes while issues like this existed.
One the surface he seems to have a valid point. Savefile loss is a huge issue and the ensuing frustration is understandable. Read a little further, however, and you discover that not only was the bug in question fixed well before this article was even written, but that Justin readily admits that he neglected to download the fix:
In the interest of transparency, when my own progress was lost I had not updated the game to the most recent 1.0.2 patch.
In the interest of transparency? How about in the interest of you not being a douche bag, pay attention to the patch notes for a game that you’re putting hours into and set aside 30 seconds to fucking update it. Furthermore, if a bug that afflicted an incredibly small minority of players has already been fixed, it’s no longer news. Perhaps make a footnote in your review about the issue, but don’t go and publish a scathing editorial about the game that is completely irrelevant before you even hit the submit button.
Keep in mind that Justin wrote this article not only after the bug had already been fixed, but even after the developers themselves had offered to manually restore the progress any afflicted users had lost. In the face of his issue being fixed, Justin Davis decided to throw a public tantrum declaring that there was no fucking way he’d be reviewing Pocket Planes until his issue had been fixed.
By the way, saying that a game is so broken that you’re not going to review it is in fact reviewing it. If show-stopping bugs that afflicted a minority of players were enough to slap a game with a scarlet letter instead of giving it a proper review, IGN could probably fire three quarters of its staff. Seeing as how even both of the last Metroid and Zelda games launched with similar bugs, IGN could save themselves a lot of time and money on reviews.
Finally, while I can perhaps understand Justin having a moment of frustration, what I can’t understand is how one of the biggest gaming news sites out there actually published this trash. Any editor worth his salt would have sent this article back to Justin’s desk with a big red X drawn through it, but instead it was posted on the front page of IGN for a couple days. I think that The Wire needs a season 6 set in San Francisco focused on the gaming media; IGN headquarters would probably be a good analog for The Baltimore Sun.