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  • Getting cross over cross reviews

    Posted on April 26th, 2010 keving 2 comments

    I’ve been talking about Famitsu reviews a lot lately, and that habit’s going to continue for a while, because today they’ve triggered something of an international incident!

    The article on Kotaku gives the full story, but here is a summary:

    – Enterbrain president and ex-Famitsu EIC Hirokazu Hamamura appears in Japanese advertising for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in an endorsing fashion.
    Famitsu gives Peace Walker a perfect 40/40 review score.
    – Many overseas writers, including me over on 1UP, bring up concerns about the editorial independence of Famitsu’s review writers as a result of this. Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku writes a particularly long missive.
    – Ashcraft’s article gets reworked a bit for Kotaku Japan and translated in a more direct fashion by other Japanese blogs.
    – Kotaku Japan posts on its Twitter feed that Enterbrain has formally complained to them and that Konami has rescinded the site’s invitation to the Peace Walker release-day press event.

    This was all out lined on the Japanese blogs today, and Jin’s post on it is particularly prescient because in addition to running a personal game-news blog, he also contributes articles (mostly covering press events) to Kotaku Japan. “You idiots!” he jokingly writes in the article. “Now I lost work because of this! What’re you gonna do about it?!”

    The reader comments to the article are interesting — about half siding with Kotaku and half siding with Konami, as opposed to a much more unified anti-Japan-media response over on Kotaku itself — and so I thought I’d translate a few.

    In particular, it’s fascinating to note that many don’t see Hamamura’s advertising turn as that much of a problem. This is perhaps because it’s not the first time he’s shown up in games themselves, having made all-but-official cameos in both 428 and Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! in the past. Many see him over there as a sort of avuncular father-figure for the game industry, a personable middle-aged guy with a funny mustache who provides comments to nearly every article written by Japan’s mainstream media about games, and they don’t make a direct connection between that and his position as the “man upstairs” at Famitsu’s company. There’s nobody quite like that in the American media, not since Howard Phillips left Nintendo Power and Thor Aackerlund stopped flogging Camerica’s NES games.

    13. 2010/04/26 20:56
    Kotaku should stop blasting stupid [2ch] game-hardware board material to the rest of the world.

    41. 2010/04/26 21:05
    Konami and Famitsu are both acting like children

    45. 2010/04/26 21:06
    Of course they’re gonna be dis-invited if they write an article like that.
    If they let a media outlet with ulterior motives cover them, they have no idea how they’re going to twist the truth in their article.
    Complaining about that is barking up the wrong tree, so don’t bother bitching about it on Twitter.
    Kotaku is the cause here.
    Take responsibility for yourself and your article.

    46. 2010/04/26 21:06
    Net-media writers are getting too much of an attitude these days. They could seriously use a dressing down.

    48. 2010/04/26 21:07
    Now it’s practically like Konami’s admitting to buying Famitsu’s review scores.

    53. 2010/04/26 21:09
    I don’t mean to play favorites here, but I don’t think Kotaku is really the bad guy here. They just wrote what they thought; it’s not like they’re staging a smear campaign or anything. Famitsu and Konami can’t react so sensitively to something as small as this — nobody will be able to write anything.

    71. 2010/04/26 21:17
    Well, I’ve certainly got my doubts about the credibility of Famitsu’s reviews, but it can’t be right to make these “revelations” without clear evidence. It’s not like they’re a site run by some guy, either.

    93. 2010/04/26 21:28
    It’ll probably be harder for games to get 40 now with this Kotaku piece. I had a feeling Last Story was gearing up for a 40, but they’ll probably hold back and give it 39 now.

    107. 2010/04/26 21:37
    The other way around
    They started flinging out 40’s after people start spreading the word about it.

    DQIX -> Monster Hunter 3 -> Bayonetta -> Mario Wii

    I have no idea what makes MH3 or DQ or Mario better than what came before them…I don’t really get Bayonetta’s perfect score, either.

    On the other hand, if those four games get perfect scores, I don’t see why MGSPW shouldn’t either. MH3 really lowered the bar for that.

    113. 2010/04/26 21:39
    First they talk trash about other people, and now they whine about it? What are they, kindergarteners?

    163. 2010/04/26 22:09
    This is what happens when a media site with a certain amount of name-brand quality writes articles based on delusions.

    164. 2010/04/26 22:09
    You can’t blame people for doubting Famitsu’s scores, and I think it’s good that media outlets are policing each other; it keeps the whole thing from decaying apart. But you also can’t blame Konami for protesting against Kotaku for questioning PW’s scores even though they haven’t played anything besides the demo. If they brought this up involving a released title like Mario or 428 or Bayonetta, all that’d happen is that Famitsu would be pissed.

    172. 2010/04/26 22:16
    Yes, Kotaku’s article is trumped-up, but [Konami] is being really tight-assed about this… There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have just ignored it.

    177. 2010/04/26 22:18
    If they ignored it, people would think that means they have no defense for it.

    263. 2010/04/26 23:14
    [Kotaku] isn’t arguing about whether PW deserves a perfect score or not. They’re praising it, in fact. They just see the approach Famitsu takes to reviews as a problem, right? It’s not like that’s perfect at all. Why is Kotaku getting bashed here?

    271. 2010/04/26 23:18
    The problem is that they’re criticizing Famitsu now for the first time, aren’t they?

    277. 2010/04/26 23:22
    I do think it’s a problem that they’re being pissy about it just this time. Kotaku was praising Bayonetta so much that it made me sick. The only thing I can think is that they were jealous for getting left out from the pack for the [MGSPW] tie-in campaign.

    287. 2010/04/26 23:28
    If they’re going to criticize Famitsu, then do it earlier than this. I think MGSPW’s controls are a bit complex and I question that 40 score, but I definitely think the standards dropped starting with DQ9 or so.

    302. 2010/04/26 23:38
    How many times do we need to say it? The problem isn’t the perfect score, the problem is how Enterbrain is abusing its game reviews, the most influential in Japan; it’s on whether Enterbrain’s president appearing in ads is a good thing or not. They published questionable reviews for things like 428 and DQ in the past, but Kotaku wrote an article this time because they feel it crossed even that line.

    304. 2010/04/26 23:40
    If they didn’t have a problem with the score, then why would they go through the trouble of writing this article? They’re indirectly criticizing PW here.

    418. 2010/04/27 00:57
    Brian made a Kotaku article out of one published here [on jin115], didn’t he? You know, the 2ch FFXIII-bashing thread about how it’s too linear and full of bugs and its retail price is crashing. The guy lives in Japan and everything, but he never writes any reviews of Japanese games he plays. If I were Famitsu, I wouldn’t want him complaining about me, either.

    443. 2010/04/27 01:42
    Maybe the translation was just off, but the article seemed mostly to be based off Brian’s personal guesses and opinions. It’s not like he based it on true facts he uncovered after investigating matters, and I can’t say being penalized for it was unexpected.

    538. 2010/04/27 10:20
    I can’t believe there are people willing to side with Kotaku and Brian over Hideo Kojima here.

    311. 2010/04/26 23:47
    Well, either way, I hope this serves to remind Famitsu of how little trust is being placed on their reviews these days.

    Reviews shouldn’t be affected by money or connections with publishers in the first place. Enterbrain had it coming.


    2 responses to “Getting cross over cross reviews” RSS icon

    • it’s kind of reassuring to see that, even if reader comments on Japanese gaming sites generally sound far more civil, they still pay about as much attention to each other as English-speaking forum posters

    • Queue big Lebowski in background.

      This is what happens when a tabloid videogame aggregator fucks a stranger in the ass!?

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