Those guys over at Edge are a funny lot. Every month, “coin-op” is printed on their front cover, and every month the actual level of coin-op coverage remains zero. This has not gone unnoticed, and it is irksome. But! Forum user RJAY63 thankfully let us know that this month’s issue actually has some arcade stuff in it, and not just some, but a full eight page feature. The magazine’s intrepid journalists head out to the recently revamped Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare, before quizzing Peter Harrison and Patrick Michael on GRID and the general arcade scene (including a brief comment on my favourite flop, 2 Spicy).
Of course, being coin-op coverage in a magazine that largely covers console games, there are some irritations. “What does the truly modern arcade look like?” is a silly question for a magazine which purports to cover coin-op games, and one you wouldn’t imagine would be asked of high street video game stores. By the third paragraph, arcade games have already been dismissed as skill-free thrill rides, and the coverage of some games is somewhat tainted by the availability of console versions. Also, check out that interview – the question on 3D shows that someone clearly hasn’t been paying attention to Metal Gear Arcade.
For all my sniping, the feature is certainly worth a read, most importantly to gain some outside perspective on recent releases. While Edge seems to have gone soft on scores lately (check out how regularly they give 10/10 these days), some of that venomous criticism still remains – commercial hit Terminator Salvation takes an absolute beating, and Primeval Hunt fares no better. Interested? Well then, the article is up and ready for you guys to read right here – enjoy!
Many of you may know that for the last three occasions that EDGE has covered the amusement sector I have been lucky enough to pen the coverage:
This year a proposal was made again to write a feature but the comment came back that there was no interest in amusement for the foreseeable future by EDGE staffers. I have now learned that SEGA and Code Masters had to ‘encourage’ the editorial team to re-consider (well done too all for achieving this) – explaining why the coverage is un-attributed this time.
The Weston-Super-Mare coverage – equally un-attributed and biting – seems to be an odd companion to the GRID coverage – and I agree with Adam that their scoring and general review seems to belittle rather than review. There is a lot of politics in the EDGE publishing circles and any amusement coverage has to be appreciated – as we do not bring any advertising revenue to their table and budgets get squeezed.
The continuing decline in subscription and readership across all consumer magazines scene is linked in part to poor editorial quality, questionable alliances, review marking and the most obvious decline in consumer retail sales. As the market moved towards a download model the printed media is too restrained to be effective or objective; previous bashing of DLC by some mags not helping their cause any.
I am saddened at this missed opportunity and will continue to try and get some more favourable coverage commissioned in the dwindling consumer media – but the success of the Stinger may prove detrimental to personal commissions. One aspect of the politics is there are constant musical chairs in the editorial department, and the churn means new faces and hopefully some new attitudes.
This post was actually by Nick (HeavyElectricity). 🙂 Thanks for the insight though.
I liked the interview they did with Patrick Michael and Peter Harrison. The reviews are OK and I agree with them on some points (I liked Hummer too) but on others it has me scratching my head. Terminator for example – every threat shows up in red, so how does that mean that threats aren’t obvious?
….If we had the opportunity to even add in leaderboards to arcade titles, we’d have loads of ideas.
I guess he is referring to online rankings? If so, then is nothing stopping Codemasters adding a code system so you can upload your best times/scores via PC. This was first present in Star Wars Racer Arcade…a game that came out over 10 years ago! I think this would have helped Sega Rally 3 & GRID get a bit more play from the WMMT, BGT4 and ID crowd.
I have had a chance to read the full coverage – for what it is worth – and there are some big problems. Issues such as:
– the “Simworx ‘F1 Simulator – SX02’” is not from Simworx!
– its ‘Big Buck: Safari’ not Pro at the venue
– ‘Speed Rider’ is from IGS
It is not a very good piece of work – and seems to benefit from Google research!
@RJAY63 – I agree that the lack of the on-line ranking system would seem a simple application as a longevity element to the game. There is however some issues that effect how SEGA Europe develops titles that may shape their plans. I for one would not develop a game without some kind of ranking system – and now with Twitter support life VF5 the possibilities are endless.
An amusing read. I like the way they suggest the arcade scene is dead, dismiss all modern arcade games as a “fairground attraction” and state they hold no interest beyond a single 5 minute play, all in the intro. Tell that to all the dedicated initial d players who are now on the series 6th installment, having spent thousands in their local arcades. It’s completely apparent that nobody who had anything to do with the article had set foot inside an arcade for years. They then go on to “review” 14 arcade games over just 4 pages, dedicating an entire two paragraphs to some. However, despite how dismissive their reviews are, they can’t hide the fact that they had a really good time.
Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, just don’t go there. Who is this article aimed at? Clearly not those of a like mind to the writers, who probably could have written this junk sat in their office, as they don’t play arcade games either. I wrote freelance for a few console magazines for several years and my editor would have never sent this kind of hateful unbalanced drivel to the publishers. Whats Edge’s excuse? If this is indicative of the standard of their journalism, I think I’ll pass.
@Spectre – You can tell by the construction that two ideas have been mashed together – one for a free-bee visit to the opening of the pier and the pressure from Codemasters to cove the game – even though they claim the industry is dead!? The use of the images proves that they have had to salvage what was created.
I agree that they seemed not to care who they aim this for – the editorial team have other things on their plate. I have asked some questions of the team that wrote this to add too the piece I am writing, but I think you know what the answer will be!
I think they’re quite right that many of the modern arcade games are fairground attractions rather than skill games.
Most of the time these days I make a beeline for the pinball because I get a good bit of time for a credit, and you have the chance of winning another credit if you do very well. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen that sort of thing in an arcade game. Many of them won’t even let you continue if you win.
I agree that a more fairground play narrative is seen in some amusement – but there is still a wide mix – remember amusement looks at a 50second play narrative rather than the 30 hour model for consumer.
I finally got to see the hard copy of the article, and was surprised how poor it comes over – I dont think I would have allowed them to run it if it had been under my control. It also looks like they tried to salvage really bad pictures – all the images are mutilated by the art editor as if hiding or obscuring something.