Monday, August 3, 2009

John Davison, the sensationalist

(As a preface, John Davison, former 1up/EGM employee, runs a site called, and is a popular guest on my personal favorite podcast, Listen Up!.)

Lately because I've been listening to multiple podcasts; Gamespot UK podcast, Listen Up!, Giant Bomb, and (World Soccer Daily, although that's irrelevant), I've had a spectrum of opinions throughout the various shows, and have noticed how much of a sensationalist John is. He makes out every game that he spent 5 minutes playing and didn't frustrate him to be the next game of the year. He commonly uses words like "Awesome", "Excellent", "Spectacular", and "Great", which can get a bit confusing. First of all, for the most part, all of the words I mentioned have identical connotations, and when used, can be perceived to pertain to the same standard or quality. I feel John needs to be more careful when speaking about games, because from first-hand experience, I've bought some iPhone games that I've been greatly disappointed with because of how "Good" he describes every game he mentions. John needs to use subtlety to his advantage. He clearly must have no idea what kind of influence he has on gamers -- because if Uncle John says it's good, it's nearly guaranteed the boards will be either up in arms in regret, or in love with John's weekly recommendation by the following week.

I might be taking a bit of a diversion here, but I think John would be better suited talking about books on a podcast. Books educate. Books have never done anything wrong. Books are worth reading even if the subject is not particularly interesting because you are bound to learn something new. And most importantly, books have never wasted anyone's time. John's approach to talking about games is very fey or whimsical. Don't misinterpret this though; what I mean by "fey or whimsical" is that John rarely has had the misfortune of having to take a chance on a game that he has been told was good -- he always has the opportunity to try a game before commiting a purchase by the very nature of his job. John certainly has expressed instances in which he has been burned by buying a game, but he seems less critical if "he spent 5 minutes or more playing a game and it didn't frustrate him". So in some cases, it appears as though he forgot what it means to be a gamer -- and indeed is going on by assumptions.

All in all, John needs to be more careful with his words, not use words like" Spectacular" for every game he talks about, truly get down to what makes a game fun -- not what it is about -- which is inevitably what the show gets caught up in on nearly every show. It's not always worth the time to know what the game is about, but rather whether it is worth my time.

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