The lynchpin of this latest article is this
with no real transparency into the Gerstmann firing we still don't really know what happened last November
We have no reason to believe that Gerstmann's not hiding something unless he publicly authorizes GameSpot to release all information related to his employment history.
I disagree. You are probably right about laws and policy preventing Gamestop from explaining exactly why Gerstmann was fired, but if Gerstmann were fired for inappropriate behavior, why would his co-workers voluntarily leave in the wake of that action? We do have reason to believe that Gamespot (or CNet) is at fault while Gerstmann was just doing his job. Do we have irrefutable proof? No. But we do
have reason to believe it.
At the end of the day, the real reasons that a review site publishes what it does aren't important. The only thing that matters is how well those reviews work to direct us to try things that we end up liking. If they steer you toward stuff that you enjoy, and don't let you miss much that you would have, then heed their reviews. If they point you to garbage while missing the gems, then remove them from your bookmarks.
Why do you care if the reviews are underwritten by advertisers at one end of the spectrum, or divinely inspired at the other? As long as they work, that's what counts. If they don't work, ignore the site and let it die.
Again, I disagree. The fact is that a very large number of people (perhaps a majority) are really clueless about games. So if a parent actually tries to do their job by parenting, and turns to game reviews to see what to get for their children, they need to be able to trust the reviews. With so many people in the media today touted as "experts" talking about games when to a gamer they are clearly talking about things they know nothing about, I think it's very important that we get as much accurate information as possible.
Just today an article in The Times
says that "Xbox is crack for kids" and calls game consoles in general "Satan's Sudoku" as well as claiming (indirectly) that Teletubbies does more for the development of a child than any video game could.
On January 13th, some idiot watched a couple YouTube videos on a game called Mass Effect and suddenly decided to write a blog article
claiming (among many other things) it was a virtual orgy allowing players to "hump in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of." But anyone who's actually played the game--which, to be clear, I haven't--says it takes up less than a minute (and shows only part of a breast) of an over 30 hour game and you have to follow very specific conditions to even fall in love with another character to have the sex scene.
And just recently (not sure on the date) Fox News decided that blogger was actually telling the truth and decided to run a story (link contains news video)
with the same details, with an "expert" psychologist and (thankfully) someone who actually knew what he was talking about, Geoff Keighley. Unfortunately they let the "expert" do most of the talking and then only gave Keighley about 30 seconds to try to refute all the inaccuracies. Then they talked among themselves as if Keighley didn't just tell them they were wrong, saying how they'd never let a game like that into their houses because of all the sex and violence.
So yeah, CWuestefeld. It matters to me if a game review is written and scored based on money rather than merits of the game. When I see people in the media like this, I can't help but wonder if the majority of people are actually like that. When people don't know, they'll believe just about anything someone else tells them. Most of my family members would probably believe it, because they don't know better.
And here's a fun story to help my point: One time my sister was flipping through cartoon channels with her son, who was probably 5-6 years old at the time. One channel was showing SpongeBob Squarepants and in that particular part of the episode, he was in his underpants. She immediately decided it wasn't appropriate for her son and told him he couldn't watch it. That's her choice as a parent, and honestly I'm glad she's doing her job of actually monitoring and controlling and, you know, parenting
, but that's not the point I'm trying to make. Later she was at a grocery store and she started talking with another woman who mentioned how much her grand daughter liked watching SpongeBob. My sister told her she thought it was nasty and wouldn't let her son watch it. The woman then said she didn't know because she hadn't seen it, but wouldn't allow her grand daughter to watch it anymore.
The funny thing is later she saw SpongeBob again and decided it was really funny and she changed her mind and there is no problem with it playing in her house or around her kids. But I wonder how many people started "boycotting" SpongeBob because of a misinformed (though well-intended) comment through word of mouth?
EDIT: I started writing this before you added more to your post, so nothing here is a direct response to that, except this sentence I guess.