Although many of us had suspected it for a long time, the circumstances surrounding the firing of Gamespot's Jeff Gerstmann only confirmed people's darkest fears that advertising was corrupting editorial integrity at the bigger enthusiast sites. If Eidos can bully one of the most respected sites in the industry into softening a Kane and Lynch review, what chance is there to find fair and unbiased coverage?
Crispy Gamer thinks they can break the game publishers' stranglehold. The site, which launched today, promises credibility and accountability in everything they write. How? "Crispy Gamer will not accept ads from game publishers. Read that line again: Will not. Credibility starts when the emphasis is placed on the reader and not the bottom line."
That's a bold way to do business. One wonders if the Publishers Clearing House ads currently adorning the margins will bring in the clicks the way, say, a Burnout Paradise ad would. If they can attract the readership, though, there's no reason they won't make money. To do that, they've assembled what looks like a stellar roster of writers, including some of my favorites like Tom Chick, Gus Mastrapa, and Kyle Orland. Crispy Gamer calls its contributors the "Game Trust," which to my mind is a little overblown, but at least conveys what they're going for.
They're also bold enough to do what most reviewers only dream, and that's to eschew numerical scores altogether, opting instead for a simpler "Buy It/Try It/Fry It" rubric. To this point, there aren't enough reviews up to say whether these pieces are really going to be as independent and iconoclastic as they claim. Most seem positive, including an effusive BioShock review. I will say that I'm not encouraged to "Buy" Assassin's Creed when the review's subhed calls it flawed, and then scanning the text reveals phrases like "may not quite live up to the hype," "an amusing story clumsily delivered," and so on. Still, I'm intrigued enough by their mission statement to keep tuning in as they flesh out their content.