Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I wish they would stop writing like this

From IGN's review of Bionic Commando Rearmed:
Capcom is finally revisiting the classic with an updated version that takes everything that was good from the past, modernizes it, and then adds new layers of awesome.

Never mind that the sentiment is trite and juvenile. "Awesome" is an adjective. The noun form is "awesomeness." Is it too much to ask for professional writers to get basic grammar right?

16 comments:

John Harney said...

I think the use of the various conjugations of awesome is up to debate depending on personal style, but the rest of that sentence is classic IGN.

That is to say, crap.

Scott Gunsaullus said...

Adjectives can have layers. Take 'pointless', for example. Many, many layers.

Coleman said...

Looks like standard IGN. Their reviews are so mind-numbing, I can barely ever even finish reading one. This one was 2 pages and I got about halfway through the first. Ouch.

cpe said...

Poor grammar at IGN? No way. I refuse to believe it.

Ed Borden said...

I really have to disagree here. For example, it would be correct, IMO, to write: "IGN takes everything that is good from journalism and adds new layers of suck." See, suck as a noun. "Suckiness" would be so ... you know.

Steve gaynor said...

What exactly do professional writers have to do with IGN?

Daniel Purvis said...

"And it is the best downloadable game to date on XBLA and PSN."

Did they ever offer any qualification as to why IGN believe Bionic Commando is the best game available for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PSN?

I don't think they did unless you're supposed to count their closing comments:

"Bionic Commando Rearmed sets a new benchmark for downloadable console games. The best elements of the original are back, but have been upgraded to be better than before."

Are they trying to tell me that a great downloadable game must be an update to original?

I hate unsupported statements like that more than I hate bad grammer.

John Barleycorn said...

I like it better as is. First, it's a website. Second, it's how we speak; so why not put it to print?

Mitch Krpata said...

Reading this thread is like falling headfirst into an industrial-sized vat of burnsauce. I am cringing and chuckling in equal measure.

I've got to disagree with people who are defending the use of the adjective in that phrase, though. I could see an adjective fitting in that kind of construction in some cases, but not here. She's not saying what the layers are like, she's saying what they are. That calls for a noun. That calls for "awesomeness."

WorldMaker said...

Language changes with the cultural zeitgeist, Mitch, particularly slang... Awesome with no endings is now an adjective (it was awesome), adverb (it rode awesome), noun (it was the awesome), and more... If you don't like IGN's usage you should probably steer clear of forums and lolcats where you will see even crazier variants...

Mitch Krpata said...

WorldMaker, I don't dispute your point about the evolution of language, but surely the touchstones for professional game criticism aren't forums and lolcats.

WorldMaker said...

I'm not certain I would classify IGN reviews as "professional games criticism"... but even ignoring that we could probably debate prescriptivism versus describtivism all day long. Needless to say that I am heavily biased towards "Language is how you use it". The key is that the point comes across, both the semantic intent and the seemingly juvenile context.

I think there is more of an interesting debate in whether or not this was legitimate childish delight from the reviewer or an attempt to fake it. I wouldn't be surprised if it were some attempt at astroturfing...

Ben said...

Hi Mitch,

I came here from the link in your other post, so I will say I've read your follow up before reading this one. I still would have to disagree with picking on IGN's use of awesome in this instance. I understand your basis for saying that lolcats shouldn't form the basis for professional criticism. I also appreciate Ebert's point about how speaking to all is a form of dishonesty, but the nuance I take from Ebert's words is not to find fault in modifying your delivery for one audience, but to spread your aim too wide is to dilute the quality of your work. I do not see in Ebert's words a condemnation of seeking to speak in the language of a more singularly defined audience and that is what the average "what's the score" game review reader is seeking.

Now, I will say that I make no defense of the quality or content of IGN's review, but their word-choice is very on-target in this case. It reverberates with those whom they seek to speak and advertise to.

Mitch Krpata said...

The interesting thing I'm starting to take from these comments is that everyone agrees the review is bad, but opinions vary as to why. I'm not sure what conclusions to draw from that.

If it is astroturfing, as I understand the term, then that would be much, much worse, signalling contempt for the audience.

Ben said...

The IGN article feels fluffy to me. In fact, it specifically reminds me of a Nintendo Power article. Specifically of the kind written when Bionic Commando first appeared. Maybe this is just a fantastically clever ruse full of meta-commentary on the state of game journalism then and now.

I've changed my mind. This article's BRILLIANT!

dhalgren2882 said...

Unfortunately, I discovered this blog after I read the IGN review, so I wasted more money than I ever wanted to on Bionic Commando. I won't make that mistake again.