I am a huge fan of tech and gaming magazines, like CNET and PCMag. I also read Game Informer a lot and recently came across their July 2016 issue, which contained the opinion article “Do Genres Mean Anything Anymore?” by senior editor Jeff Cork.
Jeff is someone whose game reviews I often look forward to time and again because he is a phenomenal print writer and also has been around the industry long enough to know exactly what to look for in a game. In his piece, he asks if game genres should be a thing anymore, considering how frequently games like to crossover to multiple genres. He says he struggles with defining a game because of this very reason. One example was Tomb Raider, the reboot from 2013. The first instinct was to classify it as an adventure game. But he realized there were stealth elements as well as action and puzzle, not to mention it was a third-person game. After a while of thinking, the GI staff finally agreed to leave it as an action game.
My question is, why does it (bleep)ing matter? This article was such a waste of time to read that I got lost trying to find Cork’s point in all of these paragraphs. It seemed he just kept blabbing on, writing about a complete non-issue. Sure, it may be a problem for him as a game reviewer since categorizing video games may be a hard task. But in the end, it truly has no weight in the world. Game consumers do not care if genres are a thing anymore.
Jeff Cork’s solution was to just categorize games by defining them at whole. In the Tomb Raider case, he wanted to get specific and just call it a “suspenseful action featuring a strong female lead”. Okay, Jeff. Go ahead and do that. I promise you only one person in the world will actually care. You.
On top of that, the opinion was very poorly written. I know the magazine staff has been working on bringing interns to potentially work there. But Jeff Cork is no intern. He is the senior editor of a very popular magazine in a very popular industry. On top of creating a piece that has no real point to argue, at least no point that anyone will care about, he has errors in writing. I am just disappointed by the level of quality Cork put in for the Opinion section. I look forward to this section because I love seeing the perspective of different people of what is going on in the industry. There have been some amazing opinions that I have wanted to respond to and praise because I either whole-heartedly agree or respectfully disagree with them.
For reference, here is the last paragraph of the print magazine:
“In spite of my bellyaching, I’m trying to see the positive side of things. It’s a plus for gamers to even to be able to talk about this. Think about how far we’ve come. RPGs almost always used to mean ‘Games where you buy new swords and shields on your way to slay a dragon or ogre chieftain.’ Now, an RPG can take place in a high school – or inside Bowser. Meanwhile, though I still may have to fill in “action,” in the little sidebar, I’ll do my best to tell you what’s really going on in the meat of my writing.”
I double-checked that nothing in that quote is misspelled from the print mag I received. Everything just reads so stupid, and it makes Jeff look like a fool. Bellyaching? Really? Because you have to write “action” as a genre for a video game? The senior editor for Game Informer, everyone.