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3:48pm on Saturday, 20th November, 2010:

Small Progress


I was pleased when I saw the cover of The Guardian Guide, which is their weekly arts listing magazine:

This is the first time they've had a computer game on the front, which is excellent! Except, look in the top right-hand corner: it's an "Advertisement promotion"; if you look on the next page, you see the real front cover, which is this:

Not so good, then.

Although, actually, in a way it is progress. The way that computer game developers traditionally work with print publications is that they take adverts out in them, and if the reviews are lousy then next time they don't. Next time, they give preview copies to other publications and take out ads in those; if they do take out ads in magazines that have given them bad reviews, they are smaller ads — smaller, so they can explain to the publisher exactly why they are smaller.

That advertisement front cover for Assassin's Creed would have cost, what, £25,000 or so? If The Guardian gives it good editorial, then there'll be more to come; if it persists in prioritising actors or dancers or artists or singers or musicians or musicians or novelists, well, there won't be more to come.

The Guardian, along with other newspapers, may have a snooty editorial policy when it comes to deciding what is or isn't a modern work of cultural significance, but game developers have something that few other purveyors of art have: money. If they won't look seriously at the products, perhaps newspaper editors will look seriously at that?

So it's small progress, but progress nonetheless.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).