Computer games journalism

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Computer game journalism (also called video game journalism ) is an area of technical journalism that specializes in testing and writing computer and video games . Articles in computer game journalism can be found in computer game magazines ( print and online media ), as well as on radio , television and video portals .

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Computer game journalism includes:

  • Advance reports of upcoming and developed computer and video games
  • Reviews of recently released titles, mostly rated on a scale from 0 to 100
  • Reports on trade fairs and exhibitions in the industry
  • Interviews with game developers
  • Retro reports, games and systems of the past
  • Background reports, for example about the development of a game, technical background, etc.
  • Reports, posts and articles on the subject of esports

History of computer game journalism in German-speaking countries

Well-known magazines devoted exclusively to computer and video games have existed in German-speaking countries since the 1980s . The first such publication was the short-lived TeleMatch , which appeared between late 1982 and early 1985. The first magazine that was able to establish itself on the market in the long term was ASM , which appeared from 1986 under the direction of Manfred Kleimann . The computer magazine Happy Computer had also had a monthly supplement since 1988 that dealt with interactive games. This supplement was directed by Heinrich Lenhardt and Boris Schneider-Johne , two well-known pioneers of German computer game journalism. From 1990 this supplement was published as a separate magazine under the name Power Play . PC Games , one of the oldest German game magazines , was also published in 1992 . Often the magazines also came with a data carrier with demos and full versions of somewhat older games, initially mostly a floppy disk, later CD-ROMs and now mostly DVDs .

With the increasing spread of game consoles, own publications for console games appeared at the beginning of the 1990s , such as the pioneer Video Games , which was on the store shelf at the beginning of 1991 as a decoupling of Power Play (Markt & Technik-Verlag), but already after the first Year was lucrative enough to appear as an independent publication on a monthly basis. Heinrich Lenhardt from the Power Play team was the patron of the first edition, the editorial staff also consisted predominantly of Power Play editors who did not take over their video game tests one-to-one, but wrote them anew and occasionally rated them differently than in the mother magazine. A considerable part of the Video Games editorial team left the publishing house in 1993 and founded the direct competitor MAN! AC (now M! Games ) under the direction of ex-Power Play editor Martin Gaksch . As a result, the video games editorial team was re-staffed.

The PC game magazine PC Player , which appeared from 1992 to 2001, was also particularly well-known . This format was also founded by Heinrich Lenhardt and Boris Schneider-Johne. The establishment of GameStar , which is still considered one of the most influential magazines in this area, was also historically important .

Today there are magazines that deal exclusively with PC games as well as only with certain consoles, various consoles or with PC games and console games. With the magazine Making Games , a magazine for the developers of computer games has also existed since 2005.

After the spread of computer game magazines increased continuously in the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, a drastic drop in the circulation figures and attitudes of many newspapers in this genre can be seen since around 2005. This is often justified with the ever increasing spread of broadband Internet access . Demos and full versions on the enclosed data carriers, which are often the main incentive to buy, can now be obtained just as easily via the Internet. Test reports can often be found on the Internet earlier than in print magazines. In January 2017 it was announced that Computer Bild Spiele was the only computer game magazine to be in the IVW listing until it was discontinued in August 2019 .

Computer game journalism is therefore becoming more and more widespread on the Internet, for example on websites such as IGN Entertainment , Gameswelt , 4Players or GameSpot . With GIGA and Game One there was a complete television station and programs on this specialized topic in German-speaking countries, with subsequent formats such as Game Two being produced more for video portals such as YouTube . The number of hobby journalists, bloggers / vloggers and testers is also increasing due to the Internet.

New Games Journalism

On March 23, 2004, British games journalist Kieron Gillen published a manifesto entitled The New Games Journalism after a pub discussion with friends about game coverage . In it, Gillen campaigned for a change in game reporting, away from the long-term, objective program analysis, towards a more subjective description of one's own gaming experiences, prepared with anecdotes and cultural references, similar to a travel report. In this way, the focus should be on the player, not the software. In essence, Gillon's demand represents a transfer of Tom Wolfe's model of New Journalism to computer game journalism .

Gillen's approach did not meet with everyone's approval and was critically discussed, but it also found advocates and is considered influential, since player reporting, for example, increasingly has to deal with adapting the course of the game to one's own style of play, which is what the previous reporting forms had before posed a new challenge. On March 26, 2014, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Gillen's Manifesto, a panel discussion on the significance and impact of New Games Journalism took place in London, in which Gillen himself took part.

GamerGate debate

In August 2014, computer game journalism and computer game development were increasingly accused of supporting feminism , progressivism and other “ politically correct ” topics. Under the hashtag #GamerGate there were complaints on social media such as Reddit , 4chan and Twitter . Furthermore, more transparency between journalism and industry was called for. There was mainly criticism from the feminist side. There was also criticism of the representation of women and minorities in computer games. Some publishers reacted and took appropriate action. However, many games, developers and journalists also campaigned against the campaign because they consider it to be exaggerated social justice warrior arguments or even conspiracy theories .

GamerGate was caused by a harassment campaign in August 2014 against several women in the video game industry, in particular game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, and feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian . After Eron Gjoni, Quinn's ex-boyfriend, wrote a derogatory blog post about her, social media users using the #gamergate hashtag falsely accused Quinn of an unethical relationship with journalist Nathan Grayson. Harassment campaigns against Quinn and others have included doxing , rape, and death threats. This affair sparked the GamerGate debate.

Relevant magazines

Active magazines Discontinued or integrated into other magazines


Console games

PC games

Foreign language computer game magazines

Thematic magazines and journals

See also


  • Robert Glashüttner: Computer game journalism . In: Stephan Günzel (Ed.): DIGAREC series . tape 2 . Universitätsverlag Potsdam, 2009, ISBN 978-3-86956-004-5 , p. 128–146 ( [PDF; 256 kB ; accessed on July 22, 2012]).

Individual evidence

  1. meedia .de: An industry capitulates: Almost all games magazines leave the IVW after the circulation losses , accessed on February 10, 2017
  2. Kieron Gillen: The New Games Journalism ( Memento of the original from October 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ LB Jeffries: The New Games Journalism . In: Popmatters . June 17, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  4. When NGJ Went Wrong: Experiential Games Journalism
  5. The Escapist: Kieron Gillen Post Manifesto
  6. ^ Columbia Journalism Review: A new course in video games journalism
  7. ^ Keith Stuart: Event: Kieron Gillen and the new games journalism . The Guardian.
  8. Janay Rice, Anita Sarkeesian, and 'Jackie': Three women who made us get mad in 2014. December 31, 2014, accessed on July 31, 2019 (English).
  9. ^ "It's more common to see a blue hedgehog than a person of color as a protagonist": Inside the whitewashed world of video games. December 23, 2014, accessed July 31, 2019 .
  10. GamerGate activists go crazy, developers support feminists. Accessed July 31, 2019 .
  11. Michael Salter: Crime, Justice and Social Media . Taylor & Francis, 2016, ISBN 978-1-317-41906-8 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  12. Morten Freidel: "Gamergate": When criticism comes, the game stops . October 28, 2014, ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed July 31, 2019]).