Something has changed for me in the last six months or so. A year ago, if a new game came out that piqued my interest, I would probably check out some screenshots, then read a review, (probably several), perhaps read gamers comments on forums, and maybe, if one was available, I’d try a demo of the game, before purchasing.
Now things have changed, youtube is my #1 source for evaluating the possibility of me liking a game.
I probably *hear* about the game at Rock Paper Shotgun or some other gaming site. I might hear about it first on a forum, but now I tend to not bother reading reviews until I’ve checked out a gameplay video. (reviews are good for getting a big-picture description of the entire game)
I *like* this development in the industry, because there is nowhere for the cynical marketing crap to hide…
Demos are sometimes just one slice (the best!) of a game, come out long after release, and are a huge pain to download these days, if you live in the country with a usage cap.
Screenshots are invariably bullshit. They are touched up by artists. They have zero relationship to the game you will buy. (They are called ‘target renders’ in the industry). (All my games screenshots are 100% honest simple screen dumps. This is actually rare.)
Reviews, which contrary to belief are generally not ‘bought’ or corrupt, are nevertheless seen through the prism of that reviewers opinions and experiences. A reviewer always brings their own genre tastes and personal pet peeves with them, they can’t avoid it. if I reviewed games, I’#d mark down everything with unskippable cut scenes, macho protagonists or elves with enormous breasts, but that is probably just me..
Youtube gameplay videos are wonderful. The most handy are not official trailers, or posted by big name sites. The best ones are just some random dude who played the game with fraps running and clicked on upload. That is the sort of experience I as a gamer will get, and that is exactly what I want to see. I probably know if I want to read a review within 10 seconds of video these days.
Am I alone in this?