The Wall Street Journal’s Borderlands 2 Review Is Fine, Actually.
“Gaming is a multi-billion industry and yet there are still complete hacks like this guy writing about it for a publication like the Wall Street Journal. Wow.”
That’s right, today’s internet drama focused around Wall Street Journal writer Adam Najberg expressing his distaste for Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 in favor of more traditional FPS offerings like Halo and Call of Duty. Not only have gamers been expressing their disgust across forums, twitter, and reddit all day, but as of writing this, the actual review itself has 806 comments mostly telling Mr. Najberg to stick with CoD and find a new job.
Some of my favorite examples of maturity include:
Said no one, ever.”
And this gem, though a bit unoriginal:
“This is a bad article and you should feel bad.
I feel bad for giving you a click”
I’m sure at some point someone said that if he likes CoD so much that he should marry it, but I’m not willing to dig deep enough to find it.
The Wall Street Journal is the last publication I would have expected to make waves with a review for Borderlands 2, let alone any game, but it happened anyway. Their foray into video games makes sense considering how large gaming’s slice of the “arts and entertainment” pie is these days. Couple that with their circulation rate somewhere around two million, and suddenly they become the lone source of video game reviews for thousands of people.
But ask yourself this – when was the last time you referred to the Wall Street Journal for its authority on video games? And that’s really the point here, guys. If you’re reading this right now on a website devoted to video games, then the Wall Street Journal’s review isn’t for you. Stop reading it like it is.
Instead, read it as a middle class businessperson or homemaker parent that only buys a few games a year either for themselves or a child. Suddenly, comparisons to Call of Duty and Halo make sense because those are the frame of reference these people have. Diablo and Torchlight, on the other hand, would fly cleanly over their heads.
People that don’t understand the subtle nuances of video games don’t recognize that skill systems and leveled equipment drops alter the way a game operates, they just see a the first person perspective and the guns and think “That’s like Call of Duty, right?”
Welcome to how non-gamers see the industry. Jumping = Super Mario Bros. Puzzles = Tetris. Guns = Call of Duty. Remember how your mom would call your Playstation “the Nintendo” as a kid? This is that same vague understanding rearing its head again.
So, no, this review is actually pretty spot-on for their audience. Hell, I give it credit for pointing out the game’s intended audience, recognizing that multiplayer is a big seller these days, and not giving out a score but rather a recommendation tempered by the pending releases of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 before the year ends.