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Giancarlo Just Admit It
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on January 02, 2005   |   Episode 44 (Show Archive)  

   

When Nixon was caught lying to the American people he quit, should the same punishment be applied across the board?
You expect a lot of your game critics, you expect them to play through the game or at least sample the elements that make the game good (or bad). You expect them to review the final version of the game and to accurately tell you what they think of it. After all, if they are reviewing a beta of a game what use is if the game changes? But what happens if you're a major video game magazine and you get caught red handed?

I offer December 2004's issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine (which we will call OPM from now on), a magazine that seemed to have everything going for it. But thanks to somebody's decision to rush the review, OPM managed to incorrectly identify what games were going to be on a prominent compilation disc.

In reviewing Midway's latest arcade treasure collection, appropriately titled Midway Arcade Treasures 2, reviewer Giancarlo Varanini incorrectly stated that "some of the games have aged better than others. Mortal Kombat I and II (which are the main attractions) and Total Carnage (which is basically just Smash TV) still hold up pretty well." The problem is simple, although Mortal Kombat II and III are found in the collection, Mortal Kombat I is nowhere to be found.


God I love this bonus game ... but that doesn't change the fact that it's NOT in this Midway Collection!
To further complicate issues, OPM managed to dig up a picture of the original Mortal Kombat, which may or may not have come from their "review" copy. This picture, as well as it's mention in the article, leads me to wonder if OPM got the memo that Mortal Kombat was out of the Midway Arcade Treasures 2 disc and instead located on the Special Edition Mortal Kombat Deception game (they also reviewed that month).

This change was actually made in early August, which would make the review dated by several months. Giving OPM the benefit of the doubt, the magazine was sent to retail the last week of October, which puts work for the magazine wrapping up at the beginning of the month. Even using this math, the news is still two months old and shouldn't even be an issue. If it was simply bad timing, you have to wonder how relevant print media is in the age of the internet.

So what happened? It could have been any number of problems, but here are the two most likely scenarios I would like to talk about. Either Mr. Varanini reviewed an

I'm not sure who this is, but she was on that Mortal Kombat TV show. Don't pretend like you know her, we both know you didn't watch the show either!
early version of the game, a non-final version of the game that still featured Mortal Kombat I as a choice. Or, he simply reviewed the game based on his experience with all of those games, and not the finished game. Either way, the idea of reviewing the game while it's still in a non-complete form undermines the whole game review process. If game reviews are based on early versions of the game and not the final product, what relevance does the score give it? And since OPM gave the Midway Arcade Treasures 2 a four star (out of five) rating, would they have docked it points for not including the game?

We were unable to get a hold of Giancarlo Varanini or any representative of OPM for comment, which only leads us to speculate. Was this a case of an over eager reviewer looking for an easy way out, or did they simply decide to review a non-final version of the game? Whatever the case, not a mention of the mistake was made in their follow up issue, leading to even more speculation. Did they not notice this error? Do they hope we don't notice this error?? Does it effect the overall score of the game??? These are all questions we should have answers to, but one of us is being a little defensive ... and it's not us! Sometimes you just have to come clean and accept that we caught you cutting corners, and perhaps it's time to be more careful.
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