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Entertainment Weekly - E3 in 274 Words
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 21, 2005   |   Episode 71 (Show Archive)  

   

You could probably write more than 274 words about this grumpy E3 worker!
Each year journalists all over the world flock to Los Angeles to cover the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an event with all kinds of new hardware, hundreds of new games, and more excitement than a weekend with Tara Reid. It's the place you want to be if you're a gamer or just somebody looking for a good (if not loud) time. Those lucky enough to attend generally have a lot to talk about and write thousands of words on what they had just witnessed. But then, others barely write anything at all.

Like most culture magazines, Entertainment Weekly sent a couple of writers to attend this much coveted event. They put them up in a motel, paid for their travel, and got them into some nice behind-closed-doors sections that are off-limits to most show goers. So what kind of coverage can you expect from Entertainment Weekly's two E3 correspondents? Less than 300 words, that's what!


Just because it gets a cover doesn't mean Entertainment Weekly covers video games!
In the week following E3 Entertainment Weekly ran an article called "Game On" allowing writers Geoff Keighley and Wook Kim to give their takes on the three day show. Unfortunately they were only given half a page to express three days worth of opinions, reactions, and speculation ... the other half of the page was needed to advertise Denis Leary's FX show Rescue Me. Geoff and Wook only got a total of 274 words in before they simply ran out of room. 274 words to discuss three new consoles, hundreds of games, and more booth babes that a person knows what to do with!

Obviously three new consoles announcements isn't that big of news in the "entertainment" world, not when it has to compete with the likes of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Star Wars. But before we delude ourselves too much with Brangelina worship, we should keep in mind that video games currently outsell movies, music, books, sports,

I guess I should be happy that she's not still kissing her brother!
and all kinds of other forms of entertainment. Even defunct systems like Sega's Dreamcast managed to out perform the Phantom Menace, and don't even get me started on how popular the Grand Theft Auto series has been. Video games ARE entertainment, and they certainly deserve more than 274 words ... especially when Brangelina gets seven full pages (not including the cover).

But maybe this blame is aimed at the wrong person; perhaps it's the writers who are to blame. Maybe Geoff Keighley and Wook Kim were bored by what they saw at E3 and decided that it could all be summed up in 274 words. Maybe they weren't as interested in Shadow of the Colossus or Okami as we were - after all, they were a little hard to find (being front and center at Sony's and Capcom's booth). Perhaps the new Burnout didn't pique Geoff's interest, and Wook had nothing to say about the new Legend of Zelda game. Maybe they just wanted to go and not do any actual reporting.

So what can you cover in 274 words? Obviously not a whole lot, hence the fact that they only managed to get to five games. There was no mention of any of the Xbox 360 games, nary

For a guy going for a more adult look, I'm not sure hanging around a bunch of cats will help Link's street cred!
a word about the PS3's line-up, and absolutely nothing about the titles still planned for the GameCube. Instead Entertainment Weekly only found enough room to talk about five games: Spore, Nintendogs, Black, Peter Jackson's King Kong, and the Movies.

Some might say that this is what you expect from a magazine like Entertainment Weekly, a publication that has always had a very hands-off approach to dealing with the video game industry. Although EW has featured a number of game sections, they rarely offer reviews and almost never look at the real big issues facing our industry. Yet despite a lackadaisical view of video games, it seems strange that they would send two reporters and only get 274 words back. Surely there are reporters going down all by themselves that can write more than that on a single topic.

To Geoff and Wook I say congratulations, not only did you go to one of the most exciting events of the year, but you did so without having to do any work at all. I thank you for showing me that you can sum up three days of system announcements and crazy games in a mere 274 words. Thank you Entertainment Weekly for yet again demonstrating the mainstream media's lack of enthusiasm about video games. It's articles like this that make readers wonder what the big deal was about E3.
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