Picking apart the hype of new and classic video games.

Quality game blogs – gotta catch ’em all

A recent report by the NPD Group estimates American gamers dropped about $15.5 billion in console, PC and mobile phone games in 2010. Keeping track of the video game industry is not a one-blog job.

Keeping that in mind, I’m going to run through five of the best blogs I frequent to get a feel for what’s coming around the corner.

Wired Magazine’s GameLife Blog‘s staff may spend more time in conference calls with software developers than behind consoles, but the end result is a forward-looking account of where the market is headed. Straightforward game reviews are rare, but news on upcoming technology and the decisions made behind boardroom doors get some much needed attention.

If you’re looking for information on a specific upcoming game, ThatVideoGameBlog‘s mixed staff of part-time enthusiasts and trained writers combines the internet scouring power of fanboys with a level of editorial polish. TVGB is a great source on leaked trailers and troves of information that only a blogger with a serious interest in a given game will take the time to find.

A lot of hands on previews tend to become gameplay synopses without telling you much about the actual experience. The best way to dodge this is by tracking down gameplay footage, something GiantBomb tends to do quite well. Beyond offering videos, the administrators do a good job of encouraging conversations on their prominently displayed forum, great for getting a consumer-level view of recent releases.

While the above blogs give you a good view of the industry as a whole, I tend to turn to Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s FullyRamblomatic blog for a more hands on approach to game critique. As the man behind the ZeroPunctuation series, Croshaw has an abrasive style that, while a bit crotchety for some, really cuts to the heart of a game for an honest review. He tends to beat up on games for minor flaws, but his comments are rarely off their mark.

Finally, if GameLife is the Hubble Telescope of the industry, The Game Overthinker blog, run by film critic and all around geek Bob Chipman is an electron microscope. Chipman’s take on the high and low points of gaming culture can be a real eye opener, and even a seemingly straightforward look at a hot IP can turn into a dissertation on modern geek culture.

There you have it, five more candidates for your Google Reader, compliments of HyperBeam.


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