I just came across this nifty 2 page article over at "Ars Technica
" where they show pictures of outlandish exclusive gifts (promos) to game writers. Where game publishers send to them a game copy for review, weird items often accompany the game title.
to the article.
$200 check for Dante's Inferno
While anyone who reviews games has been accused of bribery at some point when readers don't agree with the final score (An 8? For this game? HOW DARE HE!) it's rare that a company just sends the press a check. EA's gimmick with Dante's Inferno was sending out a series of items that corresponded to the seven deadly sins, and the $200 check was for greed.
Brass knuckles... that ended up being illegal
The press pack for EA's Godfather 2 included a few surprises, including a cigar, some matches, a thin wire for choking fools... and, of course, brass knuckles. Brass knuckles that ended up being illegal in many states.
EA later described them as "novelty" brass knuckles and sent out mailers asking for them to be returned. The wire was apparently totally fine.
We've heard of the conflict of interest often facing game writers at magazines or websites. When a game publisher showers them with gifts or takes them out on a all paid trip to a publicity stunt location. Which harkens back to scummy lobbyists showering gifts on our politicians, but that's another story.
This article from "Ars Technica
" shows the lengths that a game publisher is willing to go. Where reputable game journalists may be hard pressed to turn down such gifts. Which many of them gladly just turn around and donate the promo's to charity.
Game Journalism as a discipline is ethically still in its infancy at best. We have no formidable game journalistic institutions akin to a "New York Times
" or name your trusted news source. With ethics comes standards, and right now its still a "Wild Wild West
" in game journalism.