I have had enough. I'm going to blow the whistle on the dark side of video game reviews. Maybe this will keep the unscrupulous merchants of deception and temptation at bay.
Producing a blockbuster video game is a huge investment. Whether it's a large corporation or a small independent studio, there is a lot riding on each release. In the case of corporations, it can be millions of dollars. A small independent will have put years into a game, not to mention the developers' life savings and investments from friends and families. The stakes are always high. It's a competitive and cutthroat industry. Therefore a good review is important. So important that reps will stop at nothing to get one. They will resort to manipulative tactics such as offering gifts and money. When refused, things can turn ugly in a hurry.
A Sony rep approached me in a bar one evening. He asked me to follow him out to his car. A large cache of gold was sitting on the backseat. He said it was mine if I could guarantee a great review for their upcoming game. I told him where to go and slammed the door on his hand. I have integrity.
Nintendo paid comedian Jim Carrey to personally deliver a game last year to my house. Mr. Carrey also happened to be sporting a couple of beautiful women on his arms, and asked me if I saw anything I liked. I said, "I would like you to leave, with both woman." I have my integrity.
Reginald from EA Sports had a box filled with season tickets to every sport, game, and team imaginable. Airfare included. He said he loved my reviews and was hoping he would really love the review on his upcoming game. I told him our conversation was being broadcast live on Dateline. I have integrity, as well as a broadcast satellite uplink system.
Another rep, Charlie, from Rockstar wasn't so friendly, but perhaps more persuasive. After refusing his large monetary "gift," I was surprised to see the glint of a gun barrel reflecting light from his headlights. Fortunately, I really did like the game, and gave it a positive review. I haven't seen Charlie since. But I never know when Charlie is going to pay me another visit. I have integrity. And anxiety.
These are not isolated incidents. These things happen all the time, at least once a week. Efforts increase tenfold in the Fall, prior to the Holiday Season when the competition heats up.
I've had offers of free trips, vehicles, Rolex watches, and suitcases full of cash. And I've also had just as many threats. This is a dangerous job. So far, I'm still not rich, but I'm still alive. I won't compromise my integrity for anything. Cheat Code Central was built on trust. I won't go to the dark side, even if it means my life.
But it's not without its costs. I have purchased an armored vehicle, multi-camera surveillance unit, tasers, guard dogs, and a trunk full of disguises. I currently employ two part-time bodyguards, a private detective, electronic surveillance expert, a parrot, and a rude scientist. I am isolated from danger, but not civilization.
Absolutely none of this is true. But if it were, you can bet I would be ranting about it. But I repeat, none of this is true. Okay Mike from Disney, you can put that electric cattle prod away.
By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*