Since the very beginning of gaming industry, some people have thought about making money by reviewing game titles.
Nothing wrong about that, money talks and any ( honest ) mean to gather some bucks is acceptable ( and so was, during the 80's, when reviewing a game for a magazine could make the day of a high-school student ).
Today, things are slightly different and reviewing a next-gen console flagship game such as "Kane & Lynch Dead Man" could also make your day...but not exactly the way you were thinking about before stick your straight-to-the-point opinion.
Some really bad things are waiting you in the dark out there if you, as magazine-collected-advertising-paid reviewer, are so dare to publish a review so close to reality as your sight and other senses are screaming at you about what is moving on the screen.
Dare you....and being fired would the last of your problem, out there!
As magazine's reader, something weird could happen to you if one day, before steppin' into your car and run to office to join the sales account team meeting, have this great idea to write down a heart-to-heart email to a 6-euros priced games magazine ( let's say magazine name is "Game Amateur" and assume is a southern Europe localized version of an UK videogames think tank ).
Really odd things will come for you , if you're so brave to make a criticism of a two-in-a-row "great" rank given to a marketing fake such as "Alone in the Dark" by the above mentioned game magazine.
Even worse nightmares are waiting for you if the sent criticism is also about a horrible audio dub performed by a publisher on a localized version of "Dead Space" and given as "value add", according from an article written in a "trade" column within the magazine ( if you're asking to yourself, Dead Space Italian dubbing was a regional accent, actually a funny roman accent....but totally out of game context...just to to bring to your ears the impact of such dubbing , let's just imagine one of the characters of Dead Space, Dr. Kyne, or any character you want of any game, as dubbed by BORAT:
Shame on you if you emphasize the fact there's no value add for a consumer in having a famous movie director's voice as dubbing for Dr.Kyne ( that's the owner of the roman accented voiceover ) and that if you mention that the game publisher is also hiring the daughter of the movi director as dubber for "Mirror's Edge"...shame on you twice...enemy of the gaming art!
In fact, it could turn out that, from game magazine editor's standpoint, you're a kind of snob and that you don't understand that reviewing a game is all about "personal taste" of the editor....and also that you're a nazist, but please don't ask us why.
Finally, the editor has his own marketing tagline about the reviews "they're not a consumer guide, but they're just a personal opinion".
Interesting to note that N'Gai Croal has already started a 4-parts thread on this topic:
A Symposium On Game Reviews
Today, gaming magazines like our fictional ( actually, not as fictional as we would like ) "Game Amateur" are one-man-band advertising sheets, where almost every review is a pre-scripted event built upon P.R. "avdertorials" provided by pusblishers...or worse.
Moreover, sometimes they're totally off any form of ethic management.
Eager of an example ?
Imagine the company's owner that translates contents for Game Amateurs ( let's give such company another fictional name...randomly kept from mythological culture such as "Hercules" ) be also part of the board of editors of Game Amateur...and imagine he's ( or she's ) also Editor in chief and Mail columnist & manager of the same magazine.
What we have at the end of the day is that the customer ( the magazine ) is also the vendor ( the content provider ), thus entire magazine is criticism-proof from outside and what the consumer will pay for will be just another marketing flyer.
In a SOX-dominated world, a severe segregation of duties has been put in place at any level of any industry and freaky organizational model like that are quickly disappearing from any org. chart.
If we like to see a robust-growing gaming industry we just have to fight this and let magazine's editors ear our voices...or stop buying their magazines, pick one.