I'm a Human Inbox

Monday, May 23, 2005

Was G4's Tina Wood Unethical at E3 2005?

Brian of Kotaku has been talking about Tina Wood, of G4, presenting Nintendogs at the Nintendo press conference:

G4 is a total shill for Nintendo. About halfway through the Nintendo press conference this morning, the company called Tina Wood, a G4 host, to the stage. For the next 10 minutes, Wood stood on stage pitching Nintendogs to her fellow journalists. She told us how fun the game was and how much she liked it, and got her dorky little dog to do tricks. It was very embarrassing, but more importantly, it was unethical.

I am unsure how I feel about the issue, so I emailed Brian and we had an interesting discussion about it.

Read The EmailHey Brian
I've been a little confused about your reactions to Tina Wood's Nintendogs performance at E3. Maybe you could clarify it a bit. What exactly is it that is wrong about demoing a product for Nintendo? Is it that you feel that when she does so, she is losing her objective credibility when reviewing certain products? Why does doing it out of her own free will, not erase your feelings about the issue?

Do you think that if you were given the opportunity to demo a product for a game you thought was awesome, you would turn it down? When reviewers or reporters get advanced or free copies of a product, say a Nintendo DS or PSP, does that make them less credible? Should reporters/reviewers decline free or advanced copies?

Jesse Morrison (I'm a Human Inbox)

Brian Crecente
to me
May 22 (1 day ago)
It isn't that she demoed the game, it's that she did so as part of Nintendo's official press conference. During that time on stage she was speaking for Nintendo.

Do you think they would have allowed her to say anything negative about the game? Do you think they gave her any sort of script?

I would never do something like that, not that my personal choices should dictate ethics.

What Tina Wood did crossed the already very hazy line that is drawn between acting on behalf of your readers and acting on behalf of a company.

I think that this industry already has a lot of issues with credibility, we don't need to add this to the list.

What do you think? Do you really see this the same as her reviewing a game on her show?

Jesse Morrison
to editor
May 22 (1 day ago)
I'm not really sure what my opinion is yet, I'm still trying to figure out where the line she crossed, is.

That is a good point. Did she have a script? Was she allowed to say whatever she wanted? If she had concerns about the game, would she have been allowed to voice them? I'm thinking that she definately did have a script, and that if she wanted to speak about concerns about the game they would have just chosen someone else to do it.

I guess part of my problem is that I'm not a fan of Tina Wood anyway. I'm not really a fan of G4, I find some of the things that G4 does questionable. I don't think that G4 is a good representative for gamers in the first place, so I'm not really finding what Tina Wood did, shocking. It almost feels expected.

Perhaps I need to put some of this into perspective. I personally am a fan of most of the Gamespot staff, so if Greg Kasavin got up on stage to demo Nintendogs for Nintendo, I'd probably be like "Whoa, wait a minute". So I guess I'd have to say that G4 never had much credibility for me to begin with. But if a respected game journalist got up on stage at a Nintendo press conference I might start to question their objectivity on future Nintendo reviews and reports.


Brian Crecente
to me
May 22 (1 day ago)
It's funny I've had two sorts of responses to this, among the people who don't see this as an issu.

One group just thinks it's fine and doesn't think what she did is a problem at all, journalist or not.

The other group says, well what else did you expect form G4.

That second one annoys me the most because I don't think that just because you are lacking in credibility you get a pass when it comes to ethics. I didn't really have an opinion about Tina Wood either way, but if she is a bad journalist it doesn't mean that she shouldn't still be held up to the same standards as the rest of us.

Jesse Morrison
to editor
May 22 (1 day ago)
:) I agree that she shouldn't be getting a free pass out of this, but I think it stems more from past infringements rather than the fact that people don't care. I would say that, in some ways, G4 is guilty of a lot well before Tina Wood's Nintendo conference.

I wouldn't say I'm very knowledgeable about G4, but I started watching most of G4's E3 movies once E3 started up. G4 seems to suffer from many of the problems that plague gaming television, and this is probably why I didn't give them much credit to begin with. Half of G4's crew are overly attractive women who claim to be gamers. Now I'm sure most of those girls are gamers, and it can be argued that the black haired girl (I forget her name) on the E3 Live coverage knew more about games than the rest of the guys, it does feel forced sometimes. The female hosts tend to have sexual innuendo laden scripts, but the men can sometimes be guilty of the same thing. The ads for the show talk about "finding the G-Spot every night". It's that sort of immature reporting style, which has little gaming information and discussion, that I'm totally sick of.

It's for those reasons that I almost don't care about what Tina Wood did, because I don't respect her show in the first place. But you're right, just because Tina or her show isn't the quality that I'm wishing for, doesn't mean that they shouldn't be held responsible for bad journalism. Although to use a different example, most people wouldn't get totally steamed up about "Entertainment Tonight" mainly because most people wouldn't consider ET to be a good example of "news". Because ET isn't respected, it's harder to criticise them because they're not held at a very high level in the first place.

That's not to say that people who like G4 are wrong, I'm just saying it's not for me.

In any case, I'm glad you brought this issue up, I wouldn't have really paid attention to it otherwise and I think the discussion is important.

Link (via Kotaku)