So I took PAR off my RSS a few months ago. Much like you I loved the website when it first launched but Ben’s writing really took a dive.
With games coverage this took a while to notice. I generally play games months or years after they come out, basically remembering recommendations/scores from various outlets and picking up games on sale. Ben’s interpretation of a game could be completely wrong (and therefore the basis of his opinion) but I wouldn’t know this until it wasn’t really relevant anymore.
However his poor writing came into full focus for me when he was covering Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad episodes. I didn’t mind so much that it was diverging from games coverage, but because I was watching this tv show along with him for the first time it highlighted every instance of him lacking basic comprehension of the media.
Don’t get me wrong, people can dislike something that I love and I can still enjoy their work. I like divergent opinion of my own if it can be justified, and in this case he seemed to be enjoying the shows the same as myself, but I could see how flimsy his justifications could be. He also never responded to being called out on being wrong. The comments were not harsh, more along the lines of ‘you may want to rewatch that scene and see if you catch the point this time’. All this along with articles similar to the one that ttcfcl posted (see a few comments back) made me lose trust in his opinion.
I’d stopped reading PAR because of Ben, and so honestly I’d prefer it if an outlet other than Polygon hired him. If Polygon does though, I hope they make sure he doesn’t compare controllers to sexual interaction, unless he is literally playing a sex game in the Oculus Rift.
This article is how I felt about Unreal Tournament 2003/2004. Coming home from school everyday to play with friends, building up really strong ties with the community etc. Just as you find other shooters don’t hook you because of their slower pace compared to CoD, everything feels glacial compared to the UT/Quake days for me. Although having said that, those games would give me RSI as a teenager, so it’s probably good things have slowed down since then.
My main problem with the current crop of shooters is back then I wasn’t being gouged out of my money. Map packs were released to the community for free, and some of the best maps were made by the community. Online was free and everything was 100% dedicated servers which made it fair for those playing.
While CoD’s success with it’s crappier business practices have harmed other games such as Battlefield (you basically have to buy the game twice to get the most out of it now) I don’t begrudge your enjoyment of it at all. I myself like the annualised popcorn flick that is the single player campaign, and my memories of UT2k4 are so fond that if you are getting anything remotely similar out of CoD for the last 6 years, congratulations. I’m a bit jealous.