April 7, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless
Hm, faithful GameSetWatch readers, it's time to admit something rather naughty. We played a little practical joke on IDG's GamePro.com, because we noticed them 'borrowing' some data from us without crediting.
The following is a cautionary tale about plagiarism and factchecking. If you are a professional journalist, please avert your eyes. If you're at all tickled by 'things game journos do to amuse themselves', please continue reading, forthwith.
Part 1: 'Release This' & The Gunny Sack Trilogy
So this whole little trip started with Gamasutra contributor Danny Cowan, who spends quite a long time every week scouring and cross-referencing to create our official 'Release This!' column, running down the worldwide game releases for the week. This isn't always the most straightforward thing, especially for more obscure releases, so it takes him a good while.
Recently, Danny started getting suspicious that certain other websites were 'borrowing' his release list without crediting. So he decided to include a game that, uhh, might not actually exist, into the 'Release This!' column last week, to see what would happen. Can you tell which one it is?
It's actually surprisingly difficult to work out the ringer from that list - I mean, even 'Great War Nations: The Spartans' sounds a bit suspect. But it's actually 'The Gunny Sack Trilogy', which is an acclaimed book by writer M.G. Vassanji, apparently focusing on Indians living in East Africa. But it's not actually - and has never been - a game.
Still, GamePro seemed to think it was, and they listed it as such in their update on March 31st - and also syndicated to GameTrailers.com and to other IDG sites such as PCWorld.ca. Oh dear. Visual proof below:
Part 2: The Casual Brilliance Of 'Gem Pour: Casks'
So, at some point during last week, this jape became better known to the Gamasutra editorial staff, and we were, of course, thinking of doing a MAJOR EXPOSE.
But we figured (and Danny agreed) that it might be fun to finish off our pranking in style. Thus we have this week's release list, posted just this morning:
Among such unlikely titles as 'Plushees' for Nintendo DS (really exists!) and Dirty Dancing: The Video Game (really exists!), there's also the spectacular and obviously smash hit casual PC puzzle title, Gem Pour: Casks.
We're guessing it's one of those Bejeweled type games. Oh, looks like GamePro has heard of it too:
But it's a bit weird that they've slightly brainlessly printed it, given its anagram-based derivation. Ouch.
Sorry, GamePro guys, but it does take us a good while to synthesize those release lists, so you should probably know better than Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. Meanwhile, we'll be giggling relentlessly for the rest of the afternoon, if that's OK with you.
[UPDATE: Commenter Mike reminds me that Gamasutra had its own version of GameProGate last year, when NeoGAF caught our naughty UK editor David Jenkins sourcing translations of Japanese Media-Create charts from those forums without proper credit, using a similar (and possibly inspirational!) method. This was rectified by some updated credits and a little trans-Atlantic swearing. So we, also, are not angels - heh.]