It wasn’t that long ago that high quality video game trailers were being treated as if they were valuable treasures. Sure, you could see the Halo preview on YouTube, but game imagery seems to lose a lot of it’s pizzazz when it’s pushed through their deflavorizing algorithms. So gaming “news” sites like IGN, and some of the pay to download sinkholes decided that they were actually doing the fans a favor by letting them see what are essentially hi-rez commercials. For those of us who were unwilling to pay a premium for the privilege, we could only hang out at the gates to their digital wonderland, taunted by their delicious full-screen goodness like urchins with their noses pressed against the bakery window on Christmas Eve.
But Game Trailers has changed all that. Everything on their site is free, free, free. Unfettered by mandatory memberships of any kind. Oh sure, you can log in, but the first time I hit the “HD” button I was instantly taken to the hi-rez version. Stunned is the only way I can describe it, and I knew that there was a different attitude here.
It’s not all about the free game movies, either. For something that’s involved with video games the site is almost ridiculously easy to navigate. No semi-hidden drop-down search boxes or needlessly complicated flash menus. The main page is constantly being updated with new stuff, and you can find almost anything you want by just entering the name of the game, the platform, or the company that makes it. It’s got an honest to goodness RSS feed, and the whole thing feels like actual gamers are working on it.
But wait, there’s more! The reviews are actually good! Divided into clear sections, making reasonable arguments, backed up with excellent snippets of gameplay it’s the kind of well-executed web content that should have the (remaining) print magazine publishers quaking in their boots. Even the motion graphics are fun and well executed.
Back that up with some solid feeds from the different conventions and events, interviews, and original reporting that’s damn close to watchable and you may see why it’s worth pointing people to it as an example of something good on the web. I haven’t had time to check out the forums, so if they’re more than the usual jungle of smart asses, flame warriors, and jerks it will be up to you to find that out.
Is it perfect? No. But it’s more than good enough. And if you’ve struggled through an endless sea of aggressively crappy video game industry web sites for the last decade, that’s a lot.
Oh yeah, and it’s also part of MTV Networks… So there’s that.