You see this thing?

screenshot
You see it?

I’ll draw a big red circle around it.

Screenshot With Ring
Now you see it?

Thiiiiiiiiis thing here.👆

We are super proud of that.

We take all our own screenshots. BUT, why do you care? What difference does it make?

You know how magazines air-brush models to make them unrealistically skinny? You know how a house photographed by a professional photographer annoyingly looks far better than yours ever will and it’s not fair? The same happens with video-games. Next time you are in a video-games shop with your children, bored and perhaps even feeling slightly uncomfortable, distract yourself by examining their promo material for new releases. Somewhere, down the bottom of the display stand or poster, you will likely find the fateful words “image may not be representative of actual gameplay.

That’s right folks, we touch up our super-soldiers and squelchy aliens (that sounded better in my head.) But it goes beyond simply bringing in better lighting and removing visible pores. When creating promo and press-kit shots, the designers can set up scenarios and poses that never appear in the game, put characters side by side who never meet, and give the image a quality far greater fidelity than the machine that will ultimate run the game is actually capable of generating.

This has caused some slightly awkward scandals, but it also has a more insidious effect close to home. Children tend to be very visual and are easily seduced by impressive advertising. There are few things more upsetting (for all involved) than buying a game, only to see how disappointed your child is when it fails to live up to the expectations they had gleaned from flashy ads. Another, arguable more serious problem, is that these promo screens may misrepresent the game’s content. A vicious combat move may be erased, bleeding and visible wounds covered over –  a character may display abilities they don’t have, or simply be wearing more clothing than they do in the final product. This makes it very hard for parents to judge whether a game is suitable and in line with their values by promotional screenshots alone. And video-games press, working to tight deadlines and with harsh budgets, often choose to reuse these promo or press screenshots rather than taking their own. The Press-Kit shots, it is argued, show off the game in its best light. The problem is that light may be too flattering.

We take all our own screenshots. We never use promo shots from advertising or screenshots supplied as part of Press-Kits. Every screenshot has been taken by the game’s reporter and is checked by us for authenticity. Every single game in the GameHub database has been played extensively by one of our reporters, who sinks multiple hours into recording game content, running our tests and taking original, unedited screenshots.

PS: If you like the look of the game above, it’s called Toca Nature, it’s on GameHub, and it’s super cute. Check it out.

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