Media Critique – Harris Foster

For my piece, I chose the Playstation 4 review piece by Polygon, a website that covers the video game industry under the Vox Media umbrella. The article is credited as written by the staff as a whole, with Justin McElroy leading the effort, providing direction and voice acting for the video component. From the start, the purpose of the article is clear: This would be a review of the Playstation 4 experience at the time of its launch, from the capabilities of its hardware to the integrity of its day-one software lineup. These critiques are presented in a beautiful, blue-print inspired interactive article that seems to build itself on screen in front of the reader, drawing a metaphoric parallel to the next generation of video gaming that was being formed at around the same time.

Polygon and other Vox Media subsidiaries are well known in and outside of the tech journalism bubble for their aesthetically pleasing sites. This article in particular is no different, with the first thing the viewer sees after clicking onto the page is a striking animation of the Playstation 4 console, controller, and camera clicking into place. The article utilizes notched scrolling and a side navigation bar to direct the reader into different areas they may be interested in in relation to the Playstation 4, from power and design of the console itself to the features and capability of the online component. The “Controller” section of the article utilizes a shifting photo window that compares the new controller of the Playstation 4 to that of the Playstation 3, giving readers an insight into the minor differences of Sony’s new device.

This design beauty really is one of the main strengths of this article. With every section containing a new animation or infographic, I was drawn into the minimalistic world and because of that, I wanted to read every little snippet of information that I could. That said, while the minimalistic design of this article is a plus, I’m left wondering if any information was left out of this review in order to keep it looking as sleek as possible. Console launches are one of the most important times for those following the video game industry, and fans of the hobby typically want to get as much information as possible before dropping hundreds of dollars on a new video game system. While the contents of the article didn’t feel like they were necessarily missing anything, I find that it’s always nice to have as many impressions as possible before I buy.

This was the first major console launch covered by Polygon since their formation, and it seems like they put a lot of resources toward it. Encapsulating everything about a video game console on the day it releases is a tough job, but Polygon not only did it, but they did it in style. As always, the writing of Justin McElroy is detailed and clean, compliment that with the minimalistic beauty of this article and you’ve got yourself a piece of video game coverage that will be remembered for a long time.

Photo Assignment: Edeliz

Morning grind. Jo’s is full of sleepy students waiting for their caffeine while chatting with friends.
Dave, one of our coffee making heros, sweeps up the counter a bit before his next customer. 
You normally don’t get to see it but it’s pretty crazy behind the counter. Small and cramped, they shuffle around to make drinks.

A Jo’s employee carefully prepares a shot of espresso for the next beverage.
This machine saves countless from falling asleep in class every morning. It fights to churn out more espresso.

An Americano. Hot water and espresso. My favorite.

Order up.