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Why you make me hurt you, Games Journalism? You know I love you!

2006.01.13.15.02 · No Comments

Warning, below are the half-assed angry ramblings of someone who’s annoyed with all the hubbub on Games Journalism.

Twisted Metal and God of War designer David Jaffe complains that Games journalists aren’t doing their jobs but merely becoming cheerleaders for games, sometimes regardless of the quality of the game. The argument being “Games are something developers make. Journalism is what journalists make.” He argued that if Games Journalism would hold Games’ proverbial feet to the fire, then maybe games would be better. Yes, an assistant producer to the game “3 Ninjas Kick Back” wants to be held to a higher standard of gaming greatness. Masochist? No. He wants to do better, and to do so he needs better feedback and critique. That’s admirable.

EGM editor Shoe comments on how sad it is that ‘cover story’ journalistic coverage is up for sale. (Here.) And to put this in perspective, let me remind you that this coming from a man who, literally, sells the cover of his magazine. So that’s saying something. (Apparently that ads-for-covers should be an option, just not an open bidding process.) And he caught a little heat for not revealing who did this. Should Shoe have named names? Naaah. It’s like he said on his blog, “that’s for some news organization to take care of, not EGM.” In dereliction of duty? Quite the opposite. His magazine’s intentions have never been ‘hard journalism of the underside of gaming’, of which there is apparently much. He just knows where his strengths lie (in actually covering the games,) and is saddened that his peers don’t take their jobs as serious as he does. That’s unfortunate.


Now the two articles that were the straws that made me think more about this.

Just the other day Slashdot linked to 1UP editor Sam Kennedy’s blog where he laments that developers rarely help his job. (Here.) This after he says that “publications like 1UP are still a business — we’re all here to grow. And we’re going to deliver (within reason, of course) what our audience wants in order to accomplish that. “

(Speaking to Games Journalism in general here, mind you…) Well, why should developers scratch your back? You’re going to scratch theirs regardless of what they do to you. Your aching for their acceptance to ‘Gaming’ and their input to your magazine has you trying so hard to make it all seem so ‘cool’ that John Carmack could beat you like an abusive spouse and you’ll not only completely gloss over that if got an exclusive review of id’s next game, you’d possibly go out of your way to make a Romero joke in the article.

I’m not suggesting take their insulting behavior out on the game critique, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t express disappointment or anger at a developer.

But Sam Kennedy linked to what I think is possibly the best article of this entire thing. (Here.) And so far as I know, it’s just by “some guy,” much like myself. Shivam Bhatt says:

How intellectual can you really be when talking about something like final fantasy or metal gear? The medium is barely into its teens when it comes to depth in story telling, and the stories we’re being given are as deep as a teenager’s high school journal. There’s very little subtlty and hidden meaning in games, as producers browbeat us with their points over and over across a span of 50 hours or so. Yes, square, i get it. Catholics are bad. Organised religion is control. etc. Kojima and his obsession with nukes comes to mind as well.

And that’s what it’s all about. Even David Jaffe’s original article. Games aren’t even a teen in my eyes, but a toddler. Games are just now developing their own language. After decades they’ve began to form words to describe the world around us.

Games Journalism, do you remember highschool and/or college? Remember the kid that constantly takes shit from the popular kids just because they let him hang out with them occasionally? Don’t be “that guy,” Games Journalism. No one likes “that guy.” Games are finally beginning to grow a little, and it’s time for you to do the same. So the next game that comes out and beats you over the head with “organized religion is bad” for fifty hours by having, gasp, a religious leader using the religion for his own evil deeds? Print “I don’t like being repeatedly browbeaten with obvious points. The developers treat the player like a simpleton.” And if you call them on it, even half the time, then hopefully people will begin to catch on and demand more. Better to be known as demanding prick than an oblivious suck-up, Games Journalism. And besides, the developers asked for it.


That’s the end for now. Just had to get that off of my chest. For the record, this started off as three paragraphs, but then I got angry and made it two pages of raving lunacy. Then I tried to cut most of the anger out. (Though, I loved that domestic abuse bit too much to cut.) I mean no offense to anyone mentioned, for the record. Nothing but love for you all. Tomorrow’s post? Angry and silly outtakes!

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